Analytics tricks and tips


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Christopher Whalen, Torchbox
Web effectiveness workshop

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  • Goals are crucial to getting actionable insights out of your analytics.They should be in line with your organizational objectives and key performance indicators.
  • What other goals do you have in your organization?
  • What problems have you encountered when trying to set up goals?
  • Goals are great in theory; messy and frustrating in practice!Limit of 20 goals in a Google Analytics view (profile).When you run out of goals, create a new view! Or overwrite an old goal that you’re not using anymore. If you do this, add an annotation to mark the date that the goal changed.
  • Admin / Property / Tracking Info.All of this is simpler with Universal Analytics + Google Tag Manager.It’s good to set this up from the start - even if you aren’t using multiple domains or subdomains yet.
  • Ordinarily, a new session is established and first party cookies are set once a user clicks over to a new domain. In order to maintain the session information from the first domain, you need to pass the cookies from the first domain to the second domain, and the second domain needs to give permission to do this.These lines allow the tracking cookie to be passed between a root domain (e.g. www) and its subdomains (e.g. donate, volunteer or events) and to totally different domains.Both sites need to be configured. Follow the instructions in the Google Analytics Help Centre:
  • This whole process can be a lot easier if you use Google Tag Manager. Just make sure you follow the instructions!Cross-domain tracking instructions for Google Tag Manager:
  • Admin / View (Profile) / Filters.Instructions for setting up a filter to show separate domain names:
  • Ask a developer for help with creating a virtual pageview or use Google Tag Manager and do it yourself.Virtual pageview can also be used to create goals when you use the same thank-you page for multiple conversions.Instructions for virtual pageviews and event goals:
  • How do you know what to fill in for Category, Action and Label? Check your events report...
  • Drupal Google Analytics module does a great job of tracking events out-of-the-box.Event tracking is also a lot easier to set up with Google Tag Manager: response to clicks on linksin response to any kind of click on a pageat timed intervalswhen a form is submitted
  • What problems have you encountered when trying to set up funnels?
  • Cross-domain tracking can help if you use third-party services such as Eventbrite.With Eventbrite, you can return users to a custom thank-you page on your own domain.If the funnel is complicated, use regular expressions. Focus only on the checkout part of the funnel.A common mistake I see with destination URL goals is to put the thank-you page as one of the funnel steps...
  • Real-time analytics is great for checking that your goals and events are working and that cross-domain tracking and filters are correctly configured.Real-time reports work with filters so make sure you’re not using a view that excludes your current IP address!Use URL builder tool to create campaign tags that you can recognize.
  • Specific audiences e.g. marketing team, events team, PPC manager, head of digital, CEO.
  • You don’t have to create them from scratch yourself! Import them from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery and then customize:
  • Custom report for “Search Traffic (Excluding Not Set, Not Provided)” created by AvinashKaushik.Writes a great analytics blog called “Occam’s Razor”. Digital marketing evangelist for Google.
  • Bradley Wiggins. Olympic time trial.
  • Source: Cycling's performance director Dave Brailsford on BBC Breakfast.“The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”
  • Behavior / Experiments.Run an A/B test to test a variant (or multiple variants) of a page.More limited in what you can do than some other A/B testing tools out there - but it’s free!Optimizely ( is great and offers discounts over 50% to charities and non-profits - based on their ability to pay. Just contact them to ask about it!Cath Baillie, head of user experience at Oxfam UK, will be speaking about A/B and multivariate testing in the next breakout session.
  • Click list to make them readable!
  • More options than before. Be careful that you’re selecting the correction option for “Visits” or “Users”.NB If you import custom advanced segments from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery they sometimes need a bit of further customization.
  • Age, gender, interest category (like Google Display Network).You need to opt in and make a simple, one-line change to your tracking code.Information for these new reports is derived from the DoubleClick third-party cookie. When that cookie is not associated with a user, Analytics cannot conclude demographics and interest categories, and so these reports may represent only a subset of your users and not the overall composition of your site traffic.These reports will probably work better if you already use AdWords display ads to drive traffic to your site.Not currently available if you use Universal Analytics...
  • It’s coming whether you like it or not!All Google Analytics properties will soon be required to use Universal Analytics. Properties that aren’t transferred will be auto-transferred to Universal Analytics in the future.Doesn’t support all features yet. My advice? Wait a bit.Custom dimensions and metricsNew tracking codeMore reporting featuresUpgrading to the new tracking code is a good opportunity to start using Google Tag Manager.Advanced configuration options:Organic search sourcesSession and campaign timeout handlingReferral exclusionsSearch term exclusions
  • Analytics tricks and tips

    1. 1. Analytics tips and tricks Christopher Whalen Search Marketing Executive Torchbox
    2. 2. Agenda › Conversion goals and funnels › Event tracking › Real-time analytics › Filters › Custom reports › Content experiments › New Google Analytics tools
    3. 3. No goals, no glory.
    4. 4. Conversion goals ›Donations ›Event registrations ›Report downloads ›Email sign-ups ›Volunteer registrations
    5. 5. Problems with goals
    6. 6. Common problems setting up goals ›Conversion occurs on another site e.g. Engaging Networks ›Conversion doesn’t have a destination URL ›Same thank-you page for multiple conversions ›Run out of goals in a view
    7. 7. Conversion occurs on another site 1. 2. 3. Set up cross-domain tracking on multiple domains Set up cross-links Create a filter to show the hostname
    8. 8. 1. Set up cross-domain tracking on multiple domains
    9. 9. 1. Set up cross-domain tracking on multiple domains var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-112981-1']); _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', '']); _gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);
    10. 10. 2. Set up cross-links <a href="" onclick="_gaq.push(['_link', '']); return false;">Book your place now</a>
    11. 11. 3. Create a filter to show the hostname
    12. 12. Conversion doesn’t have a destination URL ›Create a virtual pageview ›Create an event goal
    13. 13. Create an event goal
    14. 14. Create an event goal
    15. 15. Problems with funnels
    16. 16. Common problems setting up funnels ›Part of funnel is on a thirdparty payment system e.g. Eventbrite ›Funnel is complicated ›Where does the funnel start? ›Don’t put the destination URL in the funnel!
    17. 17. Don’t put the destination URL in the funnel!
    18. 18. Real-time analytics
    19. 19. Filters ›Exclude internal office and agency’s IP addresses ›Always keep one view without any filters ›Get comfortable using regular expressions
    20. 20. Custom reports ›Show only the information you need ›Tailor reports to specific audiences
    21. 21. Custom reports
    22. 22. Custom reports
    23. 23. Why is British Cycling so successful? Photo by Dan Davison (Mostly Dans): Some rights reserved (CC BY 2.0).
    24. 24. Marginal gains “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.” Photo by Rob Evans (otbphoto): Some rights reserved (CC BY-NC 2.0).
    25. 25. Content experiments
    26. 26. New Google Analytics tools › New advanced segments › Demographics and interest reports › Universal Analytics
    27. 27. Advanced segments
    28. 28. Advanced segments
    29. 29. Custom advanced segments
    30. 30. Demographics and interest reports
    31. 31. Universal Analytics › Cross-domain tracking is simpler › Advanced configuration options › Doesn’t support all features yet
    32. 32. Any questions? Christopher Whalen Search Marketing Executive T: +44 1608 811 942 E: W: F: T: L: