5 Google Analytics Productivity Tips & Shortcuts

The amount of data available within Google Analytics is amazing.  It’s not uncommon to spend an hour or two digging around in your Google Analytics reporting and then leaving scratching your head, with no clear action items or next steps. Data overload! While it can be fun to poke around and dig into the depths of your website data, time is money. Less time analyzing analytics can result in more time to improve your website.

Here are 5 tips to help Optimize your Google Analytics Analysis:

1) Search (Hey it’s what Google Does Best, Right?). Google Analytics keeps improving. This time next year we may not be able recognize  the Google Analytics interface. Over the years I’ve relied heavily on the Google Analytics navigation to find a report, which requires several levels of clicking and sometimes stumbling around. On the upper left corner of Google Analytics you can type in the name of a report and the user friendly interface will make several suggestions which really speeds up the process. I think this search field is often overlooked.

To quickly access the search- simply press the [S] key while on any Google Analytics Page.

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2) Customize Your Dashboard.  Once you dig in and find that amazing report that you know you will want to use again and again… Add the report to your dashboard. Then drag and drop to organize your dashboard to your preferences.  Bonus tip.. Google recently announced that you will be able to share your Google Analytics Dashboard.

3) Create Shortcuts. Shortcuts allow you to produce important reports with a single click. Shortcuts save your settings so you don’t have to configure a new report each time you open it. Any setting you apply to a report stays applied in a shortcut until you manually change the settings. To create  shortcuts, go to the Shortcuts menu under the Home tab of your dashboard

4) Keyboard Shortcuts. This little known feature can really speed things up. Over the years I have manually tweaked the date field countless times. With a simple keyboard shortcut you can change the date range. Press “d” and then “y” to change the date to yesterday… press “d” then “m” to set the range to last month. There are many other keyword shortcuts that take a second to learn but can save a great deal of time over the long run. Press [shift]+[?] to view a list of all of the keyboard shortcuts available.

5) Browser Bookmarks.  Sometimes its nice to open a few tabs in your browser to view various reports side by side or to tab between. Create a bookmark folder like “Google Analytics Reports”.. then bookmark the reports you use most often. In most browsers you can chose to open all pages within a bookmark folder at one time(Firefox> Open All in Tabs). By doing so, you could open up several reports at one time, all in separate tabs, instantly.

Do you have any Google Analytics tips or shortcuts? Leave a comment!


New Google Analytics Filter Fields

One great feature of Google Analytics is the ability to make filters and dig in deeper to analyze traffic data.  Google Analytics recently launched some new filters around mobile and social. Use these new filter fields for improved data analysis and for more refined and targeted reporting views. I particularly like the mobile filters. To see all of the documented filters go here.

  • Is a mobile device
  • Is a tablet
  • Mobile brand name
  • Mobile model name
  • Mobile marketing name
  • Mobile pointing method
  • Mobile has QWERTY keyboard?
  • Mobile is NFC supported?
  • Mobile has cellular radio?
  • Mobile has wifi?
  • Social network
  • Social action
  • Social action target
Content & Traffic
  • Hit type: (page, social, transaction, etc.)
  • Internal search term
  • Internal search type
Audience / Users
  • Browser size
  • IP version
  • Local currency code

Is Your Website the Center of the Universe?

Integrated Marketing Ecosystem

Well, that might be taking it a bit far. But, gone are the days of brochure websites that just provide information about you and your products. Your website should be more than paying for itself in lead generation, whether for retail sales or new business leads.

In our economy, your marketing dollars have never been more critical to your success, and spending them wisely means knowing that they are producing results. What used to be “just another channel” has now become the hub for all of your marketing efforts. Why? Because it’s measureable, you can see results immediately, and you can make informed decisions on how to spend your marketing dollars.

Take the example of a mid-sized company with a standard brochure website. The site says who they are and what they do, but doesn’t connect these things with their marketing programs.

  • They write press releases, but don’t link them to the products they offer.
  • They have product information, but no context about how these products are used.
  • They email customers, but don’t have corresponding pages on their site that support the emails they send.

This is a typical situation where the website is a postscript rather than a lead generation tool. The site content needs to support each outreach program so potential customers have context and more information when doing their research.

Using these examples, an integrated marketing program would:

  • Perform keyword research to understand how potential customers are seeking the products they offer.
  • Post the press release on the site, using these keywords, with links into the products it discusses, and supporting testimonials and case studies for the reader to get context and learn about successful implementations.
  • Create a landing page on the website for each marketing activity. The landing page will ensure potential customers have clicked to the right place, offer expanded information about the subject or promotion, and contain a form to collect contact information so a follow up can be done from your sales team.
  • Make the site content tell a story. Ensure that each product description ties to a corresponding implementation or case study.

What’s great about using this best practice is that it’s entirely measureable. Using web analytics to track marketing activity extends across online, print, and broadcast activities. By creating that special landing page link back to the site, you will immediately know the impact of your message and be able to predict an outcome. And, most importantly, know what’s successful.

Watch for my next post that discusses the importance of CRM software and how integration with it can provide another valuable measurement in this equation