Making the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see

Our core belief at Littledata is that machines are better at spotting significant changes in your website’s performance than a human analyst. We’ve now made it easier for you to get specific alerts, reducing the time spent wading through data. This is the story of how we produced the new trend detection algorithm. Enjoy! Back in 2014, we developed the first version of an algorithm to detect if today or this week’s traffic was significantly different from previous periods. This allows managers to focus in on the aspects of the traffic or particular marketing campaigns which are really worthy of their attention. Although the first version was very sensitive, it also picked up too many changes for a single person to investigate. In technical language, it was not specific in enough. In June and July, Littledata collaborated with a working group of mathematicians from around Europe to find a better algorithm. The European Study Group with Industry (ESGI) originated in the University of Limerick’s mathematics department in Ireland and has helped hundreds of businesses link up with prominent mathematicians in the field to solve real-world problems. Littledata joined the latest study group in University College, Dublin in July, and was selected by a dozen mathematicians as the focus for their investigation. Andrew Parnell from the statistics department at University College, Dublin helped judge the output from the four teams that we split the group into. The approach was to use an algorithm to test the algorithms; in other words, we pitted a group of statistical strategies against each other, from clustering techniques to linear regression, through to Twitter’s own trend detection package, and compared their total performance across a range of training data sets. Initially, the Twitter package looked to be doing well, but in fact, it had been developed specifically to analyse huge volumes of tweets and perform badly when given low volumes of web traffic. In between our host’s generous hospitality, with Guinness, Irish folk music, and quite a lot of scribbling of formulas on beer mats, myself and our engineer (Gabriel) worked with the statisticians to tweak the algorithms. Eventually, a winner emerged, being sensitive enough to pick up small changes in low traffic websites, but also specific enough to ignore the random noise of daily traffic. The new trend detection algorithm has been live since the start of August and we hope you enjoy the benefits. Our web app allows for fewer distractions and more significant alerts tailored to your company’s goals, which takes you back to our core belief that machines are able to spot major changes in website performances better than a human analyst. If you’re interested in finding out how our web app can help you streamline your Google Analytics’ data, please get in touch! Further reading: 7 quick wins to speed up your site analysis techniques Online reporting turning information into knowledge Will a computer put you out of a job?

2016-09-08

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

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

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

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

Under the hood of Littledata

Littledata tool gives you insight into your customers' behaviour online. We look through hundreds of Google Analytics metrics and trends to give you summarised reports, alerts on significant changes, customised tips and benchmarks against competitor sites. This guide explains how we generate your reports and provide actionable analytics. 1. You authorise our app to access your Google Analytics data As a Google Analytics user you will already be sending data to Google every time someone interacts with your website or app. Google Analytics provides an API where our app can query this underlying data and provide summary reports in our own style. But you are only granting us READ access, so there is no possibility that any data or settings in your Google Analytics will change. 2. You pick which view to report on Once you've authorised the access, you pick which Google Analytics view you want to get the reports on. Some people will have multiple views (previously called ‘profiles’) set up for a particular website. They might have subtly different data – for example, one excludes traffic from company offices – so pick the most appropriate one for management reports. We will then ask for your email so we know where to send future alerts to. 3. Every day we look for significant changes and trending pages There are over 100 Google Analytics reports and our clever algorithms scan through all of them to find the most interesting changes to highlight. For all but the largest businesses, day-by-day comparisons are the most appropriate way of spotting changing behaviour on your website. Every morning (around 4am local time) our app fetches your traffic data from the previous day – broken down into relevant segments, like mobile traffic from organic search – and compares it against a pattern from the previous week. This isn’t just signalling whether a metric has changed – web traffic is unpredictable and changes every day (scientists call this ‘noise’). We are looking for how likely that yesterday’s value was out of line with the recent pattern. We express this as signal bars in the app: one bar means there is a 90% chance this result is significant (not chance), two bars means a 99% chance and three bars means 99.9% certain (less than a 1 in 1000 chance it is a fluke). Separately, we look for which individual pages are trending – based on the same probabilistic approach. Mostly this is change in overall views of the page, but sometimes in entrances or bounce rate. If you are not seeing screenshots for particular pages there are a few reasons why: The website URL you entered in Google Analytics may be out of date Your tracking code may run across a number of URLs – e.g. company.com and blog.company.com – and you don’t specify which in Google Analytics The page may be inaccessible to our app – typically because a person needs to login to see it 4. We look for common setup issues The tracking code that you (or your developers) copy and pasted from Google Analytics into your website is only the very basic setup. Tracking custom events and fixing issues like cross-domain tracking and spam referrals can give you more accurate data – and more useful reports from us. Littledata offers setup and consultancy to improve your data collection, or to do further manual audit. This is especially relevant if you are upgrading to Universal Analytics or planning a major site redesign. 5. We email the most significant changes to you Every day - but only if you have significant changes - we generate a summary email, with the highest priority reports you should look at. You can click through on any of these to see a mobile-friendly summary. An example change might be that 'Bounce rate from natural search traffic is down by 8% yesterday'. If you usually get a consistent bounce rate for natural / organic search traffic, and one day that changes, then it should be interesting to investigate why. If you want your colleagues to stay on top of these changes you can add them to the distribution list, or change the frequency of the emails in My Subscriptions. 6. Every Sunday we look for changes over the previous week Every week we look for longer-term trends – which are only visible when comparing the last week with the previous week. You should get more alerts on a Sunday. If you have a site with under 10,000 visits a month, you are likely to see more changes week-by-week than day-by-day.   To check the setup of your reports, login to Littledata tool. For any further questions, please feel free to leave a comment below, contact us via phone or email, or send us a tweet @LittledataUK.

2015-02-05

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