Archive for the ‘web-analytics’ Category

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Breaking: Email Reports and PDF Export (in Beta) Now Available in Google Analytics v5 [Screenshots]

OK, I’ve been waiting for this functionality to hit the latest version of Google Analytics for some time, and I’m excited that it’s finally here! From what I gather, this is rolling out gradually (in beta), so not everyone is seeing what I’m seeing. About 10 minutes ago, my Google Analytics session froze. Upon refreshing, I noticed an “Email” button on the action bar with a beta label, along with a new option in the “Export” dropdown. You can now email reports as an attachment (in csv, tsv, tsv for excel, and now PDF!) That’s right, you can email pdf’s, as well as export them separately. You can also schedule emails by frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly), so you can automatically send reports.

Below are screenshots of the buttons in action:

Email Button in Google Analytics:
Email report functionality in Google Analytics v5

Export to PDF in Google Analytics v5:
Export to PDF functionality in Google Analytics v5

As of now, Google Analytics hasn’t officially stated this is rolling out, but I’m seeing it.

Let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to provide more information until you receive the update!

[Update] Now that I’ve had some time to play with the new functionality, I wanted to explain more about export to pdf and the advanced email functionality in Google Analytics.

1. Export to PDF
From any report, you can easily click the “Export” dropdown in the action bar to export that report as a pdf. There aren’t options for tailoring the report, and it will be exported immediately. As with other reports, you can increase the number of rows exported by altering the table.rowCount parameter in the URL. For example, changing it to “50” will export 50 rows versus the default 10. The report in pdf format includes the trending graph, aggregate metrics for the report you are viewing, and the rows of data with associated metrics (based on the view you are currently in). For example, Site Usage, Goal Set 1, eCommerce, etc.

Sample PDF Report in Google Analytics v5

2. Email Reports (With Scheduling)
The second piece of functionality I’ll cover is the new Email Report functionality. As I explained above, you can also find the “Email” button via the action bar. When you click the button, you are presented with a set of options, including choosing the format of the report. You will notice that “PDF” is now an option. You can also set the frequency for the scheduled report, including once, daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. If you choose weekly, you can then choose the day of the week that the report will be emailed. If you choose monthly, you can choose the day of the month. Last, there is an arrow labeled “Advanced Options”, which enables you to choose how long the scheduled report should be active for. The dropdown list includes 1-12 months.

Scheduling Reports via Email in Google Analytics v5

Wrapping Up – The Power of the PDF
Once your account receives the update, you should test the new functionality for exporting pdf’s. I think you’ll like it. This is something that’s been much needed for some time. Now let me go schedule some more reports. :)

GG

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

How To Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics by Customizing a Standard Report [Tutorial]

Custom Reports in Google Analytics

Custom reports in Google Analytics are incredibly powerful.They enable you to tailor reporting, based on your own business, your own conversion goals, key metrics, etc.The problem is that custom reports can be confusing to create. You have metric drilldowns, dimension groups, report views, filters, etc. If you aren’t familiar with creating custom reports, the interface could be daunting. That said, you shouldn’t give up trying to create custom reports! Again, they can be very powerful for analyzing traffic.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through creating a custom report that displays organic search traffic from mobile devices. The report will also enable you to view those visits by location. It’s a nifty custom report for any local business. The report lets you quickly view top keywords leading to your site via organic search (mobile traffic), but also lets you view how many of those visits are from potential buyers (people located near your business).

In addition, Google recently released functionality for customizing a standard report versus having to create every custom report from scratch. This is a great option if you are new to custom reports and want to tailor some of the existing reports in Google Analytics to fit your needs.

Creating a Custom Report from a Standard Report
As I mentioned earlier, we’ll start with a standard report in Google Analytics and tailor it to meet our goals. Since we are going to create a report showing organic search from mobile devices, let’s start with the Mobile Overview report and customize it to display:

  • Organic keywords leading to the site (mobile traffic).
  • The region those visits are from (i.e. states).
  • The cities within those regions that visits are coming from.
  • The mobile operating system from those visits (android, iphone, etc.)

The goal of the report is to know the organic keywords leading to the site from mobile visits, and how many of those visits are from potential customers (people located near your business).

How to Create the Custom Report (from a Standard Report)

1. Open up Google Analytics, click the “Audience” tab, and then expand the “Mobile” link in the left side navigation. Click the “Overview” link to view the Mobile Overview report.

Accessing the Mobile Overview Report in Google Analytics

2. Click the “Customize” link in the action bar of the report. This will enable you to customize this report for your own needs (by creating a custom report based on this standard report). Note, not all standard reports can be customized this way. Tabular reports can be customized this way, but you will find other reports within GA that cannot be converted to custom reports:

Customizing a Standard Report in Google Analytics

3. When you click “customize”, the standard report will be loaded into “report builder”. The initial view will show you the current report mapped out already in report builder. Then you can tailor the various elements, based on what you are trying to achieve with your own custom report.

Report Builder in Google Analytics

4. You can keep the current metric groups if you want. If you ever want to go back and customize the metric groups, you can by editing the custom report. For example, you definitely want to set up various conversion goals and events so you can better understand quality traffic. Once you do, you can add them to your metric groups so you can view performance by traffic in your custom report.

5. Under dimension drilldowns, you will only see “Mobile” listed. Adding more dimensions will enable you to drill into each level to find more data. As I explained above, we want to drill into mobile traffic to reveal the organic keywords leading to the site. Then we want to view location by region and state. So, let’s add those additional dimensions to our report.

Adding Dimensions to a Custom Report in Google Analytics

6. Click the “Add Dimension” box in dimension drilldowns and select “Keyword” from the “Advertising” list.

Adding More Dimensions to a Custom Report in Google Analytics

7. Next, add more dimensions to your report. Click the “Add Dimension” box again, and include the “Region” dimension from the “Visitors” list. After adding “Region”, you should go through the same process to add another dimension for “City”.

Adding Location Dimensions to a Custom Report in Google Analytics

8. Filter Your Traffic
The last step is to make sure the traffic is only from organic search. We only want to view mobile traffic from organic search, so we need to tell Google Analytics to filter that traffic for us. Click the “Add a Filter” box under the “Filters” category. Select the “Medium” dimension under the “Traffic Sources” list. Then select “include” from the first filter dropdown, leave “Medium” as the dimension, leave “Exact” in the third dropdown, and then enter “organic” in the text box (without quotes). See the screenshot below to follow along. This text tells Google Analytics to include all traffic that exactly matches “organic” as the medium. “Organic” is what’s listed for all organic search traffic.

Filtering Traffic in a Custom Report in Google Analytics

Congratulations! You just created a custom report, based on a standard report. Click “Save” at the bottom of the report and you’ll be taken to the functioning report in Google Analytics.

You can start drilling into the report by clicking “Yes” in the mobile report, which will reveal all organic keywords from mobile traffic. Then you can click any keyword to view the region those visits are from. If you click the region, you can view the cities within that region. Again, this report can help you identify mobile traffic from organic search, the keywords being searched for, and identify if these are potential customers (based on their proximity to your local business).

Bonus: Access the Custom Report Template
As an added bonus, I have shared the template for this custom report and you can access it by clicking the link below. Once you click the link, you can add this template to a Google Analytics profile and start using the report today. You can also analyze the report setup so you can work through creating similar custom reports. Click the following link to access the custom report for organic search visits from mobile devices.

Summary – Customize It!
I hope this post helped clear up some of the confusion associated with building custom reports in Google Analytics. I love that Google added the ability to customize standard reports, since that’s sometimes all you want to do… If you are new to custom reports, then I recommend starting with a standard report and then customizing that report to fit your needs. Going through that process should help you get more comfortable with working in report builder and could lead to more advanced custom reports. And that can all lead to advanced analysis of your traffic. Good luck.

GG

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

How To Use Google Plus Ripples To Analyze Content, Sharing, and Influencers

How To Use Google Plus Ripples

Being neck deep in digital marketing, I can’t get my hands on enough data! Analytics is a core service of mine at G-Squared and I’m always looking for more sources of quality data (and tools that give me that data). Based on my experience over the past 16 years, I’m a firm believer that digital strategies should be guided by hard data and not opinion. And to me, Social Media Marketing should be no different. Yes, it can be a bit more challenging to get that information, but performance should dictate future efforts.

A core piece of Social Media Marketing involves the building and sharing of content. This includes developing the right content and sharing that content via number of mechanisms. It’s also incredibly important to build a following across social networks in order to spark that sharing, when you need it. That said, there are many times that marketers build some content, quickly shorten a URL, share on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, and then lose sight of that content as it hits the web. Sure, you can get some insight via various tools in the market, but it’s darn hard to track content as it gets shared across social networks. That’s an unfortunate reality.

So, wouldn’t it be cool if you could post an update and then view how that update was shared across a specific social network, including identifying influencers along the way? Yes, that’s my subtle lead-in to a free social analytics tool that enables you to do just that. It’s called Google Plus Ripples, it’s already live, and you can tap into its power right now. In addition, I’m going to help you understand more about Ripples and how you can use the functionality to impact your digital marketing efforts.

An Introduction to Google+ Ripples
Google Plus Ripples presents an interactive graph of public shares on Google+. It’s free to use and comes built-in with Google+. Ripples will visually show you who has shared a public post, along with any reshares. People who have shared a post will show up as a circle in the graph, and inside their circle, you can see others who have reshared that person’s post.

In addition, the size of each circle reflects the relative influence of that person. While interacting with the Ripple, you can hover over a member’s name to reveal their photo, name with a link to their profile, and their comment when they reshared the post. The graph is interactive, so you can zoom in, move around, etc. It’s awesome and enables you to drill into the various people (and now pages) that are sharing posts. To access a Ripple, click the dropdown arrow in the upper right-hand corner of any public post in Google+. Then click “View Ripples”.

Here is a screenshot of a Ripple in action:
Google Plus Ripples

Hovering over a user brings up their share, comments, and a link to their profile:
Viewing a share in Google Plus Ripples

The right sidebar contains the comments users have added when resharing the post. These are the same comments you will see if you hover over a person’s name in the graph. The sidebar lets you get a quick view of the comments people are adding as they reshare a post.

Viewing Public Shares in Google Plus Ripples Sidebar

But we’re not done yet. Below the graph is a timeline that shows how the post has been reshared over time. You can click the play button to view an animated representation of how that post has been shared by users on Google+.

Viewing The Share Timeline Google Plus Ripples

And last, but not least, you can view additional statistics below the timeline, including Social Hubs (people with the most reshares), the average chain length, and the native language in which the post was shared.

Additional Statistics in Google Plus Ripples

A few important notes:
* Ripples only show public shares, so you are not seeing 100% of the activity for each post.
* Ripples will show activity over the past 53 days. I don’t know why 53 days was chosen, but that’s what is listed in Google’s Help Center for Ripples.
* You can share any Ripple, by copying the URL and sharing with others.

How Digital Marketers Can Use Ripples:
I don’t know about you, but I think this is a pretty nifty tool Google has given us for free. Used properly, it can provide important insight for digital marketers. I have provided some ways you can use Ripples today to analyze how content gets shared across Google+.

1. Find and Connect With Influencers by Vertical
Finding the right people to connect with across social networks can be a daunting task. Google Plus Ripples enables you to see who has interest in specific pieces of content, who reshares posts, what they are saying about those posts, etc. In addition, you have a mechanism for viewing their profile right from Ripples (by clicking their names in the graph or from the right sidebar). This enables you to find people that 1) are actively sharing content, 2) are interested in content within a specific category, and 3) might be providing how they feel about that topic via their comments. That’s outstanding data for anyone looking to follow the right people.

For example, if you focus on selling the latest computer gear, then finding people that actively share content about computer gear is obviously a smart thing to do. Using Ripples, you can find those people, and then find the downstream users that reshared posts. Compare that process to browsing Circles to find people to connect with. I’ll take a user that actively shares over a profile bio any day of the week. :) Remember, these can be the people that end up resharing your own posts about a given subject.

2. Analyze How Various Types of Content Get Shared (and Which Types of Content Get Shared The Most).
If you are developing a content generation strategy, then analyzing Ripples can be incredibly powerful. Using the functionality in Ripples, you can identify the types of content that get shared heavily, how that content is written or presented, and which members are sharing it. You can also view comments about the content, which can tailor your own content generation plan.

For example, you can track how blog posts, videos, infographics, and whitepapers all get shared within your vertical. Based on the data you collect via Ripples, you can tailor your own content plan (which can give you a greater chance of success). Building content takes time, resources, and money. Ripples enable you to analyze what works and what doesn’t within your specific category. You can also combine this data with an inbound link analysis to view activity, shares, comments, and then inbound links that the content has built. More about linkbuilding below.

3. Using Ripples Data for Linkbuilding
Linkbuilding for SEO is extremely important. When developing a linkbuilding strategy, you want to identify the right content to produce, while also finding the right people to connect with that can potentially link to your new content. Google Plus Ripples provides a way to view both pieces of data.

As I explained earlier, you can view how pieces of content get shared and who is sharing that content. But then you can also correlate that information with the number and quality of inbound links the content is generating. Therefore, you can determine what to build, and who to connect with, in order to start building high quality links to your content.

Summary – Watch the Ripples
I hope this post helped explain what Ripples are and how to use them to analyze content, shares, and influencers on Google+. I’m excited that Google decided to empower users by providing a free social analytics tool that’s interactive, easy to use, and extremely valuable. Now it’s time for you to try out Google Plus Ripples. I have a feeling once you dig in, you’ll see how powerful it can be.

GG

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

G-Squared News: Glenn Gabe in Direct Marketing News and Google Analytics Featured Articles

I rarely take the time to post updates on my blog about company news, as I try to keep The Internet Marketing Driver focused on providing helpful digital marketing posts! That said, I’m really excited about some recent G-Squared Interactive news and decided to post an update today.

Direct Marketing News
First, in July I wrote a post on Search Engine Journal about Google+ Advertising Opportunities, based on the recent launch of Google’s social platform. That blog post was quickly noticed by Direct Marketing News, and a quote from my post was featured in the August issue. You can see a screenshot from the magazine below, and you can view the entire article as a PDF. If you end up reading the entire post on Search Engine Journal, you’ll understand the incredible opportunity Google has for connecting Search and Social, which is something that no other company has done in the past. Google could potentially add billions of dollars in advertising revenue via Google+, and my post explains some possible ways it can be implemented. You should check it out if you haven’t already.

Glenn Gabe in Direct Marketing News – Click the image below to view the full article (PDF):
Glenn Gabe in Direct Marketing News Regarding Google+

Google Analytics Featured Articles
In addition, I have exciting news about some of my analytics-focused blog posts. In June, Google reached out to me regarding my post about using Advanced Segments in Google Analytics to Identify SEO Problems. It ends up Google decided to feature that post in the Google Analytics Help Center! The featured article went live last month. Needless to say, I was thrilled to see Google feature one of my posts. I love writing in-depth tutorials about using Google Analytics to analyze digital marketing campaigns, Search traffic, etc., so I was honored to have Google feature one of those articles. In addition, I found out that several more of my posts will be listed in Google Analytics Help Center in the coming months. I will post updates here on my blog when that happens.

Glenn Gabe’s post about using Advanced Segments Featured in the Google Analytics Help Center:
Glenn Gabe's Post About Advanced Segments and SEO Featured in The Google Analytics Help Center

Subscribe to My Blog, Follow Me On Twitter, and Connect on Google+
Although I write extensively here on The Internet Marketing Driver, I’m also a columnist at Search Engine Journal and a contributor at the Microsoft adCenter blog. You should definitely subscribe to my blog to keep up with my latest posts about digital marketing. In addition, you should follow me on Twitter. My Twitter stream contains a constant flow of the latest news and information on technology, search engine marketing, web analytics, social media strategy, etc. You should also connect with me on Google+, which as you can probably guess, I’m a big fan of. :)

I look forward to sharing more exciting news from G-Squared.

GG

Monday, August 1st, 2011

How To Quickly View Mobile Visitor Performance in Google Analytics Using The New Mobile Reports [Tutorial]

Analyzing Mobile Performance in Google Analytics

As smartphone sales boom, and mobile traffic is on the increase, I’m finding many marketers are unclear about mobile visitor performance. I say this because whenever mobile comes up during conversations, I ask how well that traffic is converting, and I typically hear crickets (unfortunately). On a similar note, there are some marketers that are making decisions about creating mobile apps, mobile websites, transforming content, etc. without analyzing their mobile traffic. They hear that Android phones, iPhones, and iPads are selling like crazy, so their knee-jerk reaction is to make serious changes to their websites. That’s dangerous, since they are basing changes on opinion and not data. And if you’ve read previous posts of mine, you know I’m a firm believer in basing changes on hard data. It’s one of the reasons that analytics is a core service of mine.

So, if you are wondering how your mobile traffic compares to your desktop/laptop traffic, then this post is for you. I’m going to show you a quick and easy way to use the new Google Analytics to understand top-level mobile performance. Note, you’ll probably want to dig much deeper than what I’m going to show you, but this process will give you real data about mobile performance. I want you to be comfortable the next time your CMO brings up mobile traffic at your weekly meeting. As everyone else in the room is nervously quiet, you can be the one that starts presenting real numbers, based on Google Analytics reporting. Let’s dig in.

Gaining a Mobile Baseline
In order to make smart and informed decisions about mobile strategy, you need to at least have a basic understanding of how your current mobile traffic is performing. In addition, it’s a wise move to have data points handy when asked how your current site handles mobile visitors. For example, if your CEO or CMO suddenly want to know the percentage of revenue or conversion coming from mobile visitors. As explained earlier, instead of awkward silence, you can be the one speaking up and giving hard numbers.

Using the methods listed below, you can fire up Google Analytics, access just a handful of reports, and view performance data for mobile visitors. In addition, you can view mobile performance by operating system (iPhone, Android, iPad, Blackberry, etc.), since we know that’s the next logical question your CMO will ask. :) Before we hop in, you’ll be happy to know that the latest version of Google Analytics provides mobile reports that contain this information. Using this data, you can quickly understand if mobile visitors are having problems when visiting your site, if they are bouncing, not converting, etc. After you run this top-level reporting, you can choose to dig deeper, identify changes to make, and form a stronger mobile strategy.

Two Quick Methods for Viewing Top-Level Mobile Performance
I’m going to explain two quick methods for accessing mobile reporting in Google Analytics. Both reports are contained in the Mobile reporting tab within the Visitors section of Google Analytics. The first will enable us to see a top-level report for desktop and mobile visitors, while the second report will enable us to view mobile visitors by operating system.

Accessing Mobile Reporting in Google Analytics:
In the new Google Analytics, you can access mobile reporting in the Audience section of the UI. Click Audience, and then Mobile to reveal two reports (Overview and Devices). Note, Google Analytics has updated the interface, and the tab used to be named Visitors.

Accessing the mobile reports in Google Analytics

The first report we are going to access is the “Overview” report. This report simply shows mobile visitors versus non-mobile visitors. Although this looks like a simple report, it can show you the overall performance difference between the two segments of traffic (mobile and desktop visitors). Once you access the report, you’ll see two rows of data, one labeled “Yes” for mobile visitors, and the other “No” for non-mobile visitors. View the screenshot below.

Click the image below to view a larger version:
The mobile overview report in Google Analytics

At this point, all of your mobile traffic is lumped into the “Yes” row. You can quickly view top-level metrics like Bounce Rate, Pages Per Visit, Average Time on Site, etc. After taking a quick look at the report, how does the Bounce Rate look for mobile visitors? If you see a much higher bounce rate with your mobile traffic, it could obviously mean they are not having a great experience on your site. You might start asking some questions at this point… Does your current site render ok for mobile visitors? Is your navigation missing or broken on mobile devices? Can users convert, complete a transaction, etc? When helping clients review this data, I’ve seen some reports show a bounce rate for mobile visitors twice that of desktop visitors. There’s probably an issue if you see this…

Checking Conversion for Mobile Visitors
If you have set up multiple conversion goals, then click the Goal Set tabs.

Viewing mobile conversion in Google Analytics

Now you can see the difference between desktop and mobile visitors with regard to conversion. If you run an e-commerce site, you can view revenue numbers for each segment, as well. Again, we are just looking at a top-level view right now. Based on what you find, you will probably want to dig much deeper into traffic sources, campaigns, keywords, content, etc., but that’s for another post. :)

By the way, notice the process you are going through to analyze mobile traffic in Google Analytics is quick and easy, but also very powerful. Many companies I speak with aren’t armed with even the most basic data regarding mobile performance. By quickly going through this process, you will have a top-level view of mobile performance based on data. This will enable you to make informed decisions about how to best move forward with your site content, how to drive conversion via mobile visitors, etc. Basically, you’ll have data backing your case.

Viewing Mobile Traffic by Operating System
Let’s say that mobile traffic has a high bounce rate and low conversion (obviously). Your next question might be, “which mobile operating systems perform best or worst on my site?” For example, Android vs. iPhone vs. Blackberry vs. iPad. The good news is that you can quickly see the breakdown via the “Devices” report in the Mobile reporting in Google Analytics. Once you click the “Devices” report, you can dimension the report by mobile operating system by clicking the “Operating System” link (which is located horizontally at the top of the report.) See screenshot below.

Viewing mobile reporting by operating system in Google Analytics

Once you click the operating system dimension, you will see all of your mobile visits broken down by mobile operating system. Then you can go through the same process we used above to view bounce rate, conversion, revenue, etc. You might find that certain OS’s have more problems than others. For example, maybe iPad traffic has a 92% bounce rate and very low conversion rates, where Android phones have a 42% bounce rate and decent conversion rates. You won’t know until you run the reporting. And again, you will probably want to dig deeper once you get a top-level view by OS. But again, that’s for another post.

Fast and Easy Can Still Be Powerful
The next time you’re in a meeting and someone asks how mobile visitors perform on your website, you can now be armed with data. As I’ve mentioned before, don’t base decisions on opinion when you can analyze hard data via Google Analytics reporting. In just minutes, you can gain a top-level view of mobile visitor performance, and then dig deeper to view performance by mobile operating system.

Are you ready to analyze your own site now? Don’t hesitate, go and access the reports I just covered in this post. You never know what you’re going to find.

GG

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

How to Use Plot Rows in Google Analytics to Quickly Trend Sources of Traffic or Keywords

Plot Rows in Google Analytics v5

Google Analytics v5 was released last month, which included several new and valuable features. For example, tracking events as conversions, custom dashboards, cross channel tracking, etc. That said, there is one new feature that hasn’t gotten much press, but is very handy. It’s called Plot Rows and enables you to easily trend rows of data with a click of a checkbox. If you use Google Analytics on a regular basis, you’ll find that plot rows can be an extremely helpful tool for viewing trending without having to drill further into your reporting. In this post, I’m going to cover what it is, how you can use it, while showing several examples of it in action. My hope is that you can start to use plot rows during your own analysis today.

What is Plot Rows?
When you access reports in GA, the trending graph at the top of the screen typically provides trending for a default metric in the report you are looking at. For example, while viewing search traffic, you’ll see trending for visits over the time period selected. But what if you wanted to quickly see Google versus Bing or Yahoo versus Bing? In order to get this trending, you would have to use advanced segments or drill into each traffic source. But, with the latest version of Google Analytics, you can now use plot rows to see trending for any two rows of data from nearly any report. Using our example from earlier, you could click the checkboxes for both Google and Bing to view trending over time. See the screenshot below. Awesome.

Using Plot Rows to trend traffic sources in Google Analytics v5

Note: The checkboxes are located to the left of each row, and the “Plot Rows” button is located at the bottom of the report.

Trend More Metrics
Again, if you are analyzing website traffic and performance on a regular basis, this can be a great tool for you to utilize. But, plot rows functionality doesn’t only apply to visits. You can trend any metric available in the graph using plot rows. For example, want to trend conversion rate, bounce rate, or ecommerce revenue for specific traffic source or keywords? You can. This will enable you to analyze specific rows of data on the fly. View the screenshot below of trending both visits and ecommerce conversion rate.

Using Plot Rows to trend additional metrics in Google Analytics v5

Once you use plot rows, you might find some interesting trending and choose to further analyze that data using more advanced techniques (like advanced segments). For me personally, plot rows has enabled me to quickly analyze various rows of data, which has helped me glean insights from that data, and then dig deeper. And that’s what analytics is all about.

Analyzing Keywords (both SEO and SEM)
If you are analyzing search traffic and want to trend various keywords that have driven traffic recently, then plot rows can also come in very handy. Without plot rows, you would have to drill into each keyword in GA to view trending. Now you can tick the boxes next to those keywords and click “Plot Rows” at the bottom of the report to immediately see trending in your reporting. And again, it doesn’t have to be just visits. It can be revenue, bounce rate, etc.

Grouping Your Keywords for Cleaner Analysis
Since you will be comparing each keyword to the total traffic level in GA (for now), scale can become a problem. For example if two keywords only drove a small percentage of traffic, then trending them using plot rows could lead to a graph that is tough to view and interpret. In this situation, it’s best to use advanced search to view a group of keywords and then plot rows against a subset of those keywords. For example, filter all keywords with the word “sneakers” in them and then plot rows for adidas sneakers and nike sneakers. The resulting trending graph will be much easier to decipher. See screenshot below where I am viewing the trending for visits and bounce rate for two keywords.

Using Plot Rows to trend keywords in Google Analytics v5

Using Plot Rows as a Stepping Stone to Deeper Analysis
Whether you are neck deep in analytics every day or quickly digging into a report for your next meeting, plot rows can help you quickly view trending for specific rows of data. Although there are some big changes in the latest version of Google Analytics, don’t overlook some of the smaller, but helpful ones. Plot Rows is one of the smaller changes, but it’s one that can help you quickly analyze your traffic at a more granular basis. It’s a great stepping stone to deeper analysis.

GG

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

LinkedIn Ads and Pandora’s Checkbox – How To Share New Ads With Connections, or Hide Them From The Competition

LinkedIn Ads Platform

In January of 2011, LinkedIn finally released its revamped ad platform titled LinkedIn Ads. Since January, I’ve been helping several clients build and launch campaigns that leverage the unique targeting capabilities that LinkedIn provides. For example, you can target by geography, industry, company, job title, LinkedIn group, etc. Based on this level of targeting, I’ve run some extremely successful campaigns for my clients. Actually, I’ve seen the performance of some campaigns compare to their equivalent Search-based campaigns (run via AdWords and adCenter). And, when you think about the intent differences between Search and a platform like LinkedIn, having comparable conversion rates for certain campaigns is impressive.

When launching LinkedIn campaigns for clients, I find some clients immediately fire up Google Analytics to check when traffic begins hitting the site. This is the point when some confusion can set in, based on a feature that LinkedIn provides in its Ads platform. The feature isn’t so obvious to find, and it can be easily overlooked, so I understand why there’s confusion. And, overlooking this feature can lead to an awkward situation, depending on the nature of the campaign being launched. I cover this feature in detail below, along with how to adjust this setting.

Here Come The Clicks, But From Where?
When new LinkedIn campaigns started driving traffic, the resulting visits sometime hit so quickly that I was a little skeptical. For example, seeing the first set of visits only minutes after the ads were approved. So I quickly drilled into the reporting and dimensioned that campaign traffic by Service Provider. This will often show you the companies that are visiting your site (depending on where the visitor is accessing LinkedIn from).

Once I did this and presented the data to my clients, they immediately noticed a link between the companies initially hitting the site and their own connections on LinkedIn (the people they are professionally connected with on LinkedIn). Targeting-wise, the options we chose for the specific campaigns would not have included most of those connections, so we knew something was off. By the way, this also happened to me with my own campaigns. I was running some LinkedIn campaigns recently for my own business where I saw people clicking through that ended up being connections of mine. Again, this prompted me to dig deeper.

How Were LinkedIn Connections Seeing The Ads?
So, how were LinkedIn connections viewing and then clicking through new ads? Well, the answer lies in a small piece of functionality that’s located in a tab in LinkedIn Ads. It ends up connections were seeing each new LinkedIn campaign as network updates (which are broadcast to LinkedIn connections upon campaign approval). This would be similar to you posting an update from your LinkedIn homepage. It hits your news stream, which is pushed to your connections.

When I helped my clients access their own network updates on LinkedIn (which is also not the easiest thing to find), we saw their ads sitting there as updates. For example, the update would read:

John Smith started a new advertising campaign with LinkedIn Ads.
Targeting 158 professionals by Company, Geography, and Group.

That’s right, it not only shows your ad, displays your name, and a link to LinkedIn Ads, but it also shows the targeting you chose! Great, tell everyone how you structured your campaigns. :) Again, this is not cool from my standpoint…

Here’s a screenshot of an update from one of my connections who recently launched a LinkedIn ad:
A New LinkedIn Ad Being Published as a Network Update

Should This Information Be Broadcast?
When this happens, your connections on LinkedIn can freely view your new ad and then click that ad to check out your landing page (or wherever you were sending LinkedIn campaign traffic.) Note, you are not charged for these clicks, and I’ll explain more about this shortly. But even if you aren’t charged, is this ok to do? Do you want to broadcast your new ads, along with the targeting you chose, to all of your connections? How well do you know all of your connections, and are some actually competitors? These are exactly the types of questions that started coming up as I understood what was happening.

Why This Could be a Problem, And Why LinkedIn Wants You To Do This
Some clients had no problem with broadcasting their new ads, while others were upset that it was happening. The reaction I witnessed completely depended on the nature of the campaign. For example, if you were selling your core products or services, then getting extra impressions and clicks for free was fine. Actually, it could help a company gain more exposure (and quickly). But, if you were launching a new service that you would rather not broadcast to your connections (some of whom may be in the same industry), then you might not be thrilled to know they were seeing your ads (and targeting) and then clicking through to your landing page… Let’s face it, many people have connections on LinkedIn that might actually be competitors. They might be friendly competitors, but they are still the competition.

The LinkedIn Ads Help Center To The Rescue, Or Not
As of today, if you check out the help section of LinkedIn Ads, you won’t find any reference to this functionality (at least I couldn’t). That includes information about what it is, how to turn it off, or even what it’s called. So, why would LinkedIn be broadcasting your new ads to your connections as network updates, while not referencing the option directly in their help area? Was this simply overlooked by the Ads Team at LinkedIn? I don’t think so.

I think it comes down to exposure and revenue… The more exposure LinkedIn Ads get, the more people might try those ads. The more people that try those ads, the more money LinkedIn makes. And believe me, I get it, but I’m not sure LinkedIn should simply be running your ads in front of your connections without explicit approval. Instead, you are opted in by default when you launch a campaign, and must turn off the functionality yourself (if you find the option). I think that’s the wrong approach. To clarify, if this was documented the way it should be, then I think it’s a smart way to drive more awareness about LinkedIn Ads. For example, I see my connection John is running ads, I like the idea of trying that, let me find out more about those ads, and then I might spend money on running a campaign. That’s smart, but people shouldn’t be forced into doing this… LinkedIn benefits greatly from broadcasting your ads, while some advertisers don’t benefit at all. Actually, some of them can be hurt when this happens (again, since some connections might be competitors).

How to Enable or Disable Sharing of Ads With Your Connections
Based on this happening, and not initially understanding how to adjust the settings, I contacted LinkedIn Ads support about the problem. To its credit, LinkedIn got back to me the same day and explained how to turn off that feature. Again, this is not documented in the help section of LinkedIn Ads, and my hope is that it is included at some point soon… To me, advertisers should know that their ads are automatically going to be broadcast to their connections (along with the targeting options they choose), and they should have the option of turning off the feature. Again, I actually think this feature should be turned off by default.

Based on what I explained so far in this post, I thought it would be a good idea to show you how to find this feature, and then how to turn it off (if needed). It’s straight-forward, and would actually be better off as part of the campaign building process (as a checkbox before you submit your ads). Unfortunately, it’s not, which is why I’m writing this post.

So without further ado, follow the simple instructions below to either broadcast your ads to, or hide them from, your LinkedIn connections:

1. Log in to LinkedIn and click the link for LinkedIn Ads at the top of the screen:
Accessing LinkedIn Ads Via The Link On Your Homepage

2. The default view will display your campaigns. Click the Settings Tab to access your campaign settings:
The default screen in LinkedIn Ads

3. On this page, near the bottom, you will see a checkbox titled “Network Updates”. The message below it says, “Send network updates to my connections or company followers (and get free clicks) when I create a new campaign”. You can uncheck this box to stop this from happening:
The checkbox for turning off network updates for LinkedIn campaigns.

4. Click Submit and You’re All Set.

Good for Some, Bad For Others – LinkedIn Should Revisit The Opt-In Process
That’s it. You can now launch LinkedIn campaigns without letting all of your connections know what you are up to. It’s a simple, but powerful option when you are running LinkedIn campaigns. Again, whether you choose to broadcast your new ads, or not, completely depends on the nature of your campaign. The good news is that LinkedIn does provide control over this feature. The bad news is that you are opted-in automatically without much information about how to turn it off. I don’t think that’s the right approach, but hopefully this post cleared up any confusion. :)

GG

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Announcing a Premium Webinar on Local SEO and Google Analytics for Search, G-Squared and The Marketing Spot Team Up

Webinar for Local SEO and Google Analytics for Search

When speaking with local businesses about digital marketing, there are two topics that consistently come up (and for good reason). First, with the importance of SEO for generating new local business, companies want to know how to rank highly in local search (and across engines). Strong local rankings can often lead to increased exposure, more targeted traffic, and more revenue. Second, both small and large businesses want to know how to analyze the impact of their online marketing efforts, which can be a daunting experience if you don’t understand the foundational aspects of tracking and analytics.

So, based on the importance of these two topics, I’m happy to announce that I’ve partnered with Jay Ehret of The Marketing Spot to offer a premium webinar covering Local SEO and Google Analytics for Search. Jay is a small business marketing expert and has been helping companies expand their businesses for the past 15 years. He’s a really smart guy, a savvy small business marketer, and I’m excited to be working with him on this webinar. The 90 minute webinar is on February 24th at 1PM ET and you can register now via EventBrite (by using the link listed above).

Google Analytics for Search
My section of the webinar will cover Google Analytics, the powerful (yet free) web analytics package from Google. If you’ve read my blog before, then you know how important I believe tracking your digital marketing efforts is. Without a robust tracking solution in place, you will have no way of understanding the true ROI of your efforts. And if you can’t optimize your campaigns based on performance, you will essentially be flying blind. Please don’t fly blind… there’s no reason to, and it’s why I write extensively about web analytics on my blog, my Search Engine Journal column, and my contributions on other industry blogs.

During the webinar, I will cover a number of important topics, including:

  • An introduction to Google Analytics and the importance of tracking your digital marketing efforts.
  • How to analyze and understand your current SEO performance.
  • How to access important Search-related reports in Google Analytics in order to better analyze search engines, keywords, landing pages from organic search, etc.
  • How to filter both paid and organic search to better analyze your Search efforts.
  • How to easily track your Google AdWords campaigns in Google Analytics.
  • An introduction to the (new) Google AdWords reporting in Google Analytics.
  • How to use Campaign Tracking to identify campaign performance within Google Analytics.
  • An introduction to Conversion Goals and Events, along with how to set them up for your own business.

As I mentioned above, Jay Ehret from The Marketing Spot will be covering Local SEO with a focus on Google Place Pages. His section of the webinar will cover:

  • Website optimization for Local Search.
  • An introduction to Google Place Pages and why they are critically important for local search.
  • How to optimize your Place Page.
  • Local reviews and how they can help your business.
  • Understanding outside influences to local search, and what you need to do in order to benefit from them (including data sources, inbound links, etc.)

Pricing, Downloads, and Bonuses – What You’ll Get With The Webinar
Jay and I want to make sure that webinar attendees are in good hands both during the webinar and after. We know that there will be a lot of information shared, along with several tactical lessons included during the 90 minute session. With that in mind, we’ve decided to include the following items with registration:

  • A downloadable video of the 90 minute webinar.
  • A comprehensive workbook with step-by-step instructions based on the lessons provided in the webinar.
  • Bonus 1: A free copy of my online marketing ebook “Taking Control of Your Online Marketing”, a $50 value.
  • Bonus 2: One month free membership to Jay Ehret’s new membership site: The Entrepreneur’s Edge, an archive of marketing resources and tutorials for small business owners, a $69 value.

Webinar Pricing:
The webinar is $79 and you can register now by visiting our registration page on EventBrite.
Early Registration Discount Code: As part of the kickoff, we are offering a special discount code for early registrations. If you register by Sunday, February 13th, you will receive a 30% discount. This means you’ll get access to the premium 90 minute webinar and all of the extras listed above for only $55.30. Yes, that’s a strange total price, but still an incredible value. :)

Webinar Registration:
So don’t hesitate, register for the webinar today:
Use the following discount code to receive 30% off: GSQi_13
Register for the webinar: Local SEO and Google Analytics Webinar

I look forward to seeing you on the 24th!

GG

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Welcome to the Jungle, I Mean Boardroom – Presenting The True Return on Investment (ROI) of Social Media Marketing

Presenting Social ROI

Last Wednesday, I presented at Trenton Small Business Week on behalf of the Princeton Chamber of Commerce. The topic of my presentation was, “Understanding the True Return on Investment (ROI) of Social Media Marketing”. It’s one of my favorite subjects since it combines two topics that I’m extremely passionate about, Social Media and Analytics. Actually, it combines much more than just those two subjects, which comes across as I take people through the 53 slide presentation.

Although Social has gotten a lot of coverage in digital marketing, it’s clear that business owners are still wondering what the return will be. As I explain during the presentation, there unfortunately isn’t an easy formula for calculating ROI when it comes to Social Media. One of the core reasons ROI is tough to calculate is because Social Media impacts so many other channels and efforts, that it would be hard to run a straight formula. In addition, I’ve found that most companies completely underestimate the time and resources needed to effectively drive a Social strategy. And time and resources can quickly be seen in your costs. So, the combination of not understanding the ways Social is helping your company mixed with easily seeing the costs involved makes for a lethal combination from an executive viewpoint.

The Digital Ecosystem and Tracking
During my presentation, I first want to make sure the audience has a solid understanding of the digital ecosystem, including how all the various parts can work together (and often do). After that, I try and explain the various ways that Social Media can impact the bottom line. That includes impacting both revenue and costs. And weaved throughout the presentation is an extreme focus on tracking and analytics, with the core point being that if you’re not tracking your digital marketing efforts on a granular basis, you’re essentially flying blind. And if you need to make a case for your Social Media efforts to your boss or executive team, then flying blind won’t turn out very well for you. If you are only armed with opinion, you might be kissing your budget goodbye. In my experience, you can debate opinion until the cows come home, while data is hard to ignore. Always come armed with data.

You’re On in 5 Minutes. And Don’t Waste My Time Mr. Social Media Hot Shot
Executives, ROI, and Social MedaiAfter I go through numerous examples of how Social can impact a business, the presentation culminates with one slide that hits home for many marketers. It hits home because it puts the audience in the role of having to present to an executive team that wants to know how the company’s Social efforts are impacting the business. The slide presents a long list of possible answers to that question (based on the tracking you will hopefully have in place). So, I’ve decided to provide that list here in this blog post. It is by no means complete, but I think it gives you a quick understanding of the types of data that can be presented to make your case.

Before you view the list, here are a few important notes:
1. Every point in the following list will not tie to your own business. I’m simply providing possible answers to questions about Social Media ROI based on what I have seen first-hand. Also, I have been on both sides of the presentation. I have led presentations like this, but I have also helped executives understand the ROI of their social efforts (as a consultant).

2. In order to provide answers like what’s listed below, you must fully understand the various ways that your specific business can be impacted from a cost and revenue standpoint. Every business is unique. Don’t jump in without fully understanding the specific nuances of your own business.

3. You must have a solid strategy in place for Social Media Marketing. That’s not simply setting up a Twitter account and creating your Facebook Page. If you blindly jump in, I can tell you with almost 100% certainty that you will fail. And many companies are failing when it comes to Social Media Marketing. My presentation covers the core reasons why this is the case (but that’s for another blog post).

4. You must have tracking in place. As mentioned earlier, do not fly blind. Map out an analytics strategy in order to track both on-site and off-site metrics. Track as many KPI’s that make sense for your business and have a mechanism in place for tracking and trending that data. Note, you should track both quantitative and qualitative data. Remember, we are talking about “Social”, so some of your data will include actual correspondence (emails, tweets, messages, comments, etc.)

Setting The Stage – Welcome to the Jungle
As you step into the boardroom, you notice that the room goes silent. The CEO gives you a minute to hook up your laptop and then says, “OK, I gave you a budget last year to launch our Social Media efforts. We want to know today how that’s doing. So, what’s the ROI of Social Media FOR US?

{So, if you’ve mapped out a solid strategy, executed at a very high level, have tracking in place, and understand all the ways that Social can impact your business, your answer might look like the following.}

Well, I can’t give you a hard ROI number today. {3 members of the executive team gasp while the CFO snickers.}

But, I do have a number of data points to present.
{Remember, data is good, opinion is bad.}

Since we started our Social Media Marketing efforts 12 months ago…

Overall site traffic levels have increased by x%.

Traffic from Social Media sites has increased by y% (as you show trending graphs for each).

Overall revenue has gone up by x% since we launched our Social efforts…

And revenue directly from Social Media sites has increased by y%, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. More on that shortly. {BTW, to show revenue from Social, you set up an advanced segment to only show data from all Social sites.}

Overall support costs went down by x% as we were able to handle y# of customer issues via Twitter and Facebook.

Further, based on using Social Media to nip support problems in the bud, we saved x # of customers that were ready to leave us. Our typical response time was y minutes from the time of the first sign of a problem (via monitoring real-time updates.)

Here is a document containing all customer and prospective customer correspondence via Social Media for the past year. {Document is so long is rolls out onto the floor.}

Since we know how much it costs to acquire a customer and how long it takes for a customer to become profitable, our Social efforts have saved the company $x in cost (by decreasing the Quit Rate of customers and not having to make up for those lost customers).

Our Social efforts also drove y # of new customer sign-ups, with the strongest number of sign-ups coming from blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Trending shows an increase in new customer sign-ups 4 months after our Social efforts launched, while maintaining higher levels of sign-ups throughout the year. (The black hole of Social Media was 4 months for our company.)

We increased our in-house email list by x number of subscribers…

With a majority of new sign-ups coming from organic search, blog posts, and referrals from both Twitter and Facebook. More on how Social impacts SEO soon.

And our in-house email list drives y% of revenue for the site (our second largest driver of revenue for the site.) Each subscriber accounts for $z per year.

We now have x Twitter followers and y FB fans.

These two assets enable us to engage our customers on a regular basis…

Which leads to powerful insights regarding our company and products, like… (add qualitative data here…) As a specific example, we launched the new version of Product X in March, only to find out via Twitter that many customers were experiencing problems with Y feature. We worked quickly and resolved the issue and formed even a stronger bond with many of those customers. Some of those customers ended up backing us up when other unhappy customers started attacking our company. The resulting positive word of mouth marketing about how we handled the situation resulted in x number of articles written about our company, which led to y number of new visitors to the site, which resulted in x number of new blog subscribers, y number of email subscribers, and z number of FB fans.

Trending shows spikes in traffic, orders, and revenue each time we share special offers, discounts, and exclusive deals via Twitter and Facebook. Here are the spikes I am referring to (showing trending graph with revenue overlaid).

Our blog now has x subscribers…

And our blog has helped us boost our website’s SEO power, which has led to an increase in natural search rankings…

And SEO accounts for x% of revenue on the site. It is currently the top driver of revenue.

Further, our blog accounts for most of our website’s inbound links (the valuable links anyway). These inbound links have a direct correlation to the trending you are seeing in this graph. {showing trending again} We’ve seen an increase in rankings, organic search traffic, and revenue from organic search. And there is no advertising spend for organic search traffic (while showing budgets for paid efforts).

Our increased natural search rankings led to a decrease in paid search spend, which we then reallocated to our Social efforts (to drive more of what I am presenting here).

Our blog also led to guest posts on highly influential blogs and sites. Those posts helped us gain incredible exposure in our industry…

Which led to x # of visitors back to our blog.

Which led to an increase in email subscribers, Twitter followers, and Facebook fans. As presented above, these three assets led to $x in combined revenue.

{Your CEO cuts in: Can you start over? I want to take notes.
The CFO is already through his second pencil, he’s been writing so fast.
Your CMO: {on phone with executive assistant to set up personal Twitter account.}

And after all of this planning, tracking, execution, and presenting, you might just have a new seat in the boardroom (see below). :)

Social Media Represented On The Executive Team

Can You Make A Case Like This?
As you can see, data can be your best friend. You might not be able to easily show the hard ROI from Social Media, but you sure can have a lot of data backing your efforts. In closing, have a strategy in place, understand the black hole of Social Media, track everything you can, trend changes over time, and document both quantitative and qualitative data. This is the type of information that your boss will love (and his boss too). Become obsessed with data. You won’t regret it.

GG

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

My Internet Marketing ebook is Now Available – Taking Control of Your Online Marketing: Small Business Edition

Taking Control of Your Online Marketing ebook - Glenn Gabe's new internet marketing ebookI’m proud to announce the release of my new ebook titled Taking Control of Your Online Marketing: Small Business Edition. The online marketing ebook is a 98 page tactical guide for small to medium sized businesses and covers Local Search, SEO, Web Analytics, Website Structure, and The Long Tail of SEO.

I wrote the book in priority order, so each lesson builds upon previous lessons. You’ll find that the book provides a hands-on, take-action approach. I wanted readers to be able to complete each chapter, implement important changes, and then move on to the next lesson. If you’re a small business just starting out, or one that’s not seeing results from your current online marketing efforts, then this book is perfect for you.

Why I Wrote The ebook
When I launched the Search a Small Business Holiday Giveaway last year, I explained how small businesses often end up getting a raw deal when it comes to online marketing. They want to launch campaigns, utilize the latest online marketing tactics, and gain new business, but simply don’t have the budget or resources to do so effectively. I always thought this was wrong. Once the contest was over, I decided to document the approach I’ve used numerous times when helping small businesses. The result was my ebook. It is based on a core aspect of online marketing that I’ve seen time and time again (over the past 15 years):

Businesses (both large and small) needed a solid foundation in online marketing in order to succeed. Without that solid foundation in place, companies had a much harder time gaining traction, acquiring new customers, and increasing sales.

My goal was to make sure readers could build a solid online marketing foundation that they can build upon in the future. I always want my clients and readers to get up and running quickly. The book is structured so that’s possible.

What’s Covered in the Book
The core sections of book cover the following online marketing topics:

1. Website Structure
I’ve come across so many small businesses that are handcuffed when it comes to adding, editing, and optimizing content on their websites. In today’s digital marketing environment, if you cannot easily add new content and tailor your site optimization, then you’re dead in the water. In the book, I explain the technology and process you can utilize to get your site in order.

2. Local Search Strategy
If you’re a local business, then it’s critically important to make sure you have a shot at ranking for searches that are deemed local in nature by the search engines. I’ll show you what to do and where to make changes to achieve strong results.

3. Web Analytics
It’s critically important to track your online marketing efforts at a granular level. I provide instructions for setting up Google Analytics, as well as how to track conversion properly on your site. Unfortunately, without a smart analytics strategy in place, you’ll be flying blind. And flying blind is a dangerous thing to do in online marketing.

4. SEO
Organic Search is one of the most powerful online marketing channels and should not be ignored. The book covers what you need to do in order optimize your site and content for organic search. SEO is a massive topic and I cover numerous aspects of organic search within the chapter.

5. The Long Tail of SEO
When I first start helping new clients with SEO, they often approach me about ranking for a handful of competitive keywords. That’s fine, but in reality, they should be targeting the thousands of keywords that stem off of those initial keywords. In the book, I cover the long tail in detail, including what it is, how powerful it can be for your business, and how to effectively target the tail.

Buy the Book Now
I’ve worked hard on making sure the book is extremely actionable. I want every reader to make changes quickly so they can improve their online marketing efforts. Again, the book is a 98 page tactical guide covering the core things that you need to do in order form a solid online marketing foundation. So, head over to the ebook section of my site to learn more. You can explore the chapters in greater detail, read the forewords, and of course, buy the book! :)

I look forward to helping you.

GG