How to set up campaign tagging in Google Analytics (VIDEO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVxi0sQmro0&t=5s Google Analytics is only as smart as your tagging. To lower average CPA and increase conversions in a sustainable way, you need an in-depth view of customer acquisition channels. Accurate campaign tagging makes it possible to get the data needed to understand acquisition costs based on particular source and medium. If you want to improve marketing ROI, it's essential to get campaign tagging right in Google Analytics. But how does it all work? Follow the simple rules in this quick how-to video to make sure you're getting accurate data about where your traffic is coming from. Questions addressed in the setup video: What is a campaign in Google Analytics (GA)? What is UTM Parameter and how do I use it? Is it possible that a large volume of my 'Direct' traffic in GA is actually coming from sources such as email or social, but just wasn't tagged correctly? How do I know? I want to see all email marketing campaign traffic as one line item in my GA reports. Do spellings matter? Are UTM parameters case-sensitive? What are the best practices for GTM tagging using the Google Analytics Link Builder? For more info on custom campaign tracking, check out this detailed post about campaign parameters and how to use them. Remember that when you set up new campaigns or marketing channels, things can change or get lost in the mix. It's important to keep an eye on your analytics setup. Even once you've successfully set up campaign tagging in GA, we recommend auditing your analytics on a regular basis. And don't stop there. Once you've established data accuracy, follow in the footsteps of the most successful ecommerce sites and use Buyer Personas to get a clear view of which types of customers are more likely to convert in each channel. Now that's smart growth, driven by data!

2017-10-31

Is Google Analytics compliant with GDPR?

From May 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will come into force in the European Union, causing all marketers and data engineers to re-consider how they store, transmit and manage data – including Google Analytics. If your company uses Google Analytics, and you have customers in Europe, then this guide will help you check compliance. The rights enshrined by GDPR relate to any data your company holds which is personally identifiable: that is, can be tied back to a customer who contacts you. The simplest form of compliance, and what Google requires in the GA Terms of Use, is that you do not store any personally identifiable information. Imagine a customer calls your company and using the right of access asks what web analytics you hold on them. If it is impossible for anyone at your company (or from your agencies) to identify that customer in GA, then the other right of rectification and right of erasure cannot apply. Since it is not possible to selectively delete data in GA (without deleting the entire web property history) this is also the only practical way to comply. The tasks needed to meet depends on your meaning of ‘impossible to identify’! Basic Compliance Any customer data sent ‘in the clear’ to GA is a clear break of their terms, and can result in Google deleting all your analytics for that period. This would include: User names sent in page URLs Phone numbers captured during form completion events Email addresses used as customer identifiers in custom dimensions If you’re not sure, our analytics audit tool includes a check for all these types of personally identifiable information. You need to filter out the names and emails on the affected pages, in the browser; applying a filter within GA itself is not sufficient. But I prefer a belt-and-braces approach to compliance, so you should also look at who has access to the Google Analytics account, and ensure that all those with access are aware of the need not to capture personal data and GDPR more generally. You should check your company actually owns the Google Analytics account (not an agency), and if not transfer it back. At the web property level, you should check only a limited number of admins have permission to add and remove users, and that all the users only have permission to the websites they are directly involved in. Or you could talk to us about integrations with your internal systems to automatically add and remove users to GA based on roles in the company. Full Compliance Other areas which could possibly be personally identifiable and you may need to discuss are: IP addresses Postcodes/ZIP codes Long URLs with lots of user-specific attributes The customer’s IP address is not stored by Google in a database, or accessible to any client company, but it could potentially be accessed by a Google employee. If you’re concerned there is a plug-in to anonymise the last part of the IP address, which still allows Google to detect the user’s rough location. ZIP codes are unlikely to be linked to a user, but in the UK some postcodes could be linked to an individual household – and to a person, in combination with the web pages they visited. As with IPs, the best solution is to only send the first few digits (the ‘outcode’) to GA, which still allows segmenting by location. Long URLs are problematic in reporting (since GA does not allow more than 50,000 different URL variants in a report) but also because, as with postcodes, a combination of lots of marginally personal information could lead to a person. For example, if the URL was mysite.com/form?gender=female&birthdate=31-12-1980&companyName=Facebook&homeCity=Winchester This could allow anyone viewing those page paths in GA to identify the person. The solution is to replace long URLs with a shortened version like mysite.com/form And for bonus points... All European websites are required to get visitors to opt in to a cookie policy, which covers the use of the GA tracker cookie. But does your site log whether that cookie policy was accepted, by using a custom event? Doing so would protect you from a web-savvy user in the future who wanted to know what information has been stored against the client ID used in his Google cookie. I feel this client ID is outside the scope of GDPR, but guaranteeing that the user on GA can be linked to opt-in consent of the cookie will help protect against any future data litigation. The final area of contention is hashing emails. This is the process used to convert a plain email like ‘me@gmail.com’ into a unique string like ‘uDpWb89gxRkWmZLgD’. The theory is that hashing is a one-way process, so I can’t regenerate the original personal email from the hash, rendering it not personal. The problem is that some common hashing algorithms can be cracked, so actually the original email can be deduced from a seemingly-random string. The result is that under GDPR, such email hashes are considered 'pseudonymized' - the resulting data can be more widely shared for analysis, but still needs to be handled with care. For extra security, you could add a ‘salt’ to the hashing, but this might negate the whole reason why you want to store a user email in the first place – to link together different actions or campaigns from the same user, without actually naming the user. There are ways around that strike a compromise. Contact Littledata for a free initial consultation or a GDPR compliance audit.

2017-10-19

5 steps to higher ecommerce search traffic

Search traffic is essential for ecommerce growth, and it takes time to build. In this guest post, SEO expert Bill Widmer highlights 5 easy steps to rise to the top. There are over 1 billion websites on the internet today, with almost 2.4 million websites created every day. Of those sites, only 10 make it to the front page of Google. And the top result gets 30% or more of all the search traffic. Where does that leave you? If you don’t take SEO seriously, there’s no way your ecommerce site will beat the competition. If you want to make tens of thousands of extra sales every year, without spending a dime on marketing, listen up. It’s time to boost your ecommerce search traffic. Step 1: Start a blog and produce high-quality content Don’t think you can get away with slapping together a few paragraphs about your latest collection and calling it a blog article. The content gods are watching! In all seriousness, quality content is crucial to ranking on the first page of Google. It’s one of their top 2 ranking factors to determine what to show (the other is backlinks). But what exactly does quality content entail? Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth: Google's basic principles for high-quality content Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, 'Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?' Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field. In a nutshell, Google wants you to focus on providing value to your readers with every blog article. Producing high-quality, long-form content (at least 1,500 words) is the key to ecommerce content marketing and pleasing the search gods. Pro Tip: Not sure what kind of blog articles to produce? As a general rule of thumb, steer clear from anything that’s too obvious and salesy (eg. 5 Shoes From Our Latest Collection That You’ll Love). Instead of this, try to produce content that’s useful to your customers (eg. How To Maintain Leather Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide). With these less salesy articles, you can still include links and call to actions for readers to shop your products after they’re done reading the article. As an added bonus, these articles can help you rank for keywords which your product and category pages can’t (such as 'how to maintain leather shoes'). Step 2: Fix your on-page SEO On-page SEO refers to elements which you can optimise within your website (off-page SEO, on the other hand, deals with external links and other factors). Image from FlightMedia.co With on-page SEO, the first thing you need to do is select the keywords you want to target. Once you’ve got your keywords in mind, optimize your title, header tags, content, image alt texts, and metadata for each page and post on your website. If this sounds like Greek to you, don’t stress. Here’s a step by step guide which will take you through the entire process. Pro Tip: Only target one keyword per page to increase your chances. However, it’s always a good idea to include LSI keywords! Step 3: Add internal links to your most important pages By adding internal links (links from one page on your site to another page on your site), you’re helping Google to understand the relationship between the different pages and posts on your ecommerce site. The more internal links a specific page or post on your website has, the more 'important' it is deemed by Google. Think of your website as a pyramid, with the most important content - your 'cornerstone' content - at the top. You should be linking from your cornerstone content to other related pages in order to pass on link value to them. At the same time, link to these cornerstone pages from other pages in order to bolster their standing. Want to learn more about internal links? Check out this article. Step 4: Build external links Once your internal links are done, it’s time to move on to building external links. You might need to invest some budget into this, but since Google has confirmed that external links are amongst the top 3 ranking factors, I’d say it’s definitely worth your while. First, look for influencers in your industry and reach out to them to enquire if they’d be willing to link to your website in exchange for a small fee OR for a partnership. You can use platforms such as Mailshake and VoilaNorbert to speed up the communication process. Another way of getting backlinks is to guest-post on other websites. Whilst this typically takes longer to execute, it’s a great way of building your brand and establishing thought leadership whilst getting more backlinks. Step 5: Consider paid traffic Assuming you’ve completed all the above steps (and you reallllly should!), this doesn’t mean you’ll see results overnight. It’ll take some time (a few months, or even a year) for you to experience a boost in your organic traffic. In the meantime, you can consider 'supplementing' with paid traffic. Image from ThinkDigi.org The two most commonly used channels are Facebook Ads and Google Ads - and there are tons of useful resources online that will teach you all the basics (read this guide for Facebook ads or this guide for Adwords). Alternatively, if you don’t want to handle your ads yourself, you can always outsource them to an expert. Once those ads are running, a full-cycle analytics platform like Littledata is essential to help you optimise your ad spend and connect it to revenue. After all, the idea isn't just to get more traffic, but to get the best kind of traffic and sell to your best type of customer - the kind that's more likely to convert. The truth about ecommerce growth A few parting words. A lot of ecommerce store owners think that as they become more established, they’ll automatically have more people visiting their website. The truth is, word of mouth can only get you so far - and if you’re serious about growing your ecommerce store and increasing your profits, you’ll need to boost your search traffic through SEO and the other methods discussed above. And you'll want to optimise that search traffic by paying attention to specific metrics such as bounce rates from mobile Google search. Do you want to see a nice exponential curve in your search traffic analytics, or are you content to have your traffic flatlining? The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be able to snag that highly coveted spot in the first page of Google. I’m rooting for you! Bill Widmer is a content marketing and SEO expert who has worked with many well-known brands like Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, and SEMrush.

2017-10-05

Introducing Report Packs

We're excited to announce that the first automated report packs are live in the app! Each pack contains a curated set of reports proven to help ecommerce businesses scale faster and smarter. Looking for next-gen analytics reporting that doesn't break the bank? We developed report packs to make advanced analytics accessible to every customer - in just the right combination. You can subscribe to an entire pack for one low monthly price. Why we built report packs Call us crazy, but we believe that every ecommerce business should have the tools to automatically transform their Google Analytics data into actionable insights. Otherwise, what's the point of all that tracking? Unlike the reporting features in some other analytics apps, Littledata's reports never sacrifice accuracy for usability, nor the other way around. Put simply: we have no time for fluff. We believe that the most useful analytics can - and must - be both clean and accurate, and we've built the app's reporting functionality around the actual reporting needs of successful ecommerce businesses, based on our experience with enterprise customers, Shopify stores, and some of the biggest charities in the world. Our analysts considered the many setups we’d built for customers on top of the core Littledata app, and the idea for report packs grew out of this work. We found that growth-oriented ecommerce businesses weren't just looking for clutter-free analytics, but the right combinations of reports to guide ad spend, marketing channel priorities, ecommerce site design and customer journeys. As a result, report packs are next-gen reporting with just enough algo-awesomeness to keep the data geeks happy while letting your marketing team focus on actionable insights to increase engagement at every stage of the shopper journey, from first views and clicks to repeat buying behaviour. The first three packs We've launched three report packs to start: a Basics pack, an Ecommerce Performance pack, and a Shopify marketing pack. Basics pack Overview of site performance Sessions and bounce rate by city Sessions by device type Pages where users enter and exit The Basics pack includes four essential reports on site performance and user behaviour. It's a must-have for any ecommerce site with active users, whether you have a ton of conversions or are still growing your shopper base. Ecommerce Performance pack Overview of ecommerce stats Product category performance Number of sessions to make a transaction Number of days until a purchase is made Many Littledata customers use an enhanced ecommerce setup in Google Analytics. With four essential reports on shopping behaviour and store performance, the Ecommerce Performance pack will help you get the most out of that setup and make data-driven decisions for rapid growth. Shopify pack Conversion rate by marketing campaign Conversion rate by marketing channel When users are most likely to buy Shopping behaviour by channel The Shopify pack includes four reports that connect marketing channels with shopping behaviour. Built to give our Shopify app users a pro reporting experience, the pack contains essential analytics for growing a Shopify store through intelligent targeting. Anticipated addition to our reporting feature set Report packs offer high value at a lower price point by automating data collection and presentation based on proven ways to use and interpret Google Analytics data. Even though they're newly launched, they've already become a much-used feature alongside our popular custom reports, which agencies and large ecommerce stores use to dig deeper into marketing channels and user behaviour specific to their site design and business models. We recommend starting with one report pack and then adding more packs and custom reports to fit your needs. Subscribe to a report pack today to lock in an early-bird discount and start making better-informed marketing and product decisions. New to Littledata? Sign up for a free analytics account. PS. Our developers are hard at work on a number of new report packs, including packs for enhanced ecommerce, ReCharge subscription businesses, email marketing, Facebook ad performance, and more. Subscribe to this blog for the latest updates.

by Ari
2017-09-20

How to see shopping behaviour for each product you sell (VIDEO)

Product performance can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. In this quick video, we show you how to use Google Analytics to see shopping behaviour related to each product you're selling. All you'll need to see this report is a site connected to Google Analytics with the Enhanced Ecommerce plugin setup. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVGAdHTkw3s[/embed] Using the Shopping Behavior report in Google Analytics Whether your ecommerce site is large or small, the Shopping Behavior report makes it easy to drill deep into user behaviour to understand why some products are converting better than others. If a particular product isn't selling well, the Shopping Behavior report will help you figure out why. It shows how far shoppers engage with your products, from initial list views through to shopping cart activities. Reasons a product might not be selling well It isn't at an optimal place in a product list or display The product details, such as images and description, aren't sending the right message Customers are abandoning their shopping carts completely, or removing that particular product (or group of products, such as multiple pairs of jeans) after adding it Who knows? You haven't audited your Google Analytics setup lately so your customer behaviour data can't be trusted to help you improve Each of those issues requires different actions, sometimes by entirely different departments (ie. marketing, pricing, ux)! That's what makes the Shopping Behavior report so important for improving ecommerce sales and conversions. We hope you enjoyed this latest video in our series of Google Analytics how-to guides. Need help setting up Enhanced Ecommerce in Google Analytics, or ensuring that your data is accurate? Contact a Littledata consultant today.

2017-09-14

5 (bad) reasons not to do a Google Analytics audit

Does this sound familiar? 'We know our data's bad, but we don't have the time or resources to fix it'. Or, even worse: 'I checked a bunch of other metrics and they didn't justify our current ad spend, so I think I'll just present that same old report at the meeting today...again. Luckily we haven't fixed our Google Analytics setup to track too much relevant data about other marketing channels, or to connect those channels directly to revenue, because then we might need to change our whole strategy!' There's still a lot of confusion out there about the role and scope of an analytics audit. With a free audit tool directly in the  app, Littledata is on a mission to change this. Here are some (slightly exaggerated) versions of common objections to doing an analytics audit, and how to overcome them. 1. You don't know what a Google Analytics audit is Okay, not to start this somewhat ironic post with an entirely un-ironic objection, but not understanding the process is probably the only good reason not to audit your analytics setup. Luckily an analytics audit is actually very straightforward: it's simply a check of your analytics configuration and implementation. Some consultants and last-gen apps can make the audit process seem confusing and disorienting. If that's been your experience, we're here to help. Our free Google Analytics audit tool explains the process in real time. Not only that, but many tracking and reporting issues can be fixed automatically by the app (hello, intelligent algorithm!). 2. You don't believe in marketing ROI There are a lot of fluffy tools out there. Google Analytics isn't one of them. It's not that all digital marketers take action based on analytics, but a majority of the top ones do. That's what makes them the best. If you need convincing that accurate data is the secret sauce behind higher marketing ROI (return on investment), check out the recent Google Analytics research with Econsultancy, where they found that '60% of leading marketers routinely take action based on analytics, and are also 48% more likely than mainstream marketers to say their strategy is strongly data-driven'. 3. You trust everything you read online Failing to audit your analytics setup is basically the same as believing that everything you read online is true, no matter the source. Why? Because bad data produces bad reports. This is true no matter how fancy your reporting templates might be, or how much time you've spent making spreadsheets of Google Analytics data look accessible. Unless you regularly audit your analytics setup, how do you know if you're tracking the right things in the right manner? This is especially true if you're using an otherwise awesome ecommerce platform like Shopify, which has notoriously questionable tracking that also happens to be easy to fix with the right analytics app. 4. You think that the customer is always wrong Customer happiness isn't just a buzzword, it's increasingly what's driving the growth and expansion of online businesses, especially in the ecommerce space. Big players like Amazon learned this early on, and they built an effective - and addictive - customer experience around heaps of data on everything from affiliate ads to repeat buying activity. Think you don't have access to those same tools? Think again. If you want to build a better customer experience, it's essential to start with the correct Google Analytics setup and end the guessing games about where your leads and customers come from, and how they act. That's where the audit comes in. 5. You're betting on failure Are you betting that your own company will fail? Unless you secretly run an ecommerce hedge fund and have shorted your own startup, this is probably a bad idea. Auditing your data tracking across the customer life cycle is a sure way to see what's working, what's not, and what can be improved. Otherwise you're stuck with bad data and revenue tracking that might not have much to do with the reality - or the future - of your online business. Is there a better way? Look, we get it. Change can be scary, but choosing to stay stuck in the same data rut isn't the way forward. We've helped over a thousand online businesses fix their Google Analytics setup to capture accurate, relevant data. Littledata's industry-leading automated audit tool is free to run as often as you'd like. Sign up today and start trusting your data.

by Ari
2017-09-07

How to set up Site Search tracking in Google Analytics (VIDEO)

What are visitors searching for on your website? Watch this quick video to learn how to set up Site Search tracking in Google Analytics. Site Search makes it easy to track search activity on your site. In the video we show you how to: Set up Site Search for a web property connected to your Google Analytics account Understand which query parameters you're using, and apply them to your Site Search setup View the resulting search metrics, including visits with search, total unique searches, specific search terms (what web visitors are searching for), and search depth Tracking on-site search terms is surprisingly easy! All you'll need to get started is a Google Analytics account and a search box on your site. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlsMBWFt5aQ[/embed] What are visitors searching for on your site? On-site search is one of the things we scan for with our free Google Analytics audit tool. Many online businesses forget to add this to their Google Analytics setup, focusing instead on external search data such as that from Google AdWords (or ignoring search activity altogether!), but this is a mistake. Capturing on-site search terms is essential for any online business that that is serious about growth. Understanding what web visitors are searching for - and how that leads to deep engagement with your site or app - can help you improve site UX (user experience), develop product offerings which your customers are already hungry for, and get a higher ROI from product marketing campaigns and ad spend. For more details on the Site Search feature and how to identify search query parameters, check out the Google Analytics help guide. Still have questions? The Littledata team is always here to help. You can contact us directly in the app, or feel free to connect with our Google Analytics consultants for larger projects. Hint: Use search-related benchmarks to find out how your on-site search traffic compares with other sites in your industry and location. The Littledata app includes analytics benchmarks to make this as easy as possible. For example, you can compare usage of internal search on your website against internal search usage on all websites. Once you've set up Site Search, you will automatically be able to see relevant search-related benchmarks in your Littledata dashboard.  

2017-09-06

The end of the ecommerce 'thank you' page

For two decades the ecommerce customer journey has stayed roughly the same. Customers browse, add to cart, checkout, and then see a page confirming their purchase: the 'thank you' page. That last step is changing, and this is no small change as it threatens to break how many sites measure purchases. Ecommerce stores that stop using a final 'thank you' page without adjusting their analytics setup accordingly are in danger of getting inaccurate purchase data, or even losing track of shoppers altogether. In order to help our customers get ahead of the curve, we've gone through a number of test cases to find short and long term fixes to this issue. But first, a little history. In the old days... In the early days of ecommerce the biggest barrier during checkout was trust. Retailers paid to be certified as ‘hack-proof’ and customers wanted to make quite sure when and how their money was taken. Fast forward twenty years to today, and in the developed world most consumers have transacted online hundreds of times. They are familiar with the process, expect a seamless user experience, and confident that when they click 'buy' their payment will be taken and the products delivered. Online shoppers are so confident, in fact, that an increasing number we observe don’t even bother waiting for that ‘thank you for your order’ page. That page is becoming redundant for three reasons: Almost every checkout process captures an email address to send an order receipt to, and the email acts as a better type of confirmation: one that can be searched and referenced. Seriously, when was the last time you opted to ‘print the confirmation page’ for your records? Many retailers are forced to compete with the superb customer support offered by Amazon. This includes refunds for products that were ordered in error, and quick handling of failed payments. So from a customer's perspective there’s little point in waiting for the confirmation page when any issues will be flagged up later. Which leads to the third reason: as retailers improve the speed of checkout, the payment confirmation step is often the slowest, and so the one where customers are most likely to drop out on a slow mobile connection. This is no small issue, as mobile revenues are expected to overtake desktop revenues for ecommerce businesses globally this year. What does this mean for ecommerce sites? The issue is that for many sites the linking of sales to marketing campaigns is measured by views of that ‘thank you' page. In the marketing analysis, a ‘purchase’ is really a view of that 'thank you' page - or an event recorded on the customer’s browser with the sale. If customers don’t view the page, then no sale is recorded. If you have ever been frustrated by the lack of consistency between Google Analytics and your own payment/back-end records, this is the most likely issue. A dependency on viewing the 'thank you' page brings other problems too: a buggy script, perhaps from another marketing tag, will block the recording of sales. This is another source of the type of analytics inaccuracy which the Littledata app combats automatically. How to adjust your ecommerce tracking The short-term fix is to tweak the firing order of marketing tags on the 'thank you' page, so that even customers who see the page for fractions of a second will be recorded. Sites with a large number of marketing tags will have the greatest room for improvement. But in the long term, as this trend continues, the analytics solution is to link the marketing campaigns to the actual payments taken. This removes the need for the customer to see any type of 'thank you' or confirmation page, and also removes discrepancies between what your marketing platform tells you was purchased and what actually got bought. This is known as server-side tracking. The good news for those of you on the Shopify platform is that our Shopify reporting app does this already - and solves a lot of other analytics problems in one install. For those on other stores, please do contact us for advice. The Littledata team has worked with ecommerce businesses to set up integrations with Magento, DemandWare and numerous custom platforms. Not only can we help fix your analytics setup for accurate tracking, but our app then automates the audit and reporting process for all of your sites going forward.

2017-08-30

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