Google Analytics Maximized: Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI & You

poiseI am sure you have a new year's resolution.

Perhaps it is that you'll maximize the value you get out of your web analytics implementation (or should I say from your implemented web analytics tool since for many tools just implementing the tool is a multi year project!).

For all Analysis Ninjas this special post outlines how to get maximum value from Google Analytics. Tips, best practices, pictures, pointers, guidance.

Most people barely scratch the surface of their web analytics tools. My hope with this post is to get you beyond the Dashboard and the Search Keyword reports and the Referring Websites data.

[While this post is uniquely focused on GA these are things that you should do with any web analytics tool, be it Omniture or WebTrends or CoreMetrics or the one your mother-in-law gave you for Christmas.

Many of these features are, IMHO, easier to use in Google Analytics but they are available in other paid analytics tools.

In fact with paid analytics it is quite likely that you are also getting additional options, add-ons, drill-anywheres, etc that should exploit a lot more to get exponentially higher ROI – if you are not call your vendor and do ask for guidance to show ROI.

Net, net this post should help everyone, that's my goal.]

This a simple ten nine point checklist of Analytics Awesomeness.

If you do all of these ten nine things consider yourself an Analytics Empress/Emperor [aka Maximizer].
And if you do them well, ask for a raise, even in this economy.

If you do five consider yourself an Analytics King/Queen.

If you do three or less, consider yourself an Analytics Princess/Prince (aka the King of Newbies!).

Of course any less than that and you are a Newbie (not that there's anything wrong with that!).

Ok that was, partly, just for fun.

Let's go. . . .

#9: Get External Context to you Performance.

If you look at your own web analytics data you know how well you are doing. 70 miles per hour. If you have access to your competitive ecosystem then you know that while you are happy to move from 60 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour in 12 months, they have moved from 170 miles per hour to 190 miles per hour!

By enabling benchmarking in Google Analytics, you can view metrics for similar sites within your category. These benchmarks enable you to identify areas of opportunity relative to the performance of your competitors.

Benchmarks are available for Visits, Bounce Rates, Page Views, Average Time on Site, Page Views Per Visit and Percent of New Visits. Sweet!

competitive benchmarking google analytics 1

I am loving this data because I am incessantly focused on getting New visitors, and looks like I am doing 17% better than competitors. Happy birthday to me. :)

And bonus tip, you can choose the category of your web based business.

benchmarking categories google analyticsSimply click on the Open Category List link in the Benchmarking report and drill down into the relevant available three levels.

For example: Computers & Electronics -> Internet Software -> Content Management.

Make the benchmarks unique to your own business vertical / category.

In addition to the GA data I also wanted to point out the most excellent Coremetrics benchmarks report. Very sweet data there as well, please bookmark.

Helpful Google Analytics Resources:

How do I enable benchmarking?
Data Sharing Options, Technical Goodness, Deep Details.

Finding your Benchmarking reports:
Visitors > Benchmarking

Helpful Occam's Razor Articles:

#8: Internal Site Search, baby! Rock it!

My undying and eternal love for internal site search data is in one word: legendary! :) I do heart it so. And it comes in at #8.

There is perhaps only one single place in your entire web analytics data where there is no question about visitor intent. Its the queries they are typing in your website's search engine. At all other places in your data you are guessing and inferring.

Extract every little drop of nectar from this data.

site search analytics google

It can help you understand visitor intent and identify new opportunities to: improve landing pages, cross-promote products, and adjust your creative strategy.

Helpful Google Analytics Resources:

Helpful Occam's Razor Articles:

#7: Search, Organic, Get Good At It.

Pure web analysts tend to focus on referrers and campaigns (DM type) most of the time. There is usually someone who does "search" and that usually means Paid search. Organic search analysis is usually an orphan (or there is someone doing that some of the time).

You want your boss to love you? Focus hard core on Organic search. It is free, it is a long term investment and can be the foundation of a great Paid search strategy.

organic search traffic google analytics

GA allows you to wonderful analysis of your Organic search data. Torture it every which way.

Don't know how to quantify impact of SEO to get Management support? See this article by e-nor: Leverage Google Analytics to Monetize your SEO Effort .

Don't know how to get your organic results page ranking shown in GA? See this article on my buddy Joost de Valk's blog: Track SEO rankings with Google Analytics .

And that's scratching just the surface.

But if you want to do SEO Analytics than you need to get out of your Analytics comfort zone (or Omniture or CoreMetrics or ClickTracks comfort zones) and use Webmaster Tools. [Google Webmaster Tools, LiveSearch Webmaster Center ]

Think of it this way. Lots of links show up when people search for you (oh the humanity of it! :)) and your Analytics tool only shows you data for people who show up at your site. Webmaster Tools (especially the one from Google) shows you a wealth of info that you would never see in your Analytics data.

There is a ton of good stuff but without a doubt my favorite for analysis:

top search queries google webmaster tools

Where do your website links show up? For what keywords do you actually get traffic for? Awesomely actionable data.

Compare your trends over time (click on that down arrow next to locations), compare your searches from different platforms (like Mobile Search) or for different kinds of content:

mobile searches google webmaster tools

It is a shame that few Web Analysts actually know of webmaster tools and fewer still use the data to help their companies rank better.

You want to stand out amongst the sea of Analysts? Get good at things like this.

Helpful Google Analytics Resources:

Overview of Traffic Sources Reports

Finding your Organic Search data:
Traffic Sources > Search Engines > toggle "Show" option to "non-paid"
(Click on each record for an engine-specific list of keywords)
Traffic Sources > Keywords > toggle "Show" option to "non-paid"

Helpful Occam's Razor Articles:

I clearly need to write more about SEO here, meanwhile refer my book please, lots there.

#6: Landing Pages, Landing Pages, Landing Pages.

I always get asked this: "If there is one thing I can start doing in terms of Web Analytics would would it be?"

My answer is always the same, Bounce Rates for Top Landing Pages:

bounce rates for top landing pages

Thing that suck are simply standing there, naked, staring at you. I challenge you to look at this report for your site and not find broken things.

Could be campaigns, could be landing pages, could be wrong calls to action, could be…. you find that out. What this report gives you is actionable impactful starting points.

Then fix, fix, fix (and use the free Website Optimizer!). As a good friend of mine says: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression". Cheezy? Yes. True? You betcha!

Helpful Google Analytics Resources:

Understanding & Leveraging Content reports
A/B & Multivariate Testing with the Website Optimizer

Finding your Landing Page report:
Content > Top Landing Pages

Helpful Occam's Razor Articles:

#5: Goals, Goals, Goals [& Goal Values]!
[Bonus points for crimes against the universe if you have not assigned Goal Values to your Goals.]

You: What should I measure?
Expensive Consultant: What are you solving for? That'll be $500.

:)

If that $500 makes you think of why in the first place you created the website then wipe your tears away on that ten second consultation. It was totally worth it.

Define your goals and measure 'em.

And here's something worth $1,000. It will be extremely rare that you'll have one goal. No website exists for one exclusive purpose. Think hard, identify all the goals, and measure them.

Online clicks drive awareness, customer loyalty, offline sales, and yes even online sales! Make sure to track all actions on your website that help your business.

Don't discount the importance of tracking even things like: store locator pages, email sign-ups, maps on site, feed sign-ups, leads into your CRM pipeline, request for quotes, etc. Even sexy stuff like Loyalty and Recency (you non-ecommerce website owners, are you listening?).

While you can't create a "Goal" for Visitor Loyalty and Recency, you should create goals (as in "the goal of our BBC website is to have 50% of the visitors visit more than 15 times a month") and then measure success using your GA Visitor Loyalty reports.

Goal values should be assigned to each goal. For example if you submit a qualified lead on www.cat.com for a Hydraulic Excavator M322D (starting at $300k) then that through careful financial analysis you can determine that each web lead is valued at $189 (based on past conversions, offline valuations etc).

Make sure you type that into Google Analytics as you set up a goal to track lead submission. You will get "revenue analysis", you will get "per visit goal value", you will get "$ Index" of each page view (!) and more yummy goodness. Do this!

goals funnels google analytics 1

[The above image is from a non-ecommerce website where the goals are both online and offline. Each goal has an assigned goal value allowing the owner to precisely compute the economic value generated from the website – $14,930 in Dec.]

Helpful Google Analytics Resources:

How do I set up goals in Google Analytics?
Goals & Funnels Overview, Troubleshooting, How-to for non-HTML pages

Finding your Goal reports:
Left Nav > Goals (overall conversion & funnel reports)
Conversion rates are also available on most Visitors & Traffics Sources reports (select the Goal Conversion tab, instead of Site Usage)

Helpful Occam's Razor Articles:

#4: Enable Deep Ecommerce Tracking & Analysis.

With the simple radio button click on your GA account profile and addition of a simple javascript tag to you ecommerce page you are set to reap benefits of some deep deep analysis of your ecommerce data.

ecommerce tracking google analytics Sadly not that many people do this.

Just look at the wealth of information you can get, about conversions, revenue, product sales, meta categories…. and even true "pan session" insightful analysis like Visits and Days to Purchase!

With GA the ecommerce tracking is actually quite feature rich. You can use it to track other things on your website.

For example if you are a non ecommerce lead generation website then you can capture rich transaction data for those leads and even track how many visits/days it takes someone to give you a lead.

Our good friend Justin shows you how to do exactly that here: Tracking Lead Gen Forms.

Of course I have not even touched in how much more magnificent your campaign tracking will be or how every advertising and sales channel can be held significantly more accountable now.

Helpful Google Analytics Resources:

How do I track e-commerce transactions?
Indepth FAQ and Troubleshooting Guide

Finding your E-commerce reports:
Left Nav > Ecommerce (overall revenue, transaction & product reports)
E-commerce data is also available on most Visitors & Traffics Sources reports (select the Ecommerce tab, instead of Site Usage)

Helpful Occam's Razor Articles:

#3: Your Only True Analytics BFF: Bounce Rate

Even by the end of 2008 I am astounded at how few people know what the KPI (yes it is a KPI!) Bounce Rate truly means and how delightfully easy it is to understand and deploy in your war against waste.

Bounce rate is simple, easily accessible and should be used as the first point filter for "initial engagement", "quality traffic", "crappy pages", "efficient campaigns" and other such key desires.

google analytics referring sites bounce rate 12

In this economy if you are not truly a BFF with bounce rates you are leaving too much of your scarce money on the table.

Helpful Google Analytics Resources:

Bounce Rate clarified

Finding your Bounce Rate:
Bounce rate is a metric on most Visitors, Traffics Sources & Content reports

Helpful Occam's Razor Articles:

#2: Powerfully Leverage Custom Reports.

You are unique, yes even special :), why should your reports not be? Why be saddled with 80 reports from your Web Analytics Vendor when none of them quite contain exactly what you want?

Or what about those crabby patties in Marketing who won't look are any report and you want to give them just a two column report with just the KPI's that they need?

For all of those reasons and more you need to use Custom Reports.

All you need are two things: 1) Some understanding of what your users want 2) Drag and drop skills. . . .

custom reporting google analytics

A unique report for your unique needs.

Note that I have put in one table KPI's and Metrics that are otherwise scattered all over the place in GA. No more hunting and pecking!

Also note the other cute thing you can do with Google Analytics. You don't have to create a massive puke of reports. You can create a tab with just metrics for the Sales Team. Another tab in the same report with Marketing Team metrics etc.

I call it creating "micro ecosystems". You have a fewer reports, and they are significantly more targeted. Try it, you'll love it.

Promise me, you'll never look at a standard report ever again.

Helpful Google Analytics Resources:

Helpful Occam's Razor Articles:

And, drum roll please. . . . the #1 thing to do with Google Analytics is. . . .

#1: Give Me Segmentation or Give Me Death!

Were you surprised at my #1 choice? I think not.

Aggregated data rarely provides the insights you need. That's because lots of different people come to your website for different purposes and and exhibit different kinds of visitor behavior because of different drivers and motivations.

If that were not enough you are trying to get certain goals achieved through different strategies and electric shocks.

All this makes for a potent soup and your only way to truly being a Analytics Emperor is to be really really really good at using Segmentation.

analytics advanced segmentation

Use Google Analytics to focus on visitor persona's you care about, measure the degree of visitor engagement, identify high value sources, magnify desired customer behavior, or simply identify the "whales" who buy tons of stuff from you.

How to? See specific actionable tips in the Occam's Razor article linked below.

Helpful Google Analytics Resources:

How do I create and use advanced segments?
Helpful FAQ's on Advanced Segmentation inc regex

Finding your Advanced Segmentation reports:
Left Nav > Advanced Segments (under Settings)
Segments are also available from the drop-down menu at the top right of the interface (default: All Visits

Helpful Occam's Razor Articles:

There you are.

Nine amazing things you can do to truly leverage a free web analytics tool like Google Analytics (or a paid analytics tool like WebTrends or Omniture or your favorite).

Do this and you and your company will be fine. More than fine.

If you are not doing all of these things, you are simply collecting data. You won't be fine.

Good luck!

Now your turn.

If you had to maximize the value you get out of a web analytics tool what would be your advice?On our suggested scale, how would you rate yourself? A Prince? King? Emperor? :)

Please share your insights, critique, love (and self ratings!).

PS: Before we go I would like to thank two beautiful people for their help: Matt Parry & Rachel Meyers. You rock!

Comments

  1. 1

    Well, seems like my name says it all? :-) Great posting!

  2. 2

    Many, many thanks for this post. I was looking for more info about GA and see what I got. As always you rock Avinash and hey, Happy 2009!
    :)

  3. 3
    Florian Pihs says:

    Sometimes the best tips are the easy ones. Set up Google Webmaster tools month back, but never used it. Checked again today after reading your post and tata! instantly useful.
    Great post. Plus I can finally wear a crown in the office.

  4. 4
    Tim Leighton-Boyce says:

    As usual, I learn something new and I am reminded of something of deep importance with each new post here.

    The 'new' — the link to the rankings filter on Joost's blog.

    The 'deep importance' — none of us ever seem to make enough time for concentrating on SEO. If even you, Avinash, admit to a shortfall there, perhaps I should stop beating up myself and my clients over the subject! (And just get on with it, of course.)

  5. 5

    Once again a gem avinash. I'm loving 'Advanced Segmentation' GA is getting better n better…

  6. 6
    Vivek says:

    Avinash,

    Happy 2009! (while it's still good)

    Thanks for this incredibly grounding post. It is always nice to know what other ninjas consider important. It is especially good to see that one's efforts are not in vain.

    In my experience GA's benchmarking is less than ideal. Perhaps this is because benchmarking data is available only from those who agree to share their data, but the results I see for my site (and category) are largely skewed and can hardly be taken seriously – I know I am not making 3000% more money than others :)

    Here are a few posts discussing Benchmarking on the GA forums.

  7. 7
    Ned Kumar says:

    Great post Avinash with lot of value-add and practical tips.

    Here is something for fun to remember your 9 tips:
    "Bouncing on Landing Pages Searching for Context with Segmented Goals on Ecommerce Custom Reports"
    :-)

  8. 8

    Avinash,

    This topic emphasizes the importance that was the last major update to Google Analytics and how this wonderfull tool made somethings become easier (or faster) for everyone.

    Can anyone imagine Google Analytics now without Advanced Segmentation? What about the Custom Reports? Oh well, I can't! And YES, I still remember your post about the Advanced Segmentations as if it were today. Fantastic.

    I can tell you that I was missing some topic focusing on Google Analytics features, so this one was EXACTLY what I was waiting for. Loved it.

    And well, I`ll start to claim about something to use on my head!

    Thanks for the topic. Thanks again and again. :)

  9. 9
    bobj says:

    Here's highest compliment you can get from a non-Ninja, Non-emperor, and Non-Techy:

    I can do it and understand it!!!

    Geez I'm beginning to think I can use some of this stuff for decision making with meaning.

    Great post, great reasoning, great why to, and most importantly, great how to.

    bobj

  10. 10
    Paul Rouke says:

    Excellent, post Avinash (actually its a must read), and no I wasn't surprised one bit at segmentation being your no.1! If you had to look up 'powerful' in the dictionary of Google Analytics features then this would surely be what you would see.

    Even better it provides an absolutely delightful user experience, with the predictive search results on regions, cities etc helping to really speed along segment creation.

    Hats off to the UI/UX team at Google!

  11. 11

    Super, super post. I am an Analytics King (make that queen), but need to be an Empress.

    Here's my recent challenge: I'd like to identify the traffic source (referred, paid, non-paid, direct, etc.) for about 100 best selling products in an e-commerce store.

    I have used the following dimensions in custom segments: visits with conversions, traffic source and product, but I have to create a segment for each of the 100 products and each traffic source. That's a huge number of segments.

    I have also tried using entrance paths for content pages, but that only shows me the source of the traffic for products, it doesn't show me the traffic source that sends the most conversions for a specific product.

    Any ideas?

  12. 12
    Nick says:

    Great post Avinash!

    To be a true Emperor, I think one also needs to kick ass in AdWords tracking. With the AdWords/GA integration you can see all your campaign data (cost, impressions, click through) tied to your site usage data (bounce, conversions, revenue) all in one report. Namely you are able to tie spend to profit.

    Where this becomes really powerful is if you start calculating the opportunity of improving one of these metrics. Instead of saying we'll fix campaign creative A with a because it has a low click through rate, we should be saying if I only had time to fix one creative, which would yield the greatest increase in revenue. Or improving the bounce rate for which landing pages would yield the greatest increase in sales?

    Somebody really smart said the problem today is that there is so much data to analyze, we its hard to focus our efforts on what is truly important. Now with the AdWords/GA integration you focus efforts on what will impact your bottom line.

  13. 13

    Great post Avinash, I will make time this year to implement some of these better in my websites.

  14. 14
    Emily Fazio says:

    Happy New Year! Thanks for the great article! For very small non-ecommerce sites (my main focus) I have been focused on attracting the right customers, and giving them what they need. Two of my fav objectives are visitor loyalty and lowering bounce rates. I am very glad to see their prominence on your list here!

    One thing I want to emphasize is the importance of on-line and off-line working together for the common good of humanity…ok, the company. For my market (data segmented to one state) I had a website with an average bounce rate hovering around 35-45%. By working with the sales staff and focusing on content, we have seen a 15% increase in organic search traffic, and a 30% drop in bounce rate over the last 3 months. AND our December bounce rate was less than 5%!! Not only does this show up in my reports, but in the off-line sales reports as well. December is typically a slow month for this business, but there was no drop off this year!!! In a slowing economy that is Huge. Now the site is being used as a sales tool, as well as a way of attracting new customers! Which of course leads to more segmenting…and happier customers…and happier sales people…and happier bosses :) This is why we love our jobs!!!
    ~Emily

  15. 15
    Eivind Savio says:

    Happy New Year Avinash.

    Problems with a great post like this is, how to add more value?

    I can't come up with a 10th point, but I will still add two things:

    1. Add a custom 404 page, track it, and segment your 404 errors. If you don't add a custom 404, you will never be able to spot the problem (using Google Analytics).

    2. Hacks to improve data quality. If I could pick only one hack I would pick tracking of full referral URL including search engines URLs.

    Sorry for pointing to my own article about Google SearchWiki, but with this hack and advanced segmentation you can get even better with point 7. :)

    Do people use Google SearchWiki to visit my site?

    How many visitors do I get from organic rankings on page one, two or three, and do they behave different?

    Since I'm from Norway, to me it's interesting to know how people uses Google. Do they search in pages from Norway, documents in Norwegian or every document in the world?

    The full referring URL hack/filter and Advanced Segmentation can tell me all this.

  16. 16

    Analytics Emperor (Gerben): Yours was perhaps my favorite comment, made me laugh outloud! Thanks.

    Florian: I am a huge fan of the webmaster tools data and diligently analyze mine and take action. I think that's partly the reason that though I had maybe 40 or so last year Google sent 265k visits to this site. Real ROI.

    Oh and I hope with your crown you'll get more respect from your co-workers!!

    Ned: That's awesome, absolutely love it. (And it's a tweet waiting to happen. :)

    BobJ: It is indeed a compliment of the highest order. My overall, internal, goal / slogan for the blog is: "Complexity Simplified". Your kind words tell me that I am making progress towards that goal. Thanks much.

    Emily: You are hereby crowned an Analytics Empress! :)

    I think it would be the dream of any Analyst to be able to show this kind of direct impact of actions taken on their data analysis. You are lucky, you are in a small business. Most big companies are so complex and have so many layers that most (99%) of the time is spend in publishing reports and rarely is there the kind of environment that would foster what your company has build. Cherish it.

    Eivind: Great tips, especially coming from a 9 out of 9 Analytics Emperor!

    I do believe that one sign that you are a true Emperor / Empress is that you take any web analytics tool and move beyond what is documented in the user manual or in vendor pitches. There is so much more that can be done.

    -Avinash.

  17. 17

    Vivek: Benchmarking does not report on revenue so by looking at Visits, Time of Site, Bounce Rate etc it would be hard to infer that you were making 3000% more than others.

    With regards to accuracy, certainly any external benchmark will not be perfectly aligned to your business. Even two direct competitors are rarely directly aligned. But…

    In Google Analytics benchmark data will only be shown if there are a significant number of "like minded" websites available to produce a benchmark with high confidence intervals. If the answer is no then no data is shown. Hence you'll notice that in some sub-sub-sub categories there is no data. In this case you drill up to sub-sub category (or just sub category) and the data becomes less granular.

    Your site will always be compared to "like minded" websites of "like size". The latter is automatic and important. The former is a best guess, hence my recommendation that you choose your own to ensure the guess becomes a sure thing.

    To re-stress benchmarking will rarely provide perfectly aligned number, there will always be some fudge factor (from anyone for anyone). But if you focus on trends then there is a still a ton of actionable insights available for you.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    -Avinash.

  18. 18

    Jennifer: Tough one. :)

    With segmentation you are trying to create pieces. What you are trying to do is actually "put pieces together" (group stuff).

    It is harder than it should be in GA but you have a few options.

    You can create a segment with all products and check by source.

    You can add more data in the item fields for your ecommerce tracking for the top 100 products.

    Of course then there is the grand old daddy of Google Analytics: using filters to group things together (and you don't have to touch your ecommerce code).

    Here's a quick and dirty example of an advanced filter that could do the trick, it uses the example of three product id's. . . . .

    Google Analtyics Advanced Ecommerce Filter

    As always for advanced things you might consider using a GAAC (Google Analytics Authorized Consultants) they are surprisingly affordable.

    Good luck!

    -Avinash.

  19. 19
    Manjula says:

    Simply Splendid. Thanks once again!

    Do you sleep? :)

  20. 20
    Rahul Deshmukh says:

    Avinash,

    Great post. I have fortunately used the features above and appreciate all the insights they provide.

    What would be very helpful is sharing segments/custom reports within your work group (admin sharing is fine too). I had created bunch of interesting segments, but had to replicate it for other users.

    Other note on benchmarking is the data retention policy. If your organization is nit picky about data retention and future use…my advice is to check with the appropriate teams. If you can get benchmarking enabled, it is very helpful to put everything in context.

    -Rahul

  21. 21
    Martin says:

    We have been using Omniture for three years at my company and even with a staff of a few folks I would rate our company's usage at the Prince level.

    Thanks for reminding us to demand more ROI from my team and from paying Omniture lots of money each year.

  22. 22
    Tim says:

    My mother-in-law got me an analytics package from the dollar section at Target. I'm going to regift it and continue using GA!

  23. 23

    We are Analytics Emperors aka Maximisers ! Will you create a badge so we can put it on our website ? ;)

    Great post Avinash !

    Jean-Sebastien

  24. 24
    Mark says:

    Once again great post Avinash

    Glad to know I cover all nine on most sites; I don't use benchmarking on all clients due to some privacy concerns. I would also say I think I can get better at #2 custom reports.

  25. 25
    Yellow SEO says:

    Excellent post Avinash, There are some great pointers you have here.. I will have pick up your book and give it a look see..

  26. 26
    gata_louca says:

    Fabulous – a wonderful recap of GA and what daily KPIs my marketing team SHOULD be looking at!

  27. 27

    Gotta love #1 and #2! Benchmarking is a concern though, up to what extent is it reliable? there is little info about how it works.

    What are your thoughts on how reliable GA's benchmarking feature is?

  28. 28
    Clive says:

    Nice to see some great posts up Avinash, Ive been really dissapointed of late that there has been such little new content as Im a little addicted to your knowledge.

    I have been using GA quite a while and do most of things mnetioned. Sometimes tho I seem to go through the motions and only pick out the glaring mistakes and sometimes lose sight of what is important and what is wasting company time.

    'The next steps' to some of these would be great. i.e some actual examples of improving conversion rates based on information obtained in each particular checkpoint you mention. This is because sometimes its still a case of "ok, I now have this info in front of me what should I do with it.

    Example. for your point no6 Landing pages.
    the highest visited page has one of the highest bounce rates. The 6th busiest page has the lowest bounce rate. Should you now try to get far more traffic to that 6th most popular page and ensure it is found by searchers etc. Ahh, not always Im sure as that page may not give you any monetary value even tho the searchers love it. So I guess that the actual value lies in the 'conversion value' and this actual value is the most important one throughout the site.

  29. 29

    Clive: I think in your comment you provide the prefect reason for me not to get into any details!

    See I would have said in the case below that you should figure out how to take lessons from the sixth page and apply them to rest of the site (and reduce bounce) because I am more of the mental model that first give the users (searchers in this case) what they want and then, slowly, figure out how to get more from them (like experimenting with more call to actions on the sixth page).

    But you mention that does not make sense in your case.

    Exactly what you fix can be so dependent on each case and business goals that often my advice might not apply.

    I promise not to shut up and still provide details were I can! :)

    -Avinash.

  30. 30
    Clive says:

    Thnaks for curteous reply..

    Of course you are correct Avinash, as is the norm. There are so many individual differences between business models, intent and websites of course and giving particular actions is probably not relevant to the majority each time.

    "you should figure out how to take lessons from the sixth page and apply them to rest of the site"

    Ahh, see I think im looking at it the other way around perhaps yet we still have the same intent of more goals, myself being more inclined to send more traffic to this better converting page by various means.

    A typical example might be an about us page that invariable from my own experience is a great converter, often difficult to become a major landing page (altho I am manageing to utilise this a lot better nowadays) Therefore I am seeming to direct users to the goal via this particular page.

    Do you think that is a sensible strategy or is shortsighted and I should improve other pages further so that I dont feel like I should cement the visitors interest via this about us page and should direct them immediately to the goal?

    Sorry is that confusing?

    Regards

  31. 31
    Nick says:

    Great post.

    Does benchmarking work for non-ecommerce sites?

    Also what software do you use to generate your torn page effect screen grabs? (slightly off topic I know but a great design feature)…

  32. 32
    Naveen says:

    True, Google analytics is quite an interesting tool and very useful when it comes to analyzing and increasing traffic to your website. Have used it myself and found it really useful. Moreover, it is free…

  33. 33

    Great post, as usual! I'm still trying to catch up on all your posts ;)

    I thought you gave a real wholistic look at getting the most out of your analytics. I would LOOOVE to see more posts about #2 and #1. Personally, I'm still trying to get a handle on how to most effectively set up custom reports and segmentation – especially in Google Analytics. Consider that an official fan request.

  34. 34

    Avinash
    Have you written any books on Google Analytics and where can they be purchased?.

  35. 35

    I'm a newbie and no cluebie. Are there kindergarten style Google Analytics classes available out there?

  36. 36

    Sheepshead Bites: There are several good options for you.

    Seminars for Success is one good option. They are held all over, and are clearly delineated as "Analytics" and "Analytics Advanced". :)

    Google Analytics Youtube Channel. You can watch videos from the GA team, they cover both advanced and beginner topics.

    Many of the Google Analytics Authorized Consultants (GAAC's) also offer calsses / workshops: E-Nor, Inc., EpikOne, Lunametrics.

    Of course then there are blogs, lots of them do a good job explaining things very nicely. Here are some I read just for Google Analytics:

    http://www.e-nor.com/blog
    http://www.epikone.com/blog
    http://www.lunametrics.com/blog
    http://www.roirevolution.com/blog
    http://www.advanced-web-metrics.com/blog

    International:
    http://www.goanalytics.info
    http://www.timoaden.de

    Ross Audiobooks: My book Web Analytics: An Hour A Day is not about any particular tool but rather about how to think about web analytics, how to make it more actionable, how to organize your teams and how to expand what you do.

    If you are looking for Google Analytics specific books I recommend these two books:

    Google Analytics Short Cuts by Justin Cutroni
    Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics by Brian Clifton

    Hope this helps.

    -Avinash.

  37. 37

    Concerning #7: Search, Organic, Get Good At It.

    This may seem surprising, but I'm victim of too much brand awareness. :-)

    When looking at the top 20 from Google Webmaster Tool, 18 out of 20 are brand related (variation of the company name and of one "product".) I also discover than 50% of the organic search include the brand.

    And still, our marketing agency continue to give me the "good for the brand awareness" excuse for bad ads performance (when looking at bounce rate as the key metric.)

  38. 38
    Dan says:

    Hi Avinash – just checked out Webmaster Tools – awesome stuff !

    Can you explain to me why the Position for the same keyword would be different in the Impression columns from the Traffic column ?

    My top keyword for Impressions is number 3 in the Traffic, but the Position number differs in the two sections…

    Many thanks !
    Dan

  39. 39
    Ken Doil says:

    i passed my google anlaytics test on tuesday. feeling good about that but putting it into practise is what it's all about and i'll be going thru your 9 point plan with a tooth-comb. thanks.

Trackbacks

  1. […]
    Every time Google Reader pings me with Avinash Kaushik’s RSS feed I feel a sense of extreme excitement and severe self loathing . . . Why is this you ask? Well, because it reminds me how much more I need to learn about web analytics, and how I really must spend more time with Google Analytics!

    Anyway, I just got pinged with this web analytics post and just had to share it with you guys. Avinash has very kindly put a 9 step web analytics starting post together for those of us who needed a kick up the bum.

    It’s not often I’ll tell you to leave one of my own pages, but in this instance you really should go check out this Web Analytics post for info on:
    […]

  2. […] Google Analytics Maximized: Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI & You | Occam's Razor by Avinash Ka… (tags: google+analytics) Share and Enjoy: […]

  3. […] Google una de cal y una de arena: Sacándole partido a GA, Google Analytics Maximized: Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI & You de […]

  4. […] Chief Evangelist Avinash Kaushik gives you 9 of the most potent metrics and reports for 2009. This is a timely article because it includes recently added features like Advanced Segmentation and even a tip on how to get more insight into your organic SEO performance through Google Webmaster Tools. […]

  5. […]
    Thanks Avinash for taking web analytics (Read google analytics) to the next level.
    Avinash has explained the 9 checkpoints that can make you the Analytics Empress/Emperor..

    You can read it here.
    […]

  6. […]
    I thought I’d share some links here on what I’ve found interesting and thought-provoking, some of which I have tweeted over the last few days:

    Google Analytics Maximized – Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI and You. I learnt a lot!
    […]

  7. […]
    O Google Analytics é uma bastante poderosa e das minhas preferidas. Embora me considere um novato em Google Analytics gosto bastante de explorar o ambiente e assuntos relacionados com Analise de estatísticas de sites.

    Hoje encontrei um post interessante sobre 9 cruciais para poder considerar-me ao mais alto nível de analistas de Google Analytics. Recomendo a leitura do artigo Google Analytics Maximized: Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI & You de Avinash Kaushik.
    […]

  8. […] Avinash Kaushik has written one of the best manifestos on analytics that I’ve read in recent memory. His nine point checklist is awesome and I’ve got to say that when I read it I come up way more short than I want to. There is some really awesome stuff in there! […]

  9. […] Occam's Razor author Avinash Kaushik wrote a brilliant blog post on analytics and shares his 9 point checklist for becoming an analytics master. While most of the post is centered on organic SEO, there is a lot of application there for paid search or pay per click. I highly recommend reading it. To summarize, his 9 point for becoming an analytics emperor are: […]

  10. […] of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day. Figure out how many of the 9 steps you are following and read the Deeper Analysis and Insights post from his blog for detailed tips on conquering the rest. Tagged as analytics emperor, avinash […]

  11. […] Avinash Kaushik/Occam's Razor: Google Analytics Maximized: Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI & You […]

  12. […] Google Analytics Maximized: Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI & You This more advanced article provides 9 tips for making you into an Analytics Empress/Emperor.  My favorite being number 8, make use of Analytics ability to provide information about internal site searches.  I had no idea this aspect existed and activated immediately on the sites I manage with a search feature. Also check out the author's archives on analytics for more insights to what you can learn from your implementation of Analytics. […]

  13. […] Avinash Kaushik on benchmarking, goals and more […]

  14. […]
    Here are two blog posts (The Huge Collection of Google Analytics Tips and Google Analytics Maximized: Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI & You) that give a little more detail on what you can do when you’re ready, but after getting the GA code on your site, here are a few things to get you started:

    1. Traffic Sources – This lets you know how visitors found you, via websites and search terms. This one is great because it can help you see whether your Facebook page and/or Twitter Tweets are worth the effort (you’ll find they will be). One thing Google Analytics has helped us find out: People search for our name over a dozen different ways to get to our site, including misspellings (”text a libranian”).
    […]

  15. […]
    1. Give me segmentation or give me death!

    Want to hear more on the above? Check out Avinash’s post on Deeper Analysis & Insights for the full story. Worth a good weekend read and could be your ticket to Analytics Emperordom!
    […]

  16. […] Google Analytics Maximized: Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI & You Avinash Kaushik, Occam's Razor | 1/6/09 […]

  17. […] Google Analytics Maximized: Deeper Analysis, Higher ROI & You Avinash Kaushik, Occam's Razor | 1/6/09 […]

  18. […]
    Analytics – Google Analytics maximized: deeper analysis, higher ROI & you – Avinash Kaushik (Kaushik.net)
    Ten awesome analytics tips and the dozen-or-so links to additional analytics articles are more than enough to get you through one of those rainy Sunday afternoons.
    […]

  19. Quick Guide: Measure ROI With Google Analytics says:

    […]
    Generally speaking, we can now attribute $25 to each visitor to your contact page.

    When you set this value to the goal, each time you view your statistics, you can theoretically ‘see’ the value of your traffic. To take it a step further, look at your goal statistics based only on search engine traffic and you can get an overall picture of the value of the traffic sent to you by way of the search engines.

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  21. […]
    There are a variety of ways to use google analytics for conversion tracking, using regular expressions, as well as email/reporting. Google Analytics can be as simple or as robust as you want it to be. Take the time to put all the right tracking in place so as you start creating campaigns, you know exactly what you are getting out of them.
    […]

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