The rise of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and sunsetting of Universal Analytics
Last week, Google formally announced that they will be “sunsetting” Universal Analytics and pushing all users to move to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) by the second half of 2023. Does this mean that you should drop everything now and start fully embracing GA4? Actually, things are a bit more complicated. Like everything in the world of data, we recommend a methodical approach to the change. We’ve already outlined Littledata’s approach to GA4 for ecommerce stores. So in this article, we’ll take a deeper look at what Google just announced, what this means for your analytics setup, and recommend next steps for merchants using Google Analytics with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. [tip]Get excited for what GA4 has in store with our 10 reasons to make the switch.[/tip] What’s happening to Universal Analytics? The summer of 2023 may very well be remembered across the ecommerce industry for the rise of GA4, as Google is officially sunsetting its predecessor, Universal Analytics (aka UA, GA3, or the “old version” of Google Analytics). Google’s official announcement, which you can read in full on their blog. This announcement may have come as a bit of a surprise to some. GA4 has been available for a while but wasn’t made a priority before. Fortunately, moving from UA to GA4 doesn't have to be a headache for your team—as long as you have the right setup in place. Littledata already has a GA4 connection in beta that select customers have been using for months. Google promises GA4 will bring an adjustment to more granular data, giving users more insights and better control over customers' privacy. That second point is especially important as the industry makes a major shift away from cookies toward embracing first-party data across platforms. [note]Setting up GA4 on your ecommerce store only takes a few clicks with Littledata. New and existing users can set up GA4 on their store free and ensure they're ready for the new era of analytics.[/note] What we know about GA4 On July 1, 2023, Google will stop standard Universal Analytics properties from processing data. Your Universal Analytics reports will remain visible for a short period after the change (Google hasn't specified how long) but new data will only flow into GA4 properties. In other words, if you haven’t already, you need to create a GA4 property ASAP. With the switch to GA4, Google promises several significant changes aimed at making its Analytics tool more “consumer-focused” overall. This, among other features, includes: A privacy-centric design to maintain key insights despite cookie blockers and privacy regulationsA new UI designed to showcase customer behavior through key events, and out-of-the-box capability to track those events (without requiring set up through Google Tag Manager)Machine learning models that automatically identify trends in data, such as churn probability, potential revenue from customer groups, and demand increasesMeasurement of both app and web interactions to snapshot the effectiveness of each of your marketing effortsData export to your BigQuery data warehouse [tip]See Littledata’s 10 reasons to move to GA4 for ecommerce analytics.[/tip] At the heart of GA4, Google says, is your customer—and more specifically how they interact with your business. This marks a move away from the old platform-centric measurement to instead track via User ID. The change should give a better picture of what actions customers took after discovering your business and track the whole lifecycle from first impression to final sale more effectively. Potential GA4 user concerns While there’s a lot to be excited about with GA4, the change from UA brings a few uncertainties for longtime users. Early versions of GA4, while positively received, did contain their share of bugs. As the platform won’t be rolling out at 100% perfection, we’ll help answer a handful of the most frequently asked questions we’ve seen around GA4. Will I be able to import historical data from UA to GA4? Most likely, the answer here is no. While you can run UA and GA4 in parallel as you make the switch, Google is launching GA4 as a new platform completely separate from UA. How difficult will it be to use the new interface? There’s no doubt users will experience a learning curve when migrating to GA4’s new UI. In essence, it will come down to thinking differently about what data you’re looking for and then creating reports around that. While this was a common concern in the early beta launch of GA4, Google has already added a number of template reports on funnels, user paths, and cohort exploration. We’re excited to see what’s next! To help our customers with the transition, we’ve already begun building our own Monetization and Retention reports in GA4 that will take over from Enhanced Ecommerce reporting in UA. According to the Google blog, The new Analytics gives you customer-centric measurement, instead of measurement fragmented by device or by platform. It uses multiple identity spaces, including marketer-provided User IDs and unique Google signals from users opted into ads personalization, to give you a more complete view of how your customers interact with your business. These improvements, paired with Littledata's tracking, will improve how businesses customize and assign weight to conversion types. Giving marketers and DTC brands better understanding of the customers lifestyle. Google does provide help documents and introductory courses on using the new interface. However, an easier (and more time-efficient) solution may be to have an analytics expert help set up a GA4 integration directly to your Shopify or BigCommerce store. [tip]We've recently launched a new GA4 Glossary to keep you in the loop on new terms and functions. [/tip] Is GA4 going to be a privacy law compliant, long-term solution for my business? This is one big area where GA4 is not just a solution right now, but in the future as well. Many of the changes made—from the new event-based UI to the learning machine-powered core—are built to adapt and grow alongside the global expansion in privacy laws. In other words, as you venture into the world of first-party data, GA4 will be your loyal guide along the way. What you should do now Our Shopify and Big Commerce stores and agency partners know that when it comes to Google Analytics, you can always count on Littledata as a single source of truth for truly accurate ecommerce data. This will remain true with GA4, and we’re excited about the flexible reporting capabilities in the newest version of Google Analytics. Our recommendation is to add a GA4 property now, but not to rely on it entirely. Instead, Littledata recommends continuing to use UA and GA4 in parallel until at least early 2023. This means that you will be able to explore GA4 while still having accurate, actionable data in Universal Analytics, including Enhanced Ecommerce reports, lifetime value reporting, and subscription analytics. All Shopify and Shopify Plus stores will soon be able to activate both UA and GA4 connections directly from their Littledata dashboards. [tip]Remember, setting up a GA4 connection for Shopify on your store has never been easier than with Littledata! Get expert advice on everything you need to know to make the switch.[/tip]
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
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
How to use Littledata's software to monitor ecommerce performance
Littledata provides daily insights in your inbox. These include alerts on significant changes to your web traffic, tips on better tracking, and longer term trends in a daily summary email. All this, along with advice on how to act, will improve your ecommerce performance. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the milestones to online success of an ecommerce store. Monitoring them will help ecommerce entrepreneurs identify problems and find solutions for better sales, marketing, and customer service goals. Once you have set goals and selected KPIs, monitoring those indicators should become an everyday exercise. And most importantly: performance should inform business decisions, and you should use KPIs to drive actions. Here are the most used reports in our Littledata software that monitor ecommerce performance: Sales Key Performance Indicators Hourly, daily, weekly, monthly Our web app generates reports, based on your traffic volume, on a daily, weekly, monthly or hourly schedule. This helps you keep up to pace with your campaign changes, your developer's releases, and your new interface changes. This way, you can react fast to changes. If your campaign is performing badly, you can see it at once and change it. If your developers release something and it breaks a page or the tracking code, you will see it fast and can correct it. Conversions The efficacy of conversion marketing is measured by the conversion rate, i.e. the number of customers who have completed a transaction divided by the total number of website visitors. The conversion rate is influenced by multiple factors. We track the conversion performance with reports like: Performance of the mobile devices Find out if you have errors on particular devices and check how the user can progress through the checkout flow on these devices. You may have some blocking steps on these particular phones or tablets like coding incompatibilities or a bad user interface. Campaign performance Find out how your new campaign is doing compared with the benchmark. We compare your campaign performance across all campaigns of its kind from your own website and others so you will know where to improve the moment the information is vital. Goal and purchases evolution across time Find out what days are the best for your sale and what days are the worst and schedule your budgets and actions accordingly. Read more about setting up goals in: 'Setting up a destination goal funnel' or find out about using Enhanced Ecommerce to optimise product listings. Marketing Key Performance Indicators: Site traffic In ecommerce, part of the conversion rate equation is the site traffic, which makes monitoring the amount of people that get on a website a big thing. We monitor the performance of the website traffic in multiple reports divided by other segments. The segments monitored can be turned on and off in the Control Panel section of each account under segments. The segments currently available are Direct, Paid Search, Organic Search, Referral, Email, Mobile and Tablet. Segmentation of your traffic puts light on what channels fluctuate at some point in time so you can correct it. Page views per visit Average page views per visit are an excellent indicator of how compelling and easily navigated your content is. The formula is the total number of page views divided by the total number of visits during the same timeframe. Sophisticated users may also want to calculate average page views per visit for different visitor segments. We track the page views per visit across your website and compare them with your benchmark so you can see if the customer journey can be more easy and compelling. Traffic source We track each channel that brings you traffic and spot when traffic sources drop or spike. We have a smart reporting system that calculates traffic sources from different segments so you can see each traffic source fluctuations, giving you the opportunity to react promptly. Have any questions about these reports? Just contact us and ask! Further reading: Auditing web analytics ecommerce tracking Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels Why do you need cross domain tracking
Inspirational stories of data
We’ve been searching high and low for some of those feel-good stories to bring you a little joy and we found the perfect data stories to put you in a good mood! Mike Schmoker said it well: “Things get done only if the data we gather can inform and inspire those in a position to make a difference.” Here are the stories that inspired us, making a difference in our lives. And if you like data as much as we do, trust us, you’re going to love these! The Dear Data project We recently came across this fun project, Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec, about sharing their personal data, as pen pals. Dear Data, is a year-long endeavour of two designers living in different parts of the world, creating a friendship that will last a lifetime. They collected and hand-drew their personal data, sending it to each other in the form of postcards. With social media being the forefront of conversations these days, this beautiful story helps bring back the nostalgia of communication. If this doesn’t give you chills, we don’t know what will! What they did Every week, for a year, they collected and measured some sort of data about their lives through drawings. Each recipient would be given a code to decipher the picture. They used postcards to express themselves, and you can see a beautiful example below: Spirit of Alan Turing Now here’s a story that’s a little different, bringing the wonders of art and data together. There’s a new installation in Paddington commemorating Alan Turing, a computer pioneer and codebreaker that was born in 1912. The piece of public art shows an array of flashing lights that showcase changing words by Nick Drake, a Hackney-based poet. His poem brings a look into Alan Turing’s past in the present, presenting his spirit through data. It’s a thought-provoking installation using algorithms that bring with it intensity. The intent is to find some sort of pattern or code, and as people stroll by, someone will notice the meaning behind the project. And as the Londonist says, “That really is good art” and we agree! This is not the first attempt at celebrating Alan Turing, and we definitely hope it’s not the last! The design of data for the world We’ve found the man that’s dedicated his life to data and in a creative way! Brendan Dawes creates projects focused on data for himself and the world around him, whether they’re art installation, interactive forms of communication, or a way to bring out a smile. As he perfectly sums up, “whilst I often work with data, I believe data by itself is not enough; data needs poetry.” One of his 2014 exhibitions that struck interest is the Dot Dot Dot exhibition. The show made use of data in some form or another. A few data-inspired installations included ‘The Happiness Machine’ and ‘Moments in Music’. When a button or dot on display was pressed on The Happiness Machine, a mention of the word ‘happy’ by a random stranger on the internet was printed for all to see. What a feel-worthy moment to showcase happiness through data. The Moments in Music exhibit developed unique art pieces, from data derived from sound waves. Through a software, songs were analysed and then specific moments were printed, showing real-world moments from digital music. Our final thoughts These wonderful stories prove that data doesn’t have to be overwhelming and mundane and you can really add your creative twist to any project. Individuals observing data needs to decipher it in a creative way, whether it’s to bring results or prove an experiment as there are a multitude of aspects. At Littledata, we come up with creative solutions to improve your performance through Google Analytics. We make data creative so you can enjoy the benefits! Have you read any other inspirational stories recently? Leave a comment below or contact us! Further reading: New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more Take your ecommerce website to the next level Analytics in store - online and offline Image credit: Image courtesy of Engadget, Dear Data, Brendan Dawes, and Londonist.
Making the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see
Our core belief at Littledata is that machines are better at spotting significant changes in your website’s performance than a human analyst. We’ve now made it easier for you to get specific alerts, reducing the time spent wading through data. This is the story of how we produced the new trend detection algorithm. Enjoy! Back in 2014, we developed the first version of an algorithm to detect if today or this week’s traffic was significantly different from previous periods. This allows managers to focus in on the aspects of the traffic or particular marketing campaigns which are really worthy of their attention. Although the first version was very sensitive, it also picked up too many changes for a single person to investigate. In technical language, it was not specific in enough. In June and July, Littledata collaborated with a working group of mathematicians from around Europe to find a better algorithm. The European Study Group with Industry (ESGI) originated in the University of Limerick’s mathematics department in Ireland and has helped hundreds of businesses link up with prominent mathematicians in the field to solve real-world problems. Littledata joined the latest study group in University College, Dublin in July, and was selected by a dozen mathematicians as the focus for their investigation. Andrew Parnell from the statistics department at University College, Dublin helped judge the output from the four teams that we split the group into. The approach was to use an algorithm to test the algorithms; in other words, we pitted a group of statistical strategies against each other, from clustering techniques to linear regression, through to Twitter’s own trend detection package, and compared their total performance across a range of training data sets. Initially, the Twitter package looked to be doing well, but in fact, it had been developed specifically to analyse huge volumes of tweets and perform badly when given low volumes of web traffic. In between our host’s generous hospitality, with Guinness, Irish folk music, and quite a lot of scribbling of formulas on beer mats, myself and our engineer (Gabriel) worked with the statisticians to tweak the algorithms. Eventually, a winner emerged, being sensitive enough to pick up small changes in low traffic websites, but also specific enough to ignore the random noise of daily traffic. The new trend detection algorithm has been live since the start of August and we hope you enjoy the benefits. Our web app allows for fewer distractions and more significant alerts tailored to your company’s goals, which takes you back to our core belief that machines are able to spot major changes in website performances better than a human analyst. If you’re interested in finding out how our web app can help you streamline your Google Analytics’ data, please get in touch! Further reading: 7 quick wins to speed up your site analysis techniques Online reporting turning information into knowledge Will a computer put you out of a job?
New in Littledata: an improved navigation, trend detection algorithm, and more
We’ve got some exciting news! We’ve launched some great updates on our web app, which will make your lives a little easier. Find out how the navigation has improved and new in-app messaging will help you find out more, get a glimpse into our trend detection algorithm and new reports on mobile devices! Our mission is to make the way you gain access to important analytics, an all-around easier process and we know we’re heading in the right direction with these updates. We already give you actionable and easier to understand insights of your Google Analytics and now we’ve made the experience more friendly based on your invaluable feedback! Find your reports quicker We’ve improved the navigation of the web app, giving you one new category, and two updated categories on the left-hand side of your profile, which are now simpler to find and easier to understand. There are currently three categories: Dashboard, Benchmark, and Reports, which will be visible to you depending on your Littledata package. Instead of having them in separate locations, we brought them together into one navigation panel so that you can find specific reports and findings quickly based on your current questions or company needs. Under the reports category, we have changed types of reports into tags. Now you can select one or multiple tags, and decide how you prefer to view the different types of insights you get. For example, if you want to view your trends reports with tips you’re getting, then all you need to do is select those two. The benchmark category brings together all the benchmark metrics available for your site, and to see more detail click on the individual benchmark you’re interested in. You can still see the category you are being benchmarked against just above your benchmarks. If your current category is ‘all websites’ then you should make this more specific by updating the category in the settings. The Dashboard is the latest addition to these categories, which we added to be able to provide a flexible and customised solution that is perfect for reporting needs that go beyond standard Google Analytics reports. See below for more detail. Get our custom dashboard This is a new feature, available to clients who are also receiving consulting services on top of our Pro package. Please contact one of our lovely experts if you’d like to know more about these features, and how they can give you the results you strive for. The dashboard category is completely customisable, which we develop through consulting services by going over what your goals and needs are, and then creating these reports for simple and actionable insights of your data. These reports are completely flexible and allow you to see metrics that are difficult to view in Google Analytics, which include: Calculations, such as performance changes in percentages and conversion rates Combined metrics and dimensions from different reports Custom visualisations of trends based on how you prefer to see the data. Want to include a pie or bar chart? Not a problem. A custom schedule for dashboard data refresh. If your reporting requires weekly, quarterly or annual updates, we’ll set it up for you. Customised reports based on your formatting preferences, so if you'd like to include your brand colours, it's a possibility! Our smarter algorithm When we started Littledata, we developed a trend detection algorithm to find significant changes in your data and send you alerts, reducing the time spent wading through data in Google Analytics. But as times change and data gets busier, we needed a better way to serve your reporting needs. So recently we collaborated with mathematicians to improve the algorithm, which is now sensitive enough to pick up small changes in low traffic website, but also specific enough to ignore the random noise of daily traffic. Want to hear more about this intriguing story? Find out more in our blog post: Making the detection of significant trends in your traffic easier to see! Are mobile devices losing you customers? Analytics from mobile devices is extremely important. Through our web app, you will find out how many transaction or users you lost due to poor experience on mobile devices. According to Dave Chaffey at Smart Insights, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. A growing number of people are searching through their phones and as a result, we’ve incorporated mobile devices reports. They will spot and highlight potential issues around responsiveness, layout or bugs. Finding out which devices are the worst will allow you to optimise your website and campaigns to capture all of these individuals. Your personalised communication We completely agree with Intercom’s belief that “customers today want to communicate with the people behind the business, not with a faceless brand”! This is why we’ve integrated their messenger into our web app so that you can chat with us directly and quickly. There’s a great deal of custom features available, including formatting, delivery, and most importantly the different ways to respond. You can choose your own way to chat and react, with images, audio, emojis, video, and more. If you want to know more about the expert you’re talking to, you can view their profile within the app. Our customer experience is key in our business model and we hope this function delivers that. If you have any questions regarding any of the new features, please contact us, or use the in-app messenger! Image credit: Image courtesy of Smart Insights and Intercom
Vital Google Analytics custom reports and dashboards for ecommerce
Standard reports are useful to an extent. Custom reports and dashboards, on the other hand, allow you to compile metrics that give you much more useful insights of how your online shop is performing. Monitoring and reviewing the right data is essential for deciding which tactics or initiatives you should try, or marketing platforms to focus on, to help you sell more. If you are very familiar with how Google Analytics (GA) works, then you would set up some custom reports and dashboards to quickly access your key metrics. But if you are not as knowledgeable about the quirks and inner workings of GA then you should take advantage of the many custom reports and dashboards available for import. We can also help you build custom dashboards. There is a huge number of reports available in Google Analytics Solutions Gallery; used, created and shared by experts. They’re all done from scratch and designed to maximise your use of Google Analytics, but the huge amount of solutions from dashboards and channel groupings to segments and custom reports do require some time to find what’s right for your needs. From our experience setting up ecommerce tracking and reports for companies like MADE.com, British Red Cross Training, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, these reports and dashboards are valuable when analysing purchase data. Don't lose sight of your conversion rate Keep an eye on your ecommerce conversion rate across five different tabs covering channels, keyword, mobile devices, cities and campaigns. Focussed on high traffic sources, each section shows where it's not up to scratch and needs your attention and tweaking. Get ecommerce conversion rate performance custom report. Find duplicate transactions Duplicate transactions can greatly skew your numbers and affect your reporting, making you doubt the accuracy of your data. Duplicate order data is sent to Google Analytics typically because the page containing such information has been loaded twice. This can happen when the page is refreshed or loaded again. To find whether your data contains duplicate transactions, add our custom report to the view you want to check. Get a custom report to check for duplicate transactions. If you have more than 1 transaction in any row (or per an individual transaction ID), that means you have duplicate transactions stored in your data. It’s worth checking the report on a regular basis, eg monthly, to make sure that there are no duplicates or they’re kept to the minimum. Lunametrics blog has a number of suggestions for how to fix duplicate transactions. Overview of ecommerce performance This overview dashboard brings important top level metrics into one place, so you don’t have to go searching for them in multiple reports. You will quickly see which of your campaigns, channels, and sources are bringing in the most revenue, whilst comparing conversion rates across each. Get ecommerce overview dashboard. How is your store content performing See how your customers are engaging with your site, content and product (or page, depending on the setup) categories. You'll get information on what they search for, and which categories and landing pages bring in the most revenue. Get ecommerce content performance dashboard. Looking for improving your ecommerce tracking and reporting? Get in touch with our qualified experts. Further reading: Take your ecommerce website to the next level Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels Tips to optimise your ecommerce landing pages Image credit: Image courtesy of Juralmin at Pixabay
Setting up common email software for Google Analytics
Many of the popular email providers make it easy to automatically tag up links in your emails to allow Google Analytics to track them under the 'Email' channel. Without this, the traffic from email links will be dispersed under 'Direct' and 'Referral' channels, and you won't be able to see which emails really drive engagement or sales. Here are the links to set up some common email services: MailChimp Campaign Monitor ActiveCampaign Benchmark Email ConstantContact iContact Emma MadMimi GetResponse Mail Jet If your email provider is not in the list, or you send emails from your own platform, you'll need to manually paste in tagged up email links. Still need some help? Contact us and we'll be happy to answer any questions!
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