Bryan Eisenberg recently blogged at MSN AdCenter Analytics Blog about the 7 Biggest Mistakes of Web Analytics. We thought we’d work off of these seven points and give you our take on how to make the most of your analytics setup, while avoiding some major pitfalls. Some of these tips are universal to all analytics software, including free services, like Google Analytics, while others are obviously geared toward larger enterprise analytics packages.
1. Double Check Your Implementation
2. Set Some Goals, Dangit!
Analytics does you a limited amount of good if you don’t have goals defined and built into your setup. If you don’t have goals, why are you measuring things in the first place? Think about the purpose for tracking your visitors and knowing information about them. Then define goals that can help you measure what is happening when visitors arrive at your site. Even if you’re not an e-commerce site, you should be setting goals to track things like user signups and downloads, among other things.
3. Get Down To The Gritty Segmentation
Sometimes averages can be very deceptive. One of the chief mistakes you can make when poring over your analytics data is to only look at the means. Different segments of users behave differently, and can throw off your statistics significantly. Visitors referred from StumbleUpon will probably act a lot differently on your site than visitors from shop.yahoo.com. Don’t stop analyzing your reports when you see fair or even good statistics. Dig deep and see what’s going on within each of your segments.
4. Focus On Metrics You Can Control
Remember that rambling old war vet you had for Chemistry in 10th grade? You may have learned a lot of interesting stories in that class, but most of them may not have been relevant to the subject. Analytics can be the same way. Make sure you aren’t getting distracted by the myriad of data that analytics tracks, as interesting as it may be. Focus on the metrics you can do something about and you can trace back to your bottom line.
5. Document Changes
Many webmasters have had occasion to take a look at long term data and make some startlingly wrong conclusions. Make sure you document milestone events that occur in your business, your website, and your marketing so you don’t make false assumptions based on old data. This is especially good advice for teams, but even if you’re a one-man crew, you’d be stupid not to document these big events.
6. “Be Data-driven but Customer-focused”
Quantative data tells you what is happening, and how much of it is happening, but qualitative data can tell you why. Listen to your visitors/customers in addition to analyzing the data you accumulate in analytics. A focus group might be a great way to supplement your analytics reporting once in a while. And it might be a good way to get you out of your cubicle, too.
7. Don’t Just Read The Data – Do Something About It
The other day when I was sitting in church, the preacher said to the audience, “Most people go home on Sunday and yawn and say ‘That was good.’ What you should be doing is going home and changing something in your life because of what you heard.” Whether you’re religious or not, you should be applying this lesson to your analytics. Besides, to some of us web analytics is our second religion anyway!
Take what you learn and actually implement it. Test your theories, and let your website evolve with what you discover over time. If you’re not going to do anything with the data, spend your time doing something else. Like finding a new job.Read More
A buddy just emailed me to say that his Google Analytics advanced filters were working again to expose the detailed search queries of AdWords visitors!
You can find detailed instructions on exposing your keyword data in this post:
I looked into it and it looks like Google fixed their advanced filter problem (at least for these filters) on March 5th.
Yes, I will eat my words and gladly admit that I overreacted in this post.Read More
Webinar: Website Optimizer – What Should I Test?
Host: Tom Leung – Google Website Optimizer
Slides will be archived and available within a few weeks on the Google Website Optimizer website in the resources section.
Tom Leung’s Presentation:
What is the website Optimizer? (For those not familiar with the product.)
It is part of an entire system of tools that Google provides to website owners that will help improve their website – AdWords and Analytics are a couple of these tools. AdWords brings the traffic in, Analytics monitors that traffic, and the Website Optimizer helps to improve conversion rates from AdWords and results can be measured in Analytics. They can be operated independently but using all three will bring a synergy to the table.
How does the Website Optimizer Work?
It essentially let’s you perform controlled experiments on your website by taking the guess work out of increasing your conversion rate with your website. Website Optimizer basically asks your users to vote with their actions.
Some features are A/B split testing, Multivariate Testing, Follow Up Testing, Works with ALL traffic – not just ppc, Statistical Analysis, Platform Independent, consistent updates, and more. (You do need an AdWords account to access the Website Optimizer…)
Benefits are that it is absolutely FREE, Easy to use, Does NOT impact SEO, Backed by Google, big increases in conversions are not uncommon, there is a variety of support in discussion groups, tutorials, consultant network.
Quick thoughts on Stats and Reporting
Combination reports show the customer’s favorite page combination. Take the debate out of website design and improvement by testing with the Website Optimizer and reviewing the reports/stats.
What To Test
This is a rendition I did a while ago on the graph about which pages to optimize used in this webinar (I think Google designed the original visual?):
Every Page Has an Optimal Recipe
Info Rich vs Short n Sweet
Left Layout vs Right Layout
Fact based vs Aspirations/emotions
Leads vs Sales
There are definitely more combinations and tests to conduct besides those listed above.
There isn’t ever really a set answer for each website. The only way to know which combination will work is to simply conduct tests.
More Ideas for Experimentation
Headline / Image/ Call to action
RSS button clicks
Colors, Fonts, Sizes
And many, many more.
Everything depends on your audience, a portion of your audience will react differently to each test. You can find out more about your audience with testing…do they like certain kinds of widgets? Do they like videos? Testimonials? Etc.
At the end of the day, there are an infinite amount of tests you can perform. Focus on the tests that are most likely to give you the results you are looking for.
Best Practices in Marketing Experimentation
Test a small number of variations.
-Rule of thumb is about 100 conversions per combination
Test bold changes
-If you can’t see difference between two combos in 8 seconds, visitors probably won’t either
Consider early indicators if you don’t have enough conversions
-E.g. if you have modest conversion volume, optimize for leading indicators such as request info, view product details, remain on page features page >5 seconds.
Don’t jump to conclusions
-Less than 2 weeks is no good, focus on absolute conversion differences, don’t get too excited by silver or green or red
Bryan Eisenberg Intro
Bryan Eisenberg’s Presentation:
Case Study of Overstock.com (Multicategory Page)
Overstock was noticing a 90% exit/bounce rate
It’s about understanding people first
Test small variations so you can get the learnings and understand the variables
Secret of Online Conversion…
Dates back to 470 BC when four personality types were written down – the GrokDotCom translation gives us four types/patterns as displayed in this graph (a rendering based on Bryan’s slide/image)
Four types or patterns: Competitive (Fast Logical), Spontaneous (Fast Emotional), Methodical (Slow Logical), Humanistic (Slow Emotional)
*Holy crap Brian talks fast, flips through slides like crazy and bounces around sporadically (probably not Bryan but software/conferencing issues)…very hard to follow while typing so this is going to get choppy…
Eyetracking Slides (summary found on GrokDotCom)
Spontaneous people are looking for features
Humanistics care about reviews
Methodicals find by generally sorting
Competitives search by specifics that they have in mind
Went through 4 personality types for Overstock.com – Does it accomplish each type? Found that one single image needed replaced to target Competitives – and that gave them a lift of $25m!
HUGE gain on Overstock website by simply changing one image near a search box and it increased results by 5% or $25 million! The image was excluding competitive types of people due to search functionality/bounce rates on a specific page.
Every day that Overstock did not fill that hole, they were losing $70,000 a day!
Framework & Optimization Process
1. Know your profiles – Personas, Four Perspectives, or simply emotional and logical
2. Define the conversion goals – what action do you want your visitor to take and what is the success page going to be
3. Do the Creative – based on the first two perspectives
Heirarchy of Optimization (detailed blog post can be found here)
Functionality first – Does it work?
Accessibility second – Can everyone access it?
Usability third – Is it “user” friendly?
Intuitive fourth – Does it feel natural and doesn’t “make us think”?
Persuasive final – Do people really want and understand what their buying?
The higher levels take the most time and effort but give you the greatest return.
5 Formulas to Online Success
1. Product Images Tell A Story
2. Test Your Headlines & Copy
-Test fractions vs Percentages
-Test Asking Questions
-Self Focused vs Customer Focused words (I am, we are vs you can)
-Switch Paragraphs (ordering of copy)
-Informal vs formal (Attitude)
-Wording on call to action
-Wording on images
3. Forms & Point of Action Assurances
-We value your privacy (next to action button)
-Guaranteed Response time
-Reviews next to add to cart button
4. Calls to Action – Get Them To Click
-8 variables for cart buttons (wording, shape, size, style, icon, color, legibility, location)
-Emotional vs Logical (learn more vs help me choose)
5. Don’t Make Them Wait
-Fast load speeds
-Optimize image file sizes (58k vs 7k)
Golden rule: he who has the gold, rules. Customers have the pocket books so they rule. Also, another golden rule to online marketing is not like the biblical or religious adage of do unto others as you would have them do unto you…but the golden rule on the web is “Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.”
Q: What if you have a small amount of traffic but you don’t want to wait 6 months for results?
Bryan: Focus on the top half of the hierarchy.
Q: Ecommerce merchants who have long funnels – where do you begin with a multi-step checkout process?
Bryan: First, worry about the point of action assurances. Other things to do would be to add progress indicators and try to reduce the multi-step checkout process as soon as you can. Can you combine one or two pages?
Q: Do you begin at the beginning or the end of the checkout process?
Bryan: It depends on your analytics – target the biggest bottleneck and work from there.
Q: What are some things that you can do after you feel like you have done the basics like Headlines, copy, etc?
Bryan: Start dealing with persuasive and intuitive things like images, words in hyperlinks, words in point of action assurances, and more. Work up the hierarchy if you already have the basics down.
Q: What goes through your head during the first 30 seconds of reviewing a website?
Bryan: If I were a customer and I were spontaneous/methodical/humanistic/competitive, what would I get out of this page? Try to see what questions I have while reviewing the page as a customer.
-Controlled content experimentation is critical to maximizing your conversion rates
-Google Website Optimizer is a free tool that lets you do unlimited tests on all your traffic on any page
-Personas and scents can dramatically increase the likelihood of improving your conversions
-Almost everything can and should be tested
-More resources at www.Google.com/WebsiteOptimizerRead More
1. How-To Customize Your Google Analytics Dashboard
First, log into Google Analytics and view your dashboard. You can close several of those default metrics if you do not want to use them as your KPIs.
Second, find the report you want to display on your Dashboard. For our site, qualityscores.com, we added these reports: Reverse Goal Path, All Traffic Sources, Goals Overview for each goal, etc.
Finally, when you are at the report that you want to see in your dashboard, simply click on the “add to dashboard” button underneath the report title. Now you can see the report in your dashboard!
2. Google Analytics KPI Gadget for iGoogle
Analytics KPI for iGoogle – Without having to log into your Google Analytics account, the widget provides a snapshot of your key performance indicators using the red and green indicators you are used to from Google Analytics.
3. SAP Business KPI Community
KPI Wiki – In today’s business world benchmarking has become increasingly important. That means that virtually every company wants to compare its performance to the market leaders. As a result you need a common KPI language.
4. KPI Library
KPI Library – The free KPI Library is a community that provides an extensive library of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
5. Visual Revenue
The difference between a KPI and a Metric – How does one decide if a Metric qualifies as a Key Performance Indicator? and if so, what are the characteristics of an excellent online marketing KPI?
Online Video Analytics – KPIs – These online video metrics affect your KPIs but are not KPIs by themselves.
6. VKI Studios
Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for e-commerce websites – Quick list of the most effective and actionable KPIs for an e-commerce website.
Key performance indicators – Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are financial and non-financial metrics used to help an organization define and measure progress toward organizational goals…
Using key performance indicators (KPI) for effective project management – Key Performance Indicators are quantifiable measurements that reflect the critical success factors of an organization. Based on beforehand agreed measures, they reveal a high-level snapshot of the organization.
Developing key performance indicators in projects – Key performance indicators should preferably meet the following essential criteria: Be direct (no complex calculations), Be objective, Be adequate, Be quantitative, Be practical, Be reliable.
Bonus PDF from the Web Analytics Association (WAA)
Web Analytics Key Metrics and KPIs (PDF) – In the interests of discussion clarity and Web site reporting standardization, this document defines key metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Web Analytics.Read More
QualityScores posts related to this update:
Per ROI Revolution’s request, here are the credits for this post – at the top instead of the bottom:
If you have any questions, you can find the source that Jeff found and shared with us here – credit rightly belongs to the Unofficial Google Analytics blog at ROI Revolution for authoring the fix. <—Bold was added for emphasis…I already had that sentence written at the bottom of the post. ROI Revolution may credit others in that post…
This fix was found and shared with us by Jeff because he saw that we documented some problems that were caused by the extra wide use of the tip found here. <—- If you read that post you will find out exactly where we found that tip at the bottom of that post…
Thanks for finding and sharing this fix Jeff!
Here is the fix:
Download/Save this file: ga_keyword.js
Don’t forget to upload the file to the proper directory/location on your website and change the code below accordingly!
Rewrite your analytics code so it looks like this on your landing pages or throughout your entire website if it’s easier:
_uacct = "UA-XXXXX-X";
sleuth(); displays the exact keyword data under the cross segment option User-Defined Value.
So, after implementing this fix, you should see most of the exact keyword data under the cross segment menu. I recommend taking this route but you can find the cross segment menu in almost any detailed page of Google Analytics:
Traffic Sources -> Keywords -> Under the text that says “Search Sent * Visits via * Keywords” you will find a drop down that has the word “Segments:” next to it -> At the bottom of that list you will see “User-Defined Value”…click that and there you have it, your newly exposed exact key term data from Analytics!
I hope Google doesn’t poop on this fix too…Read More