Developing a strategy for use of Google Analytics

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Presentation to the Web Publishers Community at the University of Edinburgh, April 2012. …

Presentation to the Web Publishers Community at the University of Edinburgh, April 2012.

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  • 1. Google Analytics strategyWhat it is and why you need one Neil.Allison@ed.ac.uk University of Edinburgh Website Programme www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme @usabilityed
  • 2. “He uses statistics as adrunken man uses lamp posts - for support rather than for illumination.” Andrew Lang Scottish poet 1844 - 1912
  • 3. • Why I’m here today• What is Google Analytics?• What Google Analytics can tell us• What shouldn’t I do?• OK, what should I do?• Identifying your audiences• Why bother with all this?
  • 4. Website analytics• The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data• For purposes of understanding and optimising web usage
  • 5. How Google Analytics works• A hidden snippet of code that is added to all webpages• This code collects visitor information and sends it back to Google servers for processing – Requires JavaScript and cookies• Polopoly-generated pages include this automatically. – Everyone else needs to make sure it’s included.
  • 6. What Google Analytics collects• Information about a visit to our website, including: – Whether the visitor has been to the site before – When the visit occurred – The referring site or campaign – What the visitor did during their visit – Where they are and the technology they used• All data is aggregated and anonymised
  • 7. What Google Analytics doesn’t record• Document downloads• Clicks on links to destinations not tracked by our code• Interactions with in-page content – For example an embedded YouTube video There are ways around this…
  • 8. We collect tons of data• In 2011 the University Website had: – Unique Visitors: 4,061,338 – Pageviews: 73,827,700• That’s a big pot of data – You need to be able to break this pot down• Doing this effectively needs a strategy
  • 9. Segmentation• Few – if anyone - should be interested in taking all this data at once.• You will only be interested in a slice based on your visitors• This is where segmentation comes in…
  • 10. • Why I’m here today• What is Google Analytics?• What Google Analytics can tell us• What shouldn’t I do?• OK, what should I do?• Identifying your audiences• Why bother with all this?
  • 11. Google Analytics can tell us• Things like… • My question today: – Top content – Top search terms – Visits – Unique visitors –“So what?” – Time on site – Pages per visit – Bounce rate Hopefully I’ll answer this too…
  • 12. Google Analytics doesn’t tell ushow to build a better business It’s just numbers…
  • 13. • Why I’m here today• What is Google Analytics?• What Google Analytics can tell us• What shouldn’t I do?• OK, what should I do?• Identifying your audiences• Why bother with all this?
  • 14. “We want more visitors”• Does this = success? Probably not… – Do you really want fewer unnecessary enquiries? – Or maybe more “valuable” enquiries?• Beware of measuring something just because it’s easy to do
  • 15. “We want to see how effective our advertising has been”• But what are visitors doing on arrival? – Think quality not quantity• A referrer is a great way to identify a particular type of user – Compare their behaviour to others who didn’t visit via the advertising campaign
  • 16. “We want people to watch our video”• Or maybe download our brochure…• No – you want quality applications – You want to gauge how watching the video is affecting user behaviour, compared to those that aren’t – Are they reading more content? Staying longer on site? Doing the things you want them to do?
  • 17. “We want our users to…”• But who are your users? (we really mean target audience) – Certainly not everyone who arrives at your site • Potentially only a small proportion – How can we use Analytics to identify them? • Good site and content structure is essential
  • 18. Beware of redesign based on Google Analytics alone• Google Analytics can tell you what, but not why – Jumping to conclusions is easy and dangerous• Analytics + User Research = Greater than the sum of • How many blind their parts men are there round your elephant?
  • 19. • Why I’m here today• What is Google Analytics?• What Google Analytics can tell us• What shouldn’t I do?• OK, what should I do?• Identifying your audiences• Why bother with all this?
  • 20. What constitutes a successful visit?• Identify what you want visitors to do: – Spent x minutes on site – Visited pages A, B and C – Downloaded brochure x – Completed my enquiry form – Spent x minutes reading how to apply info – Rated or shared my content• Or possibly a combination of some of these?
  • 21. Put a value on your content creation & management• Is video content worth the investment?• Is it worth our while generating x news articles per month?• If we cut y pages from our website, would it affect our ‘performance’?
  • 22. Identify things that warrant further investigation• Back to the elephant – Usability testing – Surveys – Click analysis – etc
  • 23. • Why I’m here today• What is Google Analytics?• What Google Analytics can tell us• What shouldn’t I do?• OK, what should I do?• Identifying your audiences• Why bother with all this?
  • 24. Set up your website to identify audiences• If you bundle a range on content on a page, you can’t identify what the visitor was there for• In the absence of video and download numbers, structure your site accordingly – If you want to compare prospective students who watched our video to those who didn’t…
  • 25. Some potential audiences• Within or outside the University network• From a particular geographic location• With browsers set to not-English• Using mobile devices• Having visited a particular page – Especially form ‘thank you’ pages• Having spent x minutes on the site• Having viewed at least y pages Or more likely – a combination of these…
  • 26. For example…• What can we learn about people in China who have demonstrated a strong interest in programme x?• How does their behaviour differ from similar people based in Europe?
  • 27. • Why I’m here today• What is Google Analytics?• What Google Analytics can tell us• What shouldn’t I do?• OK, what should I do?• Identifying your audiences• Why bother with all this?
  • 28. Why do all this?• Justify the effort put into your website – Make a case for more resource?• Measure the value added by bringing extra data into your calculations – X visitors = Y bums on seats = £Z,000
  • 29. Thank youQuestions? Neil.Allison@ed.ac.uk University of Edinburgh Website Programme www.ed.ac.uk/website-programme @usabilityed