Iterative Marketing Podcast Episode 41: Getting The Most From Google Analytics

Last week we talked about the proper set-up and tools for effective experiments. Since analytics are vitally important to successful experimentation (and essential to Iterative Marketing); therefore, this podcast is dedicated to getting the most from Google Analytics.  In this episode, we discuss how to obtain clean data, track conversions that will meet objectives, pass information into Google Analytics, and how to pull back out customized reports.

In this episode, we discuss…

Accessing Google Analytics (02:20 – 06:53)

To access GA, reach out to your system administrator or visit and follow on-screen instructions to start the process.

Tips For Getting Clean Data Into Analytics (06:55 – 14:04)

  • Block internal IP addresses \ from your primary GA “view”
  • Block other bots by Selecting the bot blocking box within the “view” settings.
  • Filter traffic from other hostnames by implementing a hostname filter.
  • Limit fake traffic from referral spam
    • Moz explains the origin of this spam and how to get rid of it.
  • Review network domains and service providers that have a high bounce rate or really low time on site; filter appropriately.

Tracking Actions That Matter (14:05 – 20:45)

  • We can track two types of conversions: transactions and micro-conversions
  • Transactions are directly tied to marketing objectives or measurements of success for the organization.
    • Examples of transaction include a checkout on an e-commerce site, a newsletter sign-up, or a sales lead
    • Tracking these is usually pretty straightforward. If it’s e-commerce, the platform or a plugin will automatically pass the transaction data to  GA.  If not, a trigger can be set-up in Tag Manager.
  • Micro-conversions are not as cut and dry as transactions but indicate that we’re on the right track.
    • Examples of micro-conversions include video views, dwell time on a page, scroll depth, add-to-cart, specification downloads, etc.micro-conversions.
    • Some of these things are easier to track within Google Tag Manager, others are more difficult and require developer involvement
  • For tracking YouTube videos, Bounteous has a great plugin

Getting More Detail on the Traffic (21:42 – 29:42)

  • It’s important to pass as much information about the traffic we are generating into GA as possible so that we have options when it comes to breaking down the results.  Below are a few options ranging in complexity:

URL Tagging (22:55 – 24:53)

  • Passes information into GA about where the traffic is generated and what is known about that traffic
  • At a minimum, a campaign name and source must be passed so that traffic can be analyzed from one traffic source and/or one campaign in Facebook, Twitter, or your display ad platform against the next
  • Use the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder

Custom Dimensions (24:54 – 26:50)

  • Custom dimensions provide additional ways to group the sessions on a site outside of the stock Campaign, Source and Medium segments that come with GA
  • These are useful for breaking down your traffic into different buckets to compare what’s sending the good traffic vs. the bad traffic.
    • Tip: go into the admin section of your analytics account and under the web property column find custom dimensions. It’s under custom dimensions.

Campaign IDs vs. URL Parameters (26:51 – 29:40)

  • Once we have our dimensions, now we have to get data into them
  • Instead of tagging the URL with a bunch of utm parameters for each of our custom dimensions, we put a single utm parameter called a “Campaign ID” at the end of each link that is published
    • Gives us the ability to link the visitor’s session with any number of pieces of information by which we might want to segment our traffic
    • A spreadsheet must be created that includes a column containing a unique campaign ID for each link we want to track; upload to GA using the import tool

Custom Reports (29:42 – 31:10)

  • Rather than constantly tweaking the stock report, use the customization tab at the top of GA
  • Allows you to utilize dimensions to break up traffic into buckets and sub-buckets and display specific data
  • There are two views: flat and explorer
    • Flat is useful for exporting into Excel or Google Sheets to link up with other data.
    • Explorer is useful for analysis right within the tool and shows graphs that allow for a deeper dive.

Summary (31:15 – 32:15)

This episode has only scratched the surface of the power of GA.  To learn more, we strongly recommend the Google’s Analytics Academy.  They offer a self-paced course covering, at least at a high level, every aspect of GA. It even has a Tag Manager fundamentals course.

For more information on the charity in this episode, please visit Set Up For Students.

The Iterative Marketing Podcast,  a production of Brilliant Metrics, ran from February 2016 to September 2017. Music by SeaStock Audio.

Learn more about Iterative Marketing and listen to other episodes on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play.

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