Google Analytics

Is Google Analytics a Waste of Time?

by Jason Green on August 31, 2011 · 0 comments

Yes, if you only look at the data and don’t act.

  • Who cares if your bounce rate is 70% or 30%?
  • Who cares if you have 5,000 visitors per month?
  • Who cares if 30% of your visits come from California?

None of that matters if you just look at it and say, “Yay! I have Google Analytics on my site!” Having Google Analytics alone will not help your site in any way. Knowing that you have 100, 1000, or 1-Million visitors per month, doesn’t help you.

For each metric in Google Analytics, you should look at your site over time and note any changes.

  • Is the metric trending up? Down? -> What does that mean?
  • Are there peaks or valleys in the graph? -> Why?

Guide to Google Analytics Actionability

Here is a short checklist to help you determine what to do with your Google Analytics data to improve the performance of your website:

  • Look at the Reports. – Does anything stand out? (Peaks/Valleys/Trends)
  • Ask Questions. – Why? What changed? Outside influence?
  • What do you WANT the data to show? – Do you want an increase or decrease?
  • What can you DO to alter your desired metric? – Design Change? Ad Copy Change?
  • Track it! – Track the results of your efforts. Did they have the desired effect?
  • Repeat with each report or metric you’d like to see change.

The key takeaway of this post is that you (we) all need to stop just looking at our analytics reports. Passively watching your stats go up and down is merely entertainment. We need to ask tough questions and make the necessary changes to improve the performance of our sites.

Good luck!

> If you would rather just look at your reports, we’d be happy to help you with the actionability part. Contact us at BusinessHut.com for our Google Analytics Consulting services.

How to Give Access to Google Analytics

by Jason Green on February 16, 2011 · 0 comments

The video below demonstrates how to give another Google account access to your Google Analytics account, or an individual profile.

Questions and comments are welcome.

GACP Summit at the GooglePlex

by Jason Green on September 17, 2010 · 1 comment

This week, Google held their annual summit for Google Analytics Certified Partners (GACP: Previously Google Analytics Authorized Consultant (GAAC))

I first attended the GAAC/GACP summit in 2007 as an employee of Lunametrics, and to this day, I consider it one of the best summits I’ve ever attended. On top of all of the sights, such as the free gourmet lunches, arcades, massage chairs, etc…, it was a great opportunity to meet other Google Analytics professionals. Their presentations were very insightful and immediately useful. I even had the honor of talking with the Google Analytics Evangelist, and analytics rockstar, Avinash Kaushik.

The GACP Summit is held every year, usually in September, and you can be sure there will be some great announcements coming from the attendees in the coming months.

If you work for a Google Analytics Certified Partner, you need to beg for them to send you to this summit next year. It is the most useful summit you’ll attend and is worth every penny.

btw…the picture of me on the right is from the GooglePlex in Mountanview, CA. I would have more pics, but I almost got tackled every time I tried to take a picture. Security is pretty tight. :-)

Intro to Google Analytics

by Jason Green on September 14, 2010 · 1 comment

I was recently watching some of the presentations from Google Analytics Conversion University and decided to go back and watch the Intro to Google Analytics video again. As I watched, I realized that this would be a great video for my clients to watch. If you are one of my clients, or you even have the slightest interest in Google Analytics, I recommend you check out this video. It provides a great overview of how Google Analytics works as well as what questions you can answer with it.

Check out the Intro to Google Analytics video here

If you are expecially ambitious, you can check out the full lineup of Google Analytics Conversion University courses at www.ConversionUniversity.com. You might even get your Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ)!

Test Your Google Analytics IQ

by Jason Green on August 27, 2010 · 0 comments

Google is now offering a Google Analytics course for web analytics! Plus, if you want to get your Google Analytics Individual Qualification you can pay $50 to take a test. If you score at least 75% on the test, you become qualified. They say that this is proof of your Google Analytics competency, but there’s no information as to whether or not they will have a logo or graphic to display. I assume they do, or will soon.

Even if you’re not interested in the certification, there’s a ton of great Google Analytics information for beginners to advanced users.

So there you have it. Head on over to Conversion University to learn more about GA and take the course to prove your knowledge to the world.

(Check back for our Google Analytics Individual Qualifications soon!)

*** Update: Jason Green is now a Google Analytics Qualified Individual. ***

Google Analytics 101

by Jason Green on August 27, 2010 · 0 comments

I just came across a simple yet useful post on the Google AdWords blog about Google Analytics.

If you’ve installed Google Analytics and you don’t know what to do next, their post should help. Basically, just look at the major metrics and watch them over time.

The main thing to keep in mind is that there is no “good bounce rate” or optimal time on site for everyone. Each site, and even each section within a site will have different values. The key is to look at trends over time.

Also take a look at our Intro to Google Analytics post for a new video.

Microsoft Gatineau – Google Analytics Killer?

by Jason Green on August 27, 2010 · 1 comment

Is Microsoft Gatineau ready to strip Google Analytics of the web analytics throne?

I’ve been using both Microsoft Gatineau and Google Analytics on one of my sites for about 3 months. I think that’s plenty of time for me to give a fair analysis of both packages.

*Note that I am much more experienced with Google Analytics, so that might have some effect on my opinion. However, I’m trying to be as neutral as possible in this review.

1. User Interface / Usability:
Winner: Google Analytics
Why?: Google is king when it comes to user interfaces. (Not starting off so neutral, are we?) When I log into my Google Analytics account, I’m presented with a very useful dashboard. If the information I need isn’t there by default, I can easily add it. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Gatineau gives me a 3-layer calendar that allows me to select a date range by day, week, or month, with a single click. This might be useful if jumping from one date range to another was a frequent activity, but so far, it’s not. This date-range picker takes up 4 inches above the fold on EVERY report! The two inches below that is a description of the report you’re viewing, and below that is the graph for the report you chose. Unfortunately, half of it is below the fold!

Navigation through reports is done through a folder structure.

This isn’t awful, but getting to the next level always requires 2 clicks. One to select the item and display the menu, and another to choose between demographics or diving a level deeper.

2. Useful Information
Winner:Google Analytics
Why?: This would be a tie because they both have all standard web analytics information, except Microsoft makes it so much harder to view the useful information. Sorry to go back to usability, but with the GA dashboard, I can view my most useful information on one screen. With Gatineau, it takes 12 to 20 clicks and 6-10 page loads just to get the same information.

3. Demographics
Winner: Microsoft Gatineau
Why?: Because Google doesn’t have it. However, with this being Gatineau’s claim to fame, I’m unimpressed. Over the past 3 months, I only have demographics information on about 20% of my visitors. Sure this information is useful for some things, but with 80% being unknown, I really don’t know much more than I did before.

Overall Winner: Google Analytics!

Who didn’t see that coming?

I was really hoping to write some good things about Microsoft Gatineau, but until they improve the user interface, I won’t be leaving Google Analytics any time soon. Also note that Gatineau hasn’t been officially released yet. There are some features which haven’t even been activated, such as the emailing or exporting of reports. However, the framework of what’s to come is there, and I have to say, it’s no Google-killer.

I’d love to hear from other Gatineau users. Is there anyone out there that would choose Gatineau over Google Analytics?

Even though GA won this battle, I’d still encourage you try out Microsoft Gatineau and Google Analytics to decide for yourself.

I look forward to your comments.

- Jason Green

Google Analytics Data Sharing

by Jason Green on August 27, 2010 · 0 comments

Upon entering my Google Analytics account this evening, I was presented with a new request.

Google Analytics Data Sharing:

“In order to improve your experience with Google products, Google Analytics is updating its data sharing policy. You now have the ability to share your Analytics data with other Google services. This will improve integration, enable additional features in Google’s advertising services (including Google Analytics, AdWords and AdSense) and improve your experience with these products.”

The big question is: What do I get in return?

I’m all about open source and open information, but they’re not really selling me on this one. If you go by the explanation above, it sounds like I get to improve Google. They can do this without me, I’m sure. There’s also a bunch of fluff about improving my experience with their other services. “Additional Features”? How about a link?

My fear for this new “feature” is that it will be accepted by all of the less savvy Google Analytics users, while the businesses that took the time to set up their analytics accounts properly will decline to share. If that’s the case, how valuable will the data be?

The Google Analytics Blog has a good writeup of what this is all about. It would have been nice if there was a link to this post from the opt-in message so I could check it out before sharing my analytics information.

This might actually be useful, but I think it will take a month or so before we have anything useful to compare.

I’m very interested to find out if anyone else is using this feature. If you’ve enabled the benchmarking feature and have gleaned useful information from it, please share it with us.

What is everyone else thinking about sharing your Google Analytics information with others?