New interface and workspaces in Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager has recently had quite a revamp to its interface. Not to mention the addition of much talked about workspaces feature. Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a great tool that saves the development and implementation time, and the new drastic changes in any of Google’s tools can be quite a shock when you’re used to one way of workflow. The latest changes to the interface are radical but as with everything else, it just takes a short while to get used to. GTM still works the same, though. There’s no change to how your tags, triggers and variables are set up. So let’s see what's changed! Overlays on top of overlays This is the biggest change in the interface! Whether you’re creating a new tag or changing an existing one, you’ll be making your updates in overlays that slide in from the right hand side of the screen. Whilst this may be confusing initially, this is a great improvement on the previous workflow. Before you had to create your variables before the tag, or if creating the tag, save the progress, then create the variable separately, and then return to the tag to add in your variable. Too many steps! The new overlay doesn’t cover the whole screen and instead, leaves a bit of space on the left so you can see where you started from. Now that I’ve embraced the workspaces, I’ve realised how great it is to be able to do changes and updates without navigating elsewhere. Icons replace colours Previously, when viewing a list of tags all the triggers were colour coded so you could quickly see types of triggers used. Now, they’re all grey with icons at the beginning. I’ve previously found the colour coding very handy in quickly determining where the tags have been set to work. I’m not convinced that the icons will do as great of a job, but like with all of the changes – just embrace them and move on. List of variables They’ve lost the ‘enabled built-in variables’ section at the top. It used to have checkboxes so you could quickly enable or disable select variables. Now you have a list of built-in variables and for any changes, you have to click ‘configure’ button and then select which ones you want or not. And of course, you’ll have to do these changes in the overlay that slides over. The variables you've created previously will be in a separate list when you scroll down the page. If you want to view the details of the variable, then you’ll have to click on the variable and see its setup in the new overlay. Remember, remember… Do you tend to forget to specify your container's name and description? Now you get reminded to do so when you click to ‘publish’ your container and haven’t set the details. Timestamps I love it when a small change can make a big difference! This is that kind of change. When hovering over any relative timestamps in the triggers, overview or other sections, you will see the exact date and time of the latest change. What are workspaces? Workspaces are multiple containers that teams and users can work on without worrying about publishing someone else’s updates that may not be ready to go live. For someone working within a number of teams, like we do, this is a very welcomed update. After using it for a few weeks, I’ve already seen improvements in the speed of publishing updates. Now, fewer people have been blocked from progressing on their tags, which is really great! So now you can make your additions or amendments in a separate space and publish them when they're ready. What really happens when you publish is that anything new in your workspace gets added to the default workspace. This may include any updates to tags, triggers, variables, and any notes you may have added. If you can, stick to making smaller sets of changes within workspaces so you have a more robust version history, allowing you to trace updates and roll back to previous versions more quickly. You’ll get 3 workspaces in total so 1 default one + 2 custom workspaces, whilst 360 accounts get unlimited workspaces. Here’s how they work. To create a separate workspace click on the ‘Default Workspace’ in the left panel. In the new overlay click on the + icon in the top right corner. Now enter the name and description for the workspace so when you choose a workspace you can quickly see what's being worked on in there, or what the purpose of the workspace is. You can always refer to these for information on what was worked on or published as part of this workspace. A new workspace will always be created based on the latest GTM version and include the latest tags, triggers, and variables. If you're publishing a workspace that has conflicting updates with another workspace, then GTM will let you know and give you the option to resolve conflicts in their very easy to use conflict resolution tool. Once you publish the non-default workspace, it will be automatically removed. Better tag management You know how GTM has a number of tag templates for the most typical tracking needs, for example, AdWords and DoubleClick. These templates are very useful for creating and maintaining tags without codes, allowing to insert only required data, and making the whole process less error-prone. Well, they've expanded their selection with additional templates from vendors such as Bing, Twitter, Hotjar, Nielsen, Yieldify and many many more. I've been setting up a number of tags from the new vendors so I'm glad to see they've finally caught up with this. Here's a full list of supported tags is available in Tag Manager's Help section.   So these are some of the most notable changes. My favourite ones are overlays, timestamps and workspaces for reasons I mentioned above. The overlays don't seem to have got much love when they were first launched, but it's definitely a step up on the previous workflow. Got strong feelings about any of the latest updates? Let me know what you love or hate in the comments below.   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.   Image credit: screenshot of 'conflict resolution tool' courtesy of Google Analytics Blog

2016-10-13

Unique events metric update in Google Analytics

We're very used to having to explain what the difference is between total and unique events in Google Analytics. Like many other puzzling metrics, this has consistently been a head-scratcher for more people than we can count. Whilst you may have been in this situation like we have, you might not know that this was often due to a problem in the metric! But thanks to the released update, this is now fixed for both internal and clients’ reporting. You can read more about this update in Google's blog post: Improving Google Analytics Events with Unique Events. So what was the issue? The issue was that the unique events metric wasn’t correctly taking into account all event dimensions when calculating your numbers for the reporting. This caused many discrepancies, which probably created those numerous confusing situations around what the number stood for. The unique events metric was always meant to show you the unique count of individual interactions (or events) within a single session. So if someone downloads the same PDF 3 times during 1 session, then that counts as 1 unique event. Instead, it has been counting how many unique numbers of times a specific combination of values is seen in the report per each row. This example by Google is very helpful in getting to grips with what this means. In the example at the top where you can see all three values for various event fields, you get the same count for both new and old unique events metric - each gets 3. In the second example, we exclude one dimension and get a different result. Now, because one set of values is hidden (event label) then the calculation takes into account only what is seen in the report. But the new metric, accurately now, knows that there is a third set of data, which is taken into account in its calculation. What’s the fix? Current unique events metric has been renamed to ‘Unique Dimension Combinations’ (UDC) - a bit of a mouthful - to reflect that it was counting the uniques of dimension combinations, not individual interactions! You’ll still be able to use it as a metric if you need to compare old versus new data or are doing any analysis on the legacy data that it is attached to. The calculation for the unique events metric will now take into account all event dimensions when calculating the number. Due to this change, all event fields are now also required to contain a value - any blanks will get a (not set) value. In your standard Google Analytics reports, you’ll see the new unique events metric with the label ‘NEW’ attached to it. That’s when you know you’ve got the fixed metric in your reports. The new unique events metric will apply to the data as far back as May 2016. BUT, the fix won’t be applied automatically to your custom reports. If you have any custom reports that reference the old unique events metric, the naming will be updated to UDC. Google has provided a neat method to update your custom reports too. So you get a choice whether you want to keep using the deprecated old metric or switch to the updated unique events metric. When making the choice, bear in mind that UDC may eventually be removed so you might want to jump on the fixed uniques metric straight away. Whilst not the most exciting update on its own, this is important for the accuracy of reporting. All of our clients use events tracking so any updates to improving the accuracy of events reporting and analysis are a welcome change. Have any questions about this update? Get in touch with one of our experts! Further reading: What is Google Analytics? Overview for beginners Common reasons for tracking events How to set up event tracking in Google Tag Manager Images: courtesy of Google

2016-09-26

Vital Google Analytics custom reports and dashboards for ecommerce

Standard reports are useful to an extent. Custom reports and dashboards, on the other hand, allow you to compile metrics that give you much more useful insights of how your online shop is performing. Monitoring and reviewing the right data is essential for deciding which tactics or initiatives you should try, or marketing platforms to focus on, to help you sell more. If you are very familiar with how Google Analytics (GA) works, then you would set up some custom reports and dashboards to quickly access your key metrics. But if you are not as knowledgeable about the quirks and inner workings of GA then you should take advantage of the many custom reports and dashboards available for import. We can also help you build custom dashboards. There is a huge number of reports available in Google Analytics Solutions Gallery; used, created and shared by experts. They’re all done from scratch and designed to maximise your use of Google Analytics, but the huge amount of solutions from dashboards and channel groupings to segments and custom reports do require some time to find what’s right for your needs. From our experience setting up ecommerce tracking and reports for companies like MADE.com, British Red Cross Training, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, these reports and dashboards are valuable when analysing purchase data. Don't lose sight of your conversion rate Keep an eye on your ecommerce conversion rate across five different tabs covering channels, keyword, mobile devices, cities and campaigns. Focussed on high traffic sources, each section shows where it's not up to scratch and needs your attention and tweaking. Get ecommerce conversion rate performance custom report. Find duplicate transactions Duplicate transactions can greatly skew your numbers and affect your reporting, making you doubt the accuracy of your data. Duplicate order data is sent to Google Analytics typically because the page containing such information has been loaded twice. This can happen when the page is refreshed or loaded again. To find whether your data contains duplicate transactions, add our custom report to the view you want to check. Get a custom report to check for duplicate transactions. If you have more than 1 transaction in any row (or per an individual transaction ID), that means you have duplicate transactions stored in your data. It’s worth checking the report on a regular basis, eg monthly, to make sure that there are no duplicates or they’re kept to the minimum. Lunametrics blog has a number of suggestions for how to fix duplicate transactions. Overview of ecommerce performance This overview dashboard brings important top level metrics into one place, so you don’t have to go searching for them in multiple reports. You will quickly see which of your campaigns, channels, and sources are bringing in the most revenue, whilst comparing conversion rates across each. Get ecommerce overview dashboard. How is your store content performing See how your customers are engaging with your site, content and product (or page, depending on the setup) categories. You'll get information on what they search for, and which categories and landing pages bring in the most revenue. Get ecommerce content performance dashboard.   Looking for improving your ecommerce tracking and reporting? Get in touch with our qualified experts.   Further reading: Take your ecommerce website to the next level Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels Tips to optimise your ecommerce landing pages Image credit: Image courtesy of Juralmin at Pixabay

2016-09-05

Tips to optimise your ecommerce landing pages

Are your ecommerce landing pages suffering from poor conversion rate because people aren't engaging? First impressions are everything, and more so online, so your task is to figure out which on-site improvements will help you towards your goals. Once you start optimising, it's a continuous process of reviewing, changing, testing and refining - aiming to find out what is most appealing to your customers, what they like and care about, what makes them trust you, what encourages them to purchase. There is always room for refinements so here are some tips on what you should consider when reviewing your pages. What are you trying to achieve? Before starting testing and implementing the changes on your landing pages, you have to be clear about what you want to accomplish. Whilst the end goal for an online store is to increase sales, at times you might also want to get more sign ups, or improve views of or engagement with product pages. Think about what success will look like as that will help with planning your optimisation tests. How are you going to measure it? If you are clear about what you are trying to achieve, it will be easier to set measurable targets. Are you looking to increase your sales by 10% or pageviews of products by 15%? Or maybe you want your potential customers to browse further and spend more time reading content? Further engagement can also be demonstrated by the site visitor scrolling down the page if you have long product or category pages. In which case you'll want to track how far down the page they get to. I believe in keeping reporting straightforward so when testing focus on tracking important metrics only. Ideally just one if you can, or a few if you have to, but that will help focus on measuring what is most important for your business at the time. Assuming you are using Google Analytics, like most of people looking after digital performance, set up goals to monitor how customers are converting. Our web-based software also makes it easy to keep track of on-site changes are by reporting on changes in trends, goals, pages. Who are you targeting? User-focussed content is more effective at engaging your customers and improving your conversion rates. So you should write up your customer personas to be clear about who you are targeting with landing pages. This also applies to general look and feel of your ecommerce site. Most importantly, include with personas what problems your customers are trying to solve or what they are trying to achieve.  Once your team knows who your ideal or typical customers are, then it will be easier to focus on creating more relevant and engaging content on those pages. Do you have a clear value proposition? Value proposition explains why you’re better than or different from your competitors, and what you can deliver that they can’t. When writing it up, focus on benefits not features. It’s not always about the product looking top notch (unless you’re the industry or company where that matters of course) so it is more about how you can alleviate their problem. Check out how to write your value proposition by following Geoffrey Moore’s model. Does your copy reflect your value proposition? Once you have your customer personas and value proposition, review existing content on the site against how you describe what your clients are looking for. Check if it fits with what they are looking for, explains how you can solve their problems or fulfill their desires. The copy on your site has to reflect how you can improve your potential customers lives through what you offer. A great copy informs, compels, captivates, reflects what people search for and promotes key benefits. Econsultancy have compiled a great set of advice from experts on writing copy for product pages. Also, check out Copyblogger Demian Farnworth’s articles for superb advice on writing copy. Have you found your winning call to action? This is very important – test your call to action until you find the best performing one. Your call to action is like a visual sign that guides the buyer towards a specific action you want them to complete. Different things work for different sites. Start off with trying simple changes like different text, colour, shape, size or placement of the button to figure out what is most effective for your page. If small changes aren’t helping, then try a more drastic change of the button or page. Do your pages load fast? This is pretty self-explanatory. Slow page loading speed might drive your potential customers away from your online shop, so you should regularly check whether they can view your products within 3 seconds (Source: Radware). If you’re using Google Analytics, you can use Site Speed reports to check how you’re performing and get advice on where to improve. If you don’t have Google Analytics, you can use their online tool PageSpeed Insights. Other tool worth checking out is GTMetrix where you can grade your site's speed performance and get a list of recommendations. Do you need to optimise for mobile? It’s a very common fact that more and more people are using mobile devices to browse and buy online. But unless you have unlimited budget for ensuring that your ecommerce site is optimised for mobile, it is best to check in Google Analytics first whether you need to do it now. If you go to Google Analytics > Audience > Mobile > Overview report, you will get a breakdown of device categories that buyers are using to visit your online store. Here you can see that the majority of customers, almost 93% are using desktop so in this case (assuming you have a limited budget) you might want to make sure you have a responsive site at the very minimum, and leave a full optimisation for mobile device for later when there is a sufficient need. Now, if results were different and let’s say you had 60% of people visiting your site via mobile devices, then you would want to ensure that they’re getting the best experience on their device and don’t leave the site to buy from a competitor instead. Are your test results statistically significant? Evaluating your AB test results isn't quite as simple as looking at the highest conversion rate for each test, which would be an incorrect way to interpret the outcome. You want to be confident that results are conclusive and changes you tested will indeed improve your conversion rates (or not, depending on the outcome of testing). That's where statistical significance comes in. It gives you assurance about the results of your tests whilst taking into consideration your sample size and how confident you want to be about the importance of the results. By reaching over 95% statistical confidence in testing results, you can be sure that the winning variation performed better due to actually being an improved version, and not simply due to change. You can easily find a calculator online that tells you if your AB testing results were statistically significant and you should conclude the test or not - for example, try the calculator by Kissmetrics or Peakconversion. There is no one winning formula for how to make your pages more effective, but you have to be pro-active to figure out what they are  - so keep testing until you do. Have any questions? Leave a comment below or get in touch with our experts!   Image Credit: Stocksnap.io

2016-07-27

How to calculate your marketing ROI

Are you running campaigns in AdWords, Facebook or on another advertising platform? Do you know whether your marketing efforts are paying off and which channels you should keep investing in to increase your product sales? As marketers face more and more pressure to demonstrate that their activities are contributing towards the profit, there is a bigger need for you to be able to show your decisions yield positive results. But if a particular channel or campaign is doing the opposite and causing your business losses, then the sooner you figure that out, the quicker you'll be able to adjust your further marketing plans. That’s where calculating and tracking your ROI becomes important. By being able to figure out how much you make from investing into a particular campaign or channel, you can figure out where to focus your budget. Whilst it’s difficult to compare the performance of specific marketing tactics across every single industry and company, there are interesting conclusions that have come out from market research. As reported by Web Strategies Inc., the top 3 channels that generated the best ROI were email marketing, SEO / organic search and content marketing. Email marketing has also been reported elsewhere to give the best ROI (source: Campaign Monitor), but you should focus on figuring out the correct ROI for your marketing activities and, based on that, decide which ones work for you best.     Further reading: What is CRO, conversion optimisation, for ecommerce? Image Credit: Image courtesy of Maialisa at Pixabay

2016-07-12

What is CRO, conversion rate optimisation, for ecommerce?

If you run or work in an ecommerce business, you will always be looking for ways to increase your sales. So CRO or conversion rate optimisation is one of the key metrics you should care about - review and improve it. Are potential buyers leaving your online store before purchasing products? Have you looked at the potential reasons why they may be leaving and ways to improve the number of visitors who end up buying? Increasing that number of people who complete the main action, or convert, is called conversion rate optimisation. Some of the reasons why more people are not buying your products could be: product pages are loading too slowly not enough information provided about the product your ecommerce site has poor navigation information about delivery and returns costs is too confusing/difficult to find need more time to think before committing to a purchase In the video below, Edward gives an overview of CRO and talks through some examples of tests you could be running to find out how to improve your conversion rate. *This video is part of ISDI online training courses for digital professionals. Video transcription so one of the important things, if you're going to increase your return on investment of marketing campaign, is to think about how users engage with your page and this is typically called conversion rate optimisation or increasing the percentage of people who land on the page or visit the page to those that do the main action let's look at this example which is a very generic e-commerce product page as you can see the very obvious call to action, which is highlighted, is to click the Buy button to add it to cart if we get a marketing campaign to push people to page let's say the product here is some pink shoes and our campaign says buy pink shoes we are wasting money that's never going to have a positive return on investment if people out on the page and don't even like the content they don't engage with it so we need to measure very carefully what is the bounce rate  of our landing page, and the bounce rate is the percent of people who land on the page and then go away with them without doing any further action and conversion rate optimisation is really the process through which you might go to get more people to convert - in this case to click Buy so we might look at the text on the page the heading could we change the copy to make it more engaging or to make it more fitting with the users expectations so if we advertise for pink shoes this better say pink shoes somewhere in the copy the next thing we'll optimise is the image - is it appealing, is it easy to see what the product is, maybe we might add a 3d visualisation animation of the product for them to get a better feel for it and then we might experiment with a Buy button itself - how about making it bigger or make it red this might seem really trivial but you'd be amazed the difference in conversion between let's say a blue button and a red button, so altogether we can run a series of tests in the next chapter, we're going to look at a series of tests you might run to test those things but the process of doing it is conversion rate optimisation and that's really going to help you boost that return investment from any given marketing campaign Have any questions? Get in touch with our experts!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-06-28

9 tips for marketers using Google Analytics

Setting up Google Analytics to collect data on your website visitors’ behaviour is step one. But are you getting the insights you need? Web analytics tools like Google Analytics can provide a wealth of information about what people do on your site, but it becomes powerful when you do more than just look at trends going up or down. It’s about measuring and improving. Here are some tips on how to use your data for informed marketing decisions for your company. Make analysis a regular habit Checking analytics to evaluate website and marketing performance varies from business to business. Some do it multiple times a day or only when it’s time to do their monthly reporting or end up getting hooked on real-time analytics. Make it a regular habit to analyse your Google Analytics metrics and before you know it, you won’t need the constant reminders to do so and it'll feel less like a chore. You can start off with doing it a few times a week and if you find that there aren’t enough changes to come to any conclusions, then do it less frequently. Whilst for smaller businesses the results won’t change much hour to hour or even day to day, for the bigger businesses changes can be significant on a daily basis. Form your questions Before sifting through your Google Analytics reports, come up with a set of questions that you are looking to answer with your data. You might want to know: What are users searching for? (requires site search to be set up) Which pages are they spending the most time on? Which pages have the highest bounce rate and might need further tweaking? How are my marketing campaigns performing? Is my spending on Adwords justified? Which traffic sources bring the best converting traffic and are worth investing into? Are my call to actions working? (this is where goals come in handy) Know where to measure Think about which reports and metrics will be most suitable to answer your questions. Knowing what you're looking for will minimise the amount you spend wandering aimlessly through numerous reports hoping that you'll find something interesting. It’s said that there are over 100 standard reports available in Google Analytics, so it’s handy to know where to look. The reports are split into 4 main categories: Audience is about the users – where are they, what devices are they using, Acquisition is about how users get to your site – how are your campaigns performing, where do they come from Behaviour is about user interaction with your site – which landing pages get the highest traffic, which pages have the highest bounce rate Conversions is about users completing certain actions (requires further setup to get the most out the reports) – which goals did they complete, what is their shopping and checkout behaviour Pages with high page views and bounces / exit rate Check how your individual pages are performing in All Pages and Landing Pages reports (under Behaviour > Site Content). If your page is getting a lot of page views and has a high bounce / exit rate, then whilst it might be a valuable or attractive piece of content it’s not doing a great job at getting your users to another page. Can you provide some other relevant content on that page? Link to them where appropriate. This will help improve the visitor journey through the site and reduce the bounce rate. Know your user journeys You can use Google Analytics flow reports to view which paths users take through your site and where they drop off. Evaluate the pages with the biggest drop offs  - can you improve these pages to encourage users continue their journey? You've put a lot of work into the pages that are meant to convert your site visitors, but it's a waste of all that effort if your journey to the converting page doesn't work. Goal flow report is especially handy for seeing users' paths towards the goals you have set up. Not sure how to set up a goal funnel? Here's how. Segment your users Use Google Analytics segments to view and analyse a separate subset of user data. You could view your reports for users from a specific location, eg Spain, or with a specific device, eg Apple iPad, or by certain behaviour, eg made a purchase. Check out Google's guidance on using segments. Evaluate your tagged campaigns Custom campaign tracking is important for organising your campaigns so you can review the performance effectively. If you're not tagging your campaigns yet, check out our blog post on how to tag your campaigns. Share findings with the team It’s great if you get into the habit of reviewing Google Analytics data on a regular basis to inform your actions. What's even better is if you create a team culture where you share findings with each other. You can email around individual reports, share insight at team meetings, set up custom alerts or sign up to our web-based tool to do that for you. For those less geeky or knowledgeable about data, make sure you translate the findings into plain English statements (PS. our tool already does that too). Continuos improvement When Dave Brailsford became the head of British Cycling, he implemented the concept of marginal gains within cycling. He believed that by breaking up the process of competing and improving every step by 1%, they would see a big improvement in their team. And he was right. All the small changes accumulated into a massive performance boost, and Team GB surpassed everyone’s expectations by going on to some big wins at Olympics and Tour de France.  This can apply to many other areas as well - customer satisfaction, improving service quality, doing minor updates to marketing campaigns. Rather than focussing on one big improvement and spending weeks or months on it, before even knowing if it'll work, look at the potential small changes you could make. You will spot much more quickly which of these changes are of benefit and which are not. There's a lot of information stored in your Google Analytics, when used correctly and regularly you will start getting the insight you need to guide your marketing efforts. Suggestions above will help you do just that. Something else on your mind? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch!   Images: Courtesy of Suriya Kankliang, pannawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2016-03-17

New in Littledata: tailored tips, new reports and more

We released the last updates just a few weeks back, but we've done it again. The new improvements will help you get more out of your reports and make your analysis more efficient, but if you've got any other requests or feedback, don't hesitate to let us know. So here's what we've done. Report improvements Discover where you need to improve Tips reports identify the gaps in your analytics setup and suggest fixes or improvements to boost your tracking. We are working on bringing you more of these tailored tips but we need to know what you're trying to achieve to get these right. By updating your report preferences in the subscription settings, you will start getting personalised suggestions and we will use this information for other future tailored reports. You can get to your subscription settings by clicking on the cog icon in the header. See more detail on your referrals It's important to stay on top of your website traffic changes with minimum time waste. This is why we developed Littledata software in the first place. Now we have added extra information to your referrals reports so you can immediately see which sources had the biggest increase or decrease. You will also see the option to pick the type of reports you want to get. Just click on the 'Yes please' button at the bottom of the report to see your choices for customisation. New monthly report So far you've been getting reports that look at the changes in your Google Analytics data on a daily and weekly basis. We've had a lot of requests for monthly comparison reports instead, so we've added these to your feed. Just like your daily and weekly reports, you can spot the new monthly ones by the time tag. Benchmark your website performance It has always been difficult to get a hold of benchmark data to find out how you’re performing against others. You often have to spend a lot of time crawling through the internet to find anything remotely useful. With our new website performance benchmarks we are changing that. Now you can compare your engagement metrics to other websites. You’ll be able to tell whether you need to focus on improving your bounce rate from a particular source, or page load for example.   Feel free to ask questions or send us your comments either below or via the Intercom Messenger available when you're logged in.   Further reading: Under the hood of Littledata

2016-03-14

How to use the lookup table variable in Google Tag Manager

A lookup table in Google Tag Manager makes it much simpler to manage lots of values in your tracking setup. It can drastically reduce the number of tags required and turn your messy GTM into a neat environment. It's especially useful with larger setups where you have multiple tracking requirements and flexible to accommodate new tracking needs as they arise. You can easily add or remove values from your lookup tables, and not worry about having to change any codes. The lookup table variable allows you to define a set of key-value pairs where the output variable (the value that you are sending to Google Analytics) is linked to the identifier (the key). It works like this: When [input variable] equals to  _______, set [this output variable] to_______. For example, you could use the lookup table for: Assigning different Google Analytics property IDs for various domains/hostnames, eg. when [website hostname] equals to littledata.co.uk, set [property ID] to UA-010101 (see example below) Setting different pixel or conversions IDs for different country websites, eg when [website country code] equals to 2, set [pixel ID] to 88779 (requires having website country code variable defined) Defining your event categories, actions and labels (see example below) Remember! There’s no limit to how many values you can have in the lookup table, but the fields are case sensitive. So if you have multiple capitalisations of some input, then include all of them in the lookup table and assign the same output for each. I have previously explained setting up the tracking of user actions as events in GTM, but when you need to track multiple events, one tag just doesn't cut it anymore. And instead of creating several tags to cover each event or action, here's how you would create the lookup table to cover multiple values in one place. Creating lookup table variable for event parameters In the Littledata software interface, you get an option to switch between different report types or view them all. I want to track when people click on different report types, so instead of creating 5 different tags for each user action, I will set up a lookup table to cover all of them in one place. But firstly I need to know which variable to use as the input. You can only have one type of input variable per the lookup table so you want to pick a variable type that applies to each (ideally). For this, I will check how each report type option has been set up in the code by inspecting the element (inspect/inspect element depending on the browser you're using and usually accessible via right click). Here's how each report type has been set up: <a href="/report-list/m2i4MnmXcewDSzZ3c/all" class="current" id="ga-all">All <span class="count">120</span></a> <a href="/report-list/m2i4MnmXcewDSzZ3c/trends" class="" id="ga-trends">Trends <span class="count">80</span></a> <a href="/report-list/m2i4MnmXcewDSzZ3c/pages" class="" id="ga-pages">Pages <span class="count">37</span></a> <a href="/report-list/m2i4MnmXcewDSzZ3c/tips" class="" id="ga-tips">Tips <span class="count">3</span></a> <a href="/report-list/m2i4MnmXcewDSzZ3c/benchmark" class="" id="ga-benchmark">Benchmark <span class="count">0</span></a> Looking at the above, I can see that each report type has a unique ID - here that's the best one to use. Now to set this up, go to Variables, click ‘New’ and select 'Lookup Table' as your variable type. For the input variable, I will use {{Click ID}} as explained above, but you, of course, use whatever unique identifier you have available. For your output, you want to define the event action you are going to send to the Events report in Google Analytics. Should you set the default value? You can set a default value for the output when there is no match found in your table. With the event tracking, I sometimes find it useful to enable to identify if I set up my tag correctly. If my trigger ends up being too broad, the default value option will pick up additional values not defined in the table. I will then see these values in Google Analytics reports and this way I can tidy up the trigger to be more accurate. So this is what your variable should look like now. Click ‘Create Variable’ and there you have it. In your GA event tag, the newly created variable would look like this. Other uses Multiple Google Analytics properties If you have a single GTM container installed on multiple domains but you're tracking them across different Google Analytics properties, you want to ensure that you're sending the data to the correct one. Instead of having multiple variables to store different property IDs, you can have them all neatly in the same table defined by the hostname. This way any tracking activity on each site will go to its own dedicated property. Excluding test or other data If you want to make sure that any data outside of your main site goes to a test or other Google Analytics property, you can do so by setting the default value. The default value is the output that is not found in the table. With this setup, any activity tracked on www.mainsite.com goes to property ID UA-121212. If the activity wasn't on www.mainsite.com, then it sent to property ID UA-121212-2. Use lookup tables for something else? Confused? Get in touch or comment below!

2016-03-09

How to set up event tracking in Google Tag Manager

Events in Google Analytics are important for understanding how people interact with your website. They give you additional insight into their behaviour and how effective your pages are for leading users towards a conversion. With event tracking you could see how many users clicked on a button or played a video, scrolled down a page or clicked on your contact and social media icons. I mostly use Google Tag Manager (GTM) for analytics setup so I will show how to set up event tracking for clicks on buttons with GTM. Instead of hard coding events in the code, GTM allows you to create, test and amend tags within its interface. Before you go ahead creating your event tags, make sure your built-in pages and clicks variables are enabled. This will avoid you having to go back and forth between different sections. The setup below covers only one action - a click on a specific button - but if you have multiple actions to track, then look into implementing a lookup table variable. Tracking button clicks Here's my scenario. I want to track our BENCHMARK YOUR SITE button that allows users to sign up to our free software plan and get benchmarked against competitors.   And here's how to set it up. 1. Create a tag It will be a Universal Analytics tag type where tracking ID is a constant string variable (you need to create this variable before using it) and track type 'Event'. Think of your event tracking parameters as a way to organise the events into a hierarchy: Category – the main aim of the button or its placement Action – what the user clicked or the action Label – provides additional information like on what page the button was clicked or the outbound link they clicked on Value – if you have a numerical value to set for your click (not in my case tho) In my example, the category is ‘Get started’ because we have a number of similar buttons across the site with the same purpose to get the user started with the signup, so all of them have the same event category. For action, I specify the type of button that was clicked on so I can compare how these different buttons perform - 'Benchmark your site' in this case. My event label is the {{Page Path}} where they clicked on the button. The buttons take the user to the same place so I’m more interested in which pages these buttons were clicked on. Alternatively, if you have buttons that take people to different URLs you might want to track that instead. Is it a non-interaction hit? This is an important one to keep in mind. By default this is set to False. If you don’t want this event to impact your bounce rate, then change it to True, which you would do if the click or action didn’t take the user to the new page, or if you didn't want it to be included in your bounce rate calculations. Now click 'Continue' to go to the trigger setup. 2. Create a trigger Trigger is like a rule that allows you to tell the tag, ie specify the conditions, when it should fire. Under 'Fire On' select ‘Click’ as your trigger type and then ‘New’. For configuring the trigger, you have a choice between two types: Just Links – use this when the target is a link or anchor tag <a> All Elements – use this when the target is any other element that’s not a link To determine what’s best for your purposes you need to have a look at how your button is set up. You can do this by selecting ‘inspect element’ or simply ‘inspect’ depending on what browser you’re using. It’s usually available when you right click on the button or element.   Our button has been set up the following way: <a href="https://littledata.uk/signup" class="btn btn-ltd btn-green">benchmark your site</a> It has a link so I will use 'Just Links' for targets and I have a choice between three elements to use in further configuration: https://littledata.uk/signup as click url btn btn-ltd btn-green as click class benchmark your site as click text It is best to use a unique condition if you can. This way, if similar class or click url gets reused in other parts of the website you don't have to go back to this trigger to update it. With 'Just Links' you will get additional configuration options: Wait for tags - delays opening of links until all other tags have fired or the wait time has lapsed, whichever happens first Check validation - fires the tag only when opening the link was a valid action, without the tag will fire whenever the user clicks on the button/link Enable when - this options is shown only when either of the above is ticked so you can be specific about where you want the trigger to be active If you want the trigger to listen to the interactions on all pages, then set that section to be  URL or Page Path matches regex .*. (without that very last full stop - that one's for the sentence) In my case, I only want it to work on benchmark pages and all of them start with /benchmark/. The very last step in trigger setup is specifying on which actions or clicks the tag should fire. As said above, I'm using the button's click class here. All done? This is what your tag should now look like. Click 'Create Tag'. 3. Test Test your tag in GTM's preview mode by checking two things: the tag fires in the preview interface, and the tag is seen in Google Analytics real time view under 'Events' with the event parameters you specified   I hope you got on with the setup above just fine, but if you have questions or clarifications, feel free to ask below.   Further reading: Know who converts on your site with Google Analytics goals Using lookup table variable in Google Tag Manager Intro to Google Tag Manager's key concepts and terminology Image: Courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net  

2016-03-02

New in Littledata: better reports, customisation, and more

We’ve just released a bunch of improvements for Littledata software to improve your data analysis and reporting. Grab yourself a cuppa and read on to learn what’s new, including the ability to choose which reports you want to get, updated spam filter, and more. Settings improvements We want to give you more control over your subscription so we've added further customisation options to your settings. Update subscription name You can now update your subscription name to be something more descriptive than the default property name we select. If you have multiple views for the same website or a very long property name, you can change the name to something more snappy and understandable. Select which reports you want So far you've been getting a set of standard reports without being able to pick which reports are important for you. That's changing! You can now select the metrics and segments you care about and want to get reports on, and turn off the ones you don't. You can do this by going to your subscription settings, and updating the Metrics & Segments sections. Report improvements We believe that analytics reporting should be simple, clear and unpolluted with unnecessary details so we've made your reports easier to understand. Simpler report titles With a lot of changes to the website traffic, the interface can get quite busy with numerous reports trying to get your attention. We made the titles much simpler by focussing on the main change that the reports are about, thus allowing you to skim your reports and see what's happened more quickly. Time tag Our trends reports look currently for daily and weekly changes in your website traffic, and previously you had to rely on the report title to see which time comparison the specific report is for. To make it clearer, we have taken this information out of the titles and added time tags instead. Now you can quickly see which reports are daily or weekly comparisons. Don't let spam referrals skew your data I have previously written a guide on how to remove spam referrals and I know from experience it can be time consuming and frustrating to set up. You have to identify these spammers in your data first, then check other more common ones to add to the list, write a regular expression, then create one filter, then another and so on. Did I say it can be frustrating? Our spam correction feature takes the exasperation out of this process by adding filters to your analytics view once you authorise the fix. Whilst we've had this feature for some time now and it's as popular as ever, we have updated the list with many more spam referrals. We'll send you a tip report if we find fake referrals in your traffic, and you can clean up your data by clicking on 'Fix this now'.   Feel free to ask questions or send us your comments either below or via the Intercom Messenger available when you're logged in.   Further reading: Under the hood of Littledata New in Littledata: tailored tips, new report and more (

2016-02-24

How to trust your Google Analytics data setup

Google Analytics is a powerful tool… when implemented correctly. I can’t even count the number of times we've had enquiries from and spoken to companies who don’t trust the data in their reports because it's incorrect or incomplete. And it all comes down to wrong configuration and setup. Checking and amending correctly the very basics of your analytics setup will provide you with data you can rely on and an accurate foundation for further more advanced configurations, like Enhanced Ecommerce tracking. So here's a list of questions you should be asking whilst checking your Google Analytics (GA) property and view settings. This is assuming you're on Universal Analytics (analytics.js) so not all setup options may apply if your site is on Classic analytics (ga.js). I'll also cover a few common setup issues at the end. GA property settings Go to Admin > Property > Property Settings. Is your default URL set up correctly? The default URL is used in Content and in-Page Analytics reports to display page previews. Do you have a correct default view picked? By default, this will be the first view created at the time of initial GA setup. If you're using AdWords Express or Google Play, then you want to check the view here is the one you want to connect to either of the services. The default view will also show you all the custom and advanced segments you've created in other views. Have you set your industry category? Pick whatever matches your property most closely if you want to be included in the benchmark reports. Have you enabled demographics reports? Demographics and interests reports give you additional insight into your users. Recently I explained how to set this up in Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager V2. Do you need enhanced link attribution? Enable this if you have pages with multiple links that take people to the same destination or a page element that has multiple destinations, eg internal search. This will help with identifying which particular elements or links were clicked. In addition to enabling this in the property settings, you also need to add a line of code to your GA tracking code, or, if using GTM, toggle Enhanced Link Attribution to true in your pageview tag under Advanced Configuration settings. Should you link with your Search Console? Link your Search Console site with your Google Analytics property to see Search Console data in your GA reports, and access GA reports directly from the Links to your site and Sitelinks sections in Search Console. GA view settings Property settings sorted? Great, now go to View > View Settings. Is your view name descriptive? Use easy to understand naming to describe what the view is for, eg excluding admin, domains included, ecommerce data only. Have you set your default URL? Similarly to the property settings, make sure you use the correct default URL here to improve your Content and in-Page Analytics reports. Have you set a correct time zone? The beginning and end of each day for your reports is calculated based on the time zone you have set. If you need to update this, you may see a flat spike in your data caused by the time shift. Do you need a default page? Setting a default page is useful when you have two separate URLs loading the same homepage. Here you can configure those pages to be considered as the same URL. This will affect your reports so make sure you do this correctly Should you exclude URL query parameters? Specify any parameters you don’t want to see in your reports. I've found a blog post from Lunametrics useful for understanding when and how to exclude URL query parameters. Is your currency correct? Especially relevant for sites with ecommerce tracking for making sure that the reports show your order values and revenues in the currency you operate in, and not in $ that it converts to by default. Have you ticked bot filtering option? Whilst this option doesn't help with eliminating all of the spam referrals, ticking this box will exclude at least a few of them. To get rid of all of your fake referrals, here's a thorough guide on how to exclude them with two filters. Get yourself a cuppa if you're going to clean up your data. Does your website have a search function? Enabling the site search is useful for understanding what your website visitors are looking for. It should be pretty painless to set up if you have a query included in the URL, and we've covered the steps to set up internal site search tracking in one of our blogs. Other common setup issues Here are also a few very common setup problems that I keep coming across again and again. Have you got an unfiltered view? It's good practice to have an unfiltered view that you keep clean from any filters and customisation. This way you can always double-check your data if anything goes wrong in another view. Is your bounce rate less than 10% whilst your pageviews have doubled? This may be happening due to pageviews firing multiple times. You can use Tag Assistant plugin for Chrome to check if that's true. Are you getting referrals from your own domain and your payment gateway? This is skewing your data so checkpoints 3 and 4 on how to exclude referrals from your domain and payment provider. Tracking multiple subdomains in the same view? By default, you see only request URI in your reports without a domain, which isn't very helpful if you are tracking more than one domain in the same GA view. You can improve this by adding a hostname to URLs with a custom filter. Check Google's guidance for how to do it. Are you filtering out internal traffic? To minimise your data being skewed by internal colleagues or partner companies you may be working with, exclude their IPs with the help of filters. Are you on top of website traffic changes? OK, so this one isn't quite about the problem with the setup but if data has an important role in your business, you can make your analysis more efficient. Google provides you with the ability to set up alerts for important changes in your data, but our software does the work for you. Instead of trawling your data for hours or spending further time on configurations, you can set up alerts and personalised reports within minutes.   Have you experienced other setup problems that aren't covered above? Let me know and I'll include them. Image Credit: Images courtesy of vectorolie and ratch0013 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2016-02-18

How to create a strategic marketing plan

You know marketing is essential but have you specified what makes you different and unique, your objectives and how you are going to achieve them? Recently I went to a workshop, organised by Innovate UK and Enterprise Europe Network, to do just that: learn about achieving business goals by using strategic marketing. Strategic marketing is essentially a structured plan that helps you achieve competitive advantage or other business goals through a set of defined activities that are most appropriate for your aims. We were taken through a number of exercises that helped us define how we position ourselves and what we are trying to accomplish, whilst aligning the marketing efforts and tactics with overall business goals. It was especially useful to bounce my ideas off others so if you’re going through similar exercises, I recommend you do the same. It really helps to sense-check your thoughts and how you describe your business with someone outside your company. Below I'll go through my top takeaways and methods that I found most useful when devising a strategic marketing plan. Define the purpose/mission of your business Think about what you are trying to achieve as a business – is it clear or does it need further refining? Why are your services and products needed or wanted, and who are your customers? If you have a clear purpose or a definition of what you’re trying to achieve, it will help you plan your marketing activities and inform other business activities. Having an easy to understand idea of your purpose also helps guide your resources and avoid spreading them too thinly, which is especially valuable if you’re a small business where resources are limited. Define your value proposition A value proposition is what you promise to deliver to your customers through your services or products. Here you need to think what makes you unique, better or different from your competitors. If you struggle to offer a reason why your offering is more valuable than your competitors, then you may get stuck competing on price only. I found the Geoffrey Moore’s model particularly useful for defining the value proposition. It goes like this: The  ____________ (product name) Is a ____________ (product category) for ____________ (users/customer segment) who ____________  (statement of desire/problem) that ____________  (compelling reason to use) unlike ____________  (the next best alternative) allows ____________  (the main difference). And here’s an example we were given: The iPod is a portable music player for music lovers who want to listen to their music anywhere, anytime unlike portable cd players or 
MP3s with less storage the iPod allows easy access to all your music Define your marketing goals We used SMART method to define 3-5 marketing goals for the next 12 months. Being specific about the number of goals you’re trying to achieve within a year helps to focus on specific outcomes you’re trying to achieve. It also helps to measure your success after 12 months or another timeframe you set for yourself. Specific - clearly defined 
and specific goal rather than a generic and vague one, eg increase signups Measurable 
 - quantifiable goal, eg how much or how many Achievable – realistic to complete within a set timeframe, eg a few months Relevant to you and your customers 
- choose what matters or matches needs Time-bound - that you have the time, money & resources to achieve your goals within a specific timeframe Define your segmentation, targeting and positioning Segmentation is an activity where you divide the broad market into specific customer segments by their common characteristics, and devise your tactics around targeting each segment. A few ways you could segment your customers are demographics, geography, psychographics, lifestyle, behaviour, etc. Once you have a clear idea of different customer groups, you will be better placed to pick the most attractive or suitable segment to target. When selecting your target segment, see if there are segments that are the easiest, cheapest or quickest to reach, whilst being realistic about your capabilities and resources to target those segments. Positioning your business gives you a distinct image of your benefit(s) to the target audience that you are going to communicate. If you have a number of segments you can target, then define your positioning for each segment. Same applies to the Geoffrey Moore’s value proposition model – write it out for each customer segment. Define your marketing tactics Once you have a clear idea of the customer segment(s) you’re targeting, why they would use your services or products, and what you’re going to communicate to them, you can pick specific marketing tactics that are going to help you do that. Some examples of tactics are producing ebooks, using online ads like PPC, sharing data findings via blog, and organising webinars. If you need inspiration or ideas, there are plenty of resources online when you search for marketing tactics, marketing strategies, growth tactics and similar. Define your marketing KPIs Decide on a set of metrics that you are going to use to measure the success of your marketing efforts. By having the right KPIs, you can evaluate if you’re on track towards your goals, and adjust your activities if necessary. To give you a few examples of what you could measure: Cost per lead or enquiry Average order value Landing page conversion rate Customer lifetime value Impressions / clicks / visits I hope this has helped you to start thinking about defining your business and marketing activities more strategically and in line with the over-all goals. There are lots of great templates online that you can use to assist with outlining your plan - for example, check out Smart Insights resources bank that has lots of useful PDFs for marketing planning and more. If you'd like to discuss further, comment below!

2016-02-10

Know who converts on your site with Google Analytics goals

Wouldn't you want to know how well people convert on your site? Setting up basic conversion goals will enable you to measure site engagement – based on time on site, destination page or particular events - and what drives that. Below I’ll cover the reasons why you should set up goal tracking in your Google Analytics, different types of goals available, goal value, and then explain how to set them up. So why should you track goals? Goals are great for tracking important actions that are crucial for your business and understanding how people convert on your site. Once you set up goals, you will be able to analyse conversion rates in the Goals reports. Conversion data will also appear in other Google Analytics reports, like the Attribution and Acquisition reports. This will help you identify which marketing campaigns and channels get users to complete the goals you have previously defined. The destination goal also allows you to set up a funnel to visualise the path people take through your site towards completing a purchase, signing up or another conversion. Seeing how people navigate through your site in a visual way makes it easier to identify where they drop off. If you see a lot of exits on particular pages, then review those pages to see if you can improve them to minimise the exits and guide more people towards converting. If you see a lot of people skipping certain pages, then your path to conversion might be too long or contain unnecessary steps. For more info on flow visualisation reports, check Google’s help pages. What kind of goals can you set up? You can set up a destination goal to track how many users reached a certain page, eg thank you, purchase confirmation or pre-order request pages. Then there’s a duration goal that tracks how many users stayed for a specific amount of time, eg for at least 15 minutes. You can also set up a pages/screens per session goal to see how many users view a specific number of pages during a session. An event goal is for when a user triggered certain events on the site that you have already set up, eg clicked on an ad, submitted a form or saved a product. What else should you know about goals? Goals have a few limitations in Google Analytics: You can set up only 20 goals per view. If you need more, you can either create another view or repurpose existing goals. Goals apply to the data after you’ve created them. Goals can’t be deleted; but you can turn them off if you don’t need them. Use names that make sense so that anyone using your Google Analytics data can understand what the goals are for. Keep track of when you changed the goal by adding annotations to your reports. Do you need the goal value? Setting up a goal value is optional. You should set a monetary value for your goal when you want to track how much you earned from converting users and you’re able to calculate the worth of each lead. If you know that 5% of people who sign up on your site end up buying your service, and the average value of your service is £1000, then you can set £50 as your goal value (5% of 1000). When setting up a goal value, make sure the currency corresponds to what you use on the site or are familiar with. You can do this in Admin > View > View Settings. Are you an ecommerce site? If you’re an online retailer, then instead of using goal values you should be using Ecommerce or Enhanced Ecommerce tracking for Google Analytics. These reports will be much more insightful for tracking your store performance. So how do you set up goals? You need to set these up at the view level. Go to Admin > View > Goals, and click New Goal. Google has added some goal templates that you can choose from if you’re happy to use their naming. Alternatively, select 'Custom' at the end of the list and click ‘Continue’ to the goal description. For your goal name use something that is easily understood by others using your Google Analytics account, and the goal details will depend on the type of goal you're setting up. Setting up destination goal You can follow the blog I've previously written on setting up the destination goal and funnel. Setting up duration goal Click ‘Continue’ and specify the minimum amount of time you want to track. Setting up pages/screens per session goal Here you specify the number of pages someone viewed per session. Setting up event goal Set the event you want to track as a goal by using exactly the same category, action, label and value as in the event. If you want to use a goal value here, you have the option to use the event value you’ve already set. Verify your goal - click ‘Verify’ to check if it works. If the goal has been set up correctly, you should see an estimation of the conversion rate your goal would get. If you’re not getting anything, check each step carefully and Google's help pages on why your conversion tracking might not be working. Once you’re happy with the setup, click ‘Create goal’ and check the results in your analytics reports after a few days or weeks, depending on the amount of traffic you get.   If you need help with the setup above or have another way of using goals, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

2016-01-28

A win for the UK digital sector: UK sites perform better than US sites in benchmark

UK-based websites are 5 percentage points better than their US peers at keeping mobile users engaged (with a lower bounce rate), and 2.5 percentage points better at keeping the users from desktop / laptop computers engaged. For bounce rate from email marketing, the difference was also 5 percentage points (a 14% better performance from UK websites). The comparison is based on the Google Analytics data from 209 UK companies and 95 US companies collated by Littledata. The British web industry has benefited from earlier smartphone adoption in the UK (81% vs 75% in the US; source: MarketingLand), and overall greater internet usage from UK consumers (source: Econsultancy). That should put UK-based developers in a great position to sell their experience to other countries with increasing internet adoption An example is MADE.com, a London-based furniture retailer which has used superior online customer acquisition to drive growth across the UK and continental Europe. Littledata founder, Edward Upton, explains: “It’s usually hard to get a hold of industry data to compare digital product performance against similar companies, but Littledata’s benchmarks provide a simple way for companies to find website features that are underperforming.” If your website beats those benchmarks that should not stop you improving. Whilst it’s great to know you’re doing well in a particular area, there are many comparative metrics you can check with our benchmarks to fully understand your performance overall. If your site is struggling with engaging users, then check out our suggestions on improving your bounce rate . Want to know how your site performs? Head over to Littledata Benchmark page and click 'Benchmark your site' to check your performance against others. How Littledata benchmarks work? We gather data from thousands of Google Analytics profiles, and anonymise them in a series of benchmarks, to give insight into how your marketing efforts are paying off. With this benchmark data, you can stop being in the dark about how your website performs and sign up to see how your site compares. Our customers also receive daily insight into site or app performance with our actionable trends reports. You can explore these and other benchmarks via Littledata Benchmark index page.   How would you use benchmarks in your daily work? Leave your comments below.

2016-01-14

Why should you tag your campaigns for Google Analytics?

Google Analytics custom campaign tracking is essential for measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Let's say you were promoting your new ebook across social media and emails, how would you know which social post or email blast was the most effective? That’s where Google campaign parameters come in (also referred to as UTM). You simply add them to your URLs, which are then used in your web-based, email or ad promotions. When someone clicks on them, the custom information linked to these URLs via parameters is sent to your Google Analytics reports. If you don’t tell Google the specifics of your campaigns, then they will be rolled into existing buckets without the ability to identify them. This most commonly happens with emails and social posts that by default get classified as referrals. But once you start tagging your campaigns, you will see those social initiatives and email newsletters separated by campaign names and other information you provided. Tagged up links can also be used in email signatures, listings on other sites and social media profiles. By using campaign tagging you will understand better which URLs have been most effective in attracting users to your site or content, for example you'll see which: Email newsletter brought you the most traffic Ad was best at bringing you converting visitors Facebook post engaged the most users If you have goals set up, then you will also see how visitors from individual campaigns convert on your website. Using custom campaign data in reports You can access custom campaign data in Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns report, where you will see your various campaigns based on the parameters used in URLs. You can also switch between viewing your campaigns by source and medium tags that you’ve used. Another report you can use is the Assisted Conversions (under Conversion > Multi-Channel Funnels) that summarises how your channels, or campaigns, contribute to your conversions. To see the campaigns, you need to click on 'Other', find 'Campaign' and select it. Now you will see data related to your campaigns only. Check Google's guidance on understanding the Assisted Conversions report. Be consistent Consistency is very important in campaign tagging so make sure that the parameters you use in your campaigns are exact. For example, if you use email, Email and E-mail, Google Analytics will record them as three different mediums in your reports. So, set your naming conventions and if you have a bigger team, then agree on what they are and make sure everyone is aware of them. What tags can you use in your campaigns? There are five types of information you can pass on with the tags/URLs. Three of them should always be used: Campaign source (utm_source) - identifies where the traffic comes from, eg newsletter, google. Campaign medium (utm_medium) – advertising or marketing medium, eg cpc, email. Campaign name (utm_campaign) – what the campaign is called whether it's a promo code or specific promotion, eg winter sale. The other two, whilst not required by Google, are useful for tracking additional information: Campaign term (utm_term) - identifies paid search keywords if you’re manually tagging your paid keyword campaigns, eg red shoes. Campaign content (utm_content) – helps differentiate between same type of content or links, useful when doing AB testing or using multiple calls to action, eg logo or text link. How to tag your campaigns? It’s easier than you might think. You can do it manually if you know how, but the available URL builder tools online make it super simple to tag your links correctly. But if you're using Adwords or Bing then you can enable auto-tagging so you don't have to worry about tagging them. For websites use the Google URL builder tool to append URL parameters. For Android, use the Google Play URL builder tool to append URL parameters. You also must have Google Play Campaign Attribution set up in your Android SDK. For iOS, use the iOS Campaign Tracking URL Builder to append URL parameters. You must use Google Analytics iOS SDK v3 or higher for this to work. For manual tagging, you need to enter a question mark after the URL and before adding your parameters. Then pair up the parameters with their values, eg utm_source=newsletter, and separate campaign parameters with an ampersand. After the question mark, parameters can be placed in any order. You'll end up with a link that'll look something like this: http://www.littledata.io/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=welcome, which is ready for use in your promo activities. Auto-tag your campaigns To make campaign tracking and tagging simpler, we have created a tool in Google Sheets that automatically creates a tagged up link. You'll need to fill the values for parameters and the formula will do the rest for you. To use it, you'll need to make a copy to store in your own Drive (via File option). Get campaign tracking sheet with URL builder   Got questions? Comment below or get in touch!

2016-01-06

How to set up demographics and interests reports in Google Analytics

Demographics and interests reports in Google Analytics give you additional insight about your users, allowing you to do analysis based on age, gender and interest categories. You get a much better idea of who your users are and the setup is so quick to do, there's no reason not to. To get this information, you need to do minor tweaks to your Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Those changes will allow Google to share anonymised data about your site or app visitors, and once set up, you can use this information to understand the behaviour patterns of your users by different profiles. You will be able to see: If a particular age group converts more Whether you get more visits from males or females from a particular country or city If your users are more into travelling, movies or social media You'll also be able to: Build remarketing lists Build segments for more detailed information about your users Target your ads to specific users What reports will you get? Demographics Overview: snapshot view of your users by age and gender Age: Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions metrics by age group (below 18 are not included) Gender: Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions metrics by gender Interests Overview: top 10 interests of your users in 3 areas: Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments and Other Categories Affinity Categories (reach): view of users by their lifestyle with Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions metrics broken down by Affinity Categories In-Market Segments: view of users by their product-purchasing interests with Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions metrics broken down by In-Market Segments Other Categories: more specific view of users with Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions metrics broken down by Other Categories How does Google get this data? Google collects demographics and interests data from the third-party DoubleClick cookie for web traffic and anonymous identifiers for mobile app activity, like the Android Advertising ID and the iOS Identifier for Advertisers. But Google is unable to collect this data if the cookie or anonymous identifier isn't present, or if there's no profile information available. As a result, this data may only be available for a subset of your users. This will be shown on the report as a % of traffic the report represents. When is threshold applied? There are occasions when data is withheld from your reports to ensure the anonymity of users. For example, this might happen when you don’t have enough data for a particular age range or gender. When the threshold has been applied, you will see a notification below the report title. 3 simple steps to set this up 1. Enable the feature in Google Analytics Go to Admin > Property > Property Settings. Scroll down to Advertising Features, and set the option to Enable Demographics and Interests Reports to ON. Now save. 2. Enable the feature in Google Tag Manager Go to edit your GA pageview tag > Configure Tag. Under the tracking ID, tick the Enable Display Advertising Features box. Save the tag, and you've got one last step to do. 3. Enable the report in Google Analytics For this go to Audience > Demographics > Overview report. Click Enable, and you're all set. You should see your demographics and interests data within 24 hours of enabling the feature. We also provide consultancy services if you need help with more advanced setup.   Further reading: Tracking registered users with Google Analytics and GTM V2 How to use demographic targeting in AdWords  

2015-12-18

7 ways to reduce your bounce rate

Wondering why your bounce rate is so high and people are not sticking around? Here are some methods you should consider to improve user engagement with your content, conversion rates and sales. Bounce rate is the percentage of single page sessions or visits where the person didn’t engage further than the one page within your site. You shouldn't worry about the high bounce rate if your site visitors are meant to find what they were looking for on a single page. But if it's important for your site that users stick around for either reading more content or going through further pages that lead towards conversion, then you should review your options for reducing the bounce rate. By decreasing the bounce rate you can improve your ability to engage more users and eventually get them to convert. There are a few reasons why you would have a high bounce rate: Single page site or landing page Incorrect setup Wrong audience Design Usability User behaviour Low quality content You can identify your worst performing content by looking at the bounce rate in the Landing Pages report (under Behaviour > Site Content). If there is a high percentage of people leaving the pages without continuing their journey, then review those pages with the suggestions below. You should also check the average time spent on those pages. If users are leaving after a short amount of time, then you should look closely at what may be driving them away and if there are any improvements you can make to keep the visitor on the page for longer, or how to encourage them to visit other pages. Guide users through your website with additional links Users might leave your site after seeing a single page that contained the information they were looking for. If they got what they wanted and don’t care about actively exploring your website, then think about similar pages within your site that might be of interest to your users, and link to them within the content. You could link to: Another blog post covering similar topic from a different angle A case study to increase the credibility of your work Related blog post that the reader might like Best practices of using your product Case studies on how others have achieved results with your product Your product demo or webinar This can be applied to any pages from product and features to blog and about your team. Blog posts on Moz Blog are a great example of providing additional links that are useful and relevant. Improve your page load Your page loading time has a major impact on how quickly people will leave your site, which should be obvious to everyone. Slow site speed can be very discouraging to your potential customers and drive them away. How long would you wait for a page to load, before going elsewhere to a quicker website? 47% of users online expect the page to load in two seconds or less. The study cited in an article by Econsultancy is several years old so it is highly likely that people are even more impatient now, making the number of people abandoning the site even higher than the 40% it used to be. Check Google PageSpeed Insights for more detail. Make content readable It is difficult to read large chunks of text that consists of long paragraphs, too much jargon and bad formatting. With our shorter attention span and higher impatience, the more user friendly you can make the text, the better for your site performance. There are a number of ways you can improve the readability of your content: Large headings Bold subheadings Bullets and lists Shorter sentences and paragraphs Less or no jargon Write like you talk Use images Bold keywords where appropriate Add a relevant call to action on the landing page If you have a landing page for converting visitors, whether it is for getting them to enquire or sign up, you need a relevant and prominent call to action (CTA). At Littledata we use CTA in two places on the landing page - top and bottom - to help the user enquire about our services much quicker. I also like Intercom product pages, which have some awesome animations and illustrations, and a call to action that fits the theme. Your CTA could be focussed on getting your users to: Call the company to talk about the product Fill out a form Sign up for a trial Click on banner ad Watch video Subscribe to a newsletter Visit another page within your site or external site Econsultancy has collected examples of some awesome calls to action so check them out for inspiration. Check your landing pages meet visitor expectations If people expect to sign up for a free trial of your software product, but are instead taken to a homepage without a visible way of doing so, then expect a lot of bounces. Invision uses Adwords to promote its free platform plan. Once you click through, you see immediately the content you expect and the option to sign up. If you purchase some of your traffic, make sure you check what information visitors see on your partners’ site before clicking on the link. When we recently ran a number of tests to improve the bounce rate for our client, we were baffled by some of the improvements not having much effect. After further investigation it came out that the visitors on the partner sites were getting the wrong information about what they were clicking on. No surprise then that they were leaving the site so soon. For search engine results, review your page titles and meta descriptions, and make sure they match what the person will see on the page when they click on it. Set external links to open in a new window By providing an external link that opens within the same window, you are forcing your users to leave your site. This will not only affect your bounce rate, but you will also be increasing your exit rate. Instead of interrupting their journey this way, set any external links to open in a new tab. Avoid distracting users from the content Whilst some popups can be relevant to the content of the page and important for your aims, a badly timed popup can be very off-putting for your site users. Your landing page is there to convince the visitor to stay so if your popup displays instantly, you're not letting them see your content that they came for in the first place. Test different timings to see what works best for your users, but I'd be surprised if quickly displaying popups reduce your bounce rate. Autoplaying random songs can also be highly annoying. Especially when it's not the kind of song you listen to, on full blast, and hidden somewhere so it takes you ages to find the music to pause it. Just no.   There are no quick wins when it comes to improving your bounce rate. Keep making the improvements with your reader in mind and testing which changes work for you best. So I hope this has been helpful. If you have any experiences with methods mentioned above, do share in the comments below. Further reading: A win for the UK digital sector: UK sites perform better than US sites in benchmark 5 common Google Analytics setup problems to look out for How to accurately track time on site with Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager Stuck with reducing your bounce rate? Contact our certified Google Analytics specialists for help with your bounce rate or other advanced tracking.  

2015-11-25

7 quick wins to speed up your site analysis techniques in Google Analytics

Analysis and reporting are the most time-consuming aspects of site or app performance tracking in Google Analytics. If you ever wished or thought if only it was quicker, then this post is for you. There are a number of techniques you can implement to speed up your data analysis and number crunching. Here I’ll cover 6 of them. Schedule email reports Google Analytics dashboards are a great way to monitor metrics that are important for your business. But instead of logging in every day or week, or however often you tend to check them, schedule automated email reports instead. At Littledata, we have a select few metrics that we keep track of on a weekly and monthly basis. The whole team gets an email report on a specified day, allowing everyone to get the latest stats without someone on the team having to get those numbers manually every time. To set this up, go to the dashboard that you want emailed to others (or yourself), click ‘Email’ and fill in the details. If you're scheduling the email to go to your team on a regular basis, why not add a nice message in the email body. To edit the scheduled emails you've set up previously, go to Admin > View > Scheduled Emails (towards the bottom of the list). Access your reports quickly Shortcuts in Google Analytics allow you to quickly view the reports you use most often. Even better, they remember the settings you applied to any report. So if you apply an advanced segment or another customisation to the report, saving it as a shortcut will remember your preferences. Except for the date range - that won't be remembered. You can find the shortcut option just below the report title, and once added, you'll find your shortcut reports at the top of the reports list in the left panel. Search for reports you can’t find If you find yourself wondering where a particular report is, use the search found at the very top. Instead of having to go through an extensive report list trying to find something you vaguely remember seeing last month, you get suggestions of what you might be looking for as you type. So you only need to remember or guess part of the report title that you're looking for. Use keyboard shortcuts Did you know Google Analytics has keyboard shortcuts? They allow you to move around the report much quicker and the date range keyboards make a big difference to a workflow. Picking date ranges can be tedious and annoying so I've found these to be the best. If you're already using keyboard shortcuts on your devices, you won't need convincing of their usefulness. To view this complete list of shortcuts in Google Analytics at any time, use a shortcut: ? Set up goals to understand your website visitors Goals are valuable in understanding how well your site or app helps you achieve your objectives. Unfortunately, we see a lot of businesses who either find it too complicated to set up or have done it incorrectly. Speaking from personal experience, it only takes a little practice to get the hang of it, and once setup, you get essential conversion data in your reports. You'll be able to evaluate your marketing efforts and campaigns much more effectively. Check out Google's guidance on goals and my guide on how to set up a destination goal funnel. See trends quickly with Littledata reports We have a clever tool that looks through all of your Google Analytics data and finds the most interesting changes to report on. There are over hundred of GA reports so getting automated summaries that you can act upon will save you hours of work. Littledata tool doesn't require installation and it's quick to set up - all you need is an existing Google Analytics account to sign up with for free. The reports you'll get are also great for presenting to colleagues in meetings, as other users have said. To get your reports, go to Littledata homepage, enter your website into the box and click 'Get started.' We're also working on bringing you benchmarking information, customised tips on how to improve your Analytics setup and what you should be tracking. Pro tip: Manage complex data with query explorer tool Whilst, not the quickest to get used to, Google's query explorer tool can be powerful for those working with large and complex datasets. Some of our biggest clients' websites get millions of hits a month, which can cause discrepancies in data analysis (especially when data is sampled). So I use the query explorer tool to verify the data that clients ask for. To use this tool, you will need to know your metrics from dimensions and learn more about how to use segments, filters and query building.   If you've got questions on any of the above, don't hesitate to comment below or get in touch!  

2015-10-15

How to track registered users with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager V2

Wondering if Samsung Galaxy is more popular than iPhone when engaging with your content? Then set up the User-ID view to see your logged in users’ activity and evaluate behaviour by the device. With the activity data you collect in the registered users view, you can improve the analysis of your customers' behaviour by seeing which devices are used to sign up and access your website. To summarise the benefits: You get access to the Cross-Device reports, which allow you to analyse which devices your users use to engage with your content. See what the Cross-Device reports look like. You improve your understanding of logged in users who often engage with the site's content differently than those who aren't registered. You get a more accurate user count. In your standard analytics view, a new user is counted every time your site visitor switches to a new device or starts a new session. With the registered user view, you give each user a unique ID, which helps to stitch together various activities carried out by the user. You can find out which devices users prefer for different engagement activities across multiple sessions. This helps with tailoring your campaign and content to different devices and activities. To set this up, you need to have the user ID stored in the data layer. If you don't have it set up, scroll to the bottom for an advanced hack. Now let’s look at how to set up the tracking by using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager V2. Looking to implement the User-ID in your tracking code? Check Google’s guidance. Enable the feature in Google Analytics Firstly, enable the User-ID feature by going to  Admin > Property > Tracking info > User-ID. Read through the short policy on what you’re allowed to track and not. Google is very strict about tracking personally identifiable information so you are not allowed to send any personally identifiable information, such as names and email addresses. But numbered IDs or hashed emails are fine to use. To agree to the terms, follow the steps and click ‘create.’ Create the variable in Google Tag Manager Now go to GTM variables and click 'new'. Select Data Layer Variable type and use the name stored in your data layer, e.g. uid or user ID Add the variable to your pageview tag Go to edit your pageview tag and click on More settings > Fields to set. Click Add field, enter the field name as &uid and select the variable you’ve just created - eg {{uid}} or {{userID}}. Test you're seeing activity in the newly created registered users view with your login, or a test one if you have it. Don't forget to publish your GTM container for tracking to work. Advanced hack If for some reason you can't get your developer to store a user ID in the data layer, there is a way around it. We've created a javascript variable to get a username off the page and hash it prior to sending it to GA. For this, you need to pick a custom Javascript type variable and enter the script below into the custom javascript field. This javascript requires either your developer or you to customise it to work on your page (see the notes in the second and third lines). function() { //dependent on using Jquery selectors //replace '.menuTitle small a' with the selector for your username var name = $('.menuTitle small a').text(); var hash = 0, i, chr, len; if (name.length == 0) return hash; for (i = 0, len = name.length; i < len; i++) { chr = name.charCodeAt(i); hash = ((hash << 5) - hash) + chr; hash |= 0; // Convert to 32bit integer } return hash; }; If you need help with any of the above, don't hesitate to comment below or get in touch!

2015-08-19

How to remove referral spam from historical data in Google Analytics

This is a quick follow-up to my guide on how to exclude referral spam from your Google Analytics data. Filters exclude or modify the data from the time you add them and don't have any effect on previous traffic. This is where segments are very useful. Not only can you use a segment to view a cleaner version of your historical data but you can also test the setup of your filters. I've also found the Google's filter verification option quite unreliable but with the segment, you can verify the results yourself and see results straight away. Here I am going to show how to add segments to include valid hostnames and exclude spam referrals from your data. Add a segment to include valid hostnames Creating a filter to include visits from valid hostnames only is the first step you need to take to exclude spam referrals from your Google Analytics data. Test your valid hostnames regex by firstly going to Audience > Technology > Network > Hostname. Create a filter by clicking on ‘Add segment’ and then ‘New Segment’. Now select the conditions tab on the left, under advanced. Set up your filter with the following conditions: Sessions Include Hostname Matches regex (and your regex, eg yoursite|googleusercontent, in our case it's littledata|googleusercontent) Click on ‘Preview’ button on at the top to check which hostnames you are left with. Your list should look much cleaner and only display domains you used in regex. Add a segment to exclude referral spam Like before, you want to test this trigger when viewing a relevant report so go to Acquisitions > All Traffic > Referrals. Create a segment with the following details: Sessions Exclude Medium exactly matches referral AND Source matches regex (and your regex) Whilst filters have a limit of 255 characters, the advanced segment has much more character space to use. I've bundled all spam referrals into one long regex of 900 characters. But as explained in the guide on removing spam traffic you might have to break it up into multiple expressions or filters to fit them all in. By adding those two segments you can not only test that your filter setup is accurate but also view your historical data without fake traffic. If you need help with any of the above, leave a comment below or get in touch!

2015-07-30

Tracking web forms in Google Tag Manager V2

Do you know how many people start completing forms on your website, but don't complete them? Do you know which fields cause them difficulties? This is a guide to field-by-field form tracking using GTM. By tracking each element of the form separately, you will see how many people start filling out the form but then decide not to submit it. Once you understand where people drop off you will be able to identify any parts of the form that may need improving. The enquiry form on our website has four elements that I am going to track: the name, email and subject fields, and the button to submit the query. In summary, the set up will work like this: Create a trigger that will act as the firing rule for the tag Create a tag to track clicks on the field Repeat for each field So to set up the tracking of form fields and submits in GTM V2, follow these steps. Enable built in variables Firstly, you will need to enable built in variables. You will need Form ID variable and if similarly to our site you have the same enquiry form placed on several pages, then Page Path variable as well. These variables will allow you to track clicks on the form and on which pages the form was clicked on. The page path variable returns the URL part that comes after your main domain, eg /blog. Create the trigger For your trigger, you will need to find out the field ID you want to track. To find out the ID, if you are using Chrome browser, right-click on the field and select ‘Inspect Element’ It will look something like id=”name” so name here is the unique ID that you need to use with the trigger. If you do not have a unique ID associated with the field you want to track, ask your developers to add it in. This will make the tracking much easier. Now in GTM, go to Triggers tab on the left and click 'New'. You are creating a 'click' trigger, which you want to fire on 'all elements'. Save the trigger. Create the tag Go to Tags tab and click 'New'. Select Google Analytics and tag type 'Universal Analytics'. I send the following event tracking parameters to GA: Category: Enquiry form Action: Click on name Label: {{Page Path}} Now select 'Click' to select the trigger ‘Click on name’ as your firing rule. If there are any pages where you don’t want this tracked, then you will need to create a separate blocking trigger. Here is an example of a trigger for a contact us page that I want to exclude from tracking here. You can create your blocking trigger in a pop up window without leaving the tag. Repeat Follow the steps above to create the trigger and tag for each following field, and amend form ID’s and event field values for each. Test your tags in GTM debug mode and GA real time to make sure the details sent through are what you want. Once tested, publish your container and if you need any further help with any of the above, leave a comment below.   Further reading: How to track file downloads in Google Tag Manager V2 Tracking registered users with Google Analytics and GTM V2

2015-07-17

How to remove referral spam from Google Analytics

The issue with the referral spam in Google Analytics exploded in May when we saw an average of 620 spam sessions per GA property and just the other week, I saw an account where spam accounted for 95% of the traffic! Spam referrals are greatly skewing your Google Analytics traffic and becoming a headache for a larger number of people. Why are these spam sessions appearing in your Google Analytics traffic? To get you click through to their site and ads (never ever do that, by the way). By targeting thousands of GA accounts like this, you can imagine how much traffic they get from those more curious about their new source of visits. There are two different types of spam referrals you are getting: Ghost referrals send fake traffic to your GA account by “attacking” random GA property IDs. Crawler referrals crawl your website to leave a mark in your traffic. The spam referrals are getting more persistent and clever by targeting other non-referral reports, like www.event-tracking.com appearing in events. How can you tell it's spam? By seeing unusual activity, odd referral sources, substantial changes in your metrics, and lots of (not set) values in various dimensions, eg hostname and language. So how do you remove spam referrals from your Google Analytics traffic? There are two filters you need to set up to remove both ghost and crawler spam referrals. Filters change your traffic permanently so if you don't have an unfiltered view of your data, then create one now. It's a good practice to have an unfiltered view that you don't modify and it allows you to check your filters are working correctly. We are also working on our own spam filter tool to help people get rid of pesky spam referrals with just a few clicks of a button. We have already released a beta version via our Littledata analytics reporting tool and are developing it further to make it more robust and comprehensive. But if you'd rather do it yourself, keep reading. Create a filter to include valid hostnames Since ghost referrals never actually visit the site, the best way to get rid of them is by creating a valid hostname filter. This filter will allow visits from “approved” websites that you consider valid. First, you will need to identify your valid hostnames by going to the report in Audience > Technology > Network > Hostname. Hostnames report shows domains where your GA tracking code was fired and helps to troubleshoot unusual traffic sources. Valid hostnames on the list will be the websites where you inserted the GA tracking code, use additional services, eg transactions, or reliable sites used by people to access your site, eg Google Translate. Your reliable hostnames could look like this: www.yoursite.com yoursite.com blog.yoursite.com translate.googleusercontent.com (user accessing your site via Google Translate) ecommercepartnersite.com webcache.googleusercontent.com (user accessing translated cached version of your site) Any other website that you do not recognise or looks suspicious, you can safely assume to be a hostname you want to exclude. Beware of any domains that appear as “credible sources", eg Google, Amazon and HuffingtonPost. They are used to mask the spammers. If you see (not set) hostname on your list, this could be because you're sending events to GA that don't have pageviews, for example tracking email opens and clicks. If you are sure you are not sending any such events to GA, you can also exclude any (not set) hostnames. Now that you have got your valid hostnames, you need a regular expression for a filter that will include your valid hostnames (and thus, exclude all other fake ones). It'll look like this: yoursite|googleusercontent|ecommercepartnersite In the regex above, the vertical bar | separating each domain means OR.  This will match any part of the string, so 'yoursite' will match 'blog.yoursite.com' as well as 'www.yoursite.com'. You can test your regex at http://regexpal.com/ by inserting your expression at the top and all the URLs at the bottom. All matches will be highlighted so you can see straightaway whether you have included all your valid hostnames correctly. Before adding the valid hostname filter in the settings, test it with an advanced segment. The results on the screen should now be only of your valid hostnames and without all the spammers. If all looks good, create a filter by going to Admin > View > Filters > New Filter. This will add a filter for that specific view only. If you want to add the same filter to more than one view, then check the details below. Select 'Include', pick a custom filter and select 'hostname' from the filter field menu. Now enter your regex into filter pattern field and click save.   Want to apply a filter to multiple views? Then go to Admin > Account > All Filters > New Filter.   The setup is exactly the same as above, except now you will see a section at the bottom titled 'Apply Filter to Views'. Select views you want to apply the filter to and move them to the right hand side box by clicking button 'add' in the middle. You're all set so click save. Add a filter to exclude campaign source Some of the known spam referrals are free-social-buttons, guardlink.org, 4webmasters.org and, most recently, the ironically named howtostopreferralspam.eu. Excluding spam referrals with campaign source filter is one of the most commonly mentioned methods online. This filter will exclude any referrer spam from the moment you add the filter (not from your historical data). The downside is that every time you have a new spam referral appear in your Google Analytics data you will have to add them to the existing filter, or create a new one if you’ve ran out of character space (allows only 255 characters). You can identify your spam referrals by going to referrals report found in Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals. To save you some time, I have included the regex's we use below so you can copy them. Make sure you double check your referrals report against our list to see if there are any that haven't appeared in our reports yet. If you find a source not listed below, simply add it to the end and let us know in the comments. Similarly to setting up the filter to include valid hostnames only, now you need to add a filter to exclude spam referrals. We use the following regular expressions to filter out spam (yes, that's four filters): guardlink|event-tracking|vitaly rules|pornhub-forum|youporn-forum|theguardlan|hulfingtonpost|buy-cheap-online|Get-Free-Traffic-Now|adviceforum.com|aliexpress.com|ranksonic kabbalah-reg-bracelets|webmaster-tools|free-share-buttons|ilovevitaly|cenoval|bestwebsitesawards|o-o-6-o-o|humanorightswatch|best-seo-offer|4webmasters|forum69.info|webmaster-traffic|torture.ml|amanda-porn|generalporn depositfiles-porn|meendo-free-traffic|googlsucks|o-o-8-o-o|darodar|buttons-for-your-website|resellerclub|blackhatworth|iphone4simulator.com|sashagreyblog|buttons-for-website|best-seo-solution|searchgol|howtostopreferralspam 100dollars-seo|free-social-buttons|success-seo.com|videos-for-your-business.com The reason majority of the websites above do not have org/com/etc is that for these sites I have concluded that there are no other genuine sites with similar site names (or none that I could find) that would send our site traffic. So it is safe to exclude these sites by name only.  For example, there are many sites with adviceforum in their name so to avoid excluding any potentially genuine sites that are called adviceforum, I only exclude the one spam referral I saw in my traffic - adviceforum.com. If you notice that you have referral traffic from addons.mozilla.org but don't actually have an addon on Mozilla, then you should add addons.mozilla.org (more commonly known as ilovevitaly) to the list above in this format - addons.mozilla.org Select Campaign Source in the filter field menu and enter your regex into the filter pattern field. Repeat the process until you have got all four (or more) filters created.   This will help to clean up your Google Analytics data but you have to keep checking for any new spam referrals to add to the exclude filter. You can use advanced segments to view your historical reports without spam referrals. If you need help with any of the above or have further questions, don't hesitate to let me know in the comments.   Further reading: 5 common Google Analytics setup problems How to remove referral spam from historical data

2015-06-25

How to track file downloads in Google Tag Manager V2

Setting up tracking of file downloads in GTM V2 is much easier thanks to the new configuration wizard. It is more intuitive and takes you through the set up step-by-step. Let’s have a look at the basic configuration for sending tracking of file downloads from Google Tag Manager to Google Analytics as events. To set up this events tag you need to firstly create a trigger. Create a trigger This trigger will recognise every time someone clicks to download the file you want to track. In the given example I am using a simple regular expression to capture a number of file types I want to track -.(zip|exe|pdf|doc*|xls*|ppt*|mp3)$ Here the * means it will capture any repetitions of the file types it is next to, ie it will include file types doc and docx for Word documents, xls and xlsx for Excel spreadsheets, ppt and pptx for PowerPoint presentations. Save the trigger and create a new tag. Create a new tag Give your tag a meaningful name so you can easily recognise what the tag is for. We have previously created a variable (formerly known as macro) that stores our GA tracking code, which I use in the configuration settings. This way I do not have to re-enter the GA property ID every time I need it. This variable does all the work. Select your track type as 'Event' and insert your tracking parameters. Here I use the following but modify the fields based on what works for your business: Category is Download Action is Click Label is {{element url} Element url in the label field will store the URL of the file that was downloaded. Advanced tracking For advanced tracking, you can create a custom javascript variable with a code that will strip out the title of the downloaded file and store it in your GA. Have a look at Simo's example of returning file name. Set your tag to fire Last step is to add a firing rule, ie select a trigger that will fire your tag. Select the previously created trigger 'Click to Download' and you're all set. Test For extra care, test the tag both in GTM debug mode and GA real time. Publish Now publish the container with your newly created tag. If you need any further help, do leave a comment below.   Further reading: Tracking registered users with Google Analytics and GTM V2 Tracking web forms in Google Tag Manager V2

2015-06-04

Setting up a destination goal funnel in Google Analytics

Destination goal funnels in Google Analytics track how well certain actions on your website contribute to the success of your business. By setting up a goal for each crucial activity you will get more focused reports on how visitors are using your website, and at what stage they are dropping out of the conversion funnel. The first time I tried to set up a destination goal was daunting, but after some practice, I am now seeing valuable information on how well visitors are interacting with our clients' websites. If like Teachable you have different subscription packages, then you might want to track how each subscription is converting. For this, set up the purchase confirmation page of each subscription plan as a goal, with a funnel to get additional insight into where people drop off. Step 1: Create a new goal To set up a destination goal go to Google Analytics Admin settings > View > Goals. Click ‘new goal.’ Step 2: Fill in destination goal details Google has some goal templates that provide set-up suggestions. They will only display if you have set your industry category in property settings. Selecting any of the given templates will only populate the name and type of the goal, but not the conversion details, which are more complicated for some. This is not very useful for me so I will ignore this: select ‘custom’ and click ‘next.’ Goal name Give your goal a descriptive name. You will later see it in various reports in Google Analytics so use whatever makes sense for you. Here I am going to use the name of the subscription plan I am tracking - Basic Subscription. Goal slot ID Goal slot ID is set automatically and you might want to change it if you want to categorise your goals. Select ‘Destination’ and click ‘next step.’ Step 3: define your destination goal Destination type You have a choice between 3 different match types. If you have an exact URL that does not change for different customers (without '?=XXX'), then use ‘Equals to’ for an exact match. If the beginning of your converting URL is the same, but there are different numbers or characters at the end of the URL for various customers, then choose ‘Begins with.’ Use ‘Regular expression’ to match a block of text within the URL. For example, if all your subscriber URLs have 'subscriber_id=XXX' somewhere then type 'subscriber_id=' into the text field. You can also use 'regular expression' if you need to match multiple URLs and know how to use special characters to build regex. One of our favourite tools to test regular expressions is Regex Tester. The match type you select here will also apply to the URLs in the funnel, if you choose to create one. Destination page Destination page is the URL where the conversion occurs. For Teachable, and most other websites that sell something online, the destination is usually a ‘thank you' page that is displayed after successful purchase. You might also have a thank you page for contact forms and newsletter signups, which you would track the same way as a payment thank you page. Here you insert the request URI, which is the URL part that comes after the domain address. It would look something like this: /invoice/paid /thank you.html /payment/success Step 4: Should you set a goal value? (optional) You can set a monetary value to your goal if you want to track how much it contributes. e.g. If the goal is visitors completing a contact form, and you know the average lead generates you £100, then you can put the value at 100. If you are an ecommerce site and want to track exact purchases, then set up enhanced ecommerce tracking instead. Step 5: Should you set up a funnel? (optional) If you have several steps leading up to the conversion, you should set up a funnel to see how many people move through each defined step and where they fall out. If you do not set the first step as 'required', Google Analytics will also track people coming into funnel halfway through. i.e. If the first stage of your funnel is the homepage, then it will still include visitors who land straight on your contact page. Verify Now that you have set up your destination goal, click ‘verify the goal’ to check it works. If all is set up correctly, you should see an estimation of the conversion rate your goal would get. If you do not get anything, then check each step carefully. Once all is well, click ‘create goal’ and check it is working after a few days or a week, depending on how much traffic you get. If you set up a funnel, you will see it in Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualisation. This is what a typical funnel would look like. Because I did not set the first step as 'required' you can see people entering the funnel at various steps.   Need more help? Get in touch or comment below!

2015-04-06

7 best business and tech conferences in 2015

Every year is jam-packed with conferences, forums and festivals, and I have spent enough time sifting through numerous event programmes for this year. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about new trends and techniques, discuss the future and network with peers, but which major events are worth your time (and money)? Here's my pick of must-attend business, digital and tech conferences in 2015. This list covers events in London only, taking place between March and May. MARCH London Enterprise Festival When: 8-19 March Where: Camden Foundry Twitter: @LEF2015 Hashtag: #LEF2015 The London Enterprise Festival brings together business leaders to share their experiences and stories on this year’s theme, starting and growing a business. Perfect for any company owner, director or manager wondering how to identify trends in their industry and grow in the current business climate. LEF covers various industries over 9 days. From gaming and fashion to education and wellbeing, there is a discussion or workshop for everyone. By having each day very focused on its theme, you have a much better opportunity to connect with the right people and take part in relevant sessions. Bonus points for a feel good factor. The organisers are committed to reinvesting the profits to providing free digital courses to unemployed and subsidising workshops and events that make better entrepreneurs and more powerful networks. Internet of Things Summit When: 12-13 March Where: etc.venues St Paul’s Twitter: @teamrework Hashtag: #IOT2015 The Internet of Things is aimed at technologists, entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders and managers. Recommended for futurists and those interested in breakthrough technology and cutting-edge science that will shape our future. It sounds very ominous, but with 200 leading innovators you will explore trends that promise to positively impact our lives and society. Experience two days of revolutionary discoveries, leading research and new technologies with university researchers, Paul Clarke (Ocado) and Jeremy Green (Machina Research). You can get a taste for what to expect at a casual IoT meetup event that's taking place on 28 February in London. Pipeline Conference When: 19 March Where: etc.venues Victoria Twitter: @PipelineConf Hashtag: #PipelineConf If you are looking for something smaller and more intimate, then have a look at a one-day Pipeline Conference. The conference has a more informal feel to it with talks and sessions focused on continuos delivery. The keynote speaker is Linda Rising, an international Agile thought leader, who will discuss the myths and patterns of organisational change. Other speakers will be selected anonymously and announced on or around 23 February. Bonus points for their fantastic commitment to 50/50 gender diversity and donating the profit to after school coding clubs. APRIL Chief Digital Officer Forum When: 9-10 April Where: Park Plaza Victoria Twitter: @IEGroup Hashtag: #DigiLeaders The Chief Digital Officer Forum has an impressive speaker line up that consists of senior digital professionals from global brands. Organised by the Innovation Enterprise, this summit is aimed at anyone with background in digital, analytics, ecommerce, social media and innovation. There are plenty of opportunities to take part in interactive workshops, network with attendees and discuss the future of digital. Join hundreds of other digital leaders at CDOF to hear from experts like Will Burns (L’Occitane en Provence), David Martin (Coca Cola Enterprises), James Keady (Samsung) and others. MAY BriForum London When: 19-20 May Where: etc.venues St. Paul’s Twitter: @BriForum Hashtag: #BriForum BriForum London is a highly technical conference dedicated to the best practices of end user computing, cloud, desktop virtualisation, security and application management. Keynote speaker is Brian Madden, one of the brains behind this event, but we are yet to hear about other speakers and exact topics covered. Nevertheless, BriForum promises to deliver informative two days with high profile speakers and attendees. Digital Shoreditch When: 11-24 May Where: Shoreditch Twitter: @DigiShoreditch Hashtag: #ds15 Digital Shoreditch is the trendiest event on this list. It's a vibrant festival that attracts creative, tech and entrepreneurial people, makers and doers, and others in between. Digital Shoreditch is on for two weeks and with hands-on sessions, cosmic parties and amazing speakers it promises to be one of the biggest digital community events. The full programme is yet to be announced but seeing that Mark Earls (HERD), Rory Sutherland (Ogilvy & Mather UK) and Jeremy Waite (Salesforce) are on the speaker line up, I have no doubts there will be other inspiring people joining them. Bonus points for their visionary look and feel, and Twitter profile photo. UX London 2015 When: 20-22 May Where: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Twitter: @UXLondon Hashtag: #uxlondon Organised by design consultancy Clearleft, UX London 2015 brings together inspiring UX speakers and practical workshops. The conference is focused on a different theme each day and is aimed at product, web and user experience designers. On day 1 explore the secrets of product design with leading experts, such as Des Traynor (Intercom), Julie Zhuo (Facebook) and Jeff Patton (independent consultant, Agile coach and author). On day 2 improve your understanding of human behaviour and user experience by hearing from Cecilia Weckstrom (LEGO) and taking part in Sketch workshop with Meng To. Day 3 is platforms day. Learn about the latest design trends for mobile, desktop and smart TV, and join workshops and talks on responsiveness, wearable tech and designing for different screen sizes. What other conferences and events have you marked in your diary? Leave a comment below or send a tweet @LittledataUK.

2015-02-13

6 helpful Google Analytics guides

I've been improving my knowledge of Google Analytics this month but found that documentation provided by Google and other heavy research can be difficult to absorb. So here are 6 guides and tools that I found useful in the last month. How to set up campaign tracking Expertise level: Newbie Social media analytics: How to track your marketing campaigns by Cory Rosenfield. When you run an ad, email or social promotion, you want to see which channel is most effective in acquiring visitors. By gathering this information through tracking your campaigns you will be able to focus on winning strategies and make adjustments to less performing ones. Cory’s how to guide takes you through the basics of how to set up campaign tracking with relevant explanations and practical examples. It’s as easy as it gets. What metadata needs fixing Expertise level: Beginner Introducing the Meta and Rich Snippet Tester by Bill Sebald. This tester from RankTank compares your site’s meta and rich snippet data to what you have in your site’s code. You will be able to see mismatches between how you have set your titles and descriptions against what is actually displayed in search results. Want to make sure rich snippets are working correctly or Google doesn’t replace missing meta tags with something unsuitable? Then this tool is for you. How to do keyword research effectively Expertise level: Intermediate Keyword research in 90 minutes by Jeremy Gottlieb. Keyword research for improved content targeting can take a lot of time but it doesn’t have to. Jeremy’s plan splits it into a 4-stage process, full of handy tips on how to spend your time effectively. Especially useful for when planning topics for your blog posts and finding words that are most relevant to include in your product descriptions. Setting up alerts for site errors Expertise level: Intermediate Google Analytics custom alerts which you must always use by Himanshu Sharma. How can you find errors and problems on your website with minimum manual labour? Set up custom alerts in your Google Analytics account with Himanshu's guide. You can create notifications for tracking and shopping cart issues, and any unusual changes in your bounce rate and traffic. How to improve multiscreen experience Expertise level: Advanced Enabling multiscreen tracking with Google Analytics by James Rosewell. This step by step guide by James shows how to get better data on the use of your site across various mobile devices. You will be able to make informed decisions on optimising your site whilst taking into consideration screen sizes and layouts. This means improved experience for customers on bigger smartphones and smaller tablets. Source: Infinium.co What were the different variables again? Expertise level: Advanced Variable guide for Google Tag Manager by Simo Ahava. Variables in Google Tag Manager can be powerful, once you get to grips with them. Simo's comprehensive guide is a useful reference that covers everything you need to know from technical details to set ups and debugging. Source: SimoAhava.com Need some help with Google Analytics? Get in touch with our experts!

2015-01-30

Top 5 ecommerce trends in 2015: more power to consumer

2014 saw an increasing number of people buying online. With ever-growing competition, it’s ever more important for retailers to understand what their customers want and how to best serve them. Let’s look at five main ways that shoppers will be dictating what they want from ecommerce retailers in 2015 and how you can track these trends. 1. They’re shopping more on mobile devices Not only are shoppers making more purchases on their laptops and PCs but they’re also increasingly using their mobile devices. Retailers saw mobile transactions grow 40% at the end of the last year and there are no signs of slow down. If you’re sceptical about whether optimising for tablets and smartphones is necessary for your business, add a custom Google Analytics report by Lens10 that will quickly tell you if you should go mobile. It will also show you which devices are being used to access your site so you’ll know where to focus your efforts. 2. They’re using click & collect services In 2014 we saw some of the biggest companies jump on the click & collect bandwagon to allow customers to choose when and where they want to pick up their purchases. Waitrose, Ocado, Amazon partnered with TfL to provide click & collect at tube stations. Argos and eBay teamed up to offer the collection of parcels to eBay buyers from Argos stores nationwide. Online buyers want to enjoy a greater freedom when it comes to their shopping so we expect to see more companies join up to expand their offering. With 76% of digital shoppers predicted to use click & collect service by 2017, many more companies will begin offering the service. It’s time to offer customers the option to pick up purchases on their daily commute. 3. They’re expecting convenient delivery options It’s annoying to go through the online buying process only to be faced with limited and costly delivery options at the checkout page. Customers want more flexibility with how and when their purchase will be delivered and if your competitor offers those better options, then why aren’t you? 50% of online shoppers have abandoned a purchase online due to inconvenient delivery options. This number is staggering and should act as a warning to review your delivery cost, times and the accuracy of information you provide on the site. 4. They want personalised communication As shoppers get snowed under hundreds of emails, their individual experiences have become more important. Whilst a large majority of the businesses, 94%, understand that personalisation is crucial to their strategy it’s surprising that not that many are using the tactics. Econsultancy and Adobe produced a survey that reported 14% rise in sales, which makes a strong case for making marketing more personal. Track your customers’ location, local weather, viewed and bought items, and start testing with personalised marketing campaigns to see what works for your sales. (Chart: How do you (or your clients) measure the benefits of personalisation? | Econsultancy) 5. They’re accelerating online sales UK retailers saw their biggest sales over Christmas period, with digital increasingly getting the bigger share of the overall retail market. In 2014 ecommerce sales broke the £100bn mark for the first time and IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index predicts further growth to £116bn this year Be wary of repeating the mistakes of retailers like Currys, Argos, Tesco and PC World, whose websites couldn’t handle the increased number of visitors on Black Friday. Many customers remained stuck on frustrating holding pages instead of shopping. Check out some useful tips from Econsultancy for how to prepare for Black Friday in 2015. By setting up ecommerce tracking you can understand what shoppers are doing on your website and make informed decisions on further updates to product pages. In 2015 retailers’ success will depend on their ability to meet customers’ expectations and we hope the list above has helped your preparations. If there are any other trends you see growing in 2015, do share them in the comments.

2015-01-20

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