Your first question should be extra to what? It’s always great to get five Google Analytics tips, tricks & hacks, its even better to get more of them so why are these extra? Well I am speaking at the ObservePoint Analytics Summit this Thurs 17th Nov and there I am giving the first 25 Google Analytics tips, tricks and hacks. These are extra to that list.
Quick little bit of background. My original plan was to give 10 tips, tricks & hacks in 30 min. But then I decided that wasn’t a big enough challenge. I wanted to take it further, aim for one per minute and get up to 30. It appears I was too ambitious, during recording it became apparent that in order to focus on quality, I needed to cut back. So these are the five that didn’t make the final cut.
Oh yeah, taping, another piece of explanation required. The Analytics Summit is an entirely online conference, all the sessions have been pre-recorded. Not sure about everyone else but I was pretty good… Even better news, the entire conference is free to attend. Register via Analytics Summit and listen to not just myself but other analytics experts from around the world. Did I mention it was free???
The five tips include two related to Enhanced Ecommerce, a use case for two vital pieces of customer information to capture, a general tracking tip to make information more useful and a plea to invest time to understand Google Analytics definitions so you can understand the data you are looking at.
If you found these five tips useful, make sure to register for the Analytics Summit to get my full list plus a lot of other great content during the course of the day.
iLive Conference 2015
At the end of last year I attended the iLive Conference in Riga where I talked about how to use analytics to improve a business’ bottom line.
Overall, the iLive conference was a great experience. I was really impressed with the quality of presentations and the level of digital expertise shared across a wide range of digital channels, including SEO, analytics, social media, community building and brand development.
iLive Conference 2015 Presentation: Impacting Business Performance with Analytics
The issue for businesses today is not that they don’t have the technology for analytics, it is they don’t know how to harness it. When the potential rewards are as big as they are, this is not acceptable. As shared at the iLive Conference, there are a range of techniques and approaches to make the benefits of analytics accessible and achievable for businesses of all sizes and in any sector.
Over the coming weeks I plan to share the tips discussed at the event in the form of a blog series. The aim here is to help you translate your overwhelming mess of data from within your analytics tool into digestible, actionable insights which will in turn help your business’ digital performance.
Topics covered in this blog series will include:
- Analytics Set Up Tips
- Analysis & Insights Tips
- Company & Process Tips
Interested in Learning More?
Please let me know if you have any questions or would like samples/templates of any of the reports described within the presentation. Of course, if this does inspire you to start using analytics to impact the performance of your business and you need some expert help, please get in touch on 07843 617347 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
L3 Analytics has worked with multiple publishers over the past few years, learning a lot along the way. Clients include Hearst Magazines (Elle, Cosmopolitan, etc), Euromoney, News UK and SciDev. From these experiences, we have developed a fairly standard approach around analytics for publishers, that provides the information they need to understand and improve their performance. The solution is customised to exact needs but we find the core components are common to any content website (articles, blog posts, etc).
For my recent talk at eMetrics London, I presented the approach used by L3 Analytics and these core components. Starting with the information needs of publishers and their actions that can be informed by analytics, the presentation details the information to be captured and how it can be used. Practical examples are provided with experiences of how publishers have used analytics and learnings from these experiences.
So have a read through and let me know what you think. If this is the information your team needs but doesn’t have, get in touch.
“See this, do that” was a term first used by a client of mine. She was expressing the desire for the non-analysts in the company to have reports that were immediately and directly actionable.
I had to explain it wasn’t that simple unfortunately but the term has stuck with me since. Along with the questions – why isn’t it simple? Why aren’t analytics tools built around actionable reports instead of informative ones?
It is an idea I will be following up more on the future but for now, here is the slide deck from my presentation at Superweek 2014 on this topic:
I can’t recommend Superweek highly enough, it was a great experience with informative talks inside and outside the sessions. Not going to try and list the great people I met there for the first time or continued a friendship as would miss someone out. But must mention the organizer, Zoli, who did an amazing job putting together the conference and looking after everyone.
Looking forward, I will hopefully be getting back onto the blogging scene this year. It is going to be another busy year ahead with a long list of clients, conferences to organise myself and the release of the first L3 Analytics product. And if anyone reading this is a DAA member and hasn’t voted yet, keep an eye out for me in the rising star category…
Last Saturday, MeasureCamp came back with a third edition. I really enjoyed meeting other folks passionate about Digital Analytics. People were eager to share their knowledge with fun and we had loads of amazing sessions:
I performed one about Google Tag Manager in the morning. The presentation was for beginners but there were people from a wide range of backgrounds in the room: digital analysts, consultants, TMS vendors, CRO experts… It was a bit intimidating but we had great questions and discussions in the end.
There were three parts in this presentation. I began with an introduction on Tag Managements Systems. Then, I showed how to implement a basic GTM Container. To finish, I explained why a data layer can help to enhance an implementation. I used local website for the demo but you can find most of the content in the slideshow right below:
Please feel free to ask any questions if you need more information about this presentation.
I recently attended the Conversion Conference in London, thanks to a free ticket from Conversion Thursday. It was an interesting event although my attendance at sessions was impacted by a request I received at the start of the first morning. eMetrics was happening at the same time and was suffering from a few cancellations – I was asked if I could take a session. Some frantic thinking later and I realised this was an opportunity to put together my thoughts on Campaign Attribution.
It was a topic I have wanted to explore for some time, building on discussions from my former employer Matthew Tod and extending with my own experiences and thoughts since then. I disagree with the current approach using Campaign Attribution models (last click, first click, weighted attribution, etc) as I believe the data it is possible to collect will always be incomplete – leading to incorrect interpretations & decisions.
This presentation explains why Campaign Attribution is broken and then goes on to explore the real business problems/questions and suggest alternative approaches which can work – even if very difficult. Following Matthew’s description of Last Click attribution as the goal scorer in football, all points are made using football as an analogy…
I expect a large degree of disagreement with my thoughts here and look forward to these discussions. I managed to get a reasonable level of agreement at eMetrics on the issues raised, although this was followed by “I will continue using campaign attribution” (which confused me). Please have a read through and let me know what you think.
I was kindly invited by Nicolas Malo to speak at the Lille Web Analytics Camp on last Wed 21st Mar, presenting as part of the English stream of talks. It was a great experience (a bit challenging for me as probably the only native English speaker in attendance) but great to see so many people happy to give up an afternoon to talk and learn about web analytics. My biggest disappointment was not being able to stay long for the informal discussions that night, I should have booked Eurostar for the next morning.
When Nicolas first asked me to speak, I threw a couple of ideas for topics at him. His preference was for a talk on Getting Practical Value from Web Analytics throughout the Organisation. This is the sort of topic I find myself returning to more and more when I talk to people, web analytics is not about data but about making use of data within an organisation. Below is a copy of my presentation and, as it is a fairly visual presentation, some brief notes on the ideas behind each slide. It can also be downloaded here – Getting Value from Web Analytics throughout an Organisation.
Barriers to the Use of Web Analytics
I wanted to repeat some of the lines probably every web analyst has encountered when introducing web analytics into a company. Some of my favorites are:
- You will say (prove) I am not doing a good job
- My job is about creativity, not numbers
- I don’t have time for this
- The last thing I need is more reports
- I know our customers & the market better than you (and your data)
Purpose of Web Analytics
It is always worth remembering why companies invest in web analytics and what it is all about. It is not about numbers, statistics and reports. It is about providing the intelligence to allow better decision making leading to organisations improving their performance.
Must have Quality of Data
Why – so internal stakeholders have confidence in the numbers and so you can provide them with answers to their questions
How – ensure all pages & campaigns are tagged and that you are capturing key visitor interactions & key meta-data
You need to have the foundation of web analytics in place before you can build on it.
Build Internal Relationships
Why – so that people tell you when they make changes that will impact performance (the numbers you are looking at) and so they come to you for assistance with their business questions
How – depends on personal approach – walk about the building talking to people, buy them lunch, have a beer with them after work, invite yourself along to every meeting you can find out about
You do need to know (be on first name terms with) people from all departments throughout the organisation – and that doesn’t mean just marketing and development but also product management, user experience, finance, customer service, operations, etc. They all have answers and questions.
Help people to like Web Analytics
Why – web analytics can be very overwhelming with so many reports all full of numbers meaning most people have no idea where to start and so don’t
How – provide them with training and reference guides, run regular workshops where they can ask questions and very importantly, give them dashboards so they can look at a subset of the data all in the one place
Once people get used to web analytics, they discover that it is not so scary after all and that it can provide them with lots of useful information – ease them into this new world of data (preferably without using the word data or showing them much data).
Integrate Web Analytics everywhere
Why – the set-up of web analytics and the use of intelligence from web analytics to improve performance are not one off endeavours, they must be continuously worked on to be effective – this requires web analytics to be integrated within the existing processes of the organisation
How – processes and templates – as simple as possible but documentation is a necessary evil and web analytics must be a consideration when creating any new marketing campaigns, pages, website features, etc.
If it is useful to know the impact of a new campaign/website feature, you need to invest resources into defining business objectives, KPIs, targets, into adding the necessary web analytics tags and into evaluating performance.
Prove Web Analytics works
Why – you need proven results before other people will believe in web analytics (just as the idea of web analytics is to believe in data over opinion)
How – find someone who will give you a chance, use web analytics to improve performance and then create internal case studies
Once it is proven that using web analytics data will lead to improvements in performance, it becomes a question of can you afford to not take advantage of this resource rather than do you have the time to do so.
Reminder of Key Points
- Get the foundation accurate and complete ASAP
- Make friends with people in all departments
- So they tell you what they are doing
- So they come to you with their business intelligence needs
- Support people in getting used to web analytics
- Provide training sessions and Q&A workshops
- Give them dashboards with a reduced data set
- Develop templates & processes for web analytics
- Create case studies to prove Web Analytics can and does deliver against its promises
What an experience that was. The first business event I had ever organised and, in the end, it all went smoothly with some amazingly positive feedback. It was a full room which means there must have been 80 to 100 people in attendance. And after 15 min of question time (following 45 min of talks) the crowd was asking if we could keep answering questions as they were finding it so interesting/useful.
Copies of the four presentations from the evening can be found below as well as some tweets from the evening. As a reminder, the topic was “Using data from social media to improve performance”. The four speakers covered different sources/uses of data and the talks were all full of practical advice.
While a Social Media Week event, this was also a London Web Analytics Meetup. We get together about once a month to talk all things web analytics. It is a very relaxed evening, the purpose is to share knowledge and compare notes. If interested in coming along, please register online and you will receive details of future meetups, the next one is due to occur on 21st Mar.
Many thanks again to WebTrends for paying for beers and to L3 Analytics for supplying the wine, pizza and bottle openers (last second panic).
The venue 01Zero-One was perfect for the event (sorry about the mess but hopefully the left over beers helped) and thank you to Chinwag for arranging the venue and all the advice/support they provided.
Of course, a major thank you to Cathy Ma for controlling the speakers/crowd moderating the event.
Also thanks go to Kelly/James for collecting the pizzas, Richard for carrying beers and beer bins. Finally thank you to the previous event for leaving us heaps of fruit bowls, croissants and cheese boards.
** Update – if you click through to Slideshare, presentations can be downloaded from there **
First on stage was Joshua March, the co-founder and CEO of Conversocial. He discussed some of the key metrics you need to track in order to deliver great customer service through Facebook and Twitter.
I was next up, covering what elements of social media can be captured using any web analytics tool, which are the key metrics to understand performance and how this data can be used to improve your social media strategies.
The third presenter was Simon Cast, the Head of Products from PeerIndex (and former Rocket Scientist). His topic was the influence metrics available through social media and how this intelligence can be used to spread a marketing message.
Finally we had Christian Howes, currently a Consultant at large and inventor of the word “fanciability”. He discussed a more interesting purpose for social media data, to predict evictions from Big Brother. But this example was used to highlight key learnings, particularly the importance of telling a story and representing data visually so that anyone can understand it.
I am just waiting on the ok from Christian to include a copy of his presentation here.
So a good first experience running an event. Only issues were forgetting bottle openers and a leaking beer bin. But not finishing all the drinks is a bit of a crime in my mind, there were too many beers and wines left over. The KPI of drinks per person was definitely under target.
Maybe it was beginner’s luck but I hope to be involved in running more events in the future. The audience definitely appreciated the approach of knowledge sharing and practical tips/advice over sales pitches or vague big picture musings. Check out some of the feedback from twitter (from #SMWAnalytics).
I attended my first Product Camp on Sat 26th Nov, an unconference for Product Managers. Obviously this is not my field but I like hearing what other people are talking about and telling everyone about the wonders of web analytics. Thanks to the sponsors and organisers – kudos for a very smoothly run event.
As an unconference, everyone should be prepared to run a session although it doesn’t need to be a formal presentation. I had previously put together presentations introducing people to web analytics but decided to aim for a more relaxed approach this time just making some notes on my iPad.
I wish I had been braver and gone for the big room before it was fully booked out but still had around 20 ppl cram into a room to learn about web analytics. It was a good discussion and I hope everyone understand at least a little more by the end. Following are some of the points I made.
I commenced the session by asking some questions of the crowd. These questions are listed below along with an idea of the responses (from memory)
- Who uses web analytics?
- Had about two thirds of the room say they were using web analytics
- Which tools do you use?
- While GA was most popular, also had SiteCatalyst, WebTrends and Coremetrics users in the room – even had people whose companies were using SiteCatalyst Insight
- What do you use it for?
- Basic reporting was sadly common but there were a few people in the room using web analytics to identify issues and evaluate the impact of changes
- What are your questions/issues around web analytics?
- Range of responses including:
- Data accuracy
- Usability of web analytics tools
- Making sense of the data
- Website features not tracked
To get everyone in the right frame of mind, I then showed the recent Google Analytics Checkout video – it demonstrates the experience many people receive on retail websites and it is this experience that everyone wants to fix.
Purpose of Web Analytics
Possibly inspired by the recent web analytics discussion on the definition of web analytics, I wanted to make clear the purpose of web analytics. My definition for this is:
To provide intelligence that informs business decisions leading to an improvement in performance for online organisations.
The key element in that line for me is business decisions – I keep on returning to this with everything I talk about, that web analytics data has to be used to make better decisions.
Requirements to Receive Value from Web Analytics
Moving on from there, I felt the need to emphasise that if you want to receive value from web analytics, you needed to invest time into it (time obviously costing money). My list of tasks involved in setting up and then using web analytics (not a complete list) was:
- Define your business objectives
- Translate business objectives into KPIs, metrics and reporting requirements
- Translate these into data capture requirements
- Set up the web analytics tool – implementation and configuration
- Develop dashboard templates for easy access to an overview of performance
- Review and interpret data
- Integrate web analytics into business processes
- Take actions based on intelligence gained
Nobody said it would be easy…
At some point, caveats need to be provided around web analytics. I am not a salesperson so like to get these potential surprises out of the way early on so people can do things right from the start.
- Data is not 100% accurate
- Check out Brian Clifton’s White Paper on Data Accuracy for more details
- Solution – get over it – the data sample is large enough for the data to be useful and inform your business decisions.
- Requirements need to be defined in advance and your web analytics tool set up to reflect this
- So data is available when you need to answer questions
- Different skills are required to define requirements, implement tracking code and interpret reports
- There are very very few people with all of these skills so likely to need multiple resources
Using the Data
All this may suggest that once you have the right data in your web analytics tool, the work is done. I felt there was a need to emphasise that this is only the start, that if the data is not being used, there is no point to web analytics.
- Data can provide the “what” of website/business issues
- It rarely provides the answers or solutions to these issues
- Once the issues have been identified, move into a testing phase of potential solutions
- Where you will be using the data again to evaluate the best solution
Impact on Product Managers
Tying all this back to the audience of Product Managers
- Everything on a website can be tracked and reported on
- Identifying what and how requires creative thinking based on experience and product knowledge
- Product Managers should be using web analytics data to understand and evaluate the performance of websites and product features
- To inform the decisions they are making ensuring these are the best options to improve performance
The session was quite well received and I even received some votes for best session. There was a spare slot at the last session and so I ran an Introduction to Google Analytics training session which also appeared to be appreciated. I felt like a bit of an interloper at this sort of event as it is not about web analytics. Reassurance came from various people that web analytics is getting more and more notice from the Product Management community and that any insights into using it are appreciated.
I have been to a few unconferences now and intend to attend more in the future. I think it would work for the web analytics community once people got their head around the approach and indeed, Stephane Hamel used an unconference approach at an event in Quebec in Jun 2011 (event write-up from iPerceptions). I have some ideas germinating, let me know if you would be interested in something like this in London and we will see what happens.
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I was given a speaking slot at Conversion Thursday London last night and, while I have spoken at various events previously, I think this was the first time presenting to my peers in the web analytics community. So thank you Rob & Elisa DBI for the opportunity. And of course thanks to Epiphany Solutions for sponsoring the event.
With vague guidelines of 10 minutes and talking about something relevant and interesting, I decided to practice what I have preached about other presentations and provide practical tips on applying Web Analytics. With that time limit, I restricted myself to five tips and keeping them brief and to the point. While they had to be something that could be applied immediately, all tips were tool agnostic with examples provided using my primary tools, SiteCatalyst and Google Analytics.
Most of the tips have been covered elsewhere in previous blogs but this should prove to be a useful reference guide. Of course it is intended to be incredibly useful if you have not previously read those posts. I believe the talk went fairly well and I managed to not speak too quickly. I do recommend viewing the presentation in full screen mode in order to see the details on the screenshots.
The key outcome for me was I reached my target KPI with over 75% of the audience raising their hands at the end to say they had received at least one useful tip. Unfortunately the SiteCatalyst Campaign URL & SAINT Builder is not yet ready and will be released early next week.
As ever, let me know if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the tips I provided. And I am looking forward to future speaking opportunities so get in contact if you would like someone to present on topics around the purpose and use of web analytics.