Category Archives: Google Analytics Features

The ABC’s of KPI’s

For centuries, businesses have been operating with two Key Performance Indicators, or KPI’s. You probably know them well: A profit-and-loss statement and a balance sheet. Indeed, these two KPIs can provide meaningful information about your business.

Ah, but there’s so much more. With today’s free-flowing data, analytics capabilities, remarkable computing power and graphical user interfaces, KPI’s based solely on basic accounting just seem so last-century.

So just what is a KPI? Surprisingly, there are a lot of definitions.KPI

Here’s a hybrid compiled from Avinash Kaishik, KAIZEN Analytics and Bernard Marr:

KPI’s are an actionable scorecard that keeps your business strategy on track. They enable you to manage, control and achieve desired business results. They translate complex measures into a simple indicator that allows you to assess the current situation and act quickly. They provide immediate performance information to help you understand whether the organization is on track or not.

Building effective KPI’s isn’t as easy as it sounds. For example, it’s easy to say that you’d like sales to increase, but how will you do it? Will you shorten the sales cycle? Generate more leads? Get loyal customers to buy more? Create a new market for your product?

When you have these answers, you can build a KPI that reflects your goal. That might mean measuring keyword searches, unique visitors, traffic sources, bounce rates, or even integrating financial data to determine cost per sale, cost per lead, quote-to-close ratios and more.

On the marketing side, you might set up KPI’s to measure how your audience moves through a campaign from one step to the next. Or maybe you want to prove its effectiveness with an incremental sales KPI. Maybe you simply need to determine which keywords are performing the best. Or monitor ongoing open rates for email campaigns.

Some KPI’s (like traffic source, bounce rate and email open rate) are pretty standard and well-known. Others are highly custom and borderline exotic. The important thing is to narrow in on just a few (think about five or six, not 50 or 60), make them easily accessible through a dashboard and monitor them over time.

Remember, the whole point of KPI’s is action. That’s why they exist.

If you’d like more KPI ideas and inspiration, check out sites like and this post from Bernard Marr on LinkedIn. Then reach out to us for help in brainstorming, building and implementing the KPIs that can help your business thrive.

Reflections on 2013

Welcome to 2014.

I haven’t written in a while…we decided to drive to Florida over the holidays with the dogs along. Suffice to say I didn’t get much work done. Except for Wisconsin losing the Capital One Bowl, and coming back to the Polar Vortex, it was a nice holiday!

It would be wonderful to talk about huge revelations from 2013…the truth is, back to basics remains the theme:

  1. SEO is not dead…it’s just hiding behind the mother ship: marketing 101. A good marketer knows their product or business and talks about it in a way that their customers understand. Putting the technology aside for the moment (which can still be a real showstopper,) a good website needs good content. In 2013, I worked with a couple of excellent content writers for the web and the one thing they have in common is their ability to TALK TO (not at) THE CUSTOMER in phrases and language the customer understands. In SEO terms, that means doing keyword research, ensuring keywords are prioritized based on what the customer is searching for, and writing compelling content. As someone in authority once said to me…”marketing is just common sense, right?” Well, yes, it is just common sense, but the skills to get there are real, and budgets can be improved or lost without a good understanding of the nuances of digital marketing..
  2. Content remains King…see #1
  3. Don’t try to fool the system…you’ll always get caught. When I worked for an airline and was fortunate to have wonderful benefits including flight privileges, there were always one or two people who tried to beat the system and break the rules. Inevitably, they would be walked out of the building with a box in their hands. YOU’LL ALWAYS GET CAUGHT. Do things the right way…form relationships with complementary sites and partners and get links naturally, don’t spam on your site by keyword stuffing, and if someone is telling you something that sounds too good to be true when it comes to SEO, it is. SEO and content marketing are hard work, but the rewards are great and long-lasting.
  4. Make decisions with facts, not opinion, or guesswork. In 2013, I came across several business opportunities where analytics were not used to measure success. In the world of FREE (Google Analytics,) I find it difficult to understand how a business can stay afloat without knowing where their customers are coming from, or what they’re looking at, or how many have responded to that promotion they did…I could go on and on. If there is one thing you can do for yourself in 2014, find someone that can help you understand the key metrics of doing business online. PLEASE!
  5. Embrace Mobile. According to Google, 90% of people use multiple devices to perform their online research. Google recommends that webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design. If your website is not built with mobile devices in mind, then you need a mobile app so your customers can reach you from their phone or tablet without needing a magnifying glass.
  6. Finally, if your website is not driving legitimate leads, sales, and revenue, please read 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 again and give me a jingle. I’d love to help. If this stuff is old hat to you, are you doing it?

Have a wonderful and prosperous 2014!

(Oh, and I guess I’ll have to settle for Seattle winning the Super Bowl considering their star quarterback Russell Wilson was also a star at Wisconsin!)

Key Performance Indicators, Goals & Actionable Next Steps

arrowsAt InMarketSuccess we specialize in analyzing the data that really matters to your business. To help evaluate success we define KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Since each business has their own objectives or goals KPIs are often unique. The broad spectrum of data we can get from Google Analytics has it’s purpose but to really leave with an actionable next step unique KPIs are a MUST for every business.

It”s important to define specific KPIs for your own business. Looking at a website and deciding how to help increase orders, or improve conversion rates can be an overwhelming task. We have a more outlined approach starting with a KPI.

To keep it broad lets look at Conversion Rate as a KPI.  We often get asked: “What is an average conversion rate?”… there isn’t a great answer because it can vary so much from business to business and product to product. The better question is what is MY average conversion rate for the last month, last quarter, last year and what is it now. Compare Apples to Apples with the goal of improving your conversion rate over time. An even better question is “what am I doing to affect my conversion rate?”

When we talk about conversion rate it doesn’t need to apply only to an E-Commerce site. Most analytics programs can track form submissions, request for more info, webinar signup, banner clicks etc. So the objective here is to understand what level conversions rates are at and how they can be improved. We have a KPI or goal then we can create smaller objectives to help reach that goal. So here is how we’d outline it at InMarketSuccess–>

  • KPI: Conversion Rate (Look at last 12 months, monitor monthly)
    • Smaller Objectives to Affect the KPI:
        Setup a goal in the checkout process to identify where users drop off

      • A/B Test the product page
      • Offer different payment options
      • Test Sales Copy
      • Segment traffic in analytics to identify conversion potential for segments of customers (organic, paid, social mobile, new, returning etc)
      • Segment keywords by conversion potential

These are some general ideas. It is a basic concept but very helpful to get the most out of your analytics. The approach above could apply to any KPI for any business. Start with a KPI, measure it and then define smaller steps to help affect that KPI. This is our approach at InMarketSuccess to help us define actionable next steps.

Google Analytics Content Experiments- Updates

Google Analytics Content Experiments (formerly Google Website Optimizer) just launched several new updates. If you are not familiar with Google Analytics Content Experiments it is a powerful tool to A/B test your website allowing you to compare how different web pages perform using a random sample of your visitors. It is part of the Google Analytics interface.

Before spending all of your time and resources marketing your website, A/B test it to help ensure it’s dialed in to convert at it’s fullest potential.  You never know what’s going to work with your audience until you A/B test it. The best part is you are left with hard data, version A produced a conversion rate of “x” and version B produced a conversion rate of “y”. In this way there is no question in your mind if you site is set up to convert at its fullest potential. By A/B testing you can be sure there is no “money left on the table”.

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One recent update to Content Experiments is around Adsense:
“Google Analytics users who have linked their accounts to AdSense can now select AdSense Revenue as an experiment objective. Once set, Google Analytics Multi Armed Bandit optimization algorithms will shift traffic among the experimental variations to achieve maximum revenue in the shortest amount of time. This feature has been a top request among AdSense publishers and Google Analytics is excited to provide a tool to further empower our publisher ecosystem.”

This update is a great way to optimize Adsense revenue, removing the guesswork..

Another update recently made for more advanced users, provides an option to allow even traffic distribution across all experiments. By using this feature, users can bypasses the programmatic optimization that Google Analytics provides.

Learn more about Content Experiments.

Need assistance analyzing your Google Analytics data OR do you need help setting up a Content Experiment of your own? Contact Us Today!

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