How to track forms which don't redirect to a thank you page

Many contact forms now use Javascript to submit and do not redirect to a new page. So to track the form, unless you trigger an event on the submit button, you need to listen for a piece of text (usually saying thank you). We have created a custom HTML script that listens to the changes in the page and triggers an event called 'formSubmitted'. This event can then be used to fire a separate tag with event details to Google Analytics. We've tested this on our contact form at Littledata and here's how you can set it up too. Step 1 The first step is to go through the contact form and see what the steps are in completing it. On ours, you just enter the information in the fields and press "SUBMIT MESSAGE". When the message is sent out, the button will say "SENT!". Here the only thing that changed was the text on the button from 'submit message' to 'sent'. We built this HTML script that listens to the changes on the page, but you'll need to change line 10 to be whatever the message is in your form. You will also need to change line 15 if you have multiple forms on the page. [code lang="js"] <script> // **** Littledata Javascript form tracker **** // Generates a GTM custom event called 'formSubmitted' // When an on-page form is submitted // CHANGE the text to match the message displayed // when the form is successfully completed // It is not case sensitive var text = "sent!" // By default it will search for text within the first form // Set to false if text is outside a form // or change to a higher false if there are multiple forms var formIndex = 0; // OPTIONALLY, restrict the search to an HTML element ID // If you leave this blank, the whole page will be searched; // this causes the script to run more slowly var targetId = "" // **** No changes needed to the script below **** text = text.toLowerCase() dataLayer = dataLayer || []; if (!formIndex && targetId.length == 0) console.error('Form tracker needs either a form or an element ID') var checkEveryMilliseconds = 500; formTrackerInterval = window.setInterval(function(){ var target = "" if (formIndex >= 0) { var form = document.getElementsByTagName('form') target = (form.length > 0) ? form[formIndex].textContent : ""; } else target = document.getElementById(targetId).textContent target = target.toLowerCase() if (target.indexOf(text) > -1) { window.clearInterval(formTrackerInterval); dataLayer.push({ event: 'formSubmitted' }) } },checkEveryMilliseconds) </script> [/code] Step 2 Now we need to add the script to listen out for when the form is submitted. Create a custom HTML tag in your GTM container. You can name the tag 'LISTENER Contact form submit event' or anything else you will remember it by. Choose the tag type 'Custom HTML'. Copy and paste your HTML/Javascript into the textbox, and remember to change the var text (line 10) with your own text. Step 3 This tag needs a firing trigger, specifying the rules when it needs to be activated. If you can, only fire on specific pages - the script will slow down the page a little, as it runs every half a second to check the form. Give the trigger a descriptive name - here I've chosen "PAGE About us" Select trigger type as 'Custom Event' and for the event name put " gtm.load ", which means this trigger at page load. We want this trigger to work on a specific page only, so the firing rule goes 'page path equals /about-us', which means that our trigger will work on the www.littledata.io/about-us page only. If you have a number of pages that have the form you're tracking, then you could use 'contains' rule and select part of the link that is applicable to all. For example, if all of your links have word 'contact' in them, then your firing rule would say 'page path contains contact'. Step 4 Now that you have your listener tag set up, you need to create a separate tag to send the event details to Google Analytics. Again, give it a descriptive name so you know what it's for - here I've used 'GA event - contact form submitted'. Select tag type as 'Universal Analytics' and in the tracking ID field, select the variable that contains your GA tracking id. For event category, action and label you have to specify the namings by which this data will be categorised in Google Analytics. Step 5 This tag needs its own trigger to know when to fire, and here you have to use the event created by the listener tag set up during steps 2-3. Here you have to specify that this tag can only fire when event 'formSubmitted' happens. I've called my trigger 'Contact form event', selected trigger type as 'custom event' and entered event name 'formSubmitted. Now you can save it and test in the debugger mode. Try submitting your contact form and see if the event 'formSubmitted' appears. You should also see the tag 'GA event - contact form submitted' fire. If everything's ok, publish the container and do a final test. Make a new form submission and check if you can see the event details come through in Google Analytics real time reports, under events. Need some help setting this up or Google Tag Manger? Why not get in touch by contacting our lovely Google Analytics experts?   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights. Further reading: How to set up event tracking in Google Tag Manager Why should you tag your campaigns? Set up Ecommerce tracking with Google Tag Manager

2016-10-11

Google Optimize versus Optimizely

I’ve been an Optimizely certified expert for a couple of years and have now trialled Google Optimize 360 for a few months, so it seems a good time to compare how they stack up. Optimizely is the current market leader in AB testing (or content experimentation), due to its ease of use and powerful reporting tools. It gives companies an easy way to run many concurrent tests and manage their setup and roll out without the involvement of developers. That was a big step up from Google Content Experiments, where the only way to set up an experiment is to write some Javascript code. The Guardian had some success with Optimizely, where they increased subscriptions by 46%. Google Optimize is an equivalent testing tool, and has copied much of the user interface that made Optimizely popular: you can click on elements within the page to experiment, and change their style, hide them or move them. My only complaint is that the interface is so simple it can take a while to unbury powerful features, such as transform the page via a custom script. There have been many success stories of companies implementing Google 360. Technically, Optimize’s editor is a bit smoother; using a Chrome plugin avoids some of the browser security issues that bugged Optimizely (since internet browsers confused the Optimizely in-page editor with some kind of script hacking). For example, to load Littledata’s homepage in their editor I have to enable ‘insecure scripts’ in Chrome and then navigate to a different page and back to force the editor to re-render. For reporting, Google Optimize 360 gives the ability to see results either in Optimize or as a custom dimension in Google Analytics – so equivalent to Optimizely. Right now Optimize lacks some features for advanced scheduling and user permissions, but I expect those to evolve as the product gathers momentum. The critical difference is with the targeting options Optimizely allows you to target experiments based on the device accessing the page (mobile vs desktop, browser, operating system) and for enterprise plans only to target based on geolocation. The limitation is that every time Optimizely needs to decide whether to run the test, the check for the user’s location may take a few seconds – and the landing page may flicker as a test rule is triggered on not. Google Optimize can target to any audience that you can build in Google Analytics (GA). This means any information you capture in Google Analytics – the number of previous visits, the pages they have previously seen or the ecommerce transactions – can be used in a test or personalisation. For example, in Google Optimize you could serve a special message to users who have previously spent more than $100 in your store. Optimizely has no knowledge of the users’ actions before that landing page, so the only way you could run an equivalent personalisation is to expose this previous purchase value as a custom script on the landing page (or in a cookie). The beauty of Google Optimize is that you are targeting based on information already captured in Google Analytics. There is no technical setup beyond what you were already doing for Google Analytics, and it doesn’t take a developer to build targeting for a very specific audience. Pricing Optimizely starts from under $100/month, but to get access to enterprise features (e.g. for geo-targeting) you will need to spend $2000 plus per month. Google Optimize is currently being sold at a flat rate of $5000 / month for the basic tier of Google 360 customers (which have between 1M to 50M sessions per month), but in future, it could be offered at a lower price to smaller companies. Conclusion Where you’ll appreciate the benefits of Google Optimize is for running personalisations based on complex rules about previous user behaviour, or the campaigns they have seen. The more different tests you are running, the more time and simplicity saving you will get from building the audience in Google Analytics rather than some custom scripts. Google Optimize 360 is currently in beta but you can currently add your email to invite list. For smaller customers, or those with less complex needs, Optimizely still offers better value – but that might change if Google were to offer a limited version of Optimize at a lower price.   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.   Further reading: Create and customise dashboards and widgets in Google Analytics New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more How to set up internal searches in Google Analytics Image credit: Blastam  

2016-10-05

Create and customise dashboards and widgets in Google Analytics

Every view in Google Analytics comes with a default "My Dashboard". Learn how to customise your dashboards and widgets for the best account overview. Dashboards contain one or more widgets (up to 12 per dashboard) that give you an overview of the KPI’s that you care about most. Create your dashboard To create a dashboard, navigate to your view, then: Go to reporting tab. Click dashboards. Select + new dashboard. In the create dashboard pop-up select blank canvas (no widgets) or starter dashboard (default set of widgets). You can also import dashboard configurations from the solutions gallery, where is most likely that someone thought about some of the KPI’s you are interested and already build a dashboard. Give your dashboard a title, then click create dashboard. Add widgets to your dashboard A dashboard can have up to 12 instances of the following kinds of widgets <piece of information>: Metric—displays a simple numeric representation of a single selected metric. Timeline—displays a graph of the selected metric over time. You can compare this to a secondary metric. Geomap—displays a map of the selected region, with the specified metric plotted on the map. Hover over the map to see the actual metric values. Table—displays up to 2 metrics describing the selected dimension, laid out in a tabular format. Pie—displays a pie chart of the selected metric grouped by a dimension. Mouse over a slice to see the specific metric values. Bar—displays a bar chart of the selected metric grouped by up to 2 dimensions. Mouse over a slice to see the specific metric values. Difference between standard vs. real-time widgets Some of the available widgets can display their data in real-time. These widgets update the metrics automatically (standard widgets, by comparison, update when you load or refresh the dashboard). Real-time widgets can display only the active users or pageviews metrics, depending on the widget. The following widget types are available as real-time widgets: Counter—displays a count of the active users on your site. You can optionally group these users by a selected dimension. Timeline—displays a timeline graph of pageviews on your site for the past 30 to 60 minutes. Geomap—displays a map showing where your active users are coming from. Table—plots a table of your active users against up to 3 selected dimensions. How to add a widget to a dashboard: Create a new dashboard and select blank canvas, or click + add widget on an existing dashboard to open the widget editor. Select the type of widget. Configure the widget’s dimensions, metrics and other options. These vary depending on the type of widget. Scroll or use the search box to locate the specific metric or dimension you want. You can limit the data shown by the widget by clicking add a filter. Filters let you include or exclude data in the specified dimension that match your filter criteria. You can add multiple rows to your filter definition. All conditions must be met for the filter to work. Report and dashboard filters are not the same as view filters. View filters permanently change your data, while report and dashboard filters only limit the data displayed in the report or dashboard. Dashboard filters are specific to the dashboard in which you define them. You can link the widget to a report or a URL. Doing so makes the widget title a link, taking you to the specified report or web page. To link to a report, begin typing a report name. Google Analytics will autocomplete your entry, trying to match it to an existing report. Alternatively, you can copy and paste the report’s URL into this field. Enter a widget title or accept the suggested title. Click save. Add a linked report directly to your dashboard Another way to link a report to your dashboard is to add it directly from the Google Analytics reporting tool. Locate or create the report you want to see in your dashboard. Click add to dashboard below the report title. Select an existing dashboard, or create a new one by clicking new dashboard. Select the check boxes for the dashboard widgets you want to include (e.g., table, pie chart, timeline). You can add up to 2 widgets per report to your dashboard. You can change the widget titles using the click to edit links. Click add to dashboard. Your new linked report widget opens on the dashboard you selected. Use the widget title link to open the underlying report. Linked report limitations Linked reports can’t have metric filters or secondary dimensions. If you try to add a report with a metric filter or secondary dimension, you will see a warning icon. Hover over the icon to see the warning message. You can still add the report, but it will not include the filter or secondary dimension. You can only embed the data view of a report in your dashboard. If you try to add a report that uses another view of the table (e.g., percentage, performance, comparison or pivot), you will see a warning icon. Mouse over the icon to see the warning message. You can still add the report, but it will display only the data view. Linked reports display only the first two metric columns from your reports. If your report contains more than two metrics, additional metrics will not be displayed in the dashboard. Edit a widget To modify an existing widget, mouse over the widget title, then click the edit (pencil) icon. To delete an individual widget, mouse over the widget title, then click the close (X) icon. Clone a widget You can create an exact copy of a widget using the clone widget link. This is convenient when you want to use one widget as a base for another. Add segments to your dashboard In the Google Analytics reports, you can add segments to your dashboard, allowing you to compare and contrast metrics generated by different session or user groupings. To edit an existing segment, click the segment label at the top of your dashboard. To add a segment, click the empty + add segment label. You can learn more about segments. Share your dashboard with other users Dashboards are private to you until you share them. If you develop a dashboard that you think is useful to other users in your account, or to other Google Analytics users in general, you have several options for sharing it. You can also send a snapshot of your dashboard data via email or generate a PDF file you can distribute however you please. Share dashboards with the current view Once you have your private dashboard working the way you like, you can create a copy of it to share with other users. When you do this, anyone with access to this view can see the dashboard’s data and add to or edit any widgets contained in the dashboard. There’s no way to make dashboards read-only; however, changes to the shared dashboard won’t affect your private version of that dashboard. You must have edit permission to share dashboards and data with the current view. If you have only read-only permission, you can still share your private dashboard by sending it as a template link or by adding it to the solutions gallery. See below for more information. To share a dashboard with the current view: View the dashboard you want to share. Click share > share object A copy of the current dashboard will now be available to all other users in that view, located in the shared dashboards section of the reports panel. Note: to unshare the dashboard you must delete it. Share dashboard templates with other views and accounts The share > share template link option generates a URL you can copy and send to other users, embed in a document or host on a website. When you share a dashboard via a template, you share only the settings for the dashboard - you do not share any data. You can send the link to anyone with a Google Analytics account, and that person can then import the settings. Learn more about sharing customizations via templates. Share dashboards in the solutions gallery The solutions gallery lets you share and import custom reporting tools and assets, like dashboards and segments, into your Google Analytics accounts. When you share a dashboard using the share > share in solutions gallery, only the dashboard’s configuration is shared. Your personal information and Google Analytics data stay private in your account. Learn more about the solutions gallery. Send dashboards via email If you need to distribute a snapshot of your dashboard data to people who might not have access to your Google Analytics account, the share > email option is for you. You can send them a customised email with an attached PDF file showing your dashboard to any valid email account. Scheduling dashboard emails Dashboard emails can be sent as “one-offs”, or you can schedule them on a recurring basis. Use the frequency controls to select the timing of the email. By default, recurring emails will be sent for 6 months. The advanced options let you adjust this from 1 month to 1 year. After this period expires, you’ll need to set up the recurring email schedule again. Tip: If there are any previously scheduled emails, you’ll see a link allowing you to add to an existing email. This lets you send out multiple dashboards or reports using the same distribution and timing. Manage all your scheduled emails by navigating to admin > views > select your view > personal tools & assets > scheduled emails. Export dashboards to PDF The export > PDF option saves a copy of your current dashboard exactly as it appears on screen to a PDF file. You can then embed or distribute this exported view in other documents as needed. Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up-to-date with Google Analytics.   Further reading: Vital Google Analytics custom reports and dashboards for ecommerce Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels Tips to optimise your ecommerce landing pages

2016-10-04

Best small business tools

Every business has their own strategies and tools to achieve goals and performance. There are millions of new apps and software being built from accounting software to simple infographic tools. We did a bit of digging and found some small business tools, we think are great and you may like as well! Intercom Intercom is a customer messaging platform, which allows companies to communicate with their clients in a way that’s ‘simple, personal, and fun for everyone’. They have a few internal tools to make communication easier, including a live chat, marketing automation, and customer support. These allow you to chat with visitors while they’re on your website so you can convert them right away, you can onboard and retain customers through emails, push and in-app messages, and customers can ask for help in your app by email or social. So Intercom has done wonders for communications! We investigated more, and they’ve done a little more... They offer books that help companies communicate better and luckily for you, you can check them out here! At Littledata, we’ve integrated Intercom into our web app to allow clients to contact us directly in their own time, and for us to send important updates. Read more about it in our blog post: New In Littledata! Xero Xero is a ‘beautiful accounting software’ that gives you a real-time view of your cashflow. It’s set up in the cloud, so you’re able to login anytime, anywhere and from any device. It’s the best way to get paid faster; you can send invoices directly to your customers online, and get updates when they’re opened. As Xero says, “it’s a small business accounting software that’s simple, smart and occasionally magical”. Here’s a wonderful and insightful video of how it works: To give you real customer feedback, Xero has a few stories that give you insights into why small business have used them. Think it’s a branding source for Xero? Nope. They’ve taken the soul of these companies and created videos to showcase thriving businesses. Some testimonials include getting up to speed on financials with no number-crunching, bringing tech and craft together, efficiency and transparency, and more. Trello Trello is an ‘easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage’ projects and organise anything. It’s used by many companies from all over the world for many different reasons. Not only can you visualise a whole company, but you can personalise the boards to your company branding, making it your own. Through Trello boards, you can keep track of clients, assign tasks to individuals, move projects along a path, customise your approach, and more. It’s the perfect small business tool to help you visualise your progress. At Littledata, we’ve created numerous boards based on different aspects of our business from development to marketing, which allows us to work better as a team. Skype Skype is a communication application that ‘keeps the world talking, for free’. It’s a perfect small business tool to not only keep in contact internationally, but you can create group calls among team members with both internally and to remote teams. Over the past few years, Skype has evolved bringing more efficient communication to companies and individuals. You’re not only able to call Skype to Skype, but you can have group calls, call phones anywhere in the world, and trust us, at a much lower rate, and you can screen share, which simplifies training or calls. At Littledata, we currently use Skype to communicate within our London office when working remotely and to share documents, and we use it to keep up to date with our Romanian office. Through weekly meetings and constant updates, we’re able to know how to efficiently help one another and work as a team, regardless of the time zone. Meetup ‘Meetups are neighbours getting together to learn something, do something, share something...;’. It’s the world’s largest network of local groups, making it easier for anyone to organise groups based on common interests. It’s a perfect small business tool, helping people around the world organise themselves to make a difference. As a business you can create groups to showcase your product, giving potential clients a more personal contact, while taking advantage of Meetup’s vast audience. Not only can you use it for business purposes, but there are numerous creative groups from badminton, marketing analytics to cultural groups. Canva Canva empowers the world through design by giving individuals an easy-to-use program for creating beautiful designs and documents. Whether you’re using one of their professional layouts or creating one yourself, you’ll always be showing off stunning graphics, that are simply created through their drag-and-drop feature. You’re not only able to create flyers and banners, but magazine covers, CVs, business cards, and even social media graphics. Canva provides perfect sizing to make all of your designs perfect for any online profile. Not only do they give you different options, but you can add all those cool extras, such as fonts, shapes, and filters. Fireshot You can use the business tool, Fireshot to take screenshots with a few clicks. It gives you different options, including selections, entire web pages, and the visible part of a website. This tool saves time, and allows you to customise by performing quick edits, add text annotation, choose the format of the file, and there are different options to keeping the file. At Littledata, we use this strategy to take screenshots of our web app, which helps us in writing our blog posts to show our clients, and people needing Google Analytics information. It basically helps us promote ourselves! Dropbox Dropbox gives people a trustworthy and secure approach to managing their files. It ‘simplifies the way you create, share, and collaborate’. With a simple download, businesses can have access to all company files from anywhere, bringing teams together constantly. This is a great tool for small businesses as it’s inexpensive, it works with all email providers, and you have an unlimited amount of space. Zoho CRM Zoho CRM ‘empowers the teams and businesses that use it’. It offers insights into running your business, an easy-to-use program, and a solution to processes. It combines good practices, smart choices, and ideal situations into a customised business tool. This business tool is great for small businesses who want to keep track of their sales and manage their client relationships. It allows for custom layouts that make it easy to tailor different approaches to getting more leads or accounts. For the amount of flexibility, Zoho CRM is inexpensive and their customer support is great in helping determine the perfect layout for your business needs. AnswerThePublic AnswerThePublic captures individual’s questions and gives you an aggregated view into motivations and emotions. They basically developed a mind-reading platform that gives topics for content, allowing for new conversations and direct answers to the public’s questions! Here’s a fun video on how this business tool works: The Seeker Littledata Our web app gives you simple and actionable insights into your website’s performance by wading through hundreds of Google Analytics metrics and trends. Our goal is to give you summarised reports that matter based on your goals and priorities. You can find out more about specifics in our blog post: A guide to reporting in Littledata’s web app. We also offer some great freebies! These include a free 30-day pro trial or an audit. With the trial, you get access to pro reporting, where you can see intricate details of significant analytics. With the audit, you get a list of recommendations for how to improve your tracking, which we can set up for you and provide further analytics support. Want more info? Contact one of our wonderful experts! We’re a business tool that allows you to get more from your Google Analytics. Grasping the data can be overwhelming so we’d like to remove that stress and help you look at trends that matter. Our web app does the hard work for you by finding important data, so you just need to look at the app or wait for important alerts that you receive by email! Have any other great business tools? Why not let us know in the comments below! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up to date with Google Analytics. Further reading: Inspirational stories of data A guide to reporting in Littledata's web app Image credit: Image courtesy Intercom, Xero, Trello, Skype, Meetup, Canva, Fireshot, Zoho CRM, AnswerThePublic

2016-09-28

Why your business shouldn't go freemium

I took part in an interesting discussion about when the popular ‘freemium’ model for web apps is viable. Startup dogma says that scalable software/web products must be (at least partly) free, so it's worth reiterating the downsides of this approach. Here’s how I see the economic realities: 1. Free brings you the wrong sort of users UK supermarkets are currently locked in a price war to try to grab market share, so let’s imagine Tesco were crazy and desperate enough to offer free cases of beer to all shoppers. Do you think their overall sales would suddenly rise that day? Or would freeloaders come from around town to collect free beer… and then buy their groceries from Asda or Sainsbury’s, as usual? Giving away free products, including free web apps, discourages users from thinking about whether they value the product – and would ever pay for it. Often free attracts the kind of time-rich, cash-poor user who will go to extreme lengths to avoid paying – so frustrating the ‘pay for extra convenience’ premium package of many freemium models. Conversely, offering a free trial and taking payment options up front confirms that customers can and will be able to pay. GoToMeeting’s CFO found their conversion rate of ACTIVE trial users to paying customers was 45% when credit card details were taken up front – as opposed to 3% when they were not. 2. Low payment conversion rates need massive active user bases Most freemium products report less than 5% of active users paying for the service, with the conversion rate generally closer to 1% if you look at all users (including inactive). So with a standard consumer subscription fee of $20/month you would have an Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of $20 x 12 x 1% = $2.40. To get to a respectable turnover of $10m per year, (I'd suggest the minimum aim for an Angel or seed funded startup) you would need over 4m users. And to get to VC-exit/IPO scale you would need 50m users. That is achievable for mass-adoption products like Evernote and Dropbox but really isn’t if you’re in a niche market like schools. There are less than 4m teachers in the whole of the USA, and expecting to get more than 10% of them adopting your product is cuckoo-land talk. For example, Busuu (a language learning marketplace) boasted 45m million users last year but only $12m in revenue – under 30 cents per user. Busuu is probably just safe with a huge market, but for an app with impressive global traction that is a very small reward: Facebook makes $6 per user per year just from advertising. 3. Low customer lifetime values limit your marketing options If your lifetime value per user is $3 - since the average subscription length is likely to be around a year – there are very few marketing options beyond SEO or word-of-mouth. You can’t justify affiliate deals, pay-per-click or display advertising if you can’t afford to buy customers. e.g. If you buy a keyword for even $0.30 you would need a bullish 10% signup rate even to break even on the marketing spend. Freemium businesses have genuinely got to sell themselves, and so must focus on the product first. The exact opposite was ScreenSelect (which merged into LoveFilm and then Amazon film rental) – customer growth could be bought with the predictable recurring revenue. All LoveFilm did, was promise a marketing agency the first few months of a customer’s subscription payments, and the agency worked out which tactics would be profitable at that level. See William Reeve’s great explanation of the economics. But that only worked when the customer lifetime value was $100 or more. 4. Freemium generates huge buzz but little sustainable profit A big trap in startup business model innovation is following pundits saying ‘freemium is really working for X company’ when ‘working for’ means they are getting loads of users and publicity. In itself publicity is a good thing – ‘product as the message’ – but it will only translate into profit if there is a massive market to capture. Here's the dirty secret: many venture-capital funded businesses are more focused on user growth than revenue because hyper-growth of users increases their valuation faster than moderate revenue growth. So don’t copy them if you plan to grow your company without massive VC funding! How many truly big businesses make the majority of their revenue from premium subscriptions backed by free software? From an article in 2011 here is a decent list who are still going strong: LogMeIn (switched to free trial) Dropbox Skype Spiceworks Lookout Eventbrite Zendesk Evernote SurveyMonkey GitHub What they have in common is mass-market, simple tools with massive international business audiences, and masses of venture funding behind them. But there are plenty of other former tech darlings who flamed out before making the critical mass of users – e.g. Helpstream in 2010. Conclusion: freemium is not for bootstrapped companies I’m not saying freemium can’t work for you, but be very wary of following the freemium orthodoxy unless you have: A potential user base of more than 10m (and preferably 100m users) A product so simple it doesn’t need training or support to get set up Substantial funding – it takes a long time to build enough users to generate cost-covering income For many businesses, the fabled networked effects of all those free users will be out-weighted by the opportunity cost of not charging some of them from the start. To profitability and beyond! Have any questions? Comment below or get in touch! (Chart: How Much Is the Average Facebook User Worth? | Statista)   Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-09-27

Unique events metric update in Google Analytics

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

2016-09-26

How to set up internal searches in Google Analytics

Learn how to set up site search (internal search) with and without query parameters and see how users search your site. Find what your customers are researching for on your website and improve your website content. The site search reports provide data on the type of content people are looking for on your site. Having site search data is like reading the minds of a subset of your audience. You can easily see what they’re looking for, the words and terminology they are using and how quickly they found what they were looking for (or if they did at all). Site search must be set up for each reporting view in which you want to see user search activity. To set up site search for a view: sign into your analytics account, navigate to a view in which you want to set up site search then click view settings and under site search settings, set site search tracking ON. In the query parameter field, enter the word or words that designate an internal query parameter, such as "term,search,query". Sometimes the word is just a letter, such as "s" or "q". Enter up to five parameters, separated by commas. The simplest way to know what your query parameter is is to go to your site and perform a search for something, anything! On the following page, take a look at the URL – do you see your keyword? If your keyword appears at the end of a URL following a question mark, like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/?s=your+keyword, this means that your website is using query parameters. If your keyword appears in the middle of the URL, with no query parameters, like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/search/your-keyword/ then this means you need to use the Page Paths. How to identify search query parameters for Site Search with Queries If you’ve identified that your search keywords show up in the query parameter portion of the site, you’re in luck! This is the easiest way to set up Site Search. When you're searching on your website, you might see the URL like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/?s=your+keyword, or in this example blog.littledata.io?s=internal+search. The query parameter is the bit between ? and =, which is 's' in this example. So you must use the query parameter ‘s’ when setting up the internal search in Google Analytics settings. Now to set this up in Google Analytics, follow these steps: Select whether or not you want analytics to strip the query parameter from your URL. This only strips the parameters you've provided, not any other parameters in the same URL. Select whether or not you use categories, such as drop-down menus to refine a site search. If you select 'no', you are finished. Click save changes. If you select 'yes': In the category parameter field, enter the letters that designate an internal query category such as 'cat, qc,'. Select whether or not you want analytics to strip the category parameters from your URL. Note that this only strips the parameters you provided, not any other parameters in the same URL. This has the same functionality as excluding the URL query parameters in your main view: if you strip the category parameters from your site search view, you don't have to exclude them again from your main view. Click apply How to set search terms for Page Path Search Terms (No Queries) Another common behaviour of site search is to have the terms appear within the page path instead of a query. Like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/search/your-keyword/ To track this type of site search, an advanced filter should be used for views that will be using these reports. First, navigate to filters > new filter under your view. (Note: when adding a filter, you must have EDIT rights on the property level!) After choosing the filter name, select ‘custom’ and ‘advanced’ in the filter’s settings. Choose ‘request URI’ for field A since we are getting the information from the URI, or page path. Your site’s page path goes in the text box, so for this example, it would look like this: search/(.*). When we do this, we are telling Google Analytics to look at this page path and extract the characters from within the parentheses. The dot and asterisk are regular expressions representing any character and any number of characters - so we are storing anything after the slash. Field B will be blank since we are only concerned with extracting from the page path and nowhere else. The next field, ‘output yo’, is the one we are interested in. Now that we have stored the keyword from the URI, we need to output it to the correct dimension. In the drop-down menu, select ‘search term’ and type ‘$A1’ into the input box. This tells Google Analytics to grab the user-defined value from field A and output it as a search term. For the checkbox options below, only ‘field A required’ and ‘override output field’ need to be selected. See site search data To see the site search reports: sign into your analytics account, navigate to your desired account, property, and view, then select the reporting tab and under behaviour go to site search. Your report must look like this: Take into consideration that the report will be populated with data from the moment you activate the internal search or add the filter. It is not retroactive and may need 24h to you see the queries in your report. If you'd like to know more about how to set up internal searches in Google Analytics, get in touch with one of our experts! Further reading: Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels 9 tips for marketers using Google Analytics Image credit: Image courtesy of hub.3dissue.net

2016-09-22

An (updated) guide to reporting in Littledata's web app

Littledata’s web app gives you simple and actionable insights into your website's performance. Our app scours through hundreds of Google Analytics metrics and trends, in order to give you summarised reports, alerts on significant changes, custom reports and benchmarks against competitor sites.       This guide will give you the ins-and-outs of how we generate those important reports that help you make decisions in driving your business. Here’s a glimpse of what’s below: Free core reporting for unlimited users How to authorise access to your Google Analytics data Picking the right Google Analytics view for reporting Our range of reporting features, including custom reports and industry benchmarks How to check significant changes and page trends Long-term tracking and reporting You’ve signed up - what are the benefits? So you’ve now signed up and you’re ready to get started… but what are the benefits of signing up? Well… You’re getting automated reporting, meaning our web app looks through all of your Google Analytics reports to find significant changes. There are over 100 of them, so it will save you a lot of time not having to look through these manually. We split these findings across 5 different sections so you know quickly what you can find under each. We help you keep your data clean by looking for spam referrals. This has been a common problem for a while and a fix can be complex to set up. So we’ve created a feature that does it automatically for you (or you just need to approve it when you see it). If you get new spam referrals, we’ll spot these and let you know again. We’re also benchmarking your site against other websites, so you know where you have a competitive advantage and where you don’t. On top of all these goodies, there’s no installation needed so you get access to our web app right away! We recently updated a few important aspects of our app and you can read all about them in our blog post: New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more. Accessing 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 you with summary reports. During the signup, you would have seen an authorisation window, asking for permission to view your Google Analytics data. This means you granted us READ access. Be assured, that we will not be able to change any data or settings in your Google Analytics. Your data is viewed only by the algorithms in the web app. You pick which Google Analytics view to report on Once you’ve authorised the access, you will select the Google Analytics view that you want to set up reporting for. Some companies will have multiple views set up for a particular website. They might have subtly different data – for example, one excludes traffic from company offices or focuses on the blog traffic only – so pick the most appropriate one. If you’ve made a mistake in choosing your view or want to set up another one, don’t worry, you can always do it by clicking on the existing view in the top-right corner and selecting the option ‘set up another site’ from the drop-down menu! During the initial signup, we ask for an email where you want to get your alerts. This is because a lot of people don’t necessarily use the same email address to access Google Analytics and check their emails. Don’t worry… we’re not going to spam you, we just want to make sure you don’t miss any of your reports! When you get to the reports list, you might see something like this: Now, don’t be sad if you’re not seeing anything quite yet - we’re still checking and will only let you know when there’s something interesting to check. Just be sure to check back or wait for an email alert from your talented expert! Google Analytics Audit The first thing that we are going to analyse is your setup, in order to see what is working on your website and what is not working properly. There are more than 10 Google Analytics checks that we are verifying. The audit is almost instant and it will give you an idea about what is happening throughout your website. For each correct check, there will be provided a brief description and the dates when it was verified, whereas for the wrong checks there will be a guide on how to fix that issue and also the dates when it was found as faulty setup. Some of the checks include aspects about demographics tracking, excluding spammers, checkout steps, visitors' anonymity, campaign tagging on social and email, exclusion of company traffic, if conversion goals are set up and many other. If you ever have doubts regarding what to do or where to check, you can book a free 30 minutes consultation with our experts. They will offer guidance to set up your account in order to have accurate reporting. Dashboard If you are tired of getting complicated graphs and endless tables, our dashboard will be exactly what you need. This feature will present a clear picture of your online business performance through graphs and stats reporting the most important metrics for your website. Don't forget to set the metrics that best apply to your business from the settings page (see below more details). One of the advantages of the smart dashboard is the ability to compare the current day/week/month with a previous date range. This feature will allow you to contrast the metrics that matter to you in order to target adds or marketing campaigns in periods that generate profit for you. Custom reports Our consultants can create for you easy-to-understand custom reports that reflect the traffic or transactions from your website. The numbers are transformed into tables, pie-charts and graphs that can be interpreted by anyone in your team.   We created some general custom reports - conversion rate by channel or by device, changes in landing page value, product category revenue and purchases by blog post. You can choose one of those custom reports or have us create something entirely new for you. Either way, we review every new custom report by hand to ensure proper setup and accurate data. Free users get one basic custom report with setup by our team of experts. Pro users can take advantage of all custom report templates and even work with our consultants to create something new. Accuracy guaranteed – link to prices. Benchmarks Here, you’ll find the performance of your web analytics compared with aggregated data from other companies. You will be able to compare your web performance, conversion rate, bounce rates and more to a benchmark, which is created by analysing more than 3000 other websites. The data is gathered anonymously from Google Analytics to give you insight into how your digital product or online marketing is performing. For example, you can find out how you compare (whether above or below median) to other websites and adjust your campaigns in order to generate growth. Alerts    This report shows you trends in your data and includes in-app alerts. It will highlight significant changes, giving you details into what they mean and what to investigate. You can always customise the notifications that we will send via email from the settings section. Get the most out of your reporting - adjust your settings We’ve got a few important sections in your settings that we’d like to highlight, to make sure your reporting runs smoothly! First, adjust your revenue settings based on your website’s income generation. This will allow you to receive accurate alerts about how changes in your traffic affected your income. This will be done automatically if you have an enhanced ecommerce setup in your Google Analytics account. Second, you have your metrics and your segments, where you can select which reports you want to see based on the standard, predefined metrics or segments in Google Analytics. This will help you define your goals and see the relevant reports necessary to increase performance. Lastly, you notifications settings, where you can set up  email alert frequency or recipients. In this way to can always be informed and also be able to share with your team the important alerts regarding changes in your website. You always have the option of adjusting this at any time. But, we recommend you get this setup, as this will allow you to get the most relevant reports for your company. You can find this section by pressing the settings icon in the top-right corner of your screen, and then clicking report preferences. Every day we look for significant changes and trending pages There are over 100 Google Analytics reports and our clever algorithm scans through all of them, finding the most interesting changes to highlight. We recently improved that algorithm, and luckily for you, you can read all about how we made the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see. It’s been live since August, giving you fewer distractions and more significant alerts tailored to your company’s goals. Every morning (around 4am local time) our app fetches your traffic data from the previous period – broken down into relevant segments, like mobile traffic from organic search – and compares it against a pattern from the previous day, week, or month depending on the type of report. 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 a specific value was out of line with the recent pattern. We are selective about the reports you see in the interface so we’ve set up the algorithm to find changes in trends in which we are 95% sure of the importance of the change. But to adjust which changes you actually get alerted to, you can change the significance to be much more limiting, like 98% or 99%, so that you get email alerts only in those cases We also use smiley faces to help you see quickly which changes are good or bad. If you’re particularly interested in “bad” things happening in your traffic to address potential issues, then you should look out for red sad faces to help you pinpoint these reports on the list. 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. An example change might be that 'the bounce rate from natural search traffic is down by 8% yesterday’ or 'the worst performing mobile device resulted in 59 fewer engaged visits'. If you usually get a consistent bounce rate for natural / organic search traffic, and one day that changes, then you should investigate why. Need to change your email settings? You can always adjust the frequency or add more colleagues so they can stay on top of the changes. If the reports you get are not the ones you need, based on your goals, remember you can always adjust your settings! Every Sunday or first of the month, we look for changes Every week (Sunday) or month (first of the month) we look for long-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 then day-by-day. Already signed up? Login and check the setup of your reports. Need help with the process or have any questions? We’re always available to help, whether you need help with existing reports, need help finding the best reports for your company, are interested in the reports we’re currently working on and/or want us to provide feedback. Feel free to contact one of our experts or ask them in the web app. We hope you enjoy the web app and all of the wonderful reports and insights included! Happy analysing! This blog post was last updated in June 2017.  Further reading: New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more Making the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see 9 tips for marketers using Google Analytics

2016-09-15

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