If you’ve been living under a rock for the last 2 years, you may not have noticed that Google Analytics has changed…a lot. As CRO experts, we know that good measurement is the foundation of everything we do. With the popularity of Analytics only continuing to grow at every level, it’s our responsibility to stay up to date with the toolset, as well as make sure we are helping our clients take advantage of all the new data at their fingertips.
A few months ago, I decided to challenge myself and get certified in Google Analytics. Honestly, it was a lot of work, but I can’t believe how much had changed in the last year. I strongly recommend every CRO expert consider getting certified. Also, I made this sweet Google Analytics Certification study guide to help.
If you don’t spend a lot of time exploring Google Analytics, here are some of the features & techniques you may have missed that could add a lot of value to your CRO processes:
Although not a new category for Analytics, there are a lot of great data points & features in these reports. These are more classic CRO features of Analytics, but absolutely worth pointing out. A few of my favorites include:
- Behavior Flow – Track the typical flow of traffic through the content of your site. This is especially useful when segmenting your traffic.
- Google Tag Manager – Google Tag Manager just made this a lot easier for us all. Now you have more ability than ever to implement and analyze event tracking, without worrying about when a developer can get to it for you.
- Experiments – Although you can certainly pay for third party A/B testing tools, Analytics also gives you the ability to run content experiments on up to 10 versions of a single page. Also, through Google Tag Manager you can also run experiments on your apps.
Ok, the standard stuff is still in these reports (e.g. conversion rates, ecommerce tracking, etc.), which I’m not going to dig into. However, there are some newer features that are worth paying attention to as it relates to multi-channel reporting. These metrics are invaluable to CRO, as it gives you a better picture of how each channel is performing relative to its spot on your marketing funnel.
- Multi-Channel Funnels & Assisted Conversions – I remember 2 years we were all clamoring for this at conferences, and now we’ve got it and painfully few digital marketers seem to be taking advantage of it. This set of reports really lets you draw a picture of which channels are converting customers & which channels are really assisting those conversions.
- Attribution & Model Comparison: For the more avid data geeks, it stands to reason that if you can track the path across channels that a customer travels, it’s fair to reason that the last channel shouldn’t necessarily get all the credit. These sets of reports allow you to adjust the credit each channel gets, so that you can get a full picture of which channels are really performing better.
Common Setup Mistakes
Ok, this is a big one & frankly a lot of digital marketers don’t do their full due diligence in these. In CRO, we are reliant on the data to make good decisions & if the tracking system is flawed, we will also have flaws. A couple of the biggest setup elements that get missed regularly are:
- Views & Filtering: Analytics recommends having at least 3 views, a clean, non-filtered view, a test view, and then your “go to” view that incorporates IP address filtering, etc.
- Internal Site Search – Its super simple to setup, and yet skipped a lot. If a client has internal search, it’s worth the few minutes to set it up in Analytics so you can track where user experience and navigation may be falling short.
- Content Grouping – A really neat feature of Analytics, if you want to be able to analyze a set of content (e.g. your blogs or all your service pages), you can set that up as a custom content group.
Get Certified – It’s Free!
Frankly this short blog post can’t do Analytics the justice it deserves, even reading back through this there is still a ton that I haven’t covered (e.g. understanding how the data is pulled in Analytics, the difference in custom vs. standard reports, etc.). However, I’ve spent my entire career using Analytics for clients and I still can’t believe how much I learned by going through the certification process.
Why you should get certified:
- It’s now free
- It’s a lot of work, but I’ve made it a lot easier with an in-depth GA study guide to help out:
- You are going to learn a ton
- Worst case scenario, it’s a good skill to post on your LinkedIn Profile
Even if you don’t carve out the time to do the full Analytics Certification process, it’s totally worth it to take some time to get to know some of the new features and reports that Analytics is continuing to roll out.
About the Author
Natalie Henley is a VP at Volume Nine, a Denver SEO company. She is a thought leader in the digital marketing industry & has spoken for numerous organizations & for industry conferences, including Search Engine Strategies, Digital Summit, ClickZ & Media Bistro. She specializes in digital marketing strategy, data analysis, data projections & creative digital campaigns. For other CRO & SEO tips, subscribe to the V9 blog www.V9SEO.com/blog or connect with us on Facebook.