New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more

We’ve got some exciting news! We’ve launched some great updates on our web app, which will make your lives a little easier. Find out how the navigation has improved and new in-app messaging will help you find out more, get a glimpse into our trend detection algorithm and new reports on mobile devices! Our mission is to make the way you gain access to important analytics, an all-around easier process and we know we’re heading in the right direction with these updates. We already give you actionable and easier to understand insights of your Google Analytics and now we’ve made the experience more friendly based on your invaluable feedback! Find your reports quicker We’ve improved the navigation of the web app, giving you one new category, and two updated categories on the left-hand side of your profile, which are now simpler to find and easier to understand. There are currently three categories: Dashboard, Benchmark, and Reports, which will be visible to you depending on your Littledata package. Instead of having them in separate locations, we brought them together into one navigation panel so that you can find specific reports and findings quickly based on your current questions or company needs. Under the reports category, we have changed types of reports into tags. Now you can select one or multiple tags, and decide how you prefer to view the different types of insights you get. For example, if you want to view your trends reports with tips you’re getting, then all you need to do is select those two. The benchmark category brings together all the benchmark metrics available for your site, and to see more detail click on the individual benchmark you’re interested in. You can still see the category you are being benchmarked against just above your benchmarks. If your current category is ‘all websites’ then you should make this more specific by updating the category in the settings. The Dashboard is the latest addition to these categories, which we added to be able to provide a flexible and customised solution that is perfect for reporting needs that go beyond standard Google Analytics reports. See below for more detail. Get our custom dashboard This is a new feature, available to clients who are also receiving consulting services on top of our Pro package. Please contact one of our lovely experts if you’d like to know more about these features, and how they can give you the results you strive for. The dashboard category is completely customisable, which we develop through consulting services by going over what your goals and needs are, and then creating these reports for simple and actionable insights of your data. These reports are completely flexible and allow you to see metrics that are difficult to view in Google Analytics, which include: Calculations, such as performance changes in percentages and conversion rates Combined metrics and dimensions from different reports Custom visualisations of trends based on how you prefer to see the data. Want to include a pie or bar chart? Not a problem. A custom schedule for dashboard data refresh. If your reporting requires weekly, quarterly or annual updates, we’ll set it up for you. Customised reports based on your formatting preferences, so if you'd like to include your brand colours, it's a possibility! Our smarter algorithm When we started Littledata, we developed a trend detection algorithm to find significant changes in your data and send you alerts, reducing the time spent wading through data in Google Analytics. But as times change and data gets busier, we needed a better way to serve your reporting needs. So recently we collaborated with mathematicians to improve the algorithm, which is now sensitive enough to pick up small changes in low traffic website, but also specific enough to ignore the random noise of daily traffic. Want to hear more about this intriguing story? Find out more in our blog post: Making the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see! Are mobile devices losing you customers? Analytics from mobile devices is extremely important. Through our web app, you will find out how many transaction or users you lost due to poor experience on mobile devices. According to Dave Chaffey at Smart Insights, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. A growing number of people are searching through their phones and as a result, we’ve incorporated mobile devices reports. They will spot and highlight potential issues around responsiveness, layout or bugs. Finding out which devices are the worst will allow you to optimise your website and campaigns to capture all of these individuals. Your personalised communication We completely agree with Intercom’s belief that “customers today want to communicate with the people behind the business, not with a faceless brand”! This is why we’ve integrated their messenger into our web app so that you can chat with us directly and quickly. There’s a great deal of custom features available, including formatting, delivery, and most importantly the different ways to respond. You can choose your own way to chat and react, with images, audio, emojis, video, and more. If you want to know more about the expert you’re talking to, you can view their profile within the app. Our customer experience is key in our business model and we hope this function delivers that. If you have any questions regarding any of the new features, please contact us, or use the in-app messenger!   Image credit: Image courtesy of Smart Insights and Intercom

2016-09-06

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

Setting up common email software for Google Analytics

Many of the popular email providers make it easy to automatically tag up links in your emails to allow Google Analytics to track them under the 'Email' channel. Without this, the traffic from email links will be dispersed under 'Direct' and 'Referral' channels, and you won't be able to see which emails really drive engagement or sales. Here are the links to set up some common email services: MailChimp Campaign Monitor ActiveCampaign Benchmark Email ConstantContact iContact Emma MadMimi GetResponse Mail Jet If your email provider is not in the list, or you send emails from your own platform, you'll need to manually paste in tagged up email links. Still need some help? Contact us and we'll be happy to answer any questions!

2016-08-24

Why do I need ecommerce tracking?

Only by using Google Analytics ecommerce tracking, can you match real sales data with website usage (including traffic source/medium). This sales analysis is required to understand the performance of your website landing pages and return-on-investment from marketing campaigns. The ecommerce reports allow you to analyse purchase activity on your site or app. You can see which products were bought, average order value, ecommerce conversion rate, time to purchase, discount vouchers used and checkout process funnels. Ecommerce tracking is useful not just for online shops but for all kinds of websites including event booking, courses / education, travel / hotels and so on. To see ecommerce data in Google Analytics, you need to: Enable ecommerce in Google Analytics Add the code to your site/app to collect ecommerce data. To complete this task, you'll need to be comfortable editing HTML and coding in JavaScript, or have help from an experienced web developer. Read how to Set up Ecommerce Tracking with Google Tag Manager. Based on this data, you can develop an understanding of: Which products sell well, and by inference, which products are best suited for your customer base. The revenue per transaction, and the number of products per transaction. For example, if the number of products per transaction is lower than you'd like, you might benefit from offering better quantity discounts, or offering free shipping if customers meet a minimum dollar amount. How long (in time and in the number of sessions) it takes customers to make the decision to purchase. If your sales cycle is stable or fluctuates predictably based on product or season, you can use this information (in conjunction with overall sales forecasts) to make reliable predictions about revenue. If customers routinely make numerous visits before they purchase, you might think about a site design that leads more easily to your purchase pages, or options that let users compare your products and prices to your competitors'. The difference between goals and ecommerce. A goal is only measured once in a visit. Think about it similar to pageviews vs. unique pageviews - once the goal has been 'triggered' to a visit, it can't be triggered again. On the other hand, there are no limitations on the number of transactions being measured during one session. Ecommerce is more powerful in that it allows you to analyse additional metrics.  For example, you can see how many visits occurred before the visitor decided to purchase. Many visitors on my site come back more than 7 times before they finally decide to purchase. Wow, interesting figures! Here is a list of the available metrics for ecommerce: If you have marketing campaigns and have no ecommerce tracking you are more likely struggling to calculate the return on your investment (ROI).  With both goals and ecommerce tracking, you will now have a full understanding of your customer journey and your customer life value (CLV). Analytics goals vs. ecommerce transactions, which to choose? Both of them!  If you have read my post carefully, you will understand that both of them have their strengths and limitations. We strongly advise to implement and configure goals and ecommerce. Need help configuring goals and/or ecommerce on Google Analytics? Get in touch with our experts!

2016-08-09

Do I need the Google Analytics tracking code on every page?

The script which triggers the tracking events to Google must be loaded once (and only once) on every page of your site. To set up Google Analytics tracking, you’ll usually need either your Analytics tracking ID or the entire Javascript tracking code snippet. This corresponds to your Analytics property. To find the tracking ID and code snippet: Sign in to your Analytics account. Select the Admin tab. Select an account from the drop-down menu in the ACCOUNT column. Select a property from the drop-down menu in the PROPERTY column. Under PROPERTY, click Tracking Info > Tracking Code. The snippet provided here must be implemented on every page, even the pages you are not interested in. If you chose to not include the code on every page then: you will not be able to see the full flow of a client on your website you will have inaccurate data about the time spent on site and actions taken visits to untracked pages will appear as 'referrals' and so will skew the volume of sessions marketing campaigns to the untracked pages will be lost The easy way for an established website to see if the tracking is complete is to go in Google Analytics -> Acquisition -> Referrals and search in the report after the name of your website, as shown below, or you can use Littledata's audit tool. Choose how to set up tracking There are several ways to collect data in Analytics, depending on whether you want to track a website, an app, or other Internet-connected devices. Select the best installation method for what you wish to track. Here is the complete guide from Google. Once you have successfully installed Analytics tracking, it may take up to 24 hours for data such as traffic referral information, user characteristics, and browsing information to appear in your reports. However, you can check your web tracking code setup immediately. If you don’t think it's working correctly Check your Real-Time reports or use Use Google Tag Assistant to verify your setup.   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-08-04

Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels

On most websites, the conversion journey involves many different routes and across many sessions: few customers buy from the first advert. You may have heard of the ‘rule of 7’. In reality, it varies from maybe 2 or 3 touches for a $20 purchase and definitely more than 10 for an enterprise business service. Your company is buying prospects (or traffic) from a number of online channels, and in many cases, it will be the same potential customer coming from different sources. To be able to report on this in Google Analytics, we need to get the basic setup correct. Tagging campaigns for attribution The first step is to make sure that the different traffic sources can be compared in a multi-channel report are consistent and have complete inbound link tagging. Be sure to tag your campaign correct with our URL Builder. Some tools (such as Bing or Mailchimp) have options to turn on link tagging for GA - although it's buried in the settings. With many others, you will have to add the necessary ‘UTM’ parameters onto the link. Without this tagging, many sources will be misattributed. For example, affiliate networks could send referrals from any of thousands of websites which will appear under the ‘referrals’ channel by default. Facebook ads, since the majority come from the Facebook’s app, will appear under the ‘direct’ (or ‘unknown’) channel. From when full tagging is in effect, the channels report will start to reflect your genuine traffic acquisition source. But don’t expect a 100% match with other tracking tools – see our article on Facebook – GA discrepancies. Importing cost data The cost for any Google AdWords campaigns can be imported automatically, by linking the accounts, but for any third party campaigns, you will need to upload a spreadsheet with your costs on. The benefit is that now you can see the return on investment calculation update in real-time in the multi-channel reports. Model attribution The final step is to decide how you will attribute the value of a campaign if it forms part of a longer conversion pathway. The default for Google Analytics (and most others) is ‘last non-direct click’. That means that the most recent TAGGED campaign gets all the credit for the sale. If the user clicks on 5 Facebook ads, and then eventually buys after an abandoned basket email reminder, that email reminder will get all the sales (not Facebook). This attribution is what you’ll see in all the standard campaign and acquisition reports. You may feel that it is unfair on all the work done by the earlier campaigns, so ‘linear’ (sale equally credited to all tagged campaigns) or ‘time decay’ (more recent campaigns get more credit) may be a better fit with your businesses’ goals. Conclusion Multi-channel marketing performance attribution is not a luxury for the largest companies. It’s available to you now, with the free version of Google Analytics. It will require some setup effort to get meaningful reports (as with any measurement tool) but it has the power to transform how you allocate budget across a range of online marketing platforms. But if this still is not working for you then you may have a problem with cross domain tracking. Need a bit more advice or have any questions? Get in touch with our experts or leave a comment below!

2016-08-04

Personally Identifiable Information (PII), hashing and Google Analytics

Google has a strict policy prohibiting sending Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to Google Analytics. This is necessary to provide GA reports around the world, yet comply with country regulations about storing personal information.  Even if you send personal information accidentally, Google may be forced to delete all of your analytics data for the time range affected. This policy has recently tightened to state: You may not upload any data that allows Google to personally identify an individual (such as names and email addresses), even in hashed form. A number of our clients are using a hashed email as the unique identifier for logged in users, or those coming from email campaigns.  If so, this needs be a minimum of SHA256 hashing (not MD5 hashing), with a 'salt' to improve the security - check your implementation meets the required standard. If you want to check if personal information affects your analytics, we now include checking for PII in our complete Google Analytics audit. Google's best practice for avoiding this issue is to remove the PII at the source - on the page, before it is sent to Google Analytics.  But it may be hard to hunt down all the situations where you accidentally send personal data; for example, a form which sends the user's email in the postback URL, or a marketing campaign which add the postcode as a campaign tag. We have developed a tag manager variable that does this removal for you, to avoid having to change any forms or marketing campaigns which are currency breaking the rules. Steps to setup 1. Copy the script below into a new custom Javascript variable in GTM [code language="javascript"]function() { // Modify the object below to add additional regular expressions var piiRegex = { //matches emails, postcodes and phone numbers where they start or end with a space //or a comma, ampersand, backslash or equals "email": /[\s&\/,=]([a-zA-Z0-9_.+-]+\@[a-zA-Z0-9-]+\.[a-zA-Z0-9-.]+)($|[\s&\/,])/, "postcode": /[\s&\/,=]([A-Z]{1,2}[0-9][0-9A-Z]?(\s|%20)[0-9][A-Z]{2})($|[\s&\/,])/, "phone number": /[\s&\/,=](0[0-9]{3,5}(\s|%20)?[0-9]{5,8}|[0-9]{3}-[0-9]{4}-[0-9]{4})($|[\s&\/,])/ }; // Ensure that {{Page URL}} is updated to match the Variable in your // GTM container to retrieve the full URL var dl = {{Page URL}} var dlRemoved = dl; for (key in piiRegex) { dlRemoved = dlRemoved.replace(piiRegex[key], 'REMOVED'); } return dlRemoved; }[/code]   2.Check {{Page URL}} is set up in your GTM container This is a built-in variable, but you'll need to check it under the variables tab.   3. Change the pageview tag to override the standard document location, and use the variable with PII removed   By default, Google Analytics takes the location to be whatever is in the URL bar (document.location in Javascript).  You will over-ride that with the PII-safe variable.  

2016-08-03

Why do you need cross-domain tracking?

What is cross-domain tracking and why do you need to implement in your Google Analytics account? Cross-domain tracking makes it possible for Analytics to see sessions on two related sites (such as an ecommerce site and a separate shopping cart site) as a single session. This is sometimes called site linking. Cross-domain literally means that you are able to see a user in a single Google Analytics account in his journey across multiple domains that you control (e.g. mysite.com and myshoppingcart.com). In the standard configuration of the Google Analytics script, every time a customer loads a page on a different domain a new session is generated, even if the branding looks seamless to the user and, unfortunately, the previous session has ended and this is even if the customer is still active and generates events and page views. Until you have implemented the cross-domain setting on your website you will not be able to have an accurate customer journey. Why? Let’s take, for example, a standard website, www.siteA.com, and it's blog, www.blogB.com. To track sessions, Analytics collects a client ID value in every hit. Client ID values are stored in 1st party cookies, and these cookies are only available to web pages on the same domain. When tracking sessions across multiple domains, the client ID value has to be transferred from one domain to the other. To do this, the Analytics tracking code has linking features that allow the source domain to place the client ID in the link URL, where the destination domain can access it. Fortunately, with the release of Universal Analytics cross-domain tracking, it is easier to implement, and especially so with Google Tag Manager. Setting up cross-domain tracking using Google Tag Manager Add (or edit your existing) a basic page tracking tag (i.e. Tag Type = Universal Analytics; Track Type = Page View). If you are using the same container for siteA.com and blogB.com, under More Settings → Fields to Set, enter the following: Field Name: allowLinker Value: true Under More settings → Cross-Domain Tracking → Auto Link Domains enter "blogB.com" (without the quotes). If you have multiple domains, separate them by commas: blogB.com, siteC.com Leave the 'Use hash as delimiter' and 'Decorate forms' unless you have an unusual web setup. Set the trigger to "All Pages". Save a version of the container and publish it. If you are using a separate container for blogB.com, repeat the steps above but in the Auto Link Domains field add: siteA.com Add both domains to the Referral Exclusion List When a user journey crosses from your first domain to your second domain, it will still appear as a new session in Google Analytics by default. If you want to be able to track a single session across multiple domains, you need to add your domains to the referral exclusion list. Here’s an example Tag Assistant Recordings report that shows what it looks like when cross-domain tracking is not setup properly. Setting up cross-domain tracking by directly modifying the tracking code To set up cross-domain tracking for multiple top-level domains, you need to modify the Google Analytics tracking code on each domain. You should have basic knowledge of HTML and JavaScript or work with a developer to set up cross-domain tracking. The examples in this article use the Universal Analytics tracking code snippet (analytics.js). Editing the tracking code for the primary domain ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXXX-Y', 'auto', {'allowLinker': true}); ga('require', 'linker'); ga('linker:autoLink', ['siteB.com'] ); Remember to replace the example tracking ID (UA-XXXXXX-Y) with your own tracking ID, and replace the example autoLink domain (siteB.com) with your own secondary domain name. Editing the tracking code on the secondary domain ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXXX-Y', 'auto', {'allowLinker': true}); ga('require', 'linker'); ga('linker:autoLink', ['siteA.com'] ); Remember to replace the example tracking ID (UA-XXXXXX-Y) with your own tracking ID, and replace the example autoLink domain (siteA.com) with your own primary domain name. Adding the domain to page URLs using filters By default, Google Analytics only includes the page path and page title in page reports - not the domains name. For example, you might see one page appear in the Site Content report like this: /contactUs.html Because the domain names aren’t listed, it might be hard to tell whether this is www.siteA.com/contactUs.html or www.blogB.com/contactUs.html. To get the domain names to appear in your reports you need to do two things: Create a copy of your reporting view that includes data from all your domains in it Add an advanced filter to that new view. The filter will tell Google Analytics to display domain names in your reports. Follow this example to set up a view filter that displays domain names in your reports when you have cross-domain tracking set up. For some fields, you need to select an item from the dropdown menu. For others, you need to input the characters here: Filter Type: Custom filter > Advanced Field A: Hostname Extract A: (.*) Field B: Request URI Extract: (.*) Output To: Request URI Constructor: $A1$B1 Click Save to create the filter. You can validate that filters are working as you expect using Google Tag Assistant Recordings. Tag Assistant Recordings can show you exactly how your filters change your traffic.   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-08-02

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