How to use Analytics for mobile apps: Google Analytics SDK vs Firebase

This is the third article in the Q&A series. I will be answering some of the most-asked questions about Google Analytics and how it works. If you’ve missed the previous articles, you can access Part 2 (What is the bounce rate in Google Analytics) and see what questions we answered there.   In this article, I will give you an answer to the following questions: How Google Analytics works for mobile apps? What are the differences between Firebase Analytics and Google Analytics? How Google Analytics works for mobile apps? Instead of using JavaScript, for mobile apps, you will be using an SDK. That is a Software Development Kit and it’s what collects the data from your mobile application. As most smartphones are either Android and iOS based, you will have different SDK’s based on the operating system. The SDK works similarly as the JavaScript and collects data like the number of users and sessions, the session duration, the operating system, the device model and the location. All of that is packed in hits and sent to your Google Analytics account. Here is an overview from The Google Analytics Help Center. The main difference is that the data is not sent right away. Because a mobile device might not have a connection to the internet at some points in time, the data is stored on the device and is sent when it is eventually connected. The process is called dispatching and it’s done at different time intervals on Android and on iOS. On Android, the hits are dispatched every 30 minutes and on iOS, every 2 minutes. Those numbers can be customised though. [subscribe heading="Need help with Google Analytics?" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/contact-us" button_text="SCHEDULE A DEMO"] Keep in mind that you can customise the code so that you can track different data in case you feel the base code is not sufficient for you. What are the differences between Firebase Analytics and Google Analytics? Firebase Analytics (FA) is another way to collect the event data. While Google Analytics is a general-purpose (and more web oriented) analytics tool, Firebase was built keeping mobile in mind. There are some things that were added in in the later and also things that are missing from GA. Here are some noteworthy points when considering Firebase Analytics: Real-time view is missing for Firebase Analytics (we mainly use this when testing the app for new events). Events are available after 4 to 6 hours in Firebase Analytics. The Behavior Flow is missing from Firebase Analytics (since there are no screen views logged). The Audiences feature is a big advantage that FA has. If you couple this with the Notifications it will allow you to engage with a specific group of users. If users experience a crash, then an audience group will be created automatically when using the Firebase Crash Reporting feature. Funnel analysis based on custom events is easier in FA. However, if you use Littledata, then this problem can be solved for Google Analytics with the custom reports that we can build. Some events are logged automatically in Firebase Analytics (for example the sessions based on the Activity life-cycle). Firebase has a relatively low methods footprint compared to the methods count that Google Analytics uses - making it less processor and network intensive. As a final point there are benefits for using both platforms to track your Analytics, but if you do focus your business on mobile applications, keep in mind that Firebase Analytics was created for mobile apps. Happy Reporting. Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2017-04-11

Important update to Remarketing with Google Analytics

If you got this email from Google recently, or seen the blue notification bar at the top of Google Analytics, here's what is changing and how it affects your website. The big problem in modern online marketing is that most users have multiple devices, and the device they interact with the advert on is not the same as the one they convert on: [Google’s] research shows that six in ten internet users start shopping on one device but continue or finish on a different one. Facebook has been helping advertisers track conversion across devices for a few years  - because most Facebook ads are served on their mobile app, when most conversion happens on larger screens. So Google has been forced to play catch-up. Here’s the message from the Google Analytics header: Starting May 15, 2017, all properties using Remarketing with Google Analytics will be enhanced to take advantage of new cross-device functionality. This is an important update to your remarketing settings, which may relate to your privacy policy. The change was announced last September but has only just rolled out. So you can remarket to users on a different device to the one on which they visited your site when: You build a retargeting audience in Google Analytics You have opted in to remarketing tracking in Google Analytics Users are logged into Google on more than one device Users have allowed Google to link their web and app browsing history with their Google account Users have allowed Google account to personalise ads they see across the web This may seem like a hard-to-reach audience, but Google has two secret weapons: Gmail (used by over 1 billion people and 75% of those on mobile) and Chrome (now the default web browser for desktop, and growing in mobile). So there are many cases where Google knows which devices are linked to a user. What is not changing is how Google counts users in Google Analytics. Unless you are tracking registered users, a ‘user’ in Google Analytics will still refer to one device (tablet, mobile or laptop / desktop computer).   Could Google use their account information to make Google Analytics cross-device user tracking better? Yes, they could; but Google has always been careful to keep their own data about users (the actions users take on Google.com) separate from the data individual websites capture in Google Analytics (the actions users take on mywebsite.com). The former is owned by Google, and protected by a privacy agreement that exists between Google and the user, and the latter is owned by the website adding the tracking code but stored and processed by Google Analytics. Blurring those two would create a legal minefield for Google, which is why they stress the word ‘temporary’ in their explanation of cross-device audiences: In order to support this feature, Google Analytics will collect these users’ Google-authenticated identifiers, which are Google’s personal data, and temporarily join them to your Google Analytics data in order to populate your audiences.   How can I make use of the new cross-device retargeting? The first step is to create a remarketing audience from a segment of your website visitors that are already engaged. This could be users who have viewed a product, users who have viewed the pricing page or users who have viewed more than a certain number of pages. For more help on setting up the right goals to power the remarketing audience, please contact us.

2017-04-10

How does page load speed affect bounce rate?

I’ve read many articles stating a link between faster page loading and better user engagement, but with limited evidence. So I looked at hard data from 1,840 websites and found that there’s really no correlation between page load speed and bounce rate in Google Analytics. The oft quoted statistic on page load speed is from Amazon, where each 100ms of extra loading delay supposed to cost Amazon $160m. Except that the research is from 2006, when Amazon’s pages were very static, and users had different expectations from pages – plus the conclusions may not apply to different kinds of sites. More recently in 2013, Intuit presented results at the Velocity conference of how reducing page load speed from 15 seconds to 2 seconds had increased customer conversion by: +3% conversions for every second reduced from 15 seconds to 7 seconds +2% conversions for every second reduced from seconds 7 to 5 +1% conversions for every second reduced from seconds 4 to 2 So reducing load speed from 15 seconds to 7 seconds was worth an extra 24% conversion, but only another 8% to bring 7 seconds down to 2 seconds. Does page speed affect bounce rate? We collected data from 1,840 Google Analytics web properties, where both the full page load time (the delay between the first request and all the items on the page are loaded) and the bounce rate were within normal range. We then applied a Spearman’s Rank Correlation test to see if being a higher ranked site for speed (lower page load time) made a site more likely to be a higher ranked site for bounce rate (lower bounce rate). What we found is almost no correlation (0.18) between page load speed and bounce rate. This same result was found if we looked at the correlation (0.22) between bounce rate and the delay before page content starts appearing (time to DOM ready) So what explains the lack of a link? I have three theories 1. Users care more about content than speed Many of the smaller websites we sampled for this research operate in niche industries or locations, where they may be the only source of information on a given topic. As a user, if I already know the target site is my best source for a topic, then I’ll be very patient while the content loads. One situation where users are not patient is when arriving from Google Search, and they know they can go and find a similar source of information in two clicks (one back to Google, and then out to another site). So we see a very high correlation between bounce rate and the volume of traffic from Google Search. This also means that what should concern you is speed relative to your search competitors, so you could be benchmarking your site speed against a group of similar websites, to measure whether you are above or below average. [subscribe]   2. Bounce rate is most affected by first impressions As a user landing on your site I am going to make some critical decisions within the first 3 seconds: would I trust this site, is this the product or content I was expecting, and is it going to be easy to find what I need. If your page can address these questions quickly – by good design and fast loading of the title, main image etc – then you buy some more time before my attention wanders to the other content. In 2009, Google tried an experiment to show 30 search results to users instead of 10, but found the users clicking on the results dropped by 20%. They attributed this to the half a second extra it took to load the pages. But the precise issue was likely that it took half a second to load the first search result. Since users of Google mainly click on the first 3 results, the important metric is how long it took to load those – not the full page load.   3. Full page load speed is increasingly hard to measure Many websites already use lazy loading of images and other non-blocking loading techniques to make sure the bare bones of a page is fast to load, especially on a mobile device, before the chunkier content (like images and videos) are loaded. This means the time when a page is ready for the user to interact is not a hard line. SpeedCurve, a tool focussed entirely on web page speed performance, has a more accurate way of tracking when the page is ‘visually complete’ based on actual filmstrips on the page loading. But in their demo of The Guardian page speed, the page is not visually complete until a video advert has rendered in the bottom right of the screen – and personally I’d be happy to use the page before then. What you can do with Google Analytics is send custom timing events, maybe after the key product image on a page has loaded, so you can measure speed as relevant to your own site.   But doesn’t speed still affect my Google rankings? Yes, slightly. But when Google incorporated speed as a ranking signal in 2010, their head of SEO explained it was likely to penalise only 1% of websites which were really slow. And my guess is in 7 years Google has increase the sophistication with which it measures ‘speed’. So overall you shouldn’t worry about page load times on their own. A big increase may still signal a problem, but you should be focussing on conversion rates or page engagement as a safer metric. If you do want to measure speed, try to define a custom speed measurement for the content of your site – and Littledata’s analytics experts can work with you to set that custom reporting up.

2017-04-07

What is the bounce rate in Google Analytics?

The bounce rate is the number of web sessions where the user left your site after viewing just one page. It is a key measure for landing page engagement. This is the second article in the Q&A series. As I previous mentioned, I am going to continue answering some of the most-asked questions about Google Analytics and how it works. If you want to get an idea of how this works, you can visit PART 1(Pros and cons of using Google Analytics) of the series and see what questions we answered there. Here are the questions we will be tackling in this second article of the series: 1) What is the bounce rate in Google Analytics? 2) How is the Bounce rate calculated? 3) What is an ideal bounce rate? What is the bounce rate in Google Analytics? The definition of the Bounce Rate as shown in the Google Analytics Help Centre is “the percentage of single-page sessions. Those are sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with any other page”. Why is this metric important? A high bounce rate shows you may have some problems on your website. Remember that the bounce rate is correlated to the content of your website and should be considered in the context of the purpose of the website. If you have a content website, a services website or an ecommerce website you need to look at the bounce rate in the big picture and analyse it using Advanced Segments to look at a specific category of pages, and see how they’re performing vs other sections. Some reasons for a high bounce rate are: Single page website: where the user never leaves the first page through their whole visit. A high bounce rate, in this case, is actually irrelevant: you should focus on how many visitors. In order to find out how people interact with your website, you can track Custom Events on the page. To get an accurate bounce rate in this case you need to set up the events as "interaction hits". Incorrect implementation: for a multiple page website, in order to track all the pages, you need to add a specific tracking code on all of the pages for a correct read of the data. In case the bounce rate is high, that might show that the tracking code is not correctly applied to all pages of the website. User Behaviour: the people that arrived on your site and left without doing anything else, either because they found the information that they wanted on that page and there was no need to access other pages or they simply entered by accident and didn’t find what they needed. Also if a user has a page bookmarked, enters the page and then leaves, that’s also counted as a bounce. Site design: when the implementation is done properly then you really might have a problem with the way the content is displayed. In this case consider looking at the landing pages, as they might not do justice to the content. Also, the keywords or ads that you use, might not reflect the content of your website and because of that, you need to optimise either the content or the keywords and ads. How is the Bounce rate calculated? In Google Analytics, there are two indicators for the Bounce Rate. There is the Bounce Rate of a Web Page and then there is the Bounce Rate of a Website. The Bounce Rate of a Website is the total number of bounces across all of the pages on the website over the total number of entrances across all the pages on the website (both over the same determined period of time). This is represented in Google Analytics as a percentage shown in the table of all the pages displayed. The Bounce Rate of a Web Page is the total number of bounces on a page over the total number of entrances on the page (Both over the same determined period of time). The image above shows the equation for calculating it. This is also represented as a percentage but it is shown in the table for each page separately. Here is an article from OptimizeSMART in which they show us how to improve our bounce rate. [subscribe] 3) What is an ideal bounce rate? As I previously explained, the bounce rate should be as low as possible. In one of his articles, Avinash Kaushik who is a guru of Analytics tells us what the ideal bounce rate should be: “As a benchmark from my own personal experience over the years, it is hard to get a bounce rate under 20%. Anything over 35% is a cause for concern and anything above 50% is worrying.” To recap, in this article we managed to see what the Bounce Rate is, how it’s calculated and what is the ideal bounce rate we should strive for with our website. Make sure to check part 3 out, in which we will answer more questions about Google Analytics. Happy Reporting. Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2017-04-04

Pros and cons of Google Analytics for ecommerce merchants

Particularly for newer users, Google Analytics is a complex platform. Because of this, Google Analytics users often have questions that either Aren't readily available in online content Poorly answered or over-complicated by resources and "data analytics experts" or Google Analytics consultants that claim to know the answers Today, we'll discuss: When ecommerce merchants should use Google Analytics The pros and cons of using Google Analytics [tip]Get free Google Analytics resources for Shopify with our GA content bundle[/tip] Why should I use Google Analytics? Have you ever questioned how websites know your location and redirect you to the page of that specific location? Or have you ever seen those ads that constantly appear after you visit a website, even for just a few seconds? That’s because of cookies, a set of parameters that get collected and interpreted. Cookies are a part of Google Analytics, which is Google's data measurement tool that helps online store owners, marketing managers and ecommerce managers understand who you should reach and how your website performs. "Website performance" is generally measured by Who is visiting your website How a user interacts with your website The set of decisions they take following those interactions Dynamic ecommerce data metrics like customer lifetime value, average order value, etc. Ultimately, ecommerce merchants want to use Google Analytics in order to increase the marketing and sales efforts of the platforms being used, whether that's Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, or another platform. AnalyticsNinja takes an even deeper dive into Google Analytics and why it's an essential tool for your commerce business. [subscribe heading="Try Littledata free for 30 days" background_color="green" button_text="Start my free trial" button_link="https://www.littledata.io/app/get-free-trial"] Pros and cons of using Google Analytics Google Analytics is one of the most well-renowned ecommerce tracking tools. While there are certainly many pros (as it's considered an essential tool for marketers and store managers), there are also some drawbacks: Pros of Google Analytics It’s free of charge, so anyone can use it. You can use it on different digital environments such as websites, mobile applications, kiosks, or anything with an internet connection. There's a Google Analytics Academy, where you can get in-depth information on the platform. You can connect your Google Analytics account with your Google Ads account. You can collect data from different platforms and sources like commerce connections, industry benchmarks and more. You can create custom goals and track your ecommerce platform. You can create custom reports based on your needs. This way you can track specific information depending on your industry. It's simple enough to self-navigate, though some ecommerce managers seek help from a Google Analytics consultant. Cons of Google Analytics To understand the intricacies of Google Analytics, you need to "learn the language". Unfortunately, the right resources are often tough to find online, and instructions may be confusing, time-consuming or overwhelming to those without an intermediate analytics background. The overall feel of the platform may be overwhelming. There are many dashboards, settings, user views and metrics. The free version of Google Analytics suits even a rookie users almost anyone, but if your web traffic is high and you'd like to upgrade to the premium version, there's a hefty price point of $150,000. [tip]Get free Google Analytics resources for Shopify with our GA content bundle[/tip] If you'd like more information or have any questions about our Google Analytics connections for ecommerce, reach out to our team of Google Analytics experts. Next, check out part 2: What is the bounce rate in Google Analytics?

2017-03-22

How to improve your landing pages

With the How to improve your landing pages using Google Analytics blog post, I wanted to help answer the question, why users are clicking a call-to-action but are not converting? Now I will give you some basic tips on how to improve your landing pages, overall. Do what you say and say what you do There is nothing more frustrating for a client than to hope for honey and receive salt. Donʼt promise one thing and then deliver something else .. or even worse nothing at all (a 404 page). For example, if you are giving away an ebook, and your CTA says “Get your free ebook”, donʼt provide a PayPal form on the next screen asking for $2.95 for the product you said would be free, or merely say “thanks for registering” without a link to the product you are offering. Yes, you will have gained a lead, but the customer is now worthless and will tell others about your unfair tactics. In order to get the answer to "Why don't they convert" check this checklist: Do you respect the above? If not this is your biggest business issue. Do you track how many clicks your call-to-action have? If not, see the previous blog post about tracking CTAs What is your conversion rate? Depending on your business model, a conversion rate of 5% to 20% is be normal. (Calculate users that finished the call-to-action divided by users that clicked the call-to-action button.) With these answers, you can figure out what your problem is. This will either be that the users are not clicking or the users are not converting. If the users are not converting you can: A/B test the layout of next page after they click the call-to-action button A/B test the text of the next page after they click the call-to-action button Provide online support on that page offering customers the option to ask direct questions Create a survey for the segment of users that clicked the call-to-action but didn't convert to find out why they didn't Have any questions? 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.

2017-03-16

How Google Analytics works

Google Analytics is a free Web analytics service that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing purposes. The service is available to anyone with a Google account. As a person that’s at the beginning and trying to get familiar with the field of analytics and data, it’s definitely important to understand how Google Analytics works. There are four components that come together and make Google Analytics work: 1. Collection 2. Processing 3. Configuration 4. Reporting Collection: Data can be collected from different sources, such as a website, a mobile application or pretty much any device that has a connection to the internet. For a website, in order to collect the information, we need to include a Tracking code (JavaScript). This code should be included on every single page of the website in order for Google Analytics to capture the information properly. The JavaScript that we get from Google is okay, but don’t forget that it tracks a limited amount of information. If you are active in a niche field of work, you might want to take a look at adapting that code in order to track the correct data. For a mobile application, we need to use a specific software development kit (SDK), depending on the operating system. In this case, activities will be tracked instead of pageviews. Because we might not always have an internet connection available, the hits will be stored and sent to afterwards to Google’s collection centres. Processing + Configuration: The processing step is the one that takes the longest to finish. It can take anywhere up to 4 hours (24 hours in Google's T&Cs) to turn all the raw data into reports that you are able to interpret and monitor. This doesn’t happen easily, but the only way you can skip the queue is by paying for Google Analytics 360. In Google Analytics, the configuration part comes in and it applies certain filters to the data that is collected. While some of those filters (new or returning users, linking between pages and time spent on certain pages) are pre-configured, you also have the possibility to apply some filters of your own to this process. Remember that you will not be able to change that information once it is stored in the database. Reporting: The final step what the users get to see. By using Google Analytics' own interface, you have access to all the processed information and this is the place where you can manage it from. There is also the possibility of using different applications by creating a custom code in the reporting API. Here is a short list of benefits that you will gain after using Google Analytics: 1. Visitor Segmentation: New vs Returning users, Geographical location and referral source. 2. Page visits: Finding out which pages are the most visited. 3. Locating the website: Finding out how the users got to your website and tracking the keywords they used. 4. Website optimization If you'd like some more information, please get in touch or leave a comment below! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2017-03-15

How to improve your landing pages with clear CTAs

In the previous blog post, how to improve your landing pages using Google Analytics, we started analysis what makes a good landing page. Some of the ideas were related to call to actions. Your landing page must have a call to action (CTA) correlated with the marketing campaign and the full content of the page. Clear and unambiguous CTA(s) If you are offering app access, go with "Get Started" or "Create account" and don't say “Get your free ebook” or “go” or “submit”. Say short and clear what you want them to do. Don't mislead the users and don't use fancy words. When you're choosing the CTA for your landing page you should consider these three: what you say how your customer will interact with it where to place it What to say is the wording. If you want the customer to subscribe to the newsletter say "subscribe to the newsletter", if you want them to buy say "buy", if you want them to call say "call". Keep it short and clear. If the customer needs to subscribe you need to provide them with the field were to add their email address; If you want them to call you then you should use a dial function for mobile users or show the number for the desktop users; If you want them to buy then the press of the button should redirect them to a page where they can choose the option for delivery and payment. Where to place the call to action in your landing page is simple - where the customers will see it first. I presume you already have event tracking, in place (if no, find out how to set up in this blog post: Set up event tracking in GTM ). Based on some numbers from Google Analytics, let's see how good and bad engagement looks like for a landing page. Find out the level of engagement with the page Bounce rate: This will show you the number of people that entered this page and left without taking any other action (like seeing the second page or clicking on the call to action). The bounce rate will tell you how your whole landing page is engaging with the audience. In the example above, the landing page, /find-more has a bounce rate of 98,8%. This is very bad! On the other side, we have the landing page apps.shopify.littledata with 0% bounce rate. This is the holy grail of landing pages. These means that from an engagement point of view your landing page is perfect. As a rule: You should aim for at least the same bounce rate as you have on the entire website as a medium. Find out if your call to action performed Method 1 - Deducting from landing page report Go into Google Analytics -> in the search bar search landing page -> Choose Site content - Landing pages. Click on your landing page name and now add a second dimension: Second page. Find the link where your call to action redirects and analyse all elements in this report. If you don't have events in place, you will still be able to see how your traffic is clicking through the links on your landing page. If your landing page has more than 1 action then you can add a second dimension on the landing page report and see what was the second page they visited. In the example above, the call-to-action redirected them to the apps.shopify.com/littledata. From the numbers of sessions, we can see that only 10% of the users clicked the call-to-action button. 89% of the people wanted to find more about the product before purchasing. This is the example of bad engagement. The fact that 89% of the people wanted to find more means that we need to provide more details on the landing page and maybe have a clearer call-to-action. Method 2 - Deducting from Top Events report For this, go to Google Analytics and search for Top Events and add a second dimension to the report "Page". You can also build a custom report so you see the number of people that saw the page and the number of people that took the call-to-action. Have any questions? 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.

2017-03-14
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