The ROI Revolution Blog

Urchin Software is Retiring! Sales End March 28, 2012

February 7, 2012

The date has been officially announced for Urchin's retirement this year: March 28th, 2012.

Once purchased, Urchin licenses are permanent. Existing users should be able to continue using the product unless or until their Urchin Software installation becomes unusable due to possible incompatible operating systems updates in the future. All of the available pertinent information about how the discontinuation will affect the software's functionality is covered on the Urchin Website FAQ.

Urchin licenses and upgrades will only be sold until March 28th, 2012. After March, Google will not be "supporting" Urchin in that they will not be producing any further releases or patches. (With this announcement they did release version 7.200, available for free 30-day trial now).

Calling All Web Analytics Consultants / Developers!

August 31, 2011

ROI Revolution is scouring the nation for the best and brightest web analysts, analytics solutions developers, web developers, and software engineers to join our Web Analytics Consulting Team. We have two immediate openings available for the position of Web Analytics Solutions Developer / Consultant at our offices in Raleigh, North Carolina.

If you have experience installing and supporting web analytics tools like Google Analytics, Omniture, CoreMetrics, Webtrends, Yahoo! Web Analytics, Unica, or any other major web analytics platform we cordially invite you to submit your resume to join our agency. We also strongly encourage any experienced Web developers or Software Engineers that are interested in a career in web analytics to apply.

Mixed Type Custom Variables in Google Analytics

June 28, 2011

It's a mix tape!Google Analytics features 3 types of custom variables: page-level, session-level, and visitor-level. The official Google Code documentation on custom variables is pretty explicit about the fact that it's best not to mix types:

"Generally it is not recommended to mix the same custom variable slot with different types as it can lead to strange metric calculations."

What isn't exactly clear is what happens if you do decide to mix types. Google Code provides two cases, but surely there are additional cases. To this end, I decided to test 9 total cases:

Google Plus One: How AdWords Advertisers Can Prepare

April 13, 2011

plusoneGoogle recently announced the launch of their latest social initiative: Google +1 (Plus One).  Still in beta, Google +1 consists of a tiny icon next to each and every organic and paid search listing that, when clicked, communicates your stamp of approval for others to see.

Google +1 has strong implications for all AdWords campaigns -- the number of "+1's" will show alongside each ad, which is sure to increase the clicks.  Yet there is one important nuance to this that is sure to leave many advertisers unprepared...

IRWD Recap and Some Inexpensive Website Tools

March 17, 2011

irwd-2011.pngIn my desperate search for the perfect web analysis and optimization toolbox, I can't help but be drawn to new tools and gadgets whenever I get a chance. Of course some disappoint, and some are amazing - but it always comes down to the question of value.

Back on Valentine's day, I had the wonderful opportunity to present some of the results of my curiosity to a great crowd at the 2011 Internet Retailer Web Design and Usability Conference in Orlando, and I'd like to be able to share some of the tools I discussed with you, too.

Hopefully you'll be able to find at least one tool that can help you gain a little insight into what your users are thinking when they visit your site and give you some great ideas for analysis and optimization.

Here is the summary of all tools, tips, and resources we covered in our presentation, which was called Measure and Optimize your Web Site Without Going Broke.

Due to time limitations, I've had to leave many great tools out. For example, is a fantastic tool for developers and designers - you may be surprised to see how your site looks in different browsers (including mobile ones)!

If you have used another great free or inexpensive tool and would like to share it with everyone, please leave a comment!

Finally If you want to read more about the presentation, here are two articles (the first one's worth it just for the horrible photo of me):
Low-cost web tools can unearth a treasure trove of data
Free analytics tools offer big help to retailers with small budgets

Learn More About Us:

Handling Email Referrals in Google Analytics

January 24, 2011

If you've spent any time looking through your traffic sources in Google Analytics, particularly your referral sources, you may have noticed a lot of your traffic coming various mail sources:


Clearly it's not terribly useful to see your traffic broken out this way. At the very least, you would want to consolidate all of those sources.

But if you think about it, it probably doesn't matter a whole lot which email service provider a visitor happened to be using when they clicked to your site. Perhaps it'd be better if we just consolidate all of those email sources into one entry. Not only would this significantly clean up reports, but it would also allow you to see the overall impact of traffic coming from email to your site.

The easiest way to handle this is by using filters:

Google Analytics Subdomain Tracking

January 5, 2011

submarine.jpgIf you do a quick search on "Google Analytics Subdomain Tracking", you may have noticed that many of the top results are either woefully out of date or rather confusing. The purpose of this post is to provide my recommendations for Google Analytics subdomain tracking as of the current version of the asynchronous Google Analytics Tracking Code.

Currently there's no specific article on Google Code dedicated to Google Analytics subdomain tracking. The closest is this, which recommends the following:

//Tracking code customizations only
var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-12345-1']);
_gaq.push(['_setDomainName', '']);
_gaq.push(['_setAllowHash', false]);

I propose that instead, for the vast majority of sites with subdomains, you should use the following:

//Tracking code customizations only
var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-12345-1']);
_gaq.push(['_setDomainName', '']);
_gaq.push(['_addIgnoredRef', '']);

So what's wrong with the code recommended on Google Code? It turns out there are three issues with the code that cause unnecessary problems:

Ecommerce Attribution with Custom Variables

December 16, 2010


"Show me the money!"

Cuba Gooding Jr. certainly understood the power of seeing the money in black and white. Anyone running an ecommerce site should be just as excited to see the money in reporting tools such as Google Analytics. Not only can overall revenue be measured in Google Analytics, but that revenue can be viewed for different segments such as sources, mediums, new or returning visitors, etc.

By using custom variables, it is possible to get an even more granular breakdown of ecommerce data than what Google Analytics offers by default. Although these custom variables can be very powerful, certain pitfalls should be avoided if you are also using ecommerce tracking. For a good introduction to custom variable implementation, see Caitlin Cook's article here.

Use Case for Advanced Implementation of Custom Variables for E-commerce Attribution

Recently, I implemented custom variables to break down revenue by customer types for one of our PPC clients. For this particular client, there was a dealer sign-in, which indicated a different type of customer. With a careful installation of custom variables and ecommerce code, the client is able to see ecommerce data for their dealer customers.

Continue reading to find out how to set this up correctly and to see a sample report.

Google Checkout and Google Analytics - Asynch Edition

November 1, 2010

8ball2.jpgSince October of 2006, Google Checkout users have been able to track transactions within Google Analytics.

The problem is that since 2006, the basic Google Analytics code has changed THREE times, from urchin.js to ga.js to the asynchronous version of ga.js.

Unfortunately, the Google Checkout integration is one whole version behind. Seriously, the extensive documentation found here doesn't even mention the asynchronous code (as of 11/1/2010).

Well, hopefully we here at ROI Revolution can help with this problem until a more integrated solution comes out. The best part is this solution is pretty simple.

As with any Google Analytics / Google Checkout integration, there are basically two steps.

Check after the jump for the complete instructions!

Updates to AdWords Search Funnels Reports

October 14, 2010

funnel.jpgOne of my biggest complaints about Google AdWords and Google Analytics has always been the oversimplified attribution models they use. Last touch attribution sucks. It completely ignores upper funnel search visits to your site—first-time visitors who use broader search terms to get there. These are people who are curious about your products or offers, but not quite ready to buy.

Thankfully, Google is not oblivious to the need for more in-depth attribution funnel analysis. This past spring, they introduced AdWords Search Funnels, which finally gave AdWords advertisers the ability to drill down and see the search paths that visitors use when clicking through to their sites.

And last week, Google added additional features to these reports, including an increase in the conversion history window and a way to sanitize conversions that were potentially affected by cookie deletion bias.

Are you using the AdWords Search Funnels yet? If not, read on to find out why you should.

GARE: Updated Google Analytics Dimensions Drop-down

August 9, 2010

falling drop

If you've been following GARE since the beginning, you know that the very first thing GARE ever did was add additional dimensions to the segment (now dimension) drop-down and make these available for nearly every report. As time moved on, more and more segments were added, and the list began to get rather long and unwieldy.

Well, a few weeks back, the dimensions drop-down in Google Analytics underwent a fairly major overhaul. If you haven't seen it yet, it looks something like this:

new dimension drop-down

Clicking the above image will display a larger, more readable image.

I'd like to point out several excellent features in the new drop-down:

Converting To Asynchronous Code

June 30, 2010

A sinking bowl: fill it with water and use it to track time

There's a pretty strong push now for everyone to move to the new Asynchronous Google Analytics Tracking Code. It's the only code that's available from the interface now, and nearly all of the documentation includes examples of this as the primary code to be used. Converting your code to the new async code might seem like it's just a hassle, but there are benefit to using the new code. Because the code loads asynchronously, there's no longer any danger that it will interfere with the loading of the rest of your page. This means that the code can now be placed up in the header of your pages rather than right before the closing </body> tag. The result is that you'll be able to track a greater percentage of your visitors than your were previously, which will improve the accuracy of your reports in Google Analytics. Now if your setup isn't too complex, converting won't be too big of an issue. Your old code might look something like this:

GARE: Default Applied Advanced Segments

April 6, 2010

daas.gifI was thinking the other day about some of the problems with Advanced Segments in Google Analytics. Don't get me wrong, I like the feature quite a bit and use it all the time. The main problem I have is that advanced segments require an extra step.

What I mean is that when you view a profile's report, if you want to apply an Advanced Segment, you have to expand the drop down or click the link in the left nav, click a few more things, and then finally it's applied.

That's OK if you need that advanced segment infrequently. But what if you have an Advanced Segment you use constantly, all the time, maybe even every time you view a particular profile? Then this process becomes a bit of a hassle.

Enter Default Applied Advanced Segments.

Maximize Your Google Website Optimizer Wins With Traffic Segmentation

March 30, 2010

Google Website Optimizer is a very capable testing platform allowing you to setup complex multivariate experiments using a simple, intuitive interface. So what's the problem?


Simplicity, while being Website Optimizer's greatest strength, is also a tremendous weakness when it comes to data segmentation. Google Website Optimizer doesn't offer the data granularity that Google Analytics does.

In Website Optimizer all of your traffic, no matter how different the traffic source, is lumped together into a single bin. You might be sending traffic from paid search, organic, and content to the same page. When you view data for an experiment on the page, you'll see aggregate data across all traffic sources...

Why You Shouldn't Use the Top Landing Pages Report in Google Analytics

March 18, 2010

landing_pages_that_grab.gifIf you're trying to get landing pages that really grab your visitors, there's one Google Analytics report you absolutely cannot live without. And guess what?

It's not Top Landing Pages.

Before I unveil the report that ROIers use to do quick landing page analysis, let's find out why we're not big fans of the built-in Top Landing Pages report:

  • It only shows entrances, bounces, and bounce rate
  • It doesn't tell us conversion data for our landing pages
  • It can't show the revenue generated by our landing pages


Thankfully, there is a way to get what we need for robust landing page analysis out of GA. Hit the jump to find out how.

State Popularity: the latest addition to the GARE

February 22, 2010

patchwork-US-map.gifWe have another new addition to the Google Analytics Report Enhancer, thanks to Ophir Prusak of Google Analytics Authorized Consulting firm POP. This metric helps to interpret the significance of visit counts at the US State level. You can hear the rest of the story by reading Ophir's excellent post on the metric.

Now that State Popularity 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

In addition to the new metric, I've also been able to improve the way additional metrics are added to tables, including better sorting and handling of advanced segments and compare to past.

So how is State Popularity calculated anyway? I'm glad you asked!

Custom Variables in Google Analytics

February 2, 2010

Last fall Google announced the release of the much anticipated Custom Variables in Google Analytics. Previously the only out of the box way to segment visitors on your site using custom metrics was to use the User Defined variable. While the User Defined method was useful for segmenting traffic into members vs non members, and for things like Michael's Exact Keyword Tracking script, Analytics users requested more options, customizations, and more control. Well, Google listened.

Unlike the User Defined variable, the Custom Variables allow you to determine the scope of the visitor engagement. Basically that means in addition to setting just a visitor level segment, you can also set session level segments, which will persist while the visitor is active on the site, and page level segments, which correspond to pageviews and events on the site. This allows you to get much more detailed with the information you're gathering and storing in the custom variable. For example, you could separate different sections of the site by using the page level scope, or you could track if a visitor has completed a particular action during their session with the session level scope.

Our 8 Most Popular Analytics Posts of 2009

December 29, 2009

The end of the year is a nice time to take a look back over all that was accomplished throughout the year. To that end, I'm going to give you a list of our top 8 Analytics Blog Posts of 2009. As we go through the list, I'll give you a short description of each post as well as any random thoughts I have about the post.

Enjoy the posts and have a Happy New Year!

New GA Feature: Annotations

December 8, 2009

annotations.gifKeeping up with the changes on your site can be nearly impossible. Equally challenging is keeping up with those changes in your Google Analytics reports. Yesterday Google announced a new feature called Annotations to help you remember what happened on your site, who did it, and when it happened.

Any user with Google Analytics access can write comments on the over-time graph to indicate any notes they have for that particular event. This will save a lot of time for companies where the tasks are distributed between numerous people, which means you the analyst will no longer have to spend hours figuring out why all your data has changed. Just view the annotations to see if any major updates or changes were made!

In addition to this new feature, Google also released the ability to use the Custom Variables in Advanced Segments and Custom Reports, and the new Tracking Code Setup Wizard. To view more information about these you can visit the Google Analytics blog.

Get More from the Navigation Summary and Pivot Tables

December 1, 2009

Back in August, a tip was released on the Official Google Analytics Blog that allows you to export more than 500 rows from a report. In the post, this technique was used to export more than 500 rows worth of keyword data. Here we often use this technique to export more than 500 rows worth of pages from the Top Content report.

What you may not realize is that you can also use this trick to export more than 10 previous and next pages from the Navigation Summary report. As you may recall, the navigation summary report looks something like this:


In some case, 10 previous and next pages may be just what you need. But what if you want more?

Are Long Page Load Times Driving Your Visitors Away?

November 25, 2009

You're making my Mee-Maw sadYou're always checking on your landing pages, right? You read the blogs, run experiments, and generally try to make your site as user-friendly as possible.

But chances are, if you're reading the ROI Revolution blog, you're on a high speed internet connection. If your webpages are loading in nanoseconds with your T1, how are they faring for those visitors who aren't as lucky as you? You know, the ones on crappy cable modems and DSL and (gasp!) the dreaded dial-up?

Does it matter? Well, it depends. If you're a gaming website or Internet marketing blog, most of your audience is probably on broadband. But if you're running a site for a retirement community in Florida, then my grandma is hitting your Flash-encrusted site in her AOL browser and she's waiting. And waiting. And waiting. She's a patient old gal, my Meemaw, but she's not going to wait all day. She's going to point her browser and her pension elsewhere.

Aside from your visitors, your site's load time is also important to Google. Not only does page load time affect your AdWords Quality Score, but according to Matt Cutts, it's going to be playing a bigger role in the organic search ranking.

So read on to learn how to optimize your landing pages' load times, and maybe make a few bucks off my Meemaw.

Funnels on the Fly in Google Analytics

November 18, 2009

So there you are - you're all ready to put more oil in your car, or maybe you're trying to fill your sugar jar. Maybe you're all set to do some ironing, but you need to put some water in the iron. Whatever the reason, it immediately hits you that you'll be needing a funnel - but... OH SNAP!

You don't have one. Or you can't find it. What do you do? You improvise of course!

MacGyver kitteh

Quickly and with a MacGyver-like moment of inspiration, you grab a 2-liter bottle from your recycling bin and cut the top off. Phew - that was a close one! Now you won't have oil on your driveway, or water all over your bedroom carpet, and you can go about your day feeling like a secret genius.

Now, a funnel would have still been the best tool for the job, but sometimes it's just not available. What the heck does this have to do with Google Analytics?

Well, Google Analytics has a great built-in Funnel Visualization report, but the problem is that it only works if you have the foresight to build it ahead of time. Funnels are never retroactive - they will only start working the moment you create them. What if you have multiple landing pages? Moreover, what if you only want to look at AdWords traffic? Well, you would need a separate profile in addition to a properly set up funnel, and all of this has to be set up ahead of time.

The problem is that often you won't know what kind of funnel you need until it's too late. Having 20 goals in Google Analytics is great, but you could have a million and it wouldn't make a difference.

The good news is there's hope. That hope is called Advanced Segments. Here's how you do it:

7 Common (Newbie) Google Analytics Mistakes

November 9, 2009

noob_small.jpgEveryone's new at some point right? Well if you're just starting out with Google Analytics, here are a few things you can watch out for to stay ahead of the game.

1. Missing Page Tags
Probably one of the most common mistakes that can cause problems in your Google Analytics data is missing page tags. Yes, the Google Analytics code needs to be on all pages of the site. It doesn't matter that someone in sales told you that "all we need are metrics from one or two pages." You're setting up Google Analytics already, so you might as well do it right and get accurate data. If any of your sites pages are missing the Google Analytics Tracking Code, you'll start seeing self referrals (where the real source information is overwritten with your site information) and a variety of other issues will occur as well. Comb through the site a few times and make sure you aren't skipping any pages and that every page will register with Google Analytics.

2. Mixing urchin.js and ga.js code002_apples_and_oranges.jpg
For those of you inheriting Google Analytics projects, you may be faced with the task of maintaining or updating a site that was previously tracked using the urchin.js version of the tracking code. Although Google states it is possible to use both the urchin and ga versions of the code as long as they aren't on the same page, my suggestion is to update the entire site to the new ga.js version of the tracking code. Mixing the two can cause some complications that are better left avoided. Save yourself some future headaches and update everything at once. Plus you'll get some cool new features with ga.js anyway, so why wouldn't you want to upgrade?

Need Your Own Google Analytics Greasemonkey Script?

support I write most of my Greasemonkey scripts with the idea that they will be useful to as many Google Analytics admins and users as possible.

But what if you need a script that's very specific to your business needs? Or maybe you've heard about the Google Analytics API and you'd like to use it to tie your Google Analytics report data with data from your back end. You might even just need some custom modifications to your Google Analytics Tracking Code and general setup to get that one bit of data that can make or break your business.

At ROI Revolution, we offer support plans that can be used for nearly any type of Google Analytics project you can think up. You can also use your support time to have us help you effectively configure optimal tracking for your business goals, get a second opinion on that those thorny configuration issues, or just to audit your Google Analytics account setup and make sure everything's working just as it should.

And if you just want your own Greasemonkey script, we can make that happen too.

Learn more about our Google Analytics technical support offerings.

ROI Revolution Attends 3rd Annual GAAC Summit

October 30, 2009

Hey, look! It's a gaggle of GAACs!
Every year when autumn rolls around, you'll find the ROI Revolution Analytics Team hard at work planning our strategy. Not for clients (we do that all year 'round, of course) but for the strange and fun activities planned at the annual Google Analytics Authorized Consultant Summit. Last year, it was Rock Band. This year, trampoline dodgeball.

Not all of our time at Google is spent jumping around on trampolines and pegging each other with balls. For four days, Google Partners from around the world convene in Mountain View to talk about the state of analytics and optimization, learn from one another, and push the limit when it comes to supporting our favorite free analytics platform.

Click for a rundown of what we covered...

Universal Conversion Code For Google Website Optimizer

October 13, 2009

it's universal

We've been using a piece of code for a while that makes it easier to set up multiple Google Website Optimizer experiments. These experiments could be one right after the other, or even several experiments running simultaneously. The only requirement is that you should have a single conversion point for all of your Google Website Optimizer experiments. You may be able to adapt this code to situations with multiple conversion points, but that's likely to get rather complicated. So why use this code? Oftentimes your conversion point is a page that you're not really wanting to edit a lot, or may even be able to edit a lot. Instead of having to update your conversion page every time you set up a new experiment, you just add this code to your conversion page once and forget about it. It will register a conversion for all current and future experiments, and will even accommodate visitors who may be part of more than one experiment. So here's the code:

Check Landing Page Performance by Browser

October 6, 2009

browsers.jpgEvery browser is different.* Ask any web designer about their craft and you'll eventually get them talking passionately about these differences. How Internet Explorer 6 renders CSS pseudo-elements (badly) and handles padding and spaces (randomly). How IE7 ignores CSS drop shadows. How floating divs never seem to work the same way in any of the browsers. These peculiarities have driven many a developer to strong drink.

When it comes to testing new webpage designs in Google Website Optimizer, speed can be essential. You want to get the experiment out the door as soon as possible so you can get preliminary data. Sometimes this means that things slip through QA. Browser testing is exceptionally finicky and time consuming. Not every office has a spare Mac sitting around, and with three different versions of Internet Explorer still in wide use—and no easy way to install all three versions on a single PC—it's no small feat to make your page variations all work perfectly in every popular browser.

With just a few Google Analytics Advanced Segments in your arsenal, however, you'll be able to see whether or not your new pages are functioning fine in all the right browsers. Hit the jump for details.

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.


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.

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

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 :)

Viewing A/B Experiments in Google Analytics

July 24, 2009

testtubes.jpgI'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:

Google Analytics Seminars for Success is coming to Downtown Chicago!

July 20, 2009

logo_gap_seminartm_500x500_AnaOL.png 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

WebGraphBase.jpgTypically 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.

Tie It All Together: Linking Google Analytics Goals With AdWords

June 19, 2009

Isn't it annoying when you have to click back and forth between your Google AdWords account and your Google Analytics account to see which campaigns, ad groups, and keywords are bringing the most profit bearing conversions for you? Well I have good news... You don't have put up with that headache any longer!

We've seen it in our client accounts for some time now, but Google has just announced that it is now possible to import your goals and transactions from Google Analytics into your AdWords account.

To be able to do this, you must first have your Google AdWords account linked with your Google Analytics account. Once that is set up, you just have to make a few clicks, and you're done.

In the new user interface, you can find conversion tracking under the tools tab.

ga goals new ui.JPG

Last Chance To Attend Miami Google™ Analytics Seminars For Success!

May 31, 2009

Register Before Midnight on Tuesday, June 9th To Save YOUR Seat For The Miami Google Analytics Classroom Training!

One last post before our June 10-11, 2009 seminars in Miami, to remind you that there is still time to take advantage of Seminars for Success, where we share our Google Analytics knowledge with you in person!

Which Google Analytics seminar day is for you?

The Introduction and User Training, on Wednesday, June 10th, is for you if you generate and interpret the reports in Analytics and would like some in depth user training so you can better understand how to really leverage Google Analytics as a powerful website and online marketing reporting tool.

The Advanced Technical Implementation Training, on Thursday, June 11th, is for you if you are the webmaster for your website, are comfortable working with html and javascript, and you either need the technical set up of Analytics explained/shown to you or you have an analytics account, but are not satisfied with the results from a technical setup viewpoint.

There will be plenty of time for Q&A so you can get all your questions answered in a dedicated learning environment.

Understanding Correlations in Google Analytics

May 28, 2009

Website traffic does not exist in a vacuum. Here's a simple example: Jack comes to your website on Monday after seeing one of your AdWords content ads and he likes what he sees. He's a careful shopper though, so he's not ready to commit quite yet and leaves the site for the day. He takes some time and does some comparison shopping throughout the week, talks to some of his friends and comes back to your site again after typing your company name into Google and clicking on an organic result. He sees an offer for a 10% off coupon if he signs up for your newsletter, so he does, and then leaves the site again. In a week, he gets an email about a sale you are having, and clicks on a link within the email, finally making a purchase on this, his third visit.


So the big question is - how does this show up in Google Analytics? Does AdWords get any credit for the sale? The simple answer is no. Depending on if you are tracking your emails in Google Analytics (and how you are doing it), you'll either see a conversion for the email, the organic branded search or even a direct visit. Wouldn't it be nice to know that at one point AdWords had something to do with the sale? Better yet, wouldn't you like to know the Campaign, Ad Group and Keyword that was responsible?

Jack's example is a very common one, and pretty simple in comparison to the way a lot of people use the Internet, so it is important to try and understand the relationships between your different traffic sources.

Still don't care? Let me give you a real-world example of what can happen if you ignore it:

Case Study: A company that deals in a software product noticed that it was getting what looked like a pretty poor return on Content Network traffic from AdWords (responsible for what Google Analytics reported as roughly 5% of daily revenue). In an attempt to reduce costs, they decided to pause this traffic completely. The result was that almost immediately they noticed a 15-20% drop in daily revenue!

What the heck happened? Well, it turns out a large percentage of that content traffic was coming back as either organic branded traffic or direct traffic. They never bothered to look at the relationship between their content traffic and other traffic sources, and it cost them.

Conversely, by understanding this relationship, they have been able to not only gain back the 15-20% that they lost, but improve the return even further!

So how can you learn from their mistake? Here are a few things you can do, ranging from fairly simple to more complex, to help you grasp the relationship between your marketing sources and mediums:

Tracking Transactions back to the Initial Referrer with Google Analytics

May 21, 2009

first touch

Google Analytics, by default, will attribute transactions to the last referrer. While this is all fine and good, there are some situations where you would really like to be able to track these transactions back to the initial referrer rather than the last referrer. For example, you may be spending money on AdWords traffic to get visitors to the site initially, but many of the actual transactions aren't occurring until later when they've returned to the site organically. You can change your Google Analytics Tracking Code so that it credits these transactions to the initial referrer rather than the last referrer, allowing you to get a better handle on the return for your paid marketing efforts. One issue with changing your Google Analytics code so that it gives transaction credit to the first referrer rather than the last referrer, however, is that this is a permanent change affecting all profiles. You can't have one profile that gives first referrer credit and another profile that gives last referrer credit because both profiles will use the same set of cookies, even if those profiles use separate account numbers. You can work around this, however, by using a local, modified version of ga.js. The original ga.js modification and idea comes from John Henson at Lunametrics, though I've tweaked a few things for my own purposes. His post that I'm referencing isn't directly related to this modification, but there are some tie-ins to the overall idea of using different cookies. If you want to switch all of your profiles over to track initial referrer rather than last referrer, you can just use the following code:

5 Advanced Segments for Ecommerce Analysis

May 15, 2009


Back in the day when I was but a wee web analyst, if I wanted to segment my website traffic data with Google Analytics, I had to use filters. This meant a lot of upfront work, a flimsy and fragile analysis environment, and way too many profiles.

It was also pretty limited. I could segment by dimensions and a select handful of metrics only. If I wanted to see only the traffic that came from a specific source and then bought a high priced item from my online store, I was out of luck.

Now, though... Now we have Advanced Segments. You kids are so lucky these days with your iPhones and text messages and Advanced Segments. Why, in my time we had to work for our segmentation.

Instead of complaining about the past, though, I guess I'll just look to the future with five advanced segments that can help you breeze through your own analytics ecommerce data. Hit the jump for more information on how you can start slicing and dicing your way toward better insights about your sales.

Stressing About Your Google Analytics Ecommerce Variables?

May 7, 2009

scared3.jpgWhether or not you have the pressure of reporting revenue information to others, if you're running an ecommerce site you should be tracking your ecommerce with Google Analytics. What the helpful articles on setting up ecommerce don't tell you, is that if you use 3rd party shopping carts or CMS' - setting up ecommerce can be quite a challenging task.

Google Analytics provides you with the ecommerce template that is used to pass data to the reports. What it doesn't give you is a breakdown of the necessary pieces - what's required and what isn't? Before we jump into that, lets first take a look at the Google Analytics ecommerce code:

pageTracker._addTrans("order-id", "affiliate", "total", "tax", "shipping", "city", "state", "country");

pageTracker._addItem("order-id", "SKU", "product name", "category", "price", "quantity");

That's a lot of information! 13 separate pieces of information you need about your customer and their transaction! If you use an internal or in-house shopping cart, getting the actual transaction variables to pass in should be fairly easy. But instead let's say you're using a 3rd party shopping cart that doesn't offer an easy plug-in. What variables do you need to pass to this ecommerce code on the thank you page to get the data you need into Google Analytics? Let's break down the two methods of the Google Analytics ecommerce script: the addTrans method and the addItem method.

LIVE Google Analytics Training Event: June 10th-11th, 2009 in Miami, FL

April 30, 2009

ROI Revolution will be hosting Google Analytics Seminars for Success June 10th and 11th in Miami, Florida.

Google Seminars for Success is officially sponsored by Google. You can trust that you are receiving the most accurate and up-to-date information on the best practices for Google Analytics.

Wednesday, June 10th will be the Introduction and User Training session which helps users explore and understand their data in Google Analytics. Bottom Line: Take this class if you want to learn how to use Google Analytics to improve the results from your website and marketing campaigns.

Thursday, June 11th will be the Advanced Technical Implementation session which covers installation and customization techniques to suit the needs of your business. Bottom Line: Take this class if you are the webmaster and need to learn how to install and optimally configure Google Analytics on your website and are comfortable with html and javascript.

--Location and Cost--

  • The seminar will be at the Embassy Suites Miami - International Airport.
  • 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)

--Date & Agenda--

Wednesday, June 10th: Introduction and User Training

Thursday, June 11th: Advanced Technical Implementation

This session is designed to help users explore and understand their data in Google Analytics.

This session covers installation and customization techniques to suit the needs of your business.

  • Introduction to the Google Analytics Interface
  • - Google Analytics Features
    - Parts of the Interface
  • Understanding Google Analytics Terms and Concepts
  • - Parts of a Visit
    - Profiles
    - Filters
    - Goals and Funnels
  • Best Practices
  • - Data Types
    - KPIs
    - Segmenting Data
    - Trends vs. Accuracy
    - Testing
  • Visitor Reporting
  • - Overview Reports
    - Visitor Information
    - Visitor Interaction
    - Ecommerce
  • Traffic Source Reporing
  • - Overview Reports
    - Direct Traffic
    - Referring Sites
    - Organic Traffic
    - Pay-Per-Click Traffic
    - Custom Traffic Measurement
  • Other Marketing Reports
  • - Landing Pages
    - Ads
    - Advanced Segmentation
    - Custom Reports
  • Testing with Google Analytics
  • - Scientific Method
    - Setting Benchmarks
    - Measuring Results
  • Audience Question & Answer will be taken all day throughout the session.
  • How Google Analytics Works
  • - Architecture and Google Analytics
    - Drawing a Site Map
  • Profiles
  • - Creating Profiles
    - Configuring Profiles
    - Setting up Site Search
  • Adding Tracking Code to the Website
  • - The Basic Code
    - Subdomain Tracking
    - Multiple Domain Tracking
    - Setting up Ecommerce
    - Event Tracking
  • Goals and Funnels
  • - Creating a Goal
    - Setting up a Funnel
    - Regular Expressions
    - Advanced Goal Setup
  • Filters
  • - Exclude Filters
    - Include Filters
    - Search and Replace
    - Advanced Filters
  • Tagging Campaigns
  • - Online Campaigns
    - Offline Campaigns
  • Advanced Tracking Methods
  • - Custom Tracking Parameters
    - Custom Segmentation
    - Changing Session Timeouts
    - Nontraditional Ecommerce
  • Further Customizations
  • - Advanced Filters
    - Javascript Workarounds
  • Additional Tools
  • - Google Website Optimizer
    - FeedBurner
    - Google Webmaster Tools
    - 4Q/Kamplye
    - Urchin
  • Audience Question & Answer will be taken all day throughout the session.

Don't miss this opportunity to learn how to best use and implement Google Analytics for your site!

Register now to save your seat for the June Google Analytics Seminar for Success in Miami, FL! You can register now in confidence, because even if you have to cancel for any reason, we will refund your money in full until 8 days before the event. After that, you can transfer your registration to someone else, if you need to.

6 Tools You Can Use to Troubleshoot Google Analytics Yourself

April 17, 2009

It's nice to be able to find the tools you need when you need them. It's true for farmers and it's true for web analysts. Even if you aren't a web analyst, you have access to a lot of great tools on the web that can help you figure out if Google Analytics is working properly on your site. While my last article focused on tools you can use to get the most out of the reports in Google Analytics, this article is more for those of you that want to make sure that the data is right before it even gets there. shovels-ready.jpg

Bury your Google Analytics problems.

Read on for a list of 6 tools that you can use to find out for yourself what's going on with Google Analytics.

Live Google Analytics Training Event in Miami, FL on June 10th-11th, 2009

April 1, 2009

To help you choose which Google Analytics Seminar for Success session is for you, I've broken down a few characteristics of the audience each session best matches up with below.

Shawn Purtell, above, teaches the Introduction Session.

Wednesday, June 10th is the Google Analytics Introduction and User Training.

You are most suited for this training if you meet any of the following bullets:
  • You are considering using Google Analytics and need an introduction.
  • You are new to an established Google Analytics account and need user training.
  • You are in a marketing role and you need to understand Google Analytics as a reporting tool.
  • You have a configured Google Analytics account already and need to better understand the reports.

Google Analytics Seminar For Success in Miami, FL June 10th & 11th!

March 4, 2009

ROI Revolution is an Analytics Seminar Leader, authorized to conduct LIVE Google Analytics training. We'll be offering two full day seminars in Miami.

The first seminar is to help users explore and understand their data in Google Analytics. The second seminar covers installation and customization techniques to suit the needs of your business. Both sessions feature multiple Q&A sessions so you can get your specific Google Analytics questions answered.

--Location and Cost--

  • The seminar will be at the Embassy Suites Miami - International Airport.
  • The cost to attend the seminar is $499 each day or $998 for both days.


6 Tools Every Google Analytics User Should Have

January 30, 2009

Google Analytics is a fantastic tool as it is - and it's always improving, but there are a lot of people out there that have created tools to make it even better.

In an effort to make everyone aware of these fantastic and easy-to-use tools, I've compiled a list of the ones we use everyday. If we missed one, or if you've got a great tool that we should add to the list, please let us know! We're always looking for ways to make Google Analytics easier to install and use. I hope you find them as useful as I do, and a big thank you goes out to each of the people responsible for these fantastic time-saving tools.

Here's the full list:

Get ga.js code for your Google Website Optimizer experiments

January 9, 2009

roi_logo.gifAs part of the expanding scope of the Google Analytics Report Enhancer, you will now be able to see the ga.js equivalent code for your Google Website Optimizer experiments.

In addition, I have also added checkboxes that will allow many of your to quickly modify your code for tracking across subdomains and/or multiple domains. These options will also be available whenever you create new profiles in Google Analytics or check the status of your profile data.

This is an extension of Shawn's valuable post on installing Website Optimizer if you use Google Analytics. The Google Analytics Report Enhancer can simplify this process, but you should still refer to the post for additional details on where everything goes, how everything works, and handling specific situations.

If you need the latest version of the GAREnhancer, click here.

The GAREnhancer is a Greasemonkey script. If you don't have Greasemonkey, you can get it by clicking here.

If you have no clue what the GAREnhancer does, you can read the original article by clicking here

I have also added a feature to alert you if a critical update for the script is available. If you see the words "Update Needed!" next to the Report Enhancer logo in the header, you can click them to download the latest version of the script. Once you've installed the updated script and refreshed the page, the image should no longer be visible.

There's probably a lot of ways this new feature can be improved, so leave a comment if you think something else should be added, or if you found this script particularly useful.

If you would like some additional help with the topics discussed today, you might want to check out the versatile Support Plans we offer.

Google Analytics Report Enhancer Updates

October 21, 2008

BREAKING UPDATE! I had to make an update to the GAREnhancer Monday, March 9 at 10:00am ET due to recent interface changes. If the script is broken is broken for you, re-download the script and you should be all set.

It's handy!

I've decided to create a separate entry for some of the latest updates to the GAREnhancer Greasemonkey script. Most of these are just small things that can make your Google Analytics (and now Google Website Optimizer) life a little easier.

If you need the latest version of the GAREnhancer, click here.

The GAREnhancer is a Greasemonkey script. If you don't have Greasemonkey, you can get it by clicking here.

If you have no clue what the GAREnhancer does, you can read the original article by clicking here

Here's a quick summary of the most recent changes:

Tracking a Section with Google Analytics

October 16, 2008


If you've read Shawn's Article about tracking autoresponders, you know that Google Analytics' Site Search tool can be utilized to track secondary sources. Toward the end of this post I'll give you a way to use Site Search to track the effectiveness and value of a section, such as a blog section, as well as a page's contribution to conversion rate as a member of that section.

But first, a little background info:

If you've spent any time in the Google Analytics reports, you've probably noticed the $index field in the Top Content reports that somehow represents a page's relative worth. This field can be a great way to get an idea of a page's contribution to the success of your goals and ecommerce revenue.

But where do the numbers for $index even come from? If you click the question mark button next to $Index in the Top Content report, you will receive the following explanation:

"The average value of this page or set of pages. $Index is (Ecommerce revenue + Total Goal Value) divided by Pageviews for the page(s)."

Now it turns out that there are a few subtleties that are not indicated by the definition. For starters, the formula is actually using unique pageviews rather than pageviews.

Second, if you look at the $index of a page and compare it to the Per Visit Goal Value or Per Visit Value of that page (depending on whether you have a lead gen site or an ecommerce site) after drilling down into the page and segmenting by source (or medium, or source/medium if you've installed my Greasemonkey script), chances are very good that the two values are relatively close, but certainly not equal.

Why is that? Here's why:

Installing Website Optimizer if you use Google Analytics

September 17, 2008

hands-geo.jpg Ok, so back when I declared that Google Website Optimizer and Google Analytics represented 'A Perfect Marriage', I was overlooking some of the early bumps the newlyweds would experience before they lived happily ever after.

That being said, there are some things to look out for if you are using Google Analytics and are considering Google Website Optimizer as your testing platform of choice. Or maybe you have already noticed some strange things trying to use them together?

Here are the things to look out for:
1. Are you using urchin.js or ga.js?
2a. Are you setting _udn="something" (for urchin.js) or _setDomainName('something') (for ga.js)?
2b. Are you setting _uhash="off" (for urchin.js) or _setAllowHash(false) (for ga.js)?
3. If you are using urchin.js, are you tracking Ecommerce?

As long as you've got the above four things accounted for, everything should work fine. So I'm going to address each one in detail so that you know exactly what to do.

Google Analytics Classroom-Style Training Coming to Columbus, Ohio!

August 28, 2008

October 22-23 will be our Google Analytics User and Implementation Training Seminars in Columbus, Ohio, which you can attend for $249 per day (includes $50 AdWords™ credit*). We'll be at the Embassy Suites right by the airport in Columbus (click here for location).

We've held a few previous live trainings over the past few months (Thanks to those who attended Raleigh, Chicago and Orlando!). They've all received great feedback and we're eager to present again! We have so much material to cover that I can't possibly list it all here, but there is a content list on the user and implementation registration pages.

Basically User Training is for you if you generate and interpret the reports all the time and could use some pointers on what reports are really key. And the Implementation Training is for you if you are adding the code to the pages and want new ideas for cracking those sticky setups!

These trainings are extra special because they're Seminars for Success, an educational program designed by Google to help people learn their products in a classroom setting. Google feels so strongly about this program that they've graciously offer $50 AdWords credits* to all attendees. They also made ROI Revolution Seminar Leaders and we're really proud of that! No kidding around here, you can even see our name and the schedule for these events on Google's site!

So all that reading aside, what are the main points of this blog post:

• Live Classroom Google Analytics Training from ROI Revolution (Experienced Google Analytics Experts)
• October 22-23, Columbus, Ohio, $249 each - Register NOW for either User or Implementation or both!
• You'll get a $50 AdWords Credit* for showing up!

Got it? Great, see you in Ohio in October!

*Promotional credit must be applied to an AdWords account within 30 days of attending a seminar and is valid only for Google AdWords customers with self-managed signup. Advertisers will be charged for advertising that exceeds the promotional credit. Advertisers will need to suspend their ads if they do not wish to receive additional charges beyond the free credit amount. Subject to ad approval, valid registration and acceptance of the Google AdWords Program standard terms and conditions. The promotional credit is non-transferable and may not be sold or bartered. Offer may be revoked at any time for any reason by Google Inc. One promotional credit per AdWords account. New advertisers with self-managed signup accounts are subject to an $5 activation fee that will be deducted from the promotional credit. Expires 30 days after Advertiser's registered seminar session. Void where restricted or prohibited by law.

Avoiding Calamity: Google AdWords/Analytics User Access

August 19, 2008

bridezilla2.JPGOne of my best mates recently tied the knot onboard a cruise ship. The day before the boat left dock, destined for international waters, the unfortunate groom discovered that he had overlooked one all-important detail. It was just one detail out of thousands, but one that nonetheless had the potential to scupper months and months of planning for the big day...

It turned out that he had failed to pack his passport! So while he should have been enjoying the company of his mates the day before the big event, he actually spent the time racing back home (a 10 hour round trip) to save his marriage even before it had started!

Why do I relay the events of this poor unfortunate? Because in the frenetic world of online marketing we often deal with so much information that we fail to stop, take a breather, and make sure that we have not overlooked one all important detail that might sink months and months of planning and implementation.

Last week I received a call from a client reminding me of this fact...

Almost a year ago, the client had granted administrative access to the Google Analytics reports to a trusted employee. For whatever reason, the relationship between employer and employee soured over the next 6 months and the employee ended up leaving the organization.

Internal Site Search Reporting

August 11, 2008

xray.jpgGoogle Analytics provides you with a lot of information regarding the way visitors search to get to your site. What could be more important? Well, try asking yourself, "Are my visitors finding what they need once they get to my site?" This can actually be measured in several different ways, but one of the most insightful ways is to use the internal site search reports.

If you are using an internal site search tool (for example Google's Custom Search engine) you can track the searches that your visitors place on your site. By doing this, you can gain valuable insights into what your visitor is thinking, by actually having them tell you!


Not only can you see the keywords people are searching for (located in the Search Terms report) , but you can also gain more context by looking at the page from which they are searching.

Google Analytics Report Enhancer

June 26, 2008

UPDATE: You can read about the most recent updates to the GAREnhancer here, but the same script is available from both this post and the new one.

It's HandyA few weeks ago, Shawn wrote an article on true time on site and how you can calculate it. You may also know that for a while, Google Analytics actually calculated time on site using this method before reverting back to the calculation method used now.Several weeks ago I came out with an article on a Greasemonkey script I'd written which added several segments to the usual segment drop down.

I'm about to tie all of these together.

Introducing, the Google Analytics Report Enhancer!


Time on Page and Time on Site - How Confident Are You?

May 29, 2008


Ah, Average Time on Page and Average Time on Site - what strange metrics. They sound so simple, but as I hope to point out in this article, both must be treated with caution. Due to the way Time on Page/Site are measured, there is a certain amount of error that goes along with them. Fortunately, there's a way to measure this error.

In the interest of getting to the point, I've provided two versions of this article. The first version is the short version. No proof, just the final answer. For those of you who demand proof (as I hope you do) - I've also provided the long version, with diagrams and Algebra and everything. Feel free to choose the version that suits you!


Time on Page is more credible when a page has a lower Exit Rate, and Time on Site is more reliable when a source/medium/etc. has a lower Bounce Rate.

Confidence in Time on Page
Applies only to a page or group of pages

100% - Exit Rate

Example: The Exit % for my home page, /index.htm, is 30%, so confidence in Time on Page is 70%.

In other words, the Time on Page only applies to 70% of my home page views, and I know absolutely nothing about the other 30% - other than they all resulted in exits.

True Time on Site
Applies to any source, medium, campaign, keyword, ad, or user defined value

Average Time on Site / (1 - Bounce Rate)

Example: My AdWords traffic has a Bounce Rate of 40%, and Google Analytics has my Avg. Time on Site for AdWords as 00:01:00 (1 minute)


True Time on Site is 1/(1-.40) = 1/.6 = 1.67 = 1m 40s

My True Time on Site is 1m 40s, which represents 60% of my AdWords traffic.

Also, the Time on Site is unknown for 40% of my AdWords traffic.


I don't expect anyone to take my word for any of this, and I love to talk about these kinds of things, so I've provided a longer version for those that might be interested in how I came to the above conclusions.

Author Eric Peterson Coming to Cary, NC for Web Analytics Wednesday

May 16, 2008

Eric_T_Peterson - ONLINE.jpgWednesday, May 21st, 2008 at 6:00pm EST, Eric Peterson, the Chief Executive Officer & Principal Consultant at Web Analytics Demystified, Inc. will be presenting at SAS.

Eric is the author of Web Analytics Demystified, Web Site Measurement Hacks and The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators. He is a long-time member of the web analytics community and a frequent speaker who is often cited in articles about web analytics.

Eric will be here for our own Web Analytics Wednesday. He will be giving a presentation on The Future of Web Analytics and taking questions from the audience followed by food and drinks.

SAS Institute, Inc. has graciously agreed to sponsor this event! It will be located in the SAS Atrium Located in Building R on SAS Campus and beer, wine and light hors d'oeuvres will also be provided by SAS.


The host of this event is none other than Richard Foley, the World Wide Product Manager at SAS, and Former President Web Analytics Association.

Join us. Register today if you live in the Research Triangle Park, NC area.

Getting to Bldg R
Go through the main gate located near Umstead Hotel, take the 3rd right (just follow the signs).
Go over a bump and take the next Right into the main parking lot. (You are there)
Enter the tall white building and welcome to the SAS Campus Bldg R
(If you experience problems finding the building call Richard Foley at 919-624-7163)

Segmenting by Source/Medium and other stories

May 9, 2008

segment by source/mediumUPDATE: This script has been superseded by the GAREnhancer. All future updates will be made to this new script.

Have you ever gone to segment the content detail of a page by source/medium, only to find that you can segment by source or medium, but not both? Well those days of frustration are over, thanks to a Greasemonkey script I wrote just the other day.

Not only that, but you will also be able to segment by transaction, adgroup, and referral path anytime a segmenting opportunity comes up. Now you can see exactly which transactions are attributed to each source, medium, source/medium, keyword, campaign, new or returning visitors, and more. I'm sure everyone can think of some good uses for this.

To expand your segmenting abilities, first download the latest greasemonkey firefox add-on. Then download my script right here. You should be able to just click and install it if you already have the Greasemonkey firefox add-on installed.

A couple notes here about the script:

1. If you segment by one of the fields, then try and segment by another field, you may find that your options are once again limited. To fix this, segment by "none" first and then you should get the additional fields back. UPDATE: This issue has been resolved as of 06/06/08. Just re-download the script.
2. You can also segment by Product, Product SKU, and Product Category, but this may not work as well as anticipated. If that's the case, you can drill down into a product and segment by source/medium or whatever report you were looking at and see the data from the other direction.

If you've found this tool useful or if you have any suggestions for improvement, please leave a comment. Thanks!

UPDATE: I have a new script which adds a few additional fields to segment by, such as exit pages, page titles, browser and OS combined, and others. There are also some more obscure fields whose purpose is not obvious, so if you find one of them useful then let me know how you used it! Here's the script.

Note that if you have both scripts enabled at the same time, the second script in the list will override the first. Also, this second script makes your segment drop down rather long, so you may just want to stick with the first. I felt I should provide it, though, for completeness.

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Google Analytics for Blogger in Private Beta

May 2, 2008


On Wednesday, Google announced that there will be a new Google Analytics interface for Blogger.

Measure Map, which was acquired by Google in February of 2007, has already done quite a bit for Google Analytics, which had its interface completely revamped. It looks like now the team is applying some of its lessons from that experience over to the blogosphere.

Although Google Analytics is already available to everyone, as a blog writer it's nice to have easy access to metrics that are tailored to your specific needs. Google seems to be addressing these needs with a new Google Analytics integration designed specifically for Blogger users.

According to Jeff Veen, Measure Map will be available 'as an integrated feature of both Google Analytics and Blogger'. That sounds pretty exciting to those of us that are obsessed with our blog statistics. And if the integration is being designed by the same folks that brought us the new Google Analytics interface, that means it should be simple to navigate and extremely useful.

This new interface is now in private beta (which means you probably won't notice it yet), but it looks like Google has plans to migrate all existing Measure Map users over to the new Google Analytics system. That means it could be a few months or even a year before it's rolled out to everyone - there's really no way to know at this stage. Since it's in beta, there's a good chance there will be some kinks to iron out.

So if you use Blogger for your blog, be sure to stay on the lookout for this neat new feature!

Products and Keywords in Google Analytics

April 11, 2008

bling.gifIn Google Analytics, there are a couple different ways to match up the products you sell with the keywords that brought users to your site.

The first method is already built right in to Google Analytics. All you need to do is look under the Ecommerce section of your Google Analytics profile and expand the Product Performance section. There you'll find a report called Product Overview. In this report, you'll see a list of all the products that were sold for the given date range. You can click on an individual product and segment it by Keyword to see which keywords were responsible for the product sale.



But what about when you want to see things the other way around? In other words, for each keyword, can you see which products were sold? Well, if you use the above method, you'd have to segment each and every product. That's not very efficient.

Luckily, you can use filters to find this information pretty easily. Here's how:

New Graphing Options

April 4, 2008

Today Google released new graphing features to help make trends more visible. Previously, you could only view day-to-day trends in the timeline. Now in addition to viewing the data by day,

Click to enlarge

you can now see the data by week...

Click to enlarge

and by month...

Click to enlarge

This will help you compare long-term trends and make visualizing these trends much easier. You can also use these new graphing features to compare metrics. You can compare the last two weeks to the next two weeks, or even on a year to year basis.

These graphing features are found right below the date selection tool, above the timeline, and can be found on all reports within Google Analytics.

For more information on these features you can check out the Google Analytics Blog.

All About Historical Data

April 2, 2008

Book!Everybody makes mistakes at some point, but there are ways to help prevent those mistakes from making their way into your Google Analytics reports.

With Google Analytics, you do not have the option to reprocess data like you do with log file analytics systems, so it's important that you are cautious with the changes you're making to your profiles.

If you set up a new filter incorrectly and no one notices for two weeks that you are collecting the wrong data, there is no way to go back and reprocess that data. It's gone and it's not coming back. Because of this, it is highly recommended that you make your filter, goal, and/or funnel changes to a test profile before making them to your main profile. By collecting the results in a test profile, you can gauge whether or not you are receiving the outcome you anticipated.

Likewise, if you create a new filter or goal, it will only affect the data from that point moving forward. For example, if you only want to include visitor traffic to a specific subdirectory, your historical data will still include visitor traffic to the rest of your site. This can also make things tricky with goals and funnels.

Also, if you create a new profile for an existing domain, you will not have access to historical data within that new profile. Profiles only collect data that is processed after they were created, so you may want to create several profiles at once if you think you may want to use the historical data in a later profile.

Recently, Google Analytics had introduced a new feature called Benchmarking, where you can see your stats compared to others' in your industry. If you decide to opt-in to data sharing, Google Analytics will include historical data up to a month before your opt-in date.

And for those of you who haven't switched over from urchin.js yet, historical data will be kept when you move your site over to ga.js, so don't worry.

So don't forget to test before you implement anything new to your main profile, and consider keeping a change log of the changes to your profiles. Remember that any changes you make won't change your historical data.

Tracking Subdomains

March 27, 2008

Dive Subdomain, Dive!One of the most important things to consider when trying to set up Google Analytics for your site is the integrity of your visitors' source/medium data. Keeping this data as accurate as possible will go a long way to helping you make useful decisions about your marketing efforts.

That being said, there is a silent enemy threatening to destroy the harmony of your Google Analytics data: the self-referral. You may first see it rear its ugly in head in the All Traffic Sources report. Not only is it rather disconcerting to see your own site as a visitor's referrer, but this entry in your reports represents irrevocably lost data. What's worse, you may even notice that the conversion rate for this segment of traffic is actually quite good. You may be putting lots of time and money in SEO, paid online adversing, e-mail campaigns and print ads, but when someone asks which of these was responsible for the conversion, you really don't know. Some of those sources may be getting overwritten by your self-referrals.

If your site has subdomains ( and, for instance), this might be causing the self-referrals to show up in your reports. The standard Google Analytics Tracking code is only good for sites with a single domain and no other structural complications. Anything beyond this and you'll need to make some kind of modification to the script. Subdomains are one such complication.

Whenever a visitor comes to your site, the Google Analytics Tracking Code on your pages asks the visitor's browser a question:

Some Basic Information About Lowercase Filters

March 20, 2008

lowercase lettersGoogle Analytics allows you to create numerous filters. So how do you know which ones you need to implement for your site? Well, one you might want to explore is a lowercase filter. So what is a lowercase filter and what precisely does it do?

Lowercase filters change the selected field to all lowercase letters. If duplicate entries of the same page are appearing in your reports, one that contains uppercase letters and one that does not, you probably should set your lowercase filter. For example, if you have a page on your site that can be accessed by going to but you could also access the same page by typing Google Analytics would track these as two separate pages.


Obviously, if these are the same page they should be tracked as a single entry in Google Analytics. Therefore, creating a lowercase filter will change the former URI to all lowercase letters. This can greatly affect your Google Analytics reports and prevent duplicate entries from appearing.

So how do you set up a lowercase filter?


Within Google Analytics on the Add Filter to Profile page select the filter type Custom. Then Click the radio button next to the lowercase filter. Select the filter field that you want to apply the lowercase filter to and click Finish. Your new lowercase filter has been applied! NOTE: This will only affect the data from this point forward, not the historical data that has already been collected. Your filtered results will begin to show up in the reports from this point forward.

So in the above example the lowercase filter was applied to the request URI but you can apply the lowercase filter to other fields. If you apply the filter to the Campaign Term field it will prevent, for example Cars, cars, and CARS from showing up as different fields within the keyword reports. You can also apply the lowercase filter to the User Defined Value to prevent duplicate entries with those as well.

Hopefully this has given you a quick insight into lowercase filters and how useful they can be for your site.

Google Analytics Benchmarking in Beta

March 5, 2008

ScalesToday, Google announced new benchmarking functionality within Google Analytics. Combined with a new data-sharing option, this will allow Google Analytics users to compare their site's data against aggregate data from other sites in various industries. These two new features are in beta, but should begin to show up in all Google Analytics accounts throughout the day.

Click to enlarge

Also briefly mentioned was the unveiling of the Audio Ads integration, with an official blog post to come tomorrow.

For more information, check out the official announcement at the Google Analytics blog, the benchmarking FAQs, and the data-sharing FAQs.

ANNOUNCING: Seminars For Success That Will Provide the Classroom Google® Analytics Training to Turn Your Website Into Your Best Salesman!

February 25, 2008

Finally, the wait is over! Get your Google Analytics Training in person! Make the most out of your data by analyzing YOUR website's traffic with a fully configured Google Analytics account!

When? Where? Keep reading, it's all here :).

Two Days for Two Sessions
On March 25th and 26th ROI Revolution will be presenting Analytics Seminars for Success in Durham, NC. This two day event will offer one session on each day. March 25th will be the Introduction and User Training Analytics session, while March 26th will be the Advanced Technical Implementation session. You have the opportunity to register for one or both depending on your needs. Click here for more information on what each session covers and which is right for you.

Limited Acceptance
Sign up quickly as registration will be limited to the first 40 people to apply for each session. This is a hard limit due to space and the supplies that come packaged with the training seminar such as workbooks and tasty snacks during breaks. Signing up in advance comes with a perk too! Registering by March 18th, 2008 entitles you to a $50 AdWords™ Credit* from Google.

Location and Cost
The seminar will be at the Solution Center located in Durham, North Carolina, minutes away from the International RDU Airport. Street address and directions available here. Each day costs $249 or $498 if you register for both sessions. The seminars will be a full day from 8am to 5pm EST. Lunch will not be provided, but morning and afternoon breaks will be offered.

What's in it for YOU
Analytics Seminars for Success will help you better leverage the insights found in your Analytics report by covering topics such as setup tips, best practices, and analysis techniques. Seminar leaders will use in-depth course materials, hands-on exercises and valuable tips from their years of managing Analytics accounts to teach you how to achieve your goals.

We can't wait to share our Google Analytics knowledge with you in person, so register today! Don't miss out on this great event designed to help you get the most out of your website's traffic!

*Promotional credit must be applied to an AdWords account within 30 days of attending a seminar and is valid only for Google AdWords customers with self-managed signup. Advertisers will be charged for advertising that exceeds the promotional credit. Advertisers will need to suspend their ads if they do not wish to receive additional charges beyond the free credit amount. Subject to ad approval, valid registration and acceptance of the Google AdWords Program standard terms and conditions. The promotional credit is non-transferable and may not be sold or bartered. Offer may be revoked at any time for any reason by Google Inc. One promotional credit per AdWords account. New advertisers with self-managed signup accounts are subject to an $5 activation fee that will be deducted from the promotional credit. Expires 30 days after Advertiser's registered seminar session. Void where restricted or prohibited by law.

Tracking Secondary Sources and Autoresponders Using Site Search

February 22, 2008

gold.pngOne of the many challenges when using any web analytics application is making sure that it meets your business needs. Many different sales cycles exist in the online market - some opt for a direct-to-sales approach, while others employ a model that takes advantage of autoresponders, teleseminars, webinars, and all sorts of creative methods for drawing potential and return customers back to the website.

Most web analytics applications allow you to track your marketing campaigns using a variety of different methods, usually involving adding some query parameters to your campaign URLs. The problem with this method is that most of these systems will allow you to measure the success of your original sources (like the AdWords ad that first caught a users eye), but lack the ability to simultaneously track the effectiveness of your secondary methods like email blasts, teleseminars and their siblings.

Google Analytics is no different. Out-of-the-box, it is a system designed to match each visit to a single source - the most recent source, so that it's very easy to lose sight of what brought the visitor to the website in the first place. In short, you could easily track either the effectiveness of your keywords to the final goal or your autoresponders to the ultimate goal, but not both.

That's not to say there haven't been attempts to get around this. One method was to make sure that each secondary source brought the user to a unique landing page. For example, teleseminars would use, while an online webinar would use Email autoresponders would also follow this system, with each email in the sequence using its own unique landing page.

If this seems like a lot of work, it is. Making a unique landing page for each type of secondary source can be time-consuming, confusing, and downright impossible to maintain. Adding a simple email to a sequence can turn into a real pain. To top it all off, finding the information you are looking for based on landing pages can get a little sticky if you're not a Google Analytics expert. Other existing methods use the User Defined variable creatively (which I like to reserve for Michael's awesome exact keyword tool), or get creative with custom tracking codes, neither of which is a particularly easy method to implement.

Why am I telling you this? Because I believe we've found a way out of this particular quagmire.

Update to Matching Specific Transactions to Specific Keywords

February 18, 2008

Money ShirtShawn wrote an article back in May which showed you how to use filters in Google Analytics to modify your transaction list to see source, medium and keyword data for each transaction. As many of you have noticed by now, there have been some issues since January 15th involving custom fields which have caused this and other advanced filters to stop working.

Since then, we have found a way around using custom fields for this particular set of filters. Your reports will look and function as before.

Here are the details:

Exact Keyword Tracking with ga.js

February 14, 2008

Sleuth! Magnifying glass icon.Last April, I posted a script that allowed paid search advertisers to view the exact search queries of their visitors. This was essentially a free tool that gave website owners the ability to weed out ineffective keywords and put more money toward the precise phrases that were really driving their business.

Google Analytics doesn't do this out of the box. It will tell you exact search queries for visits from organic listings, but for paid search, you're stuck with the keywords that you're bidding on. With broad and phrase matching, these could vary pretty drastically from what the visitors typed into the search engine.

We've gotten a lot of requests to update the script for the new version of the Google Analytics JavaScript, ga.js. Always happy to oblige, we've been hard at work on our new version of the Google Analytics Keyword Sleuth. Call it a Valentine's Day gift from ROI Revolution to you.

Keep Track of Changes to Your Profiles

January 16, 2008

we're painting the people redIt's hard to get things right the first time. You may come up with a brilliant plan for your Google Analytics setup and think that you've thought of everything, only to have the data start coming in and realize that things are not looking quite like you hoped they would. Or perhaps your analytics just need a modification and you need to change your goal steps or create new ones. When these kinds of things happen, you may need to alter your Google Analytics profile settings.

And that's OK. While we recommend setting up a "sandbox" profile where you can test what effect changes to your profile might have on your data before editing your main profile, at some point you'll have to make those changes live in order to reap the benefits of cleaner, better data. When this happens, you will want to record those changes.

Some Thoughts on Exit Rate and Bounce Rate

January 8, 2008

chimpanzee_thinking_poster.jpgI was thinking the other day about the relationship between exit rate and bounce rate. It's often assumed that there's some type of mystical relationship between these two metrics, so I thought it would be worthwhile to dig deeper into this relationship to see what's actually going on.

First, we can define these measurements using rather simple equations.

exit rate = exits / pageviews
bounce rate = bounces / entrances

Now if we think about it, every visit to your site has an entrance. And unless you have visitors who stay active on your site 24/7, taking 15 minute power naps in lieu of actual sleep just to keep their current session alive, every visit to your site will also have an exit. Therefore, if we're talking about the exit rate and bounce rate of your site, we can say that entrances = visits = exits and make the appropriate substitutions in the above equations:

exit rate for the site = visits / pageviews
bounce rate for the site = bounces / visits

This would seem to indicate that if the number of visits increase then exit rate will increase while bounce rate will decrease, and alternatively, if the number of visits decrease then exit rate will decrease while bounce rate will increase. Of course, this assumes that visits are independent of both pageviews and bounces, which they aren't. So to understand this relationship, we have to think about the quality of visits that we're getting to the site.

Should You Join the Migration? urchin.js Migrates to ga.js

January 4, 2008

Should I Migrate to New Google Analytics Script?

In mid-October Google announced the beta release of the new tracking code: ga.js. Then, in December, they released the new code to all Google Analytics users. So you might have noticed, within Google Analytics, that there is now a tab labeled 'New Tracking Code' within the Profile Settings > Tracking Code section.

You may be thinking, "Why should I care?" Well, here are a few reasons why the migration to ga.js is practically inevitable for those of you who want to remain on the cutting edge of the latest and greatest technology. And why, for those of you who don't want to rock the boat, it may not be necessary to switch over... yet.

With the upgrade to ga.js you will have access to several new features including Event Tracking, and Outbound Link Tracking.

Event Tracking will be especially useful for those who have Flash based sites, or for those who use multimedia on their site. An "event" is an action that a user takes on a webpage that doesn't necessarily involve a new pageview. Examples include clicks on buttons or images, navigation in embedded Flash, or Ajax events, like moving a map in Google Maps, or applying a label in Gmail.

Outbound Link Tracking will tell you which links visitors clicked on your site that direct them to another site without the manual tagging. This means that instead of adding urchinTracker to each and every one of your outbound links to see where visitors are going once they leave, you don't have to do anything.

A few other benefits of the updated ga.js include:

  • Faster, smaller source file - which will allow for a faster download time

  • Object oriented - instead of using functions

  • Automatic detection of HTTPS

  • Increased namespace safety

One question seems to keep surfacing about the migration, so I will go ahead and address that now. The new Google Analytics tracking code (ga.js) will NOT work with the previous tracking code (urchin.js). They are not compatible, so all pages on your site should be updated with the new code.

So the bottom line: Should you switch to ga.js?

Google is still supporting the urchin.js tracking code, and sources predict that that they'll continue support for another 12-18 months, so if you're happy with the current features and you're not worried about any new releases to ga.js (and the potential discontinuation of support down the line), then you're probably OK for another few months, at least. Eventually, though, you're going to need to switch to ga.js.

If you want event tracking and automatic outbound link tracking, as well as any new features that are released in the future, and you're willing to spend a little time and resources on getting everything set up properly, then you might want to consider joining the migration.

If you're looking for help, Google has written a reference guide for switching over to the code in pdf format, and if you need any assistance from ROI Revolution, an Authorized Google Analytics support partner, be sure to take a look at our Google Analytics support plans and we'll get you on the path to a seamless migration.

Goal Matching Revisited

December 26, 2007

Almost a year and a half ago, I posted a brief guide on the different match types that Google Analytics uses to define goals. For something that is so integral to a successful Google Analytics configuration, goals are easily one of the more confusing aspects of the tool, and we get more questions about goals than perhaps anything else.

Last week, Google quietly updated the Google Analytics Goal Settings page. They rearranged the order of the fields, and also clarified something that has long been somewhat under-emphasized. In the explanation text for the Goal URL:

For the goal page "
/thankyou.html" enter "/thankyou.html"

Previously, the example text basically told users to just copy and paste the entire URL from their conversion page. Now, only the Request URI is required.

Actually, this isn't a change to the way that Google Analytics recognizes goals. It's always worked this way, targeting only the Request URI. It would simply discard anything in the Goal URL that wasn't part of the Request URI (anything after the dot-com, basically) and match what was left.

Now that the official recommendation is to use the Request URI, it looks like old-school goals are still backwards-compatible and will function with the whole URL. But for future reference, for a goal URL of:

You only need to put:


Into the Goal URL field.

How do you use Google Analytics' Goal Matches? Are you a regular expressions junkie, or do you stick to tried-and-true exact match? Leave us a comment!

Default Page vs. Home Page

December 12, 2007

Crystal_Clear_app_kfm_home.pngYou've probably played around with the Default Page setting in Google Analytics. In many cases, this is definitely the way to go, as it will prevent your home page from showing up in different ways in your Google Analytics reports (as / and /index.html for example).

But you need to be careful when you set the default page, as it will not only affect your home page, but any page that ends with a forward slash ('/').

What do I mean by this? It's pretty simple - if you set the default page to index.html, it will not only change any future / entries into /index.html, but if you have another page ending in /, say /blog/, it will change that to /blog/index.html too. But what if your blog's default page is actually /blog/index.php? Well, then you have a problem.

If you have several such subdirectories or pages, then you have several problems. The good news is that there is a simple way to create a simple filter that only replaces the home page.

Google Analytics ROI Calculation Macro

November 26, 2007

Glue Gun!If you have used the ROI Calculator Spreadsheet tool that Shawn came out with before, you know that it takes several steps to get to the point where you can start entering in cost data and seeing that ROI. If your need for ROI data is only occasional, then this works great. In addition, if you click on the appropriate link below, you can download the latest version of this spreadsheet, which eliminates step 4 from Shawn's procedure.

Microsoft Excel 2007 Version
Microsoft Excel 97-2003 Version

If, however, you find yourself running through these steps again and again on a frequent basis with no shortcut in sight, there is hope!

Introducing...the ROI Calculation Macro.

Excluding Internal Traffic the Easy Way

November 20, 2007


If you've done research on excluding internal traffic from your Google Analytics reports, then you've probably heard words like "user defined variable", "dynamic or static IP address", and "orphaned web page." While you may want to become familiar with these terms someday, the truth is that not everyone is a webmaster.

What's my point? Well, I'm not sure if anyone's come up with this before, and quite frankly I wouldn't be surprised as this method is very easy, but here's a quick and easy way to exclude any kind of internal traffic from your reports, regardless of IP-whats-its. All you have to know is how to write an email.

Here's how:

Custom Segmentation: It Slices, It Dices (Your Data)

October 28, 2007

cheeseslice.jpgSo, a few months back I posted on how to view the exact AdWords search queries your visitors use to reach your site (a feature that is, so far, unsupported out of the box with Google Analytics). My method involved grabbing that keyword phrase and storing it within Google Analytics' User Defined field. In the article, I said:

"There are lots of great applications for the User Defined variable... If you can get by without using it, you can then save the User Defined field for something else that might prove more powerful. Like tracking search terms. :)"

I'll be the first to admit that this statement is a little wishy-washy. What are these great applications? Why save it for tracking exact search queries? What precisely does the User Defined variable do?

In a nutshell, you use the User Defined variable to perform custom segmentation on your visitors. Google Analytics already provides a number of built-in segmentation features. It's so intuitive, most users probably aren't even aware that what they're doing is segmentation. From your Traffic Sources report, you see a specific group of visitors that came in from a specific source, and you click the hyperlink. Now, you're looking solely at the data for that source. Congratulations! You've sliced and diced your data down to a very specific segment of traffic.

So, you can segment your traffic by visitor type (new or returning), by source (where, how, why they came to your site), by organic search queries, by browsers or screen resolutions or Internet speed... but what if you want to get a little more specific?

Thrilling New Google Analytics Features Unveiled!

October 16, 2007

Today at the eMetrics Summit in Washington, D.C. new Google Analytics features were announced, plus an updated version of Urchin software.

The super-cool new Google Analytics features that were announced all deal with allowing people to be better able to act on their Google Analytics report information, which is fantastic. I mean, that's the core reason why anybody has an analytics in the first place - to help them make improvements.

New Google Analytics ROI Calculation Spreadsheet

September 7, 2007

Due to the new Google Analytics interface, some changes had to be made to our old ROI Calculator Spreadsheet tool. Unfortunately, there's now an extra step involved before you can use the tool to figure out your ROI (See Step 4 below). The good news, however, is that the new method is a lot more versatile, and you can use it for many kinds of reports, including your non-AdWords campaign and keyword reports.

Read on to learn more:

Tales of Overanalysis: My Organic Traffic Has Tanked!

September 4, 2007

Take a pill, dude Dear Michael,
I just implemented AdWords autotagging for my website, and now my organic Google traffic has dropped dramatically. What gives? Is Google Analytics ruining my search rankings? Who do I blame for this? Can you fix it?

Okay. Calm down and breathe. There's nothing to worry about.

First, the bad news: your organic search traffic wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

But, the good news: now that you've turned on autotagging, your Google Analytics profile is more accurate than it has ever been.

Using utm_nooverride Part 3 of 3 - Through the Wormhole

Click Here For Part 1 - Branding
Click Here For Part 2 - Tracking Emails

Wormhole What do the topological feature of spacetime and the interesting little Google Analytics variable have in common?

Both deal with travel. One just happens to deal with matter traveling through spacetime, and one deals with visitors to your website. While I am not an expert on wormholes, I do understand how the utm_nooverride variable affects your visitors, and this post is about using the utm_nooverride for those websites that feature special paths which take the user through all sorts of intergalactic mayhem.

This includes websites that send the user to third party domains, even if just for a moment. This could be due to an autoresponder, a shopping cart, a form submission, a tool for visitors to use, credit card processing, and a whole host of other possibilities to consider.

A good example of a 'wormhole' is PayPal. When a user clicks on a PayPal link, they travel to a new domain. On top of that, it's a domain you can't control. You can't add any code to the PayPal pages or make the modifications that you would need to track things according to Google's official instructions. But you can control the URL that brings the user back to your site. And that's where the utm_nooverride comes in.

More Work For the Webmasters

August 3, 2007

The Peon Says, 'More Work?'This post is dedicated to all of those hard working webmasters out there who have enough to worry about as it is without the marketing staff breathing down their necks about campaign tracking and revenue analysis and all sorts of other stuff.

Look, I'm a code monkey, too. I understand the dilemma. No one likes to ask permission from fifteen different people before they make the slightest change to a site.

But here's the thing: Google Analytics is script-based, and it collects live traffic and conversion data. If it's not on a page, and someone visits that page, they don't get counted. It's not rocket science (but I'm no rocket scientist, so I must defer to someone who is).

So if you know that the site you're working with has the Google Analytics script on it, then think twice before you make any major changes. Here's a quick list of what to consider...

Using utm_nooverride Part 2 of 3 - Emails

July 24, 2007

Click here for Part I - Branded CPC Campaigns
Click Here For Part 3 - Through the Wormhole

Back in Part 1, I talked about using the utm_nooverride variable on your branded CPC campaigns to maintain original referral information. This time, I'll lay out when you should and should not use the very same variable within the emails you send out to potential customers. This is especially important to think about if you either:

A) Use an email autoresponder to send a series of follow-up emails to an initial lead or

B) Have a regular email newsletter that goes out with articles and/or special offers

How to Use utm_nooverride in Emails and What it Does
Before we get into when and when not to use utm_nooverride, let's look at how to implement it and what exactly the variable does. This may help you decide if it's right for you.

In Google Analytics, you can modify links to your website so they are recognized as coming from a specific source. To do this, you can use the 'utm' variables covered here. I'm not going to get into those details here, but if you decide to use these variables in your emails to potential customers, then if they click on those links their visit will be attributed to the specific email you tagged. This will overwrite any existing referral information they may have already had. Therein lies the major question - Do I want these users attributed to the email I sent out or to the original source?

The answer to this question will determine whether or not to use utm_nooverride=1 in your links.

More Google Analytics Features in the New, Single Interface

July 22, 2007

Google Analytics' Alden DeSoto points out that Google continues to add new features to its amazing (free) analytics.

Here's the scoop from the Google Analytics Blog:

Today, we're excited to announce that we're adding a few more of your most requested features.

The following improvements are available in your account now:

- We've added a "Go to:" box to all reports that have tables so you can jump directly to a specific row. If you have 5,000 referring sources and you want to see row 3,456, you can jump right to it.

- The Map Overlay report view now defaults to Country instead of Subcontinent.

- Content reports now have a Segment menu so you can cross-segment pages and sets of pages by referral source, keyword, visitor type, and other visitor segments.

- Many of you prefer the more readable Content by Title report over the URL-based Content Drilldown and Top Content reports. However, drilling down on a specific title in the Content by Title report hasn't allowed you to find (and therefore analyze and fix) URLs sharing the title. Until today.

Alden then goes on to point out that the previous Google Analytics interface is no longer available as previously announced.

Using utm_nooverride Part 1 of 3 - Branding

July 3, 2007

Click Here For Part 2 - Tracking Emails
Click Here For Part 3 - Through the Wormhole


Are you bidding on your brand name in AdWords, YSM, or AdCenter? If you are, there's a good chance your return on investment for those specific keywords is very good. People searching for your specific brand know what they want and are ready to convert, while your costs remain low. But what if these people are coming back to your site after already having visited from another keyword - maybe one that's costing you much more money?

Well, there's a way to limit conversions attributed to your branded keywords, so that you can get information on the original keyword source.

Google Analytics Graphs and Charts

June 15, 2007

The Google Analytics Pie ChartOne of the new features of Google Analytics that hasn't really seen too much press in the past month (has it really been that long?) is the new and improved graph and chart view. These graphs and charts don't vary drastically from those seen in the old interface, but they're still different enough to warrant a bit of explanation.

The Google Analytics 'Views'Basically, all of the data tables in Google Analytics have alternate graph displays for easier visual analysis of your data. Accessing these additional reports is easy. There's a series of little "Views" buttons at the top right of your data table, and each button offers you a new view for your data.

More info on each view after the jump.

New Google Analytics Features

June 13, 2007

New Google Analytics Features Include These Clickable URLsAs first reported on the Official Google Analytics Blog, and then picked up pretty much everywhere else other than our own blog here, Google Analytics has seen its first minor feature update since the launch of the new user interface. While we certainly weren't first to break the news†, due mostly to putting the finishing touches on our updated Google Analytics training series, I did want to post my top three favorite improvements after the jump.

Top Three Misconceptions of the New Google Analytics Interface

Since the new Google Analytics interface has become widely available, the people we talk to generally share a few worries and misconceptions about the new interface and what it means for them. Here are the top three misconceptions about the new interface that we hear:

Misconception #1: Oh NO - there is no conversion data!

First of all, take a nice, deep breath. When people start cruising around the new interface, they don't see any conversion data in their reports and have a mini panic-attack. In the old interface you have a handful of set metrics that show up in the right-hand columns on each report, some of which include conversion metrics.

The reason people can't find the conversion data is because in the new interface you have the 3 tabs:
'Site Usage' tab
'Goal Conversion' tab
'Ecommerce' tab

Because the 'Site Usage' tab is the first tab you see and it doesn't include conversion data, some people assume there just isn't any conversion data there, period.

The new format actually gives you a much wider variety of choices on available data, including (but not limited to) conversion data. Surprise! You just have to know where to look.

AdWords Conversion Tracker or Google Analytics.... Which One's Right?

June 8, 2007

Why are AdWords Conversion Tracker and Google Analytics showing different conversion rates and numbers of conversions? Which one should you believe? If these are questions you have ever found yourself asking, then you've come to the right place.

The short answer? They're both right, although neither one is perfect. This is of course assuming you've set them both up correctly. How can this be? We'll, I've attempted to put my unfortunate artistic skills to the test to try and clear up this puzzle.

So here's the story:

Website Optimizer Integration in the New Analytics Interface

June 5, 2007

Content.gifYou may have read my previous article on the subject of combining Google Website Optimizer with Google Analytics. With the new Google Analytics interface, of course, there are some changes I'd like to address.

First things first, the integration remains unchanged. You can refer back to my previous post for these instructions.

Finding the information, however, is now a little different. Since there is no more Dynamic Content report (*sniff*), finding the data takes a couple steps. But don't fret, it's not too bad.

Here's how:

Hallelujah! The Best New Google Analytics Feature

May 23, 2007

The new Google Analytics interface has so many great new features that using it is almost like a treasure hunt - you never know what you'll discover next!

Personally, my favorite new feature so far is the email functionality. I don't know about you, but I don't look into Google Analytics nearly as often as I'd really like to (let's keep that between us, though, ok?).

Apparently I'm not alone. According to a Jupiter report, "Key Performance Indicators - Using Analytics to Drive Action", a stunningly large percentage of companies don't bother to distribute analytic reports to the people within the company who can use them!

Less then 20% of the companies surveyed distribute analytics data to merchandising departments for review on a regular basis, and only 53% of marketing teams review analytics data. But surely the executives pay attention to the analytics data?

Actually, only 41% of executives review web analytics data.

And that is why the new email function is my favorite. You can use the little 'email' button found under the title of the report, and there you will find 3 tabs: Send Now, Schedule, or Add to Existing.

Everyone Has Access to the New Google Analytics Now

May 22, 2007

gablog.JPGBrett Crosby, Sr. Manager, Google Analytics posts on the Official Google Analytics Blog that everyone has access to the new Google Analytics.

Further, you'll be able to use the previous version of Google Analytics until July 18, 2007 (that's nearly two whole month's worth for the procrastinator deep inside!).

But why wait until July to make the switch?

Brett covers a few pointers to make the transition to the new design a little easier:

If there are specific reports in the previous version of Google Analytics that you'd like to find in the new interface, try using the Report Finder tool. If you haven't viewed the Tour, you may find it to be a helpful introduction to the new Google Analytics.

Just as Brett did, I'm going to point out a few posts on the new Google Analytics you may find helpful:

ROI Revolution's Michael Harrison covers the introduction in his post entitled "Google Analytics: Extreme Makeover Edition" and a tip on how to view entire referring URL's in the new Google Analytics.

Justin Cutroni has a over a half-dozen posts covering the new features, Avanish Kaushik's post discusses the first five things you should do the first time you log into Google Analytics V2, and Adam Ostrow gushes about the 27 features that make Google Analytics best of breed.

Speaking at the PPC Summit on Google Analytics

May 20, 2007

click.jpg.jpgI'll be speaking about how to leverage the new Google Analytics in Chicago this Tuesday at Mary O'Brian's upcoming PPC Summit, a two day "how to" workshop designed to help folks better manage their PPC campaigns.

A PPC-only conference is long overdue.

From the PPC Summit conference description:

PPC Summits are designed as How To workshops that teach you how to better manage your PPC campaigns. The focus is solidly on advertiser education: how to spend less money, more effectively, with better results.

In these interactive, two day summits, you will be introduced to strategies and skills that are the foundation of successful pay per click marketing.

PPC Summits are designed to help you and the people at your firm become the savvy search engine advertisers you know you must be in order to maximize your pay per click opportunities, out perform your competitors, and build your business.

Mary O'Brian, the producer of the new conferences, has enjoyed a long career in the business of paid search with her work initially at Overture (later becoming Yahoo! Search Marketing) heading the training & organizational development team, then becoming Senior Director of Sales for Overture Services, next co-founding TelicMedia, and then obtaining the contract from Yahoo! to teach the one day Yahoo! Advertiser Workshops across the country.

Future locations include New York (June 21-22, 2007), London (July 10-11, 2007), Los Angeles (Sept 24-25, 2007), and San Francisco (Nov 15-16, 2007).

Google Analytics: Extreme Makeover Edition

May 8, 2007

thumb1.gifYes, Google Analytics has been redesigned. Please do not panic.

As several folks noticed last week, Google has redesigned Google Analytics. Log into your account and you'll be met by an announcement:

Over the next several weeks, we will be migrating all existing Analytics accounts to the new Google Analytics interface. You will be notified by email once your account has been migrated. For an entire month you will be able to access both the original interface and the new interface. During the migration, you should experience no interruption in service and you’ll be able to see all of your data regardless of which interface you use. For a sneak peek at the new Google Analytics, take a look at the following resources.

Change can be a tough thing to come to terms with. Some people might wonder why Google is changing everything just as they've started to get used to it.

We loved the old interface, too. Don't get me wrong. It's kind of like those ridiculous makeover shows on TV. Sure, you love your mom before she gets her wardrobe rebooted, but no one's complaining when she comes back minus the muumuu.

Let me assure you, this redesign is a very good thing. We've been using the new interface for over two months now, and it's made day-to-day analysis a breeze. I've had lots of time working with both, and the new one is superior in almost every way.

View Entire Referring URL in Google Analytics

Jesper Rønn-Jensen, a usability specialist who writes for one of the best blogs on UI and web standards, takes a look at the new Google Analytics interface. Jesper's still a little concerned about the number of clicks it takes to show you referring URLs down to the referral path.

We've had the chance to work with the new interface for a couple of month and I have to assure Jesper and others that it is now a bit easier to find this information. Now, on the new Referring Site report, instead of clicking on the now-missing Analysis Options icon (the little purple guy over to the left of each line item) and choosing Content from the dropdown, you just click on the referring site. This immediately shows you all referral paths from that specific domain. Very handy, in my opinion.

Check out some screenshots after the jump.

Matching Specific Transactions to Specific Keywords

May 2, 2007

moneyroll.jpgOne of the great things about Google Analytics is the ability to view overall trends for your website. You can, for example, see how well all visitors who come from AdWords are reaching one of your goals. You can see how valuable the average visit from an email campaign is to your ecommerce business. You can see total transactions and revenue, and see what percentage of transactions are coming from a specific marketing source.

But what if you want to see where a specific transaction came from? What if you get a very large order and you want to see what the marketing source for that specific order is? Well, now you can, with a set of three custom filters that work together.

Here are the details:

Desktop Widget for Google Analytics

April 30, 2007

vivalytics.gifWhile the ROI team were out at Mountain View last month, enjoying our training session with the Google Analytics team, we got the chance to meet Michael Whitaker of Monitus, LLC for sushi. Michael is the brains behind the Monitus Yahoo! Store Tools, which includes a really cool Web Analytics Connector that actually makes Google Analytics possible with Yahoo! Stores.

It was great to actually put a face to Michael's great reputation in the Yahoo! Store development field.

vivalytics2.gifMichael surprised us, though, with a sneak peek at his cool new VivAlytics Widget. This little tool allows you to track defined Key Performance Indicators for multiple Google Analytics accounts, profiles, reports, whatever. Find out whether a specific metric has increased or decreased over a given week or month. It's a really great resource for people who might be too busy to log into their Google Analytics account every day, but who still want to see how their websites are performing.

Not too long after we got back to Raleigh, Michael quietly made Vivalytics public over at It's a free download, it's cross-platform (Mac and PC), and just requires the (also free) Yahoo! Widget Engine. Do yourself a favor and take it for a test drive.

Exact Keyword Tracking with Google Analytics, Revisited

April 23, 2007

title.gifUPDATE: We have posted a new version of the script mentioned in this article at Exact Keyword Tracking for ga.js.

Last November, Jim Newsome of Omega Digital Media and the
GA Experts blog, posted a really clever trick on how to view detailed keyword information within Google Analytics. If you've ever searched through your AdWords Bid Terms and wondered what the actual Search Terms were, then you know why such a filter was in great demand. For PPC marketers, it's a great opportunity to weed out ineffectual broad match keyword phrases, and hone in on the most popular user search queries.

Here's an example: you've got a shoe store and you're running Broad Match AdWords ads for "shoes". When a visitor searches Google for "blue suede shoes", your ad shows up. This is all well and good, but what if you don't sell blue suede shoes?

Read on to find out how to track exactly what your visitors are searching for before they see your PPC ad and click on over to your site...

Google Analytics: Get It Right the First Time

April 19, 2007

Bad Google Analytics Source DataWe have a client that recently came on board with us after having installed Google Analytics themselves nearly a year ago. Back then, they were skeptical about our services: "Do people really need help setting up Google Analytics? It's so easy!" We had to agree that, yes, for a lot of sites, this is true: configuration is easy. Sign up, take the script, put it on all of your pages, and then sit back and start collecting data.

Unfortunately, its simplicity can be a little deceiving. There are a lot of little ifs and buts with Google Analytics. If you set up your Google Analytics profile incorrectly, it can mean huge repercussions for your data, weeks, months, even years down the road.

So when Client X finally hired us, we hopped right into their account and audited their Google Analytics profiles. What we found just further confirmed what any Google Analytics Authorized Consultant already know: setting up Google Analytics is not always a cakewalk.

Here's what happened, and let it stand as a warning to ye who may venture forth in similar fashion. Our client has a single site with multiple subdomains. For those playing along at home, this requires the addition of a parameter to tell Google Analytics how to assign and manage cookie data.

The Many Faces of Content

April 2, 2007


This is a follow-up to my last post, Testing AdWords Ads in Google Analytics. In that post, I talked about how you can cross-segment by Content in the AdWords Analysis report to find out more information about your AdWords ads (along with the limitations in doing so).

However, there are some more things this can show you, depending on the report you are viewing:

Top 3 Google Analytics FAQ


We offer a free webinar and a free mini-course on Google Analytics, and we provide a space in the sign-up form for both where people can type in their most burning questions about Google Analytics.

This helps us to make sure we are providing information in the webinar and the mini-course that people want, but over time it also has ended up providing a sort of 'Google Analytics Frequently Asked Questions' compilation.

Here are three of the most frequently asked questions:

Testing AdWords Ads in Google Analytics

March 26, 2007

A%2B.gifIt's easy to set up multiple ads for an Ad Group within Google AdWords, but how can you tell which ad is performing at a higher level? You may be using Conversion Tracker to make your decision, but that only tells a small part of the story using a single metric, cost per conversion.

Google Analytics allows you to get the entire story about the ads that you are testing, using multiple metrics. Here's how to get that story:

Join Us for Web Analytics Wednesday!

March 9, 2007

Sammy'ss.jpgWe're getting together for a casual 'Web Analytics Wednesday' on March 14th for all those web analytics professionals in the North Carolina Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) area who would enjoy getting together for a cold beer, some hot wings, and some great chat/networking. We know you're out there!

From the Web Analytics Association site:

Web Analytics Wednesday is the world's only distributed networking event for web analytics professionals. Open to everyone, practitioners and vendors alike, Web Analytics Wednesday is a free event allowing you to meet folks with similar work interests.

It's gonna be at 6pm on Wednesday, March 14th at Sammy's Tap & Grill, which is located on Avent Ferry Road.

If you're interested, register here so we can make an accurate reservation.

We're a friendly bunch - come on down and join us for some analytics chit-chat!

Here's to Avinash!

March 6, 2007

Avinash KaushikAvinash Kaushik has been blogging for nearly a year, and in that relatively short amount of time, he's cemented himself as one of the premier web analytics experts in the blogosphere. Today, Avinash announced on his blog that he'll be leaving Intuit, where he has worked as Director of Web Research and Analytics since 2003, and will be striking out as an independent consultant.

We'd like to congratulate Avinash on this exciting new opportunity. It takes a lot of guts to go indy, but if this means more time for him to write more great blog articles, then I don't think Avi has anything to worry about. Plus, his first assignment is working as an Analytics Evangelist for Google. He's going to be spreading the word about analytics, and working with the Google Analytics team on speaking and education engagements. I can't really think of any better representation for the tool.

All this just a couple of months away from the release of his much-anticipated new book, Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. If you need proof of how great a guy Avinash is, he's donating all proceeds from this book to two great charities, The Smile Train and Doctors Without Borders. We've already pre-ordered two copies for the office, and if you have any interest in web marketing or analytics, you should head over to Amazon and do the same. For more information on the book, check out its official page: Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, by Avinash Kaushik.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Barbie 'n KenYesterday, I wrote about tracking your website's visits to both Google Analytics and Urchin. Today, I'll answer a different question: can you track visits from a single website in multiple Google Analytics accounts? Certainly not as popular of a question, but still one that we're asked from time to time.

First things first, you'll need to understand the difference between a Google Analytics account and a Google Analytics profile.

Your GA account is tied into your Google Account, which is a single-entry login point that gives you access to most of Google's free services (Personalized Homepage, Personalized Search, Google Groups, etc.) If you're logging into Google Analytics, then you already have a Google account (but, contrary to popular belief, this does not necessarily mean that you have a Gmail account).

Your Choice: Urchin, Google Analytics... or Both?

March 5, 2007

Ayyyyy!A lot of our Google Analytics clients are Urchin Software users of old. Many of them hopped on the script-based bandwagon when Urchin introduced its UTM method, which combined traditional log-based tracking with a snippet of JavaScript that wrote and parsed cookies for greater accuracy over multiple sessions.

The natural progression was then to Urchin On Demand, which was entirely hosted and exclusively dependant on JavaScript. When UOD was rebranded as Google Analytics, we helped many of these clients migrate over. Because many had purchased Urchin, or had an Urchin installation through their hosting provider, they wished to track their sites on both the new Google Analytics service, as well as via tried-and-true Urchin.

If you're analyzing logfile traffic in Urchin using the "IP + User Agent" tracking method, you're fine. The standard Google Analytics tracking code will integrate seamlessly with your website. If, however, you are using the UTM method, you will need to make a few minor modifications on your site.

Secure vs. Nonsecure Pages in Google Analytics

March 1, 2007


During our recent training series, we received a lot of questions concerning how to add the Google Analytics tracking code to a site. Now there are lots of different things to think about before doing this, but a very important and basic one is the security level of your domain. If you have a shopping cart or some kind of secure lead collector, then there's a good chance that part of your site resides on a secure server, which you may recognize as https:// instead of the normal http://

Why is this important? Because the regular Google Analytics script can cause errors on secure servers, that's why! Now there are long ways to make sure you don't run into this problem, and there are easy ways. Well, unless you're trying to build character or torture yourself (like all of you who aren't using a separate include for your Google Analytics script), then the easy way is the way to go. Let me share the two easy ways with you...

Google Analytics: Get More Out of It

February 28, 2007

For home repairs and odd jobs, I pretty much just need a hammer and a screwdriver. Yup, that's it. I can make those two tools do just about everything I need. Maybe that hammer isn't supposed to be used to make that stubborn jigsaw puzzle piece fit, but by golly it's GOING to fit in that spot!

Google Analytics is kind of similar. If you know what you are doing, you can wring pretty much any piece of information you could ever want or need out of it.

One of the main aspects that allow you such a wide range of flexibility is the Analysis Options feature. Sadly, this super-cool feature is normally underused. To access the Analysis Options, just click on the little purple icon (shown here) Analysis%20Options%20Button.jpgnext to the information you want to know more about.

Google Analytics Link Tagging 102

February 19, 2007

In this article, I'd like to take a look at how to choose the best language for your tagging efforts. With manual tagging you pick variables to help you tag: Source, Medium, Campaign, and if you're tracking paid keywords, Term.

You might want to reference the previous article that Michael Harrison wrote on how to tag, Google Analytics Link Tagging 101.

How do you choose what to call these variables? Whatever you choose, it is imperative that you are consistent. When you are tagging a banner ad, do not list the Medium as 'banner' for one ad and 'bannerad' for another. This will prevent you from being able to make the comparisons that really make tagging worthwhile in the first place.

Yahoo! Stores and Google Analytics: Huh, That's Funny

February 14, 2007

Yahoo%21%20Stores.JPGROI Revolution has worked with a lot of different clients over time, and we often get people with Yahoo! Stores who call us up because they have noticed some problems.

See, the way Google Analytics interacts with a Yahoo! Store prevents referral data from the Yahoo! Store from correctly flowing into Google Analytics.

You may have been using Google Analytics on your Yahoo! Store for some time and not noticed anything wrong right away. As it turns out, there are a few holes that need to be filled in. It just so happens that those 'holes' represent some of the most important information that Google Analytics can provide for you: referral data that is associated with actual products and transaction amounts.

Tracking PayPal Transactions in Google Analytics

February 13, 2007

00_paypal.gifWe've had a lot of people enrolled in our Google Analytics Quick-Start Courses asking about PayPal. We've helped a few of our clients track PayPal e-commerce within Google Analytics, thanks to the Payment Data Transfer function and a bit of scripting on the back-end.

This method has only been tested with Buy Now buttons, and in all fairness, isn't much more than a hack. There are a couple of drawbacks. Because you cannot tag PayPal pages with the Google Analytics JavaScript, you will not have accurate funnel data for your e-commerce conversion goal. All converting visitors will leave your site (and move to PayPal) before coming back and registering their transaction. This will also result in an artificial hike in your total visits. That being said, it gets PayPal transaction data into Google Analytics, and is also relatively easy for those who are familiar with HTML, scripting, and general web development. Not everyone is going to understand this stuff, and if you find the whole mess a little too much, we're happy to help out with one of our Google Analytics support plans. Otherwise, read on and learn about how to track your PayPal transactions in Google Analytics.

Campaign ROI Calculation Spreadsheet

February 7, 2007

Click on the image to see the full report

*NOTE: This article is out of date. Please visit the updated article here.

One of the major problems with using Google Analytics is that it does not yet allow you to input cost data for your non-AdWords sources. While there are several ways to go about doing this manually, we've come up with a quick, simple tool you can use to help speed the process along.

Defining Bounce Rate

February 6, 2007

It is easy to take certain words and phrases for granted until something happens to make you question it, kinda like this old joke back from 4th grade:

"(sniff) My nose is running."
"Oh, yeah? Where's it running TO? Haha!"

Ok, that was much funnier in the 4th grade, trust me. Anyways, another word that I have been taking for granted is 'bounce'. This was brought to my attention when several people who are enrolled in our Google Analytics Quick-Start Course asked us about 'bounce' and 'bounce rate'.

Wikipedia defines a bounce as occurring "when a website visitor immediately leaves a website after viewing only a single page...The Bounce Rate for a website is the number of web site visitors who visit only a single page of a website per session divided by the total number of website visitors."

Track AdSense

January 30, 2007

We've had quite a few questions about how to track outbound AdSense clicks from a website using Google Analytics. There's an older post (from 2005) over on Aaron Wall's SEOBook blog, but it should still work. Check out how to track Google AdSense clicks in Google Analytics.

The Secret to Making Money with Organization

January 18, 2007

I'm addicted to organization. It's so satisfying to take a tangled-up mess of a situation (whether it's a shoe closet or a business process) and straighten it out into a neat and tidy condition. Another area of potential organization nirvana has recently come to my attention: Google Analytics.

Oh, I hear you laughing out there!

But it's true, and it can have a huge payoff. Comparing all of your online marketing campaigns will be MUCH easier if you remember to organize your marketing efforts from the campaign, medium, and source level.

ROI Revolution "Success Stories" Contest Winning Entry

December 22, 2006


OK, we've got a winner!

Truth be told we only had one entry for our Google Analytics Success Stories Holiday contest, but it's really great and very deserving of the $400 gift certificate for a beautiful handcrafted Jewelry Chest.

Dustin Sparks was the lucky one, and did get his gift certificate in time for the holidays. This is being posted after the fact due to a pretty annoying server issue, that is now past us (finally!).

Anyway, here it is, enjoy:

I set out to accomplish the goal of increasing sales/conversion on our site. We have a very solid product and great Search Engine presence; we just weren't getting the sales we believed that they were capable of. In order to increase anything I had to find quickly & accurately identify what was working as well as what was "broken" in order to tune what worked & eliminate what was not accomplishing any of the sites goals.

To do this I had to establish a baseline of data for things like traffic source, homepage abandonment rate, top content, top paths etc. Google Analytics was not only KEY to establishing this baseline it was as easy to install as falling off of a chair.

Paul Botto Talks Google Analytics at SES Chicago

December 4, 2006

microphone2.jpgThis week is the last Search Engine Strategies conference (Chicago, IL) for 2006.

Google Analytics' Paul Botto just presented on the highlights of Google Analytics and also snuck in a sound bite about the Google Website Optimizer BETA.

Here's a brief on his talk today from the seroundtable site:

It's (i.e. Google Analytics) a free hosted web analytics service, 80+ reports.

It is for all types of sites, e-commerce, lead generation and brand awareness.

It's more than a technical to now a web marketing tool. You can track all marketing efforts, not just Google stuff.

You can also identify problem areas on your site. Funnel visualization reports and product merchandising.

You can also analyze the results across two data ranges, to see if you improved or not.

Analytics is integrated with AdWords, automatically.

You can compare organic versus paid keywords.

I will be attending the full day training this Friday at SES Chicago on Paid Search Advertising. Please drop me a line if you will be there Friday as well and perhaps we can find Andy and Ben for a free beer!

Google Analytics "Success Stories" Holiday Contest

November 21, 2006

Well, the holidays are fast approaching, and as the flurry of shoppers gradually intensifies, we here at ROI Revolution are getting into the season's spirit.

So after you've finished carving your turkey and before you start your holiday shopping (for those of us that like to wait), we'd like to invite you to pick up a pen or a.... well, a keyboard and send us an article. If you have a first-hand success story or a personal account of how you or your business used Google Analytics to improve your web marketing or your website's performance, we'd love to share it.

And that's not all! In addition to having your guest article appear in our blog, you will be eligible to win a $400 gift certificate to purchase a beautifully handcrafted jewelry chest (among other things) for someone you love. A full selection of merchandise can be found at Here's a look at a few things a $400 gift certificate can get you:

295box.jpg  360box.jpg  manbox.jpg

So here are the details:

Tracking Individual Clients on Database-Driven Pages Using Google Analytics

November 20, 2006

Here's a question we have been asked recently:

We run a centralized application that manages different websites. It's a database driven set of pages that, depending on a URL variable, displays a specific client's content.

(ex. displays client A's content displays client B's content)

A critical note is that each client's domain name is not configured as a website in IIS; we simply direct all domain names to the same IP and use a script to associate the domain name with a client's ID. Currently, we have about 100 clients, but the implementation must be scalable to as many as 400.

So the questions we have are...

1. Is there a way for us to use Google Analytics to track statistics independently for each client?
2. Would I have to install all Google Analytics tracking codes in the same page?
3. Can Google Analytics track a profile based on the domain name only?

Well, there a couple of solutions to this particular problem that you could try (they haven't been tested). Both of them involve creating separate profiles for each client.

Database copy.jpg
Creating a new field (in MS Access)

William Cline Receives Google Authorized Analytics Training by ROI Revolution

November 14, 2006


William Cline from the Cline Group came out with a press release today that we were extremely proud to be mentioned in. Here is a quote from the press release, "William Cline, Scuba Diving Industry Consultant, Receives Google Authorized Analytics Training by ROI Revolution":

William Cline receives cutting edge training from a noted Google Authorized Training company, ROI Revolution, for website analytics applications. William says "Being trained by ROI has given me a market advantage in that very few scuba diving companies or tourism boards actually employ sophisticated website and email marketing analytics. I now have those skills to guide my clients better, but more importantly, help them deploy cutting-edge Google analytics technologies."
We're blushing over here, William!

It's incredibly satisfying be able to help companies like the Cline Group utilize Google Analytics in order to leverage the potential in their market. Thanks for the kind words, William. We're glad we could help.

Understanding Google Analytics' Data Over Time Report

November 1, 2006

headline.gifWhile the Google Analytics Help Center is, for the most part, well-written and comprehensive, I've gotten a lot of questions in the past about the Analysis Options feature. In case you're unfamiliar (and if you are, you're really missing out... this little options.gif button is one of the most powerful features of Google Analytics), I'll quote from the official source:

The Analysis Options icon provides access to:
  • Data Over Time shows the values for the selected page over a selected date range.
  • Overlay Page loads the Site Overlay report for the selected page.
  • To-date Lifetime Value calculates that page's values since Analytics tracking began.
  • Cross Segment Performance breaks the page's data down by the specified variable.

That's actually the entirety of the article that deals with Analysis Options. That's it. There's nothing more. Which is unfortunate, because it's such a downright effective tool. I get a lot of questions about each Analysis Option, so I'm going to spend some time over the next couple weeks detailing each individual report.

To start with, we'll go over Data Over Time. Contrary to the explanation given by Google, Data Over Time does more than display values "for the selected page" over time. You can also use it to measure visitor segments, campaign conversion rates, average revenue, and product performance, all over a customized period of time. This is very useful for trending, and for a quick at-a-glance view of your site's performance over the days and months.

The Dangers of the Dreaded Cookie Cutting!

cookie_moster2.jpgOnce you jump onto the analytics-bandwagon, its tempting to begin to worry about accuracy. What if visitors delete their cookies? What if they don't have javascript turned on in the first place? Oh NO!!

Ok, ok... let's calm down and take a look at the situation. Is it really worth all that worry and nail biting?

A lot of people think so, especially after Jupiter Research announced last month that 58 percent of users delete their cookies regularly, with 40 percent deleting them every month. That news definitely got people a little concerned, but it may not be as important as you think it is.

The Promise of Overseas Visitors

October 30, 2006

Globe.jpgIn general, people don't optimize their website for non-USA traffic. It never crosses many people's mind. Why would it? Who else would be looking for your site, anyway?

Surprise, surprise - there is a good chance that your site has a substantial number of foreign visitors!

Just how substantial, though?

Well, I took a look at the Google Analytics account we have set up for the ROI Revolution site, and the Geo Location report said we had a total of 37,823 visitors for a certain time period. Of those 37,823 visitors, 11,045 where from outside of the United States. That is nearly 30% of the traffic coming to the site!

Doubtless you are wondering why this even matters.

The fact is that this is often a great potential market. So many people overlook overseas market that any effort you make to optimize for this audience will probably have a pretty decent impact.Geo Location.jpg

Depending on your situation, it might be a good idea to offer multiple language versions of your website. At the very least offer international shipping options.

What have you tried in an effort to market to a specific geographically-oriented market?

Choosing Who to Bring to the Table

October 27, 2006

Soldier.jpgIn the blog article "Start at the Beginning: Making Sense of the Google Analytics Toolbox" I outlined 4 steps to go through before trying to nail down exactly what to track in Google Analytics. What I didn't address was WHO to go through those steps with. Having this discussion with people 'in the know' is key.

But who exactly is 'in the know'? And what do we want them to know?

Well, I'm glad you asked!

I'll give you a hint: it's probably not your executives, or department heads. It's not your PR or IT person.

It's the ground troops.

Book review: "Google Analytics" by Mary E. Tyler and Jerri L. Ledford

October 25, 2006

Google Analytics BookA little over a month ago, I pointed out that a new Google Analytics paperback had hit the streets. I had just ordered my copy from Amazon and promised to post my review of it as soon as I finished reading it.

Released in early September, the book makes the following promises on its back cover:

    * Get familiar with the concept of analytics, what Google Analytics offers, and how it compares to popular site statistics programs.
    * Learn to set up the program, navigate the interface, understand filters, and use goal-setting features.
    * Integrate Google Analytics with Google AdWords.
    * Make the most of reporting dashboards.
    * Find out how to use analytics for marketing and content optimization.
    * Understand what each type of report means and how to interpret it.
    * Explore how other companies have used analytics to improve site performance.
    * Investigate how to use Google Analytics for complete e-commerce analysis.

Here's my opinion on how it delivers:

Web Analytics Wednesday in Raleigh, NC

October 22, 2006

Sammy'ss.jpgWe've started a regular monthly 'Web Analytics Wednesday' for all web analytics professionals in the North Carolina Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) area who would enjoy getting together for a cold beer, some hot wings, and some great chat/networking.

From the Web Analytics Association site:

Web Analytics Wednesday is the world's only distributed networking event for web analytics professionals. Open to everyone, practitioners and vendors alike, Web Analytics Wednesday is a free event allowing you to meet folks with similar work interests.

We're going to host the first event at 6pm on Wednesday, November 8th at Sammy's Tap & Grill, which is located on Avent Ferry Road.

If you're interested, register here so we can make an accurate reservation.

The first round is on my boss, Timothy Seward! Haha, liked how smoothly I worked that in, didn't you?

Using Google Analytics to Track Google Checkout Orders

October 13, 2006

googcheckout.gifSome really great news over at the Official Google Analytics Blog. Merchants using Google Checkout can now track purchases made on their site with Google Analytics. The procedure is outlined here.

Guess this is just another example of "features, not products".

We Want YOUR 2 Cents!

2 cents.jpg Over here at ROI Revolution, Michael Harrison and I have been brainstorming ways to make the Google Analytics Training Webinar we offer even better and more beneficial to those who attend. The Training Webinar focuses on interpreting the reports within Google Analytics and explaining what information you can get out of those reports.

Currently we have the webinar organized by the sections in Google Analytics: Marketing Optimization, Content Optimization, and E-Commerce Analysis.

But we began to think "Maybe It would be better to organize this webinar based on the things people are really going to use Google Analytics for!" and the more we thought about it the more we liked that idea.

Online Marketing
With this example, we would list the major reports in Google Analytics that would help somebody trying to do effective online marketing, like the All CPC Analysis report.

So now we would like to ask YOU, our readers: what activities would you like to see addressed in a Google Analytics Training Webinar?

Wishful Thinking for a Green Christmas?

October 11, 2006

cmasmoney.jpgNice article in a recent issue of Direct Magazine about online direct marketers anticipating the holidays.

They hope to pull in 20% of their 2006 revenue during the holidays, according to a survey conducted by Forrester Research and for WebTrends.

And it isn't a small amount: The e-commerce total for the year is expected to top $200 billion.

Not that they're doing much to ensure a green Christmas.

The article then goes on to point out the percentage of web retailers who are reducing perks like free shipping, repeat-buyer discounts, and free gift with order...but the really amazing stat to me was the slim percentage doing measurement (36% using 'activity' or order metrics, 28% using click stats from referring media, and 10% plan to 'focus on unique visits' (does this mean they're looking at the little green page view counter at the bottom of their home page?) or deferred sales conversions (what the heck is a deferred sales conversion?--"Houston, we had a conversion--but it we won't see it in our stats package for another month or two").

The remainder won't do any 'demand measurement'. Ouch. Keep dreaming.

Tracking Multiple Domains

September 26, 2006

Justin Cutroni has yet another great series of articles over at his blog, all about common Google Analytics configuration mistakes. His most recent post discusses third party domains, and getting Google Analytics to track across them. As usual, it's well-written and very informative.

One thing that many people don't know, however, is that, by default, Google Analytics will track only the request URI of its tagged pages.

What's the URI, you ask? Take a look at the URL below:

Hostname and URI explained

You see that the part of the URL that is surrounded by red is "/index.htm". So, when a visitor hits the page above, Google Analytics registers a unique visit to "/index.htm". Because the majority of Google Analytics profiles are focused on only one domain, the hostname (surrounded by blue) is ignored in the reports.

But what if you have two domains? And what if you have pages on both domains that have the very same URI?

You're the Guest Blogger: Google Analytics Stories from the Trenches

September 22, 2006

A couple of days ago, I pointed out a ClickZ article which discussed how a New York-based retailer (BuiltNY) tracks their print campaign with Google Analytics. Later in my post I asked for YOUR success stories.

Terry's BassWell the very next morning I heard from Terry Howard, owner of a fishing community site for Central Florida.

Here's Terry's story:

I work on a new project starting up that is a fishing community site for Central Florida.

We wanted to use business cards to place at bait shops, marinas, sub shops, wherever.

In order to track how successful these are we used our abbreviated domain instead of our primary on the cards and I set up a 301 redirect that is triggered whenever the short url is accessed and there is no referrer data sent.

This redirect sends type in traffic of that domain to our homepage with a tracking variable "?ref=offline" tacked on the end.

Now we can simply go into analytics under dynamic content, find the tracking URL page views and check conversion rates.

We can also do a crossview on the city stats to get roughly how we converted at specific card drop locations and even determine the range our cards have, like if people picked them up at one of our location and then took them home to a city across the state to look up our site at home.

Very cool!

Terry, great looking website by the way and great Google Analytics battlefield story. Send me your address and I'll mail a gift card for dinner for you and the Mrs.

Anyone else want to guest blog about how you're using Google Analytics successfully and get some free exposure for your website (and a PR5 link)?

Drop me a line and I'll publish your story if you've got your own good-great example.