Chrome Extensions for Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager

Implementation and auditing of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager is essential when working with web analytics. After all, what good are reporting and analytics if you can’t trust your data? Usually, when setting up GTM and Analytics on a website, you’ll find yourself checking source code for the correct dataLayer or using real-time reports to see if data comes in. But Chrome Extensions for Google Analytics and Tag Manager makes it much easier.

The thing is, the whole implementation and debugging part is a cumbersome process. So is it possible to optimize that process? Well, yes – say hello to Chrome Extensions. Chrome Extensions are small plugins for the Google Chrome browser. And some of them are specifically for debugging the setup of Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics. So in this post, I’ll introduce you to my list of the most essential and, IMHO, the best extensions for Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. 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 Collection

How to use the (UTM) Campaign URL Builder

The Campaign URL Builder for Google Analytics is a free tool. It lets you build URLs by appending certain parameters to your existing landing page URLs. In turn, this lets you track inbound traffic from marketing campaigns in Google Analytics on a detailed level. Ultimately, you’re better equipped to analyse the performance of campaigns. And you’re able to do so on a per marketing channel basis.

Let’s say you’re running a Winter 2016 Sale. You promote it on Facebook and in your email newsletter. By using the Campaign URL Builder, you’re able to track visits, behavior and conversions related to that campaign. And you’re able to examine it on marketing channel as well and see how the campaign is performing on Facebook vs. the newsletter. Continue reading

Data Quality

Fix Duplicate Ecommerce Transactions in Google Analytics

A relatively common issue with ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics is that transactions are often counted more than once. This is not really caused by an error in Google Analytics. Rather it’s a problem in the ecommerce platforms and the tracking implementations. For the most part, Google Analytics will trust that you send valid and correct data. So it doesn’t try to correct anything. But just like it’s possible (but not allowed) to log PII (Personally Identifiable Information) in Analytics such as email addresses, it’s also possible to log the same transaction multiple times. Basically, Google Analytics will not fix duplicate ecommerce transactions for you – you’ll have to DIY.

The problems with duplicate ecommerce transactions are obvious. For one, you’ll simply be seeing too many transactions. And this will affect your ecommerce conversion rate, your sales quantity and your revenue totals as well. Your average order value will also be higher than it is in reality. You can’t trust this kind of data, and if you can’t trust your data, you risk making bad decisions. In this post, I’ll show how to find out if you have a problem in the first place, why the problem is there and how to fix it.  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