Google Analytics is a powerful analysis program if set up properly. Inputting the tracking code on Google Analytics does not mean you’re done. It means you’ve taken the first step, but you are no where near tracking the full amount of data you will need to take proper action on all of your data.
Google Analytics captures data in profiles. A profile is just a set of statistics about your website based upon what you’ve told the program to capture. For instance, you could capture all visitors in one profile, but just your Yahoo PPC buy in another one, and just your email blasts in a third profile.
By segmenting data into multiple profiles, you can now fully analyze how just YSM or your email blasts visitors interact, view, and convert on your website.
Planning, creating, and using segmented profile data will help give you actionable insight to increasing profits.
Installing Analytics and Creating New Profiles
First, here’s a quick set of reference materials that will help you install Google analytics and profiles. If you already understand profiles, feel free to skip to the next section. Note, if you do not have the goal copy plug-in, scan this section and install that plug-in for Firefox.
Open and install your Google Analytics account: Tutorial (Note, breeze (i.e. flash-like) presentation).
Create your goals in your first profile. Tutorial (Note, breeze (i.e. flash-like) presentation). In addition, if you have a multi-step conversion goal, institute goal funnels:
In addition, if you have site search, track it. Tutorial (Note, breeze (i.e. flash-like) presentation).
Use Firefox, and install the Goal Copy Plug-in. (Note: There are some SEO plug-ins that cause conflicts with Goal Copy. If you are having issues using this plug-in, disable a couple SEO plugins and try again. Since you are not going to use Goal Copy all the time, once you’ve finished inputting your goals into different profiles, you can disable this plug-in and restart the others).
Create a new profile. Tutorial (Note, breeze (i.e. flash-like) presentation). Jump to slide 19 to learn more about profiles.
Navigate to the goal section of your new profile and use the Goal Copy extension to paste in your new goals. While you’re here, also input your site search parameters.
Creating Profile Filters to Segment Data
This is where the fun begins.
Google has a help file on creating filters here (link removed as Google keeps breaking their own help file URLs). If this is your first filter, keep that window open and learn where to input filters. Once you get to the filter input screen, you’ll want to open this other link: actual PPC keyword data. Between these two sites, you’ll see how to create an advanced filter. With this first filter, you can just copy and paste the information which makes it pretty easy.
Next, once you’ve learned how to create a filter, it’s time to revisit what you want to track. This is my favorite profile list (each bullet is it’s own profile, I’ll have one profile that is all PPC traffic, and then another profile that just examines AdWords).
- All PPC
- Google AdWords
- Yahoo Search Marketing
- Microsoft adCenter
- All Emails
- Email confirmation for Seminars
- Seminar follow-up and resources email
- Any other mass email sent
- All banners together
- One profile for each large banner buy
- Social traffic (I use cli.gs with URL builder below)
- Any other specific types of traffic you’d like to track
I find that being able to look at all PPC or all emails is useful to get high level information of their effectiveness. Then, you can drill down into just looking at one just one PPC type (or just one email blast type).
Creating Multiple Profiles
Creating all of these profile types is not that difficult, it’s time consuming. First, you’ll want to follow the steps above to create that many profile types, copy/paste the goals, site search, adjust eCommerce settings etc first.
Secondly, you’ll want to use Google Analytics URL builder to create the links that you input into your emails, banners, etc so that you can track them appropriately.
For instance, if I wanted to track visitors, and conversions, to our site from an email blast promoting the AdWords Seminars, I could build a URL such as:
Now, in my filters, I could choose to have one profile that only contained information from visitors when the source was ‘Seminar’. In this instance, I could then use the same source=seminar in PPC, banner ads, etc to see how the campaign was doing on a holistic basis.
I could then create a second profile that only contained information from emails. This way I could see how emails in general were converting.
If I wanted to see just how this one email was converting, I could even create another profile that just contained information from this specific email blast.
Due to only having a limited amount of time to dig into analytics, the only times I track just one specific source is if it’s PPC (one for AdWords, another profile for Yahoo, and a third for adCenter), a large banner buy, or something new that I want to see specifically (such as tracking twitter).
Tracking PPC Keywords in Yahoo or adCenter with Google Analytics
Of course, you would not want to enter every single keyword individually into the URL builder and then paste the information into adCenter or YSM. Use your PPC friend, Excel, to accomplish this easily.
First, let’s look at a completed tracking URL for adCenter:
If we were to break this URL down:
- http://certifiedknowledge.org – destination URL
- ?utm_source=adCenter — Where our traffic comes from
- &utm_medium=PPC — Type of traffic (PPC)
- &utm_term=Keyword –- Actual keyword
- &utm_content=adGroup — Ad Group name
- &utm_campaign=Campaign -– Campaign name
If you download your account into excel; building this file is pretty easy. If you layout your excel file by column as:
- Ad Group
- destination URL
- ?utm_source=adCenter&utm_medium=PPC (this column you can edit the source and medium as desired)
Next, do a global find a replace and replace all spaces with plus signs (+) or whatever you like to designate as a space.
Next, for the last column, just input this formula:
Drag that formula down the page. The new column will be your new destination URL that you can upload into your other campaigns. Of course, you could be much more complex with this excel file and layout some fields as static and others as dynamic, but this is a general layout to give you the idea how to build these URLs.
If you now create a profile that only contains data if the medium is PPC and another profile when the source is adCenter, you will now have two profiles to examine all PPC data, and another one where the only data is from adCenter. Now you can see funnels and advanced metrics only looking at that segmented data.
When do you need the data?
There is such as thing as paralysis analysis. Where you just have too much data to know where to start. That is possible with many profiles. The thing about Google analytics is that you can’t completely segment old data. If you were to create these tracking URL, but not create a new profile, you could not see the conversion funnel by just adCenter data.
In addition, you cannot use data from one profile to pre-populate another profile. Profiles only start collecting data on the day you create the profile.
Therefore, I’m a fan of creating all these profiles first, let them collect data. Then when you need the data it will exist. The issue with Google Analytics is that if you want till you need the data to create the profile, you will not ever have the old data.
Where to begin?
This is a lot of information, so let’s recap in easy bullet points:
- Map out what data you would like to segment
- Determine a tracking URL structure (based upon the URL builder inputs) that will let you use unique names as profile segments for those various data points
- Create a profile for each list of of those data points
- Copy and paste the goals and other settings into those profiles
- Create a filter for each profile based upon the data you wish to capture in that profile
- Create tracking links for your new destination URLs
- Change any current links to then new destination URLs
- Analyze your new data to create actionable items within your account
It is worth checking if your email system already has Google analytic integration – some do. If so, you might want to use there medium codes for your other emails so you can track all mails together (if you use mail and your vendor uses newsletter for the medium, all email data will not be in one profile).
Honestly, if you are changing adCenter, Yahoo, a handful of banner campaigns, your email blast, etc – this should only take a day of work for most companies. Some will accomplish this in a few hours, others might need a few days.
What is the data worth to you? If you can now track all banner campaigns to find out the $10k one produces $5k in total lifetime revenue, but the $3k one produces $10k in sales; that knowledge alone could be worth your day.
You cannot analyze what you don’t have.
Planning, segmenting, and changing your destination URLs for later analysis can save you time, money, and lead you to stop analyzing data – but starting to make changes based upon the data.
The goal of analytics is not just data insight. The goal of analytics is insight that forces action and change.