Using Web Analytics and Goal Conversions to Show Your Contribution to the Bottom Line
Using web analytics and
goal conversions to
show your contribution
to the bottom line
President and co-founder of SEO-PR
Measurement Base Camp 2020
May 12, 2020
Just as history is written by the victors, story of
web analytics is authored by the market leader
• After acquiring Urchin, Google launched
Google Analytics at Pubcon Las Vegas on
Nov. 14, 2005.
• I was there with a client, John Marshall,
the CEO of ClickTracks Analytics, which
cost $495, $1,195, or $3,495.
• We heard Google Analytics was “free.”
• Back then, the market for web analytics
software was very fragmented.
• Today, Google Analytics and Google
Analytics 360 have an 85% share of the
traffic analysis market.
Source: “ClickTracks Ships Version 6 of Its Web Analytics Software,” Oct. 13, 2005 2
Google Analytics measures both sessions (fka
visits) and users (fka visitors) on your website
• Session (fka Visit): The period of
time a user is active on your site or
• By default, if a user is inactive for 30
minutes or more, any future activity
is attributed to a new session.
• User (fka Visitor): A person or,
more accurately, a unique browser.
• Visitor and user tend to be used
interchangeably when talking about
websites, but Google Analytics uses
“user” in the interface but also
“visitor” in the actual dimension.
Sources: Google Analytics Help, Glossary, and “The difference between Sessions and Users in Analytics” 3
Segments are subsets of your Google Analytics
data that help you to analyze sessions or users
• Segment: A subset of sessions or
users that share common attributes.
• Segmentation allows you to isolate
and analyze subsets of your data.
• For example, you might segment your
data by marketing channel so that you
can see which channel is responsible
for an increase in purchases.
• Drilling down to look at segments of
your data helps you understand what
caused a change to your aggregated
Sources: Google Analytics Help, Glossary, and “The new Segment Builder” 4
Goals measure how often users complete
specific actions, which are called conversions
• Goal: A configuration setting that allows
you to track the valuable actions, or
conversions, that happen on your site or
• Goals allow you to measure how well
your site or app fulfills your target
• You can set up individual Goals to track
discrete actions, like transactions with a
minimum purchase amount or the
amount of time spent on a screen.
• Each time a user completes a Goal, a
conversion is logged in your Google
Sources: Google Analytics Help, Glossary, and “How to set up Goals in Analytics (7:32)” 5
Conversions are completed activities that are
important to the success of your organization
• Conversion: A completed activity,
online or offline, that is important to
the success of your organization.
• Examples include a completed sign-up
for your email newsletter (a Goal
conversion) and a purchase (a
transaction, sometimes called an
• A conversion can be a macro
conversion or a micro conversion.
• A macro conversion is typically a
completed purchase transaction.
• In contrast, a micro conversion is a
completed activity, such as an email
signup, that indicates that the user is
moving towards a macro conversion.
Sources: Google Analytics Help, Glossary, and “Goals” 6
Identify effective methods to establish your
organization’s goals related to digital analytics
• “HiPPOs” rule the world.
• Highest Paid Person’s Opinion.
• So, sit down with Senior Management
and identify their hot buttons.
• What is their bonus based on?
• Generally, they focus on outcomes.
• Increase revenue.
• Trim costs.
• Improve customer satisfaction.
• Be an advocate of customer centricity.
• Bring your customer’s voice to the table.
Source: Avinash Kaushik, Occam’s Razor, “Seven Steps to Creating a Data Driven Decision Making Culture,” Oct. 23, 2006 7
Describe four common organizational goals
related to digital analytics found in templates
• Google Analytics has Goal templates
to help you set actionable goals for
standard organizational objectives.
• You can edit any template field.
• The 4 goal categories are: Revenue,
Acquisition, Inquiry and Engagement.
• Use them as an organization tool to think
about the purpose of your goals.
• Create at least one goal for each
category to understand of how users
interact with your content.
• These categories don’t affect any data.
Source: Google Analytics Help, Create, edit, and share goals 8
If you get Edit permission in Google Analytics,
let me show you how easy it is to create Goals
Assigning a goal value is optional, but it helps
you evaluate economic value of conversions
• When you set up a goal, you have the option of assigning a monetary amount to
• Each time the goal is completed by a user, this amount is recorded and then added together
and seen in your reports as the Goal Value.
• Every action a user takes can be translated into a dollar amount.
• One way to help determine what a goal value should be is to evaluate how often the users
who complete the goal become customers.
• For example, if your sales team can close 10% of people who sign up for a newsletter, and
your average transaction is $500, you might assign $50 (i.e. 10% of $500) to your newsletter
sign-up goal – a goal that users complete when they reach the final newsletter sign-up page.
• In contrast, if only 1% of signups result in a visit to your clinic, then you might only assign $5
to your newsletter sign-up goal.
• Although assigning a goal value is optional, it will help you to evaluate the
economic value of your micro as well as your macro conversions.
• If using a dollar amount as a goal value doesn't seem applicable to your site or app, just use a
consistent numeric scale to weight and compare your conversions.
Source: Google Analytics Help, About goals 10
Describe event tracking and how you can use it
to achieve the best possible reporting of goals
• Events are user interactions with
content that can be measured
independently from a web-page or
• Downloads, link clicks, form
submissions, and video plays are all
examples of actions you might want to
analyze as Events.
• You need to add code to your site or
app in order to see data in your Events
• Setup tags with Google Tag Manager.
Tag Manager uses trigger configurations to fire
tags in response to Google Analytics events
• Google Tag Manager is a tag
management system (TMS) that
allows you to quickly and easily
update measurement codes and
related code fragments collectively
known as tags on your website or
• Once the small segment of Tag
Manager code has been added to
your project, you can safely and easily
deploy analytics and measurement
tag configurations from a web-based
Google Campaign URL Builder tool allows you to
easily track Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics
• This tool allows you to easily add
campaign parameters to URLs so you
can track Custom Campaigns in
• Fill out the required fields (marked
with *) in the form, and once
complete the full campaign URL will
be generated for you.
• Convert the URL to a short link and
use it in any promotional channels you
want to be associated with this
Differentiate metrics and KPIs using a personal
story that Avinash tells in Web Analytics 2.0
• Avinash Kaushik tells the following story to differentiate metrics and KPIs:
• I told my wife, “Honey, I’ll be writing for the next couple of hours.”
• She said, “Go to bed; you need the rest.”
• I said, “Did you know that in the past 30 days there were 79,631 visitors who came to my
blog from 176 countries?”
• She said, “That’s great; go to bed.”
• Then I said, “You need to let me blog because in the past 30 days the blog created a total
economic value of $26,210.”
• Then she responded, “Work harder.”
• You don’t want metrics that measure marketing outputs.
• You need KPIs that measure business outcomes to give your wife, who doesn’t care if you are
world famous in Poland, a bottom-line reason to let you stay up late to do some blogging.
Source: Avinash Kaushik, Web Analytics 2.0, Oct. 26, 2009 14
Select KPIs that align to your business success for
your brand as well as your performance campaigns
• Last year, Google audited the analyses being shared with their leadership by
teams across marketing.
• They discovered that, collectively, they were reporting on 70 different metrics globally.
• How did they expect their CMO and VPs to make coherent decisions, to compare one
campaign or strategy to another, when their teams weren’t speaking the same language?
• So, they whittled down all those data points to just six metrics that matter.
• Why that number?
• Because they run 2 types of digital marketing campaigns: brand and performance.
• Across those campaigns, they care about 3 things: whether their campaigns are capturing
people’s attention, how people are behaving in response, and what the outcome is.
• So now, rather than drowning in metrics, Google has just one KPI for each of the six things
they’re interested in measuring.
Source: Avinash Kaushik, Think with Google, “Advertising metrics for your bottom-line,” May 2019 15
Google used Avinash’s Impact Matrix to classify
advertising metrics based on their business impact
• Google classifies the tsunami of
metrics using an impact matrix.
• The x-axis indicates when a metric
• Impressions are useful in real time.
• Customer lifetime value takes months to
• The y-axis indicates whether a metric
is tactical or strategic.
• Impressions are super tactical.
• Customer lifetime value, on the other
hand, is super strategic.
Source: Avinash Kaushik, Think with Google, “Advertising metrics for your bottom-line,” May 2019 16
Choose KPIs with your business objectives in mind
for your next brand-building marketing campaign
• So, if a marketer is running a brand
campaign, then Google awards the
Gold to tracking how often an ad was
audible and visible at completion
(AVOC , since they know from testing
that this is a better KPI of intent.
• Tracking Viewability gets the Silver
because it’s a good KPI of task
• And tracking on-target impressions
gets the Bronze because it’s an okay
KPI of Awareness.
Source: Avinash Kaushik, Think with Google, “Advertising metrics for your bottom-line,” May 2019 17
Choose KPIs with your business objectives in mind
for your next performance marketing campaign
• But, if a marketer is running a
performance campaign, then Google
awards the Gold to tracking their
competitive share because this is a
better KPI of lifetime value.
• Tracking click-through rate (CTR) gets
the Silver because it’s a good KPI of
gross profit in the short-term.
• And tracking the percentage of new
visits gets the Bronze because it’s an
okay KPI of low cost per acquisition,
which measures one-night stands.
Source: Avinash Kaushik, Think with Google, “Advertising metrics for your bottom-line,” May 2019 18
Align your analytical output with each leader’s
altitude vs a data dump of every metric available
• Google has divided 46 metrics from
their impact matrix based on who
needs to take action on them.
• Super tactical metrics in the bottom-
left side are automated as far as
• Metrics from the middle, which need
human contextual interpretation, are
delivered to managers and directors.
• Super strategic metrics in the top-right
section are the ones they share with
their VPs and CMO.
Source: Avinash Kaushik, Occam’s Razor, “The Impact Matrix | A Digital Analytics Strategic Framework,” July 24, 2018 19
How communications professionals can use brand
lift to do measurement right with a limited budget
• Ask your target audience up to 10
questions before your PR campaign.
• Unaided brand awareness: “When it
comes to <category>, what brands come
• Consideration: “How likely are you to
consider [brand] when making your next
• Purchase intent: “How likely are you to
• Favorability: How likely is it that you
would recommend <brand> to a friend or
• Ask your target audience the same
questions after your PR campaign.
• We did this in 2019 for Rutgers University
and pre- and post-surveys cost <$2,000.
More ineffective vs effective KPIs: ‘Time on Site’ is
the evil twin of the better angel ‘Task Completion’
• “Time on Site” can’t measure:
• Time spent on the site if a user only sees
• Time spent on the last page of the visit.
• A free “Task Completion” survey asks:
• Overall, how satisfied are you with this
• What, if anything, do you find frustrating
or unappealing about this website?
• What is your main reason for visiting this
• Did you successfully complete your main
reason for visiting this website today?
Source: Avinash Kaushik, Occam’s Razor, “You Are What You Measure, So Choose Your KPIs (Incentives) Wisely!,” April 23, 2012
Metrics and KPIs tend to come in pairs: ‘Revenue’ is
the evil twin of the better angel ‘Economic Value’
• Ecommerce/lead gen websites have a
deep obsession with “Revenue.”
• Their “buy now” buttons make that clear.
• So, if 98% of visitors do not convert in
their first session, then their visits are
marked as failures!
• A better KPI is “Economic Value.”
• Economic Value is the sum of Revenue
plus the value created by all of the micro-
conversions on your website.
• So, when someone visits your site and
signs up to receive your email newsletter,
that is not a failure.
Source: Avinash Kaushik, Occam’s Razor, “You Are What You Measure, So Choose Your KPIs (Incentives) Wisely!,” April 23, 2012
Measure your Return On Marketing Investment
(OPEX), not your Return On Investment (CAPEX)
• [Incremental revenue attributable to
marketing ($) * contribution margin
(%) – marketing spending ($)] /
marketing spending ($) = ROMI.
• For example, if the Rutgers Business
School Executive Education (RBSEE)
program spent $2,323 on a mash-up of
influencers and PR and the program
delivered $29,970 in incremental revenue
in 90 days, and the contribution margin
was, say, 70%, then the ROMI was
($29,970 * 70% - $2,323 / $2,323), or 8.0.
• So, every $1 spent on influencers and PR
generated $8 of profit for RBSEE.
Source: Greg Jarboe, VidCon, “How an unexpected mash up of influencers and PR delivers ROMI to brands,” June 23, 2017
A very effective and persistent segmentation
strategy is often the missing key to success
• Absolutely nothing is more important in
digital analytics than segmentation.
• Different types of visitors come to your
• And they all come with different
intentions, with different problems, and
with different personas.
• Yet most web analytics reporting and
analysis happens at an aggregate level.
• Avinash Kaushik says, “Insights arrive
faster with segmentation,” and he adds,
“All data in aggregate is crap.”
Sources: Avinash Kaushik, Web Analytics 2.0, Oct. 26, 2009, and Occam’s Razor, and
“Google Analytics Visitor Segmentation: Users, Sequences, Cohorts,” Sept. 9, 2013
Define a digital analytics segment: It is a subset of
your entire set of website users, sessions, and hits
• A segment is a subset of your Google Analytics data.
• For example, one segment might be users from a particular country or city.
• Another segment might be users who purchase a particular line of products or who visit a
specific part of your site.
• Segments let you isolate and analyze those subsets of data so you can examine
and respond to the component trends in your business.
• For example, if you find that users from a particular geographic region are no longer
purchasing your online services, then you can see if a competitor is offering the same types
of online services at lower prices.
• You can also use segments as the basis for creating audiences.
• For example, you might create a segment of users who visit the family and visitor guides on
your site, and then target just those users (your audience) with a remarketing campaign
focused on sending flowers, gifts, or a greeting card.
Source: Google Analytics Help, About segments 25
List four default segments currently provided
in today’s more popular digital analytics tools
• A segment is made up of one or more
non-destructive filters that do not
alter the underlying data.
• Those filters isolate subsets of:
• Users: for example, users who have
previously purchased; users who added
items to their shopping carts, but didn’t
complete a purchase.
• Sessions: for example, all sessions
originating from Campaign A; all sessions
during which a purchase occurred.
• Hits: for example, all hits in which
revenue was greater than $10.
• Combination: You can also include
filters for users, sessions, and hits in
the same segment.
Source: Google Analytics Help, About segments 26
For example, Google Analytics currently provides
22 predefined system segments that you can use
• All users.
• Bounced sessions.
• Direct traffic.
• Made a purchase.
• Mobile and tablet traffic.
• Mobile traffic.
• Multi-session users.
• New users.
• Non-bounce sessions.
• Organic traffic.
• Paid traffic.
• Performed site search.
• Referral traffic.
• Returning users.
• Search traffic.
• Sessions with conversions.
• Sessions with transactions.
• Single session users.
• Tablet and desktop traffic.
• Tablet traffic.
Did 10 press releases for Rutgers generate 1,139
visits and 77 leads, or 4,062 visits and 266 leads?
• Using Google’s Campaign URL Builder,
we tracked 1,139 visits and 77 leads
back to 10 press releases in Q3 2011.
• But, we also saw 1,459 incremental
visits and 102 incremental leads from
organic search quarter-over-quarter.
• And, we saw 928 incremental visits
and 60 incremental leads from direct
• Plus, we saw 536 incremental visits
and 27 incremental leads from
28Source: Linking Press Release Output to Outcomes
Build a segment of new users to your site during a
date range as the result of a specific campaign
• You can build segments to identify cohorts,
• For example, new users to your site during a specific date range who arrived as the result of a
• Use filters like the following:
• Date of First Session: The date range of your campaign.
• Traffic Sources: Campaign exactly matches name of your campaign.
• With cohorts, you can follow the behavior of the same set of users over time.
• For example, you can create cohorts based on campaigns, and follow those users over a
period of weeks or months to see how quickly and to what extent those users converted.
• If there’s a regularity to the lift and drop off, then you can use that information to start your
new campaigns as the effects of the previous ones start to subside.
• You can also make direct comparisons of campaigns to see which of them are more effective
in terms of overall conversions and revenue.
Source: Google Analytics Help, Analyze data with segments 29
Learn how to incorporate Google Analytics
into your measurement program in 4.3 hours
• I’m an Online Marketing Certified
Professional (OMCP) certified trainer.
• To teach all 8 courses that are considered
core to the Online Marketing Certified
Associate (OMCA) exam takes a minimum
of 34.4 hours.
• The minimum didactic training time
for just the OMCA-Approved Digital
Analytics course is 4.3 hours.
• Although, the average didactic time is
currently 4.8 hours.
• So in 90 minutes, I was only able to cover
31-35% of what you really need to learn.