Exclude fake 'bot' traffic from your site with Google Analytics

Ever wondered why so few visitors convert on your site? One answer is that a big chunk of your traffic is from search engine spiders and other web 'bots' which have no interest in actually engaging with you. Google Analytics has a great new feature to exclude this bot traffic from your site. All you need to do is check a box under the Admin > View > View Settings. The new option is down the bottom, underneath currency selection. It uses the IAB /ABC Bots and Spiders list, which is standard for large publishers, and updated monthly. Warning: you will see a dip in traffic from the date you apply the setting. If you're looking for a more comprehensive method to exclude spam and ghost referrals, check out our how-to guide! Have some questions about this? Get in touch with our Google Analytics experts!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-11-15

What are Enhanced Ecommerce reports?

In May 2014 Google Analytics introduced a new feature: Enhanced Ecommerce tracking. If you run an ecommerce operation, this gets you much more detailed feedback on your checkout process. What will I see? Shopping behaviour: how are people converting from browsers to purchasers? Checkout behaviour: at what stage of your checkout do buyers abandon the process Product performance: which products are driving your sales, and which have a high return rate Real campaign returns: see your real return on marketing investment including promotional discounts and returns How do I set this up? The bad news is it definitely requires an experienced software developer for the setup. The reports require lots of extra product and customer information to be sent to Google Analytics. You can read the full developer information on what you can track, or our own simpler guide for tracking ecommerce via Tag Manager. However, if you already have standard ecommerce tracking and Google Tag Manager, we can set Enhanced reports up in a couple of days with no code changes on your live site - so no business disruption or risk of lost sales. Is it worth implementing? Imagine you could identify a drop-off stage in your checkout process where you could get a 10% improvement in sales conversion or a group of customers who were unable to buy (maybe due to language or browser difficulties) – what would that be worth? Many businesses have that kind of barrier just waiting to be discovered…   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-11-14

How to track time on page with Google Tag Manager

Our script for accurate tracking of time on page beats Google's default measurement to give you an accurate picture of how long users are spending on your page open and in focus. This post translates the approach into Google Tag Manager. The setup consists of two tags (one custom), one firing rule and two variables. Step by step: 1. Add the timer script as a custom HTML tag <script><br /> /*<br /> Logs the time on the page to dataLayer every 10 seconds<br /> (c) LittleData consulting limited 2014<br /> */<br /> (function () {<br /> var inFocus = true;<br /> var intervalSeconds = 10; //10 seconds<br /> var interval = intervalSeconds * 1000;<br /> var eventCount = 0;<br /> var maxEvents = 60; //stops after 10 minutes in focus<br /> var fnBlur = function(){inFocus = false; };<br /> var fnFocus = function(){inFocus= true; };<br /> if (window.addEventListener) {<br /> window.addEventListener ('blur',fnBlur,true);<br /> window.addEventListener ('focus',fnFocus,true);<br /> }<br /> else if (window.attachEvent) {<br /> window.attachEvent ('onblur',fnBlur);<br /> window.attachEvent ('onfocus',fnFocus);<br /> }<br /> var formatMS = function(t){<br /> return Math.floor(t/60) +':'+ (t%60==0?'00':t%60);<br /> }<br /> var timeLog = window.setInterval(function () {<br /> if (inFocus){<br /> eventCount++;<br /> var secondsInFocus = Math.round(eventCount * intervalSeconds);<br /> dataLayer.push({"event": "LittleDataTimer", "interval": interval, "intervalSeconds": intervalSeconds, "timeInFocus": formatMS(secondsInFocus) });<br /> }<br /> if (eventCount>=maxEvents) clearInterval(timeLog);<br /> }, interval);<br /> })();<br /> </script> 2. Add two variables to access the data layer variables One for the formatted time, which will feed through the event label And one for the number of seconds in focus since the last event, which will feed through the event value 3. Add the firing rule for the event 4. Add the tag that reports the timer event to Google Analytics Options and further information You can change the timer interval in the custom HTML tag - the reporting will adjust accordingly. Choosing the interval is a trade-off between the resolution of the reporting and the load on the client in sending events, as well as Google's 500 hit per session quota. We've chosen ten seconds because we think the users who are in 'wrong place' and don't engage at all will leave in under ten seconds, anything more is some measure of success. If you'd like assistance implementing this or something else to get an accurate picture of how users interact with your site, get in touch!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-11-14

Accurate tracking of time on site

There’s a flaw in the way Google Analytics measures ‘time on site’: the counter only starts from the second page visited, so all one-page visits are counted as zero time on site. If a visitor comes to your page, stays for 10 minutes reading – and then closes the window… that’s counted as ZERO time. With landing pages that have lots of interaction, or the call to action is a phone call rather than a click, this can be a real problem. Pasting the Javascript below onto all the pages of your site will fix the problem. The script logs an event to Google Analytics for every 10 seconds the visitor stays on the page, regardless of whether they bounced or not. But it won't affect your bounce rate or time on site for historical comparison *. We suggest you look closely at how visitors drop off after 10, 20 and 30 seconds to see which of your web content could be improved. Paste this into the source of your all your pages, after the Google Analytics script <!-- Time on Site tracking (c) LittleData.co.uk 2014 --><script>(function(e){var t=true;var n=0;var r=true;var i=function(){t=false};var s=function(){t=true};if(window.addEventListener){window.addEventListener("blur",i,true);window.addEventListener("focus",s,true)}else if(window.attachEvent){window.attachEvent("onblur",i);window.attachEvent("onfocus",s)}var o=function(e){return Math.floor(e/60)+":"+(e%60==0?"00":e%60)};var u=window.setInterval(function(){e=e+10;if(t){n=n+10;if(typeof _gaq==="object"){_gaq.push(["_trackEvent","Time","Log",o(n),n,r])}else if(typeof ga==="function"){ga("send",{hitType:"event",eventCategory:"Time",eventAction:"Log",eventLabel:o(n),eventValue:10,nonInteraction:"true"})}}},1e4);window.setTimeout(function(){clearInterval(u)},601e3)})(0)</script> What you'll see In Google Analytics go to Behaviour .. Events .. Top Events and click on the event category 'Time'.                               Searching for a particular time will find all the people who have stayed at least that length of time. e.g. 0:30 finds people who have stayed more than 30 seconds. FAQs Does this affect the way I compare bounce rate or time-on-site historically? No. The script sends the timer events as 'non-interactive' meaning they won't be counted in your other metrics. Without this, you would see a sharp drop in bounce rate and an increase in time on site, as every visitor was counted as 'non-bounce' after 10 seconds. If you prefer this, see below about adapting the script. Will this work for all browsers? Yes, the functions have been tested on all major, modern browser: IE 9+, Chrome, Safari and Firefox. What if I upgrade to Universal Analytics? Don’t worry – our script already checks which of the two tracking scripts you have (ga.js or analytics.js) and sends the appropriate log. Will this max out my Google Analytics limits? The script cuts off reporting after 5 minutes, so not to violate Google’s quota of 200 – 500 events that can be sent in one session Can I adapt this myself? Sure. The full source file is here. Need more help? Get in touch with our experts!

2016-11-13

How to read the frequency report in Google Analytics

Google Analytics engagement reports can provide great insight into user behaviour on your site. However, it’s not obvious how to read them - and when you figure out how to read them, it’s not always obvious what’s good! The visitor frequency report is found under Audience > Behaviour > Frequency and recency in the Google Analytics menu. The report shows the sessions, by the number of visits for each visitor. Google’s explanation of how to read the frequency graph is nice and clear. However, their simplified example leaves out something important: returning users. In the graph, the visit count shown is for the whole user history, not just the period of the report. So if a visitor has come three times before the period their session will show in the three band. Similarly, if a user has visited the site five times in the past and then visits the site twice during the period, they will in count of sessions as 6 and 7. The example below is from a newly released site, where nearly all the visits are from the developers, who have been many times before - so there are no visitors in the 1,2,3,4 or 5 visit bands for this site in this period. The fact that the banding is based on the whole user history, not just behaviour during the period, can make the report much harder to interpret - you can't easily see the drop off in repeat visitation if an unknown number of return visitors at some point in their many visits history are also coming in. Fortunately, Google Analytic's segmentation capability comes to the rescue! For example, you can find out about the returning behaviour of visitors who came the first time during the period in question, with the segment - the settings are in the screenshot below. Note that you need to change the segment to filter users, not sessions, otherwise you will just create a more complex version of the built-in new users segment! Here’s an example of the sort of thing you might see with the segment, showing 3 segments: All Session (built in) 'User sessions = 1'  - custom segment for users having their first session in the period New Users (built in) Note: For the visit count = 1 band, the session count is the same across all three segments, For the visit count = 2 band, (and above) the number for all sessions is higher, because it includes all the users who came in on their second visit during the period. The number for the user sessions = 1 segment, is lower because it includes only the users who had their first visit during the period. The number for new users is zero because users are not new on their 2nd visit As you can see, the custom segment makes it possible to see the real return rate of new visitors in the period, narrowing to visitors who came the first time in the period in question. From this example, you can also see how misleading it would be to naively interpret the default 'all sessions' segment for, say, four sessions as the number who returned four times during the period - clearly there is a large number who have previous visits outside the period of the report. Note that none of the segments in the example actually gives the number of users who returned four times during the period - this is actually really difficult to obtain. Leaving that question aside for now, to extract some real insight from the approach of segmenting in the frequency report, combine that segment condition with a goal, say ‘transactions per user > 0’ - then you can see how many new users went on to a transaction, and how many visits they made during the period. Need help to set this up or have any questions? Get in touch with our team of experts and we'd be happy to answer any questions! This is a valuable segment to monitor and analyse - how many users have gone from first visit to a transaction this week, and how many sessions did they make along the way?

2016-11-11

How to set up ecommerce tracking with Google Tag Manager

Enhanced ecommerce tracking requires your developers to send lots of extra product and checkout information in a way that Google Analytics can understand. If you already use GTM to track pageviews you must send ecommerce data via Google Tag Manager Step 1 Enable enhanced ecommerce reporting in the Google Analytics view admin setting, under 'Ecommerce Settings' Step 2 Select names for your checkout steps (see point 4 below): Step 3 Get your developers to push the product data behind the scenes to the page 'dataLayer'. Here is the developer guide. Step 4 Make sure the following steps are tracked as a pageview or event, and for each step set up a Universal Analytics tracking tag: Product impressions (typically a category or listing page) Product detail view (the product page) Add to basket (more usually an event than a page) Checkout step 1 (views the checkout page) Checkout step 2 etc - whatever registration, shipping or tax steps you have Purchase confirmation Step 5 Edit each tag, and under 'More Settings' section, select the 'Enable enhanced ecommerce features' and then 'use data layer' options: Of course, there's often a bit of fiddling to get the data layer in the right format, and the ecommerce events fires at the right time, so please contact us if you need more help setting up the reports! Step 6 - Checking it is working There is no 'real time' ecommerce reporting yet, so you'll need to wait a day for events to process and then view the shopping behaviour and checkout behaviour reports. If you want to check the checkout options you'll need to set up a custom report: use 'checkout options' as the dimension and 'sessions' and 'transactions' as the metrics. Need some more help? Get in touch with our lovely team of experts and we'd be happy to answer any questions!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.  

2016-11-10

Conversion friendly experiences: reducing landing page friction with psychology

The primary concern of all PPC specialists is how to take all the traffic their ads and content generate and turn it into converting users. If you are taking the time and energy to allocate a budget and strategy for your PPC ad campaigns, literally throwing money at the problem, then you should at least be capitalising on as many conversions as possible. So what is the difference between traffic and conversions? What is it that bridges the gap between the two? Simple: the user’s experience on your page. That’s all there is to it. Optimising your landing page experiences to better fit the user’s needs and to generate a sense of delight in them is how you close the distance between traffic and conversions. There’s countless different tactics and styles of landing page optimisation that different PPC agencies employ. But, for the most part, they all circulate around the same basic concept: using consumer behaviour and basic psychology to increase the “delight factor” of a user’s experience on your landing page. The more delighted a user is with your page and your content, the more naturally they will be inclined to convert on your site. A more user-centric experience is what psychology based CRO is aiming for. Starting from the source Reverse engineering the problem’s of your campaigns is just as important as reverse engineering your goals. Just like when establishing a content marketing strategy, a landing page optimisation strategy requires you to first establish your goal (higher CRO), and then work backwards to identify the tangible changes you need to implement. To better understand how your paid ad campaigns and landing pages are performing as a unit, you need to make sure you are monitoring the right KPIs. Better yet, understanding what each KPI signifies about your user’s experience is an even deeper and more useful insight regarding your psychological research. VTC vs CTC For simplicity’s sake, let’s narrow down the field of analysis to just the advertisement and the landing page. For the first, you’re going to want to be looking at click-through conversions and view-through conversions. Now, VTC is harder to monitor because it records whenever a user sees your ad (an impression) but doesn’t click on it. Later that user revisits your page via a different route and converts on your page. If you were looking only at CTC, this conversion actually wouldn’t be given any credit. But for the most part what either form of conversion metric is doing is looking at how successful your ad is at getting the user to click through to your landing page. Conversion rate, bounce rate, exit rate Once you’ve determined the success of your ad in regards to getting them to your site, it’s time to check out how your pages themselves are performing. This is the where the fault between traffic and conversions splits open. This is where conversion rate and bounce rate come into the picture. The conversion rate is pretty self-explanatory, but the bounce rate needs a bit more nuanced definition because of its relation to exit rate, which can get confusing. Basically, the exit rate of your page examines how frequently a user clicks through your ad to your landing page and leave that specific page via regular means of navigation. They might have gone to a different content page of your domain, they may have left altogether. The bounce rate shows you how often users are leaving your page by means of the back button or closing the browser entirely. While they both monitor the departures from your landing page, one gives a very different picture from the other. You can check out the infographic below by ion interactive for basic schematics and values of the five major landing page KPIs. Asking “why they aren’t” instead of “why they are” With your performance data in hand, you now need to look one step further into the reasons behind your lack of conversions and high bounce rate. Start, as always, by reverse engineering the problem. Ask why users aren’t converting on your site and fix the wrongs of your page before you celebrate the rights. There are three major psychological reasons for a user to be displeased or distrusting of a landing page. Identifying this friction points within your landing page content will help you tailor your pages to user’s preferences and increase the “delight factor.” Lack of information The first psychological red flag for a first-time visitor is a lack of information. This can be a very significant and harmful deterrent. Not supplying the user with adequate information instantly puts them into a sceptical state. The human mind does not like uncertainty. We are famous for “catastrophizing” the unknown because our minds are programmed to fill empty spaces. We subconsciously prefer to imagine the worst case scenario rather than a complete up-in-the-air unknown. When confronted with a lack of information, users often make one of two assumptions: either your site lacks the expert level content they are looking for and your business is not a well-informed authority on the matter; or - even worse - your landing page is a scam and is actually just click-bait looking for meaningless traffic. Don’t let a lack of information put a Vader style force-choke-hold on your conversion rate. Trust leaps The biggest hindrance to a landing page is the inability to generate trust in the user. Creating genuine trust leaps between the first-time visitor and the uncertainty of a business proposition is, at the same time. the sole purpose of landing pages and their toughest obstacle. Trust leaps, however, are a three step process that takes more than just the necessary and adequate information to complete the cycle. The common progression of a trust leap, beginning to end, is “trusting the idea” - “trusting the institution” - and, finally, “trusting the individual.” Too many landing pages over-prioritize the first two of the steps and for that reason fail to convert at a satisfying rate. Making sure you are transparent and authentic in your presentation through and through is key when it comes to user experience. These days, with digital media so entrenched in our culture, we all have a strong nose for spam and we are quick to jump ship if we feel we are in shady territory. Analysis paralysis Lastly, even if you are able to build a successful trust leap with the user, there are still psychological roadblocks that can stop them from converting. You may be so eager to impress and delight your visitor that you provide them with all the different options and services you make available to them. This may seem like a transparent and efficient way to market your services. But what it really does is throws your user into pits of analysis paralysis. While you want to provide all the necessary information you can, too much info can overload the user. As much as we all would like to believe the opposite, absolute freedom of choice is one of the quickest ways to drive a person crazy. An old idiom comes to mind when discussing the issue: “When given too many options to choose from, the exit becomes the only clear choice.” Keep your landing pages simple and specified. In almost all cases, you should limit each landing page to a single CTA and a single goal. Make the decision to convert an easy one. Fixing the common problems with transparent solutions So how do you make converting on your page such an easy decision? By removing any obstacles that may be obscuring your message or deterring your viewer. The checklist is simple and straightforward. You want to lower friction between your page and the user by filling in any gaps of information that they need and eliminating any superfluous or extraneous information that may distract them from converting. After you start to lower the friction and build a more user-centric landing page experience, you can consider the more nuanced forms of data presentation that you are employing. For example, many sites love to compare their prices and performance to their competitors on their page. Comparison pricing If you have the lowest prices in the business, why not advertise by putting your low price right next to the jacked up prices of your competitors - right? This may seem like a good idea, at first. But it can actually put the idea of comparison shopping into the minds of users that previously might not have even been considering your competition. On top of that, bragging about your drastically lower prices has been shown to actually inspire a sense of hesitancy in users. They tend to believe that if you are advertising your low price as your main selling point, then your services might not be top notch and it may be worth their while spending a pretty penny on a service that is worthwhile. Don’t overthink your landing page presentations. You’re taking the time to develop trust with your first-time users, so trust them to make the comparisons on their own. Don’t impose market statistics on them as if you are in court arguing your dominance in the field. Let them come to their own decision organically - that’s where “delight” comes from. Urgency with solutions If you are looking to break down roadblocks to ease the user’s conversion path you will also be working towards speeding up and optimising that conversion path as well. True landing page streamlining requires removing inefficiencies and implementing optimizers to replace them. Many PPC management services love to inject a sense of urgency into their CTAs in order to emotionally evoke a higher conversion tendency in their audience. While this is a good idea in and of itself, and a strong “click now!” or “don’t miss out!” CTA can really close a conversion out, urgency only works to emotionally evoke readers when used correctly. Studies show that when given “urgent” warnings, subjects were actually not necessarily more eager to act. What the results showed was that when they were not given any information on how to remedy the urgent situation, test subjects were actually more likely to rationalise themselves as exempt from the urgency and were actually less eager to act! On the other hand, those subjects that were given information regarding the urgent situation (or at least most of them) followed the information provided to them and acted immediately. Remember that we do not like the unknown, so if you are trying to change the mentality of a user with urgency, you must be specific with the reasons why it is urgent and the actions necessary to remedy the situation. Like in the above graphic: if not here, then where? If not now, then when? And if not us, then who?! Put a face to the service Unless you are a snake-haired Greek gorgon who goes by the name of Medusa, matching a face to your service will always help your brand appear more trustworthy. If your landing page doesn’t have any pictures of your business teams or employees and lacks any personable touch, users might start sniffing out your pages for spam. At the very least you should have an employee directory page somewhere within your pagination - which should be streamlined and flat for easy user experience (but that’s another point of discussion, you can check out this post for internal linking strategy if you’re interested). Having a brief personal bio for each of your employees brings an approachability to your page that is sometimes lost in the online retail world. (Also, as a bonus, it will show your employees that they matter to you and aren’t just cogs in a system.) If you really want to wow the users clicking to your landing page, you can go one step further than an employee directory page and introduce employee testimonial videos or team introductions for your possible clients. Our eyes have a natural inclination to pay attention to motion, then image, then text last. So using video on your landing page (above the fold!) is a huge way to increase engagement, even if it isn’t focused on building trust. The trick is not to appear authentic, but be authentic. Users today are well informed and ready for your business, your job isn’t to finagle them into converting, but to get them to embrace you as a trusted authority - the conversions will follow. Focusing on the inputs not the outputs Using psychology in your CRO campaigns means looking one step deeper than the behaviour of users on your landing pages. It means looking into the reasons and emotions behind those behaviours. Too many conversion campaigns these days over emphasise the importance of hitting their quotas and monthly growth percentages. “Don’t make your goals, your goals, make the habits that lead to your goals, your goals.” Focusing on the inputs that will build trust and lower friction on your page instead of making all of your decisions based on minor bumps in your CR% is a simple re-allotment of your priorities and focus, but will make huge and long-lasting changes in the way you develop and design your pages. Happy users are converting users, that transitive step is a natural and quick one. So don’t focus so much on turning your users into business opportunities. Focus on delighting them and making them happy. And making them happy starts with knowing how they tick. Team Bio About Sean Martin - I am a Content Marketing Manager at Directive Consulting, a digital marketing agency in Southern California. We specialise in integrating SEO, PPC, Social, and Content into our online marketing campaigns. Check out my posts on the DC blog to see how we are innovating and changing the game.

2016-11-08

Android users buy 4x more than Apple users. Why?

Looking at a sample of 400 ecommerce websites using Littledata, we found mobile ecommerce conversion rates vary hugely between operating systems. For Apple devices, it is only 1% (and 0.6% for the iPhone 6), whereas for Android devices the conversion rate is nearly 4% (better than desktop). It’s become accepted wisdom that a great ‘mobile experience’ is essential for serious online retailers. As 60% of all Google searches now happen on mobile, and over 80% of Facebook ad clicks come from mobile, it’s highly likely the first experience new customers have of your store is on their phone. So is it because most websites look worse on an iPhone, or iPhone users are pickier?! There’s something else going on: conversion rate on mobile actually dropped for these same sites from July to October (1.25% to 1.26%) this year, even as the share of mobile traffic increased. Whereas on desktop, from July (low-season) to October (mid-season for most retailers), the average ecommerce conversion rate jumped from 2% to 2.5%. It seems during holiday-time, consumers are more willing to use their phones to purchase (perhaps because they are away from their desks). So the difference between Android and iOS is likely to do with cross-device attribution. The enduring problem of ecommerce attribution is that it’s less likely that customers complete the purchase journey on their phone. And on an ecommerce store you usually can’t attribute the purchase to the initial visit on their phone, meaning you are seriously underestimating the value of your mobile traffic. I think iPhone users are more likely to own a second device (and a third if you count the iPad), and so can more easily switch from small screen browsing to purchase on a large screen. Whereas Android users are less likely to own a second device, and so purchase on one device. That means iPhone users do purchase – but you just can’t track them as well. What’s the solution? The only way to link the visits on a phone with the subsequent purchases on another device is to have some login functionality. You can do that by getting users to subscribe to an email list, and then linking that email to their Google Analytics sessions. Or offering special discounts for users that create an account. But next time your data tells you it’s not worth marketing to iPhone users, think again. Need help with your Google Analytics set up? Comment below or get in touch!   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.  

2016-11-02

Get the Littledata analytics app

Complete picture of your ecommerce business. Free Google Analytics connection, audit and benchmarks.

Sign up