The ROI Revolution Blog

Viewing A/B Experiments in Google Analytics

July 24, 2009

I’ve written a few articles before about the power of integrating Google Website Optimizer with Google Analytics, but the landscape has changed considerably in the past few months. I thought it would be a good idea to provide an update as to how you can view Google Website Optimizer and other kinds of experiment data within Google Analytics as it has become much easier with the addition of a magnificent feature called Advanced Segments.

As the title implies, this article will focus on finding data quickly and easily for A/B (or A/B/C/D, etc.) experiments, whether they be Google Website Optimizer experiments, or just some testing that you’re doing on your own.

First, why would you want to do this? Doesn’t Google Website Optimizer (or AdWords, etc.) provide you with Conversion Rate already? Sure it does! But I maintain that an aggregated Conversion Rate (for a single goal no less) is simply not enough. I demand more from my experiments, and by looking at my experiment data within Google Analytics, I can get a great idea of how the experiment is working for different segments of visits and for every goal on my site. What’s even better is that by using Google Analytics, I’ll also have access to transaction and revenue data, along with any powerful customizations that I’m already using to get the most out of my tracking.

Here are some of the benefits to using Google Analytics to measure your A/B experiment results:

  • Segmenting the data
  • Seeing statistics for more than one goal
  • Looking at transaction and revenue data
  • Excluding internal traffic
  • Flexibility and the ability to customize data
  • Custom reports, emailing and exporting reports, all of the other fun features in Google Analytics

I hope you’ll agree there these are some pretty massive benefits. So enough of my gabbing, here’s how to do all of this for an A/B test in two simple steps:

AdWords Display URL Policy: Are All Of Your Ads Still Running?

July 24, 2009

Back in February of this year, Google announced a change to their AdWords policy regarding multiple display URL domains per ad group. The change basically prohibits advertisers from running ads in the same ad group that send users to multiple domains.

When I learned of the update, I (mistakenly) assumed that the policy referred to active ads only. Lately, I have started finding out that my initial assumption was very wrong.

I’m in the process of working with a client who has dozens of different domains in their AdWords account to migrate those domains down to one central domain. To implement the migration, I started pausing their ads to preserve the history, duplicating those ads, and changing the display and destination URLs before taking them active.

I posted phase one of our domain migration yesterday, and all of my new ads were immediately disapproved.

Let me reiterate that all of the active ads in each ad group were sending traffic to one domain. However, there were multiple paused ads in the same ad group sending traffic to old, outdated URLs.

All active ads in all of the affected ad groups were disapproved, because essentially, the ad group was violating the updated URL policy for containing ads, active or paused, that sent traffic to multiple domains.

Google’s Conversion Optimizer is Now Available to More AdWords Campaigns

July 23, 2009

If you’re currently using Conversion Optimizer in your AdWords campaigns or have been thinking about giving it a try, we have some great news! The Inside AdWords crew announced yesterday that Conversion Optimizer, a free AdWords CPA bidding feature, is now available to more campaigns.

Any campaign with at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days is now eligible to use Conversion Optimizer, whereas previously it required that a campaign needed at least 30 conversions in the last 30 days.

In case you’re not familiar with Conversion Optimizer, it’s a multi-dimensional bid management tool that uses your AdWords Conversion Tracking data to get you more conversions at a lower cost. You enter in your maximum cost per acquisition (max CPA), and the tool takes into consideration many factors including user location, time of day, and the search query to automatically calculate the equivalent cost-per-click (CPC) bid for your ad each time it’s eligible to appear.

You still pay per click, but you no longer need to adjust your bids manually to reach your CPA goals. Sweet!

Google Analytics Seminars for Success is coming to Downtown Chicago!

July 20, 2009

Be sure to take advantage of our LIVE in person Seminars for Success where we share our Google Analytics™ knowledge with you!

When we attend conferences the remark we hear most often is that finding the time for an analytics course is the most difficult part. We also hear that some people just “get it” better IN PERSON. Well, we’re always trying to make Analytics training more accessible, so in answer to these comments, we’re thrilled to offer Analytics Seminars for Success for those of you who really WANT tracking on your website to get the actionable data you NEED for key business decisions.

Stop letting your schedule get in the way! You can get the training you need during this live event. In these two full day sessions we cover a broad range of topics for those who only need user training on the different reports to implementing regular expressions on the technical side. For a full detailed list of all that’s included in each session check out the content for the Introduction and Advanced sessions.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to learn from the experts what you have to know about Google Analytics in one (maybe two) days!

–Location and Cost–

The seminar will be at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza. Click here for the street address.

The cost to attend the seminar is $499 each day or $998 for both days. For attending a session you’ll receive a $50 AdWords credit (so you’d receive $100 in AdWords credit for attending both sessions; limit 2 per company).

Instruction begins each day at 9am (with registration at 8:45am to get your training materials, the seat of your choice and coffee!) and goes until 5pm with a one hour break at noon for lunch on your own.

Sign up quickly as registration will be limited due to space and the supplies that come packaged with the training seminar such as workbooks and tasty snacks during breaks. Space is restricted but we want YOU, so click over to register for the Seminars for Success! You can register right away, because even if you have to cancel, we can offer you a full refund up to 8 days before the event. After that you can transfer your registration to someone else if necessary.

Don’t miss out! Register at least one week in advance to receive the $50 AdWords™ credit ($100 AdWords™ credit if you register for both sessions; limit 2 per company)* Google graciously offers to all Seminars for Success attendees!

Site Architecture & Google Analytics

July 8, 2009

Typically when someone decides to use Google Analytics on their website they grab the code and paste it on the site without thinking too much about what they’re doing. Many of those who are new (and even some not so new) to Google Analytics don’t understand how site structure will affect Google Analytics. If you are thinking about installing Google Analytics or if things aren’t quite working like you expected, consider mapping out your site architecture to see where you can simplify things before you get in too deep.

If you can help it, one domain will make the Google Analytics setup and tracking much easier. By increasing the number of domains, you will complicate the tracking process. Because Google Analytics uses first party cookies, each time your visitor travels to another domain, you have to pass along all the information about who they are and where they came from. Doing this again and again could potentially result in a loss of data and your referral information might not make it to the final destination. That means that if you are running paid advertising campaigns you won’t be able to attribute the sale or conversion to its correct source, which might make it look like you’re losing money when actually your paid campaigns are very profitable. By simplifying the number of domains on your site you will not only save yourself some headaches with the Google Analytics Tracking Code, but typically it will make for a much better user experience since the user will know where they are at all times.

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