The ROI Revolution Blog

Five Google Analytics FAILS

August 21, 2009

FAIL Stamp
Here at the ROI Revolution blog, we usually strive to provide you with helpful how-tos and the best examples on making your Google Analytics accounts lean, clean, and useful. Today, we’re going a different route in the hope that instead of teaching by example, we can show what not to do.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you our top five Google Analytics FAILs. These are real life examples that our intrepid Google Analytics support staff have encountered in the line of duty. They are not pretty. You have been warned.


utm_nooverride FAIL

1. There Can Be Only One: utm_nooverride=1

We’ve talked at length about utm_nooverride before. We’re big fans of using the utm_nooverride query parameter to make sure that branded and email traffic doesn’t overwrite more important long tail referral data.

But there’s really only one parameter value to use in this situation. One. It’s one. The only one is one. Does that make sense?

No? Ok. Well, see the screenshot to the left? That’s what you shouldn’t use.

First of all, you should never see the utm_nooverride parameter in your Google Analytics reports. Secondly, you should spell it correctly. Third, don’t pass “2” as a value. It doesn’t work. Just follow Shawn’s instructions in his three-part series on using utm_nooverride and you won’t FAIL.


ecomfail2.jpg

2. You Are Not Selling Medium Green T-Shirts

At the very least, you’re not selling only medium green t-shirts, right? Well, maybe you are. Who am I to judge?

The example provided in the Google Analytics Help Center article on e-commerce is just that: an example. But I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t seen people cut and paste that example script right onto their receipt pages, then called it a day.

Google Analytics can’t figure out what you’ve sold unless you tell it. You need to roll up your sleeves and find the variables that contain a visitor’s transaction data. Then pass that data to Google Analytics. It’s like a relay race, except you’re passing product names and revenue figures.

Place a test order. If you view your receipt page’s source code and you don’t see the correct order total or the products you purchased (or if your code says you bought a medium green t-shirt), then you’ve got more work to do.

ecomfail.jpgYou’ll probably also want to check out the values you’re passing. We’ve seen some pretty hinky stuff show up in the Google Analytics e-commerce reports because someone threw too many numbers into the revenue or shipping fields (see left).

Start by checking out Caitlin’s article about de-stressing your Google Analytics e-commerce setup. If you’re still mired in FAIL, you can always hire us.

Hit the jump for three more epic Google Analytics FAILures.

Keeping an Eye on the Competition

August 18, 2009

iStock_000006874244XSmall.jpgThere’s an old saying that goes something like: “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer”. While PPC marketing is a highly competitive industry by nature, keeping your competitors close to you may be easier than you think. Performing a simple competitive analysis on a routine basis will help you uncover your competitors’ deepest secrets and provide you with insights into your own marketing efforts as well.

Paid search offers a wealth of opportunity to monitor your competition’s every move. With traditional media, such as print, you may have had to scour through thousands of pages in magazines to find one competitor’s ad. With PPC marketing, you simply have to perform a search on one of your keywords to see exactly who is in your space and determine how aggressively they are competing.

Follow these three simple steps and you will reveal more about your competitors than you ever thought possible.

5 Calculated Risks to Strengthen Your PPC Advertising

August 13, 2009

risk_opt.jpg

Investing money in online advertising always carries some level of risk. Whenever you increase a bid price, it is a calculated risk that the additional spend will produce more profitable sales. 

 Of any form of advertising, PPC carries the least risk since success metrics are available almost immediately. Even so, there is a temptation to minimize all risk.

Even though the following 5 tips are all low-risk & high reward, they are often considered too risky by weak-kneed advertisers. 

 These are the exact risks you should be taking if you want to strengthen your profits.

1.  Be liberal with your daily budget

Are you making direct sales through PPC advertising? If so, what use do you have for a campaign budget? Keywords often have seasonal and/or news-related spikes in traffic. When setting a conservative budget, you risk missing out on the revenue this additional traffic would generate.

The potential sales loss of a constrained budget poses more risk to your bottom line than some crazy clicking event of unqualified traffic. You can always scale back your bids if the traffic decreases in profitability. An unexpected surge in profitable traffic, on the other hand, is usually hidden in historical reports of lost impression share. Your budget should probably be at least double your average daily spend.

Copy Filters in Google Analytics

August 6, 2009

copy_filter.gifThe Copy Profiles Greasemonkey script now allows you to copy filters from one Google Analytics account to another. Simply go to the Google Analytics account that has the filters you want to copy. Go to the Filter Manager. Check off the boxes for the filters you wish to copy and hit the “Copy” link located in the column header.

Once you’ve done this, navigate to the Google Analytics account that you want to paste the filters into. Go to the Filter Manager again and click the “Paste Filters” button.

Now sit back and watch it go.

Again, this script is actually an addition to the Copy Profiles script. If you already have the Copy Profiles script, you’ll want to download it again to get the filter copy feature. Here are the steps for everyone else:

  1. Get Firefox
  2. Get Greasemonkey
  3. Get the Copy Profiles script

Both this post and the previous post will give you the same script. For those who haven’t been following along, this script is a separate script from the GARE, at least for now.

That’s it! I’m fresh out of scripts. If you think of an improvement to this script or find a bug, let me know. I wouldn’t mind hearing from you if you’ve just plain found this script useful either :)

Copy Profiles in Google Analytics

August 6, 2009

copy_profile.gifI’ve written a Greasemonkey script that allows you to copy and paste profile settings from one profile to another. This includes main website profile information, goals, filters, and users. Hopefully this will save you some time in situations where you need to create multiple profiles that share a lot of the same attributes.

The best way to understand exactly what this script does is to download it and try it out:

  1. Get Firefox
  2. Get Greasemonkey
  3. Get the Copy Profiles script

The profiles have to be in the same account, but hopefully that won’t be too limiting to anyone. I actually spent a significant amount of time getting this to work across accounts, but decided that wouldn’t be the best for several reasons:

  • The main profile settings are rarely the same for profiles across accounts.
  • The goals are rarely the same for profiles across account. If you want to copy goals across accounts, I would recommend getting Lunametrics’ Goal Copy add-on.
  • Some filters may be the same across accounts, but there’s a danger of accidentally copying filters that reveal too much about a particular account if you simply copy all filters from one profile to the other.
  • Ditto for users.

If you think I’m wrong and you’d really like to be able to copy profiles across accounts, let me know why and I’ll see what I can do. Or if you’re into writing Greasemonkey scripts, you could always write the script yourself. I’d be very interested to see it when you get done.

I purposefully wrote this script so that it wouldn’t break in the way that these types of scripts would normally break. It’s possible it could break in other ways, so let me know if you see any issues.

You should have no problems using this alongside the GARE. It will most likely be included at some point depending on the response I get.

I have one additional script idea that I may release today, tomorrow, later, or not at all. It might be easier to guess this one.

Refresh Rate: the latest addition to the GARE

August 5, 2009

Img-water.gifAs some of you may have noticed (Amit), there has recently been a new addition to the Google Analytics Report Enhancer. Refresh Rate is a new metric that was conceived of by Caleb Whitmore of Google Analytics Authorized Consulting firm Analytics Pros. This metric gives you a great way to measure user engagement at the pageview level. I could say more, but Caleb has written a fantastic post that gives the whole story on Refresh Rate, of which the inclusion into the Report Enhancer is but a small part.

Now that Refresh Rate has joined the GARE family, it’s a great time to download the latest version of the Report Enhancer. Here are the steps:

  1. Get Firefox
  2. Get Greasemonkey
  3. Get the GARE

The latest updates to the GARE include:

  • Refresh Rate
  • New Dimensions:
    • Market (Thanks to Caleb again for this one)
    • Hour of the day
    • Day
    • Week
    • Month
  • Additional Segments for Secondary Segmentation and Pivot Tables
  • Improved Advanced Segment handling
  • Improved Data Sampling Handling
  • Deselect All Visits for two or more Advanced Segments

And just in case that wasn’t enough for some of you (Amit), I’m planning on doing another post either late today or early tomorrow to reveal a new Greasemonkey script that I’ve decided to release independently of the GARE for now. So you may want to stay tuned :)

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