Data Analysis

3 Ways to Discover Customer Intent with Google Analytics

Do your website meet the actual expectations of your visitors? People rarely arrive at your website by chance. They have an intention and are there for a reason – regardless of what triggered their visit. And often times regardless of what you think their intention is. That’s why, it’s so important to understand those intentions so you can optimize for them. Perhaps your site navigation needs to be simplified. Or your homepage should have some different promotions. So by using Google Analytics to discover customer intent for your users, you’ll gain critical knowledge about your users. And you’ll get data showing where to optimize. Continue reading

Data Analysis

What are Users and Sessions in Google Analytics?

I do Google Analytics training sessions very often, and often for non-analysts. One of the questions that pop up most often is something that might seem basic for full time web analysts. Namely, just what are Users and Sessions? And what is the difference between Users and Sessions in Google Analytics? What do those metrics mean and how do Google Analytics track and count Users and Sessions?

Many people think Users are the same thing as people. Which – at its core – is wrong. Sessions are more easily understood. But the relationship between the two seems to be difficult to grasp for many. People who’ve been working with ecommerce for years also wonders whatever happened to good old metrics such as Unique Visitors and Visits. Not that they understand those two metrics any better.

So, in this post, I want to share the explanation I usually give in my training sessions and workshops. If you’re an analyst or consultant yourself, I hope this will make it easier for you to explain the whole Users vs. Sessions thingy to your colleagues. And if you work in Sales or Marketing and don’t consider yourself a Google Analytics expert, then I hope you’ll learn the definitions and differences here. Continue reading

Data Analysis

How to find Dead Pages in Google Analytics

Once in a while, I need to identify so-called dead pages on a website – that is, pages with no pageviews. Usually, this is necessary when migrating a website to a new CMS. In that case, it’s useful to know if there are pages that can be safely deleted/omitted (just remember proper redirects). A similar use case is when cleaning up a website in order to remove unnecessary content. However, since Google Analytics only track pages that are visited, it’s not possible to find dead pages in Google Analytics alone since those pages will not show up in any reports.

But it’s actually still possible to find dead pages in Google Analytics if Analytics is combined with something else. The basic approach is simply to have a complete list of pages on the website. Then compare that list to the logged pages in Google Analytics. All pages that are not found in Google Analytics are dead pages. Depending on your selected time frame of course. Continue reading

Data Analysis

How to get Google Analytics data in Excel

Every website owner and web analyst reaches a point where there’s a need to get Google Analytics data in Excel. While the Google Analytics web interface is very user friendly and easy to work with, it quickly becomes an obstacle when doing more advanced analysis. Very often, we also want to do the same analysis from month to month for reporting purposes. Or maybe we need to merge Google Analytics data with other data – and Excel then gives us more tools than the Google Analytics interface.

In this post, I’ll teach you how to import data from Google Analytics directly into Excel – without needing to build and export reports in Google Analytics. You’ll need access to your Google Analytics account (duh!) and you’ll need Microsoft Excel 2007 or later running on a Windows PC.

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Data Analysis

When and How to use Google Analytics Annotations

Google Analytics Annotations are a built-in feature of Google Analytics. It lets all people with access to Google Analytics account add comments to nearly all reports (at least those with charts). Everybody should use annotations to comment on traffic changes, traffic spikes and other important events.

This can save you a lot of time. You won’t have to do the same data dives every time you wonder why something happened to your traffic. It’s really useful when you’re looking at data from weeks, months or even years ago. Equally important, it saves your fellow analysts and coworkers for even more time, because they won’t have to do the deep dives at all.

So in this post, I’ll teach you everything (or at least the most important) you need to know about annotations.

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Data Analysis

Bounce Rate: How (not) to use it for content

The Bounce Rate is probably one of the most used metrics in web analysis. But it’s also one of the most misused and misunderstood metrics. Much too often, analysts simply look for high bounce rates on specific landing pages, and recommend changes or even deletion of those pages – based solely on their bounce rate. While bounce rates can tell us a lot about page performance, it’s – as always with digital analytics – much more complicated than that. Continue reading