Event tracking in Google analytics can be a painful task and it gets more complicated when your site has hundreds of outbound links, or downloadable documents you would like to track.
The good news is there are 2 options for how to track events (outbound links or files), manually or automatically with auto-tracking.
Option 1: Manual Tagging (complex, slow, prone to errors– recommended only for websites with a few outbound links or files to be tracked).
In this case we manually tag each link you would like to track. To log every click on a link to, for example, www.outbound.com, you would add an onClick event to outbound urls you wish to track:
<a href=”http://www.outbound.com” onClick=”recordOutboundLink(this, ‘Outbound Links’, ‘outbound.com’);return false;”>
Option 2: Auto-tracking - very easy & fast. Recommended for any website with large number of outbound links or files to be tracked.
Solution A; AnalyticsEngine provides you with a piece of script which you paste into your website just after your Google analytics and you’re done. No additional work or tagging required. In less than a minute you will be able to track thousands of outbound links or file downloads on your website.
This is how you see your results using solution from AnalyticsEngine
For small websites with a page views up to 100,000 per month this script is free. By the way, don’t confuse page views with visits. For example: 10,000 visits to your site can generate 4 page views per visit = 40,000 page views.
For websites with up to 1,000,000 page views the cost is $75 / month, plus there is an enterprise solution available as well. Considering how much time this saves you, it’s excellent value. Especially sites having a lot outbound affiliate links or downloads will greatly benefit from it.
Solution B; Or you can get similar script from advanced-web-metrics.com, for around $75 per domain (one off payment) and with no restriction on page views. No freebies here, however there is a 30 days money back guarantee and support from Brian Clifton, who is the author of an excellent book ‘Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics’ and former Head of Web Analytics for Google.
This solution won’t allow you to see clicked outbound links and file downloads under ‘Events’, but instead under ‘Content’ as page views. See the screenshot below.
And here when used auto-tracking used from advanced-web-metrics.com
(screenshot used from advanced-web-metrics.com)
July 14th, 2011.
Is brand awareness really important, or is it just hype? After reading a case study on ‘how catalogues drive online sales’, I did my own research with a focus on brand awareness, and analysed brand awareness on 2 small ecommerce sites, one of them with a catalogue, another without.
The result? Overall conversion rate on the site with a catalogue was 5.95%, while on the site with no catalogue, only 0.52%, a difference of 1,044%.
In order to calculate the impact of catalogues sent out to clients (offline marketing), we have to firstly establish where or how we find these people in your analytics tool. As these visitors receive your catalogue, we can therefore expect several ways how they get back to your site:
- type directly your specifically created vanity url for your catalogue (e.g. www.mysite.com/10off)
- or type your site url without the campaigned parameter
- or search for your company name using a search engine
- or dial your number on the catalogue and place a phone order. To be able to track this, you will need a call tracking solution which links with your Google analytics. Highly recommended, as it will allow you to assign your marketing to a relevant channel.
After we establish catalogue user behaviour, we need to find them in our web analytics. In Google analytics go to ‘traffic sources’ and get data for you ‘direct traffic’ and ‘search engine – paid and non paid brand keywords’. The data we need are: traffic amount and revenue generated. Let’s define what brand and direct traffic is first.
What is brand traffic? – These are the keywords people use to find your brand. For example, for Datadial.net, brand keywords could be ‘data’, ‘datadial’, ‘data dial’ and any misspellings of the brand name.
What is direct traffic? – These are visitors who type your domain name into their browser. NOTE: make sure your own company traffic is excluded by using filters in Google Analytics.
By combining brand traffic and the direct traffic you get ‘brand awareness index’ as a percentage of your overall traffic. So you will end up with number like xx% of visitors who visited my site used either my brand keyword or typed my url directly (direct traffic).
Exact calculation would be:
In terms of benchmarking, the higher the ‘brand awareness index’, the better. If your brand awareness index is 20-30% or less, that means people don’ t remember your company, site, product or service.
If your ‘brand index awareness’ is around 60+% then give yourself a high five, as everybody in the universe knows you! Well, not quite, as you would also like to find out what your market share is. Then give yourself high five if you also discovered that your market share is sound too.
Let’s jump now to some real examples.
In the example below, site A (no catalogue), with a ‘brand awareness’ of 20.92%, converted at 0.52%. Site B (with catalogue), with a ‘brand awareness’ of 65%, converted at 5.95%.
Notice one thing, site B received significantly less traffic, but the site revenue on both sites was almost identical. Also notice, that these visitors brought in both cases approx. 80% of site revenue.
So that leaves us with a question. What if I increased my site brand awareness from 20% to 60%? Is it going to have any impact on my revenue? And the answer is YES, because as we already know, direct and brand traffic conversion rate is higher, as you can see in this table below.
I hope you will find this useful and apply it to you next marketing strategy.
If you found this idea intriguing and would like to test it, call Jan at 0208 6000 500 and we will help you with calculating, planning and testing.
July 8th, 2011.
1. You didn’t explain exactly what it was that you wanted…
Did the SEO agency you chose actually understand what it is you do? Did you assume they would? I bet you did! Well that was a rookie error – just because they know SEO, it doesn’t mean that automatically they’ll know all of your business goals and aspirations. It certainly doesn’t mean that through SEO, all of your dreams will come-true overnight. Covering things such as budget and goals are essential in order for us to devise the appropriate strategy for you.
2. The SEO’s weren’t told what already worked (or didn’t work) for you…
Were you clear about what the best features of your online endeavours are so far? Did you talk about what proved successful, or things you tried and that were unsuccessful?
All conversions can be tracked which shows any progress SEO’s have (or haven’t) made. However, if you don’t inform the SEO’s of what already works or doesn’t then you can’t argue if there are repeat mistakes.
3. You didn’t indicate the importance of having one main person oversee the account…
Because any reputable SEO agency isn’t made up of just one person behind a desk and computer handling every enquiry made, but is rather formed of a team of people ranging in size (the team not the people, although this applies to both ) that help manage your account – it is likely that, much like a ‘Chinese-whisper’, your goals, aims and dreams are somewhat diluted to anyone that didn’t speak to you directly.
For example, when person 1, explained the information to person 2, who made brief notes and handed those to person 3, person 3 wasn’t following your direct instructions. They might not have fully understood the notes…however, you don’t have to accept this. If you only feel comfortable with one person in particular handling your account, request that only that person have access to it. This way, any changes made by you won’t come as a surprise to the SEO.
4. You didn’t understand the amount of work needed and so were surprised when costs were higher than expected…
Good Search Engine Optimization will get your site discovered in online search results. There is however, more to it than that. Many people in an SEO agency work to get your site to its optimum, and you need to be aware of just how much work goes into this.
This team will mainly be in charge of making sure that SEO is being carried out for all your online needs
This team works alongside the SEOs to help get you publicity online.
Usability & Design:
This team will have the job of creating a smooth user experience for all users that come across your website.
This team will develop, build and ensure things work – such as buttons on your site, conversion tracking and more.
Providers of Content:
This team will ensure that good content is maintained, and optimised so that people can find it.
5. You didn’t maintain a good relationship with the agency…
Chances are, you started off all guns blazing, before slowly falling into a pattern of laziness, assuming the agency would take care of everything the way you wanted – meaning you wouldn’t have to worry about it.
Further, you were unavailable for meetings, you didn’t specify what kinds of reports you wanted, and changes were (or were not) made that you caused dissaproval. When (on your say-so) these changes were reversed, rankings and conversions fell and this caused (even more) tension between you and the agency.
Remember, rankings and conversion rates can see-saw and any changes made to your site can take time to show the positive affect they are having. You should try not to ignore advice about possible re-designs or new pages that should be added to your site. Other things to consider are using services to monitor your online reputation and testing better versions of your website to get the best results.
Goals in web analytics allow you to measure conversions on your website. So before you can start setting up goals, you need to know what actions (KPIs) are important for your business.
The most commonly used goals for ecommerce stores are:
- Sale completed
- Email sign up
- Help page visited
- About us page visited
- Return & delivery page visited
- Visitors who placed their order over the phone
NOTE: to be able to track revenue, average order value and what products you sold in Google Analytics, you will need a developer. See our Google analytics set up and audit prices.
Non-ecommerce websites goals could be:
- Contact us form completed
- About us page visited
- Contact us page visited
- Support page visited
- White paper download
- Pages/visit (useful for non-profit or news sites)
- Phone call tracking
Setting up goals for ecommerce stores – checkout:
Let’s say, your goal url is www.mysite.com /pages/checkout_thankyou.aspx. Below are screenshots illustrating how exactly to set up the goal in Google Analytics so you can track your sales.
URL – don’t use the full url. Instead of www.mysite.com /pages/checkout_thankyou.aspx, use /pages/checkout_thankyou.aspx
Goal value – leave it as 0.0 (for goals directly tracking ecommerce transactions), as additional ecommerce tracking codes installed on an order confirmation page will give us the exact value of each order.
Any other goals should have a value assigned to them. If you can’t calculate an exact value of each goal, then you can use value of 10.
Always set up a funnel, as this feature allows you to visualize each step and where your visitors are bailing out. Name it so you can easily associate with actual pages.
After we saved the goal, we need to install ecommerce tracking code on your order confirmation page (job for a developer). See our Google analytics set up and audit prices.
For more instruction regarding the code above go to http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/tracking/gaTrackingEcommerce.html.
If any sales were made, then usually after 4-12 hours you should be able to see your transactions being tracked. If you made some sales within 24 hour period, but still can’t see any conversions being tracked in your analytics, then your goal isn’t set up properly.
With the goal and the funnel being tracked, you can see at which step your visitors are leaving and then with A/B testing you can try to fix it.
The process to set up goals for non-ecommerce sites is very similar, but with the following differences:
- No ecommerce tracking code required on your confirmation page
- Goal value – Very important. Either calculate your actual value per lead if you are able to monetize it, or try to use a goal value of 10, 50 or 100 (never leave at zero on non-ecommerce sites). This way you will be able to see in the analytics how valuable each page is in terms of contributing towards a goal. This will also help during conversion optimisation to find the lowest & highest performing pages.
At the beginning of the June, our email marketing platform went through some enhancements in features and functionality, including mobile/SMS features (available July, 2011), Facebook and Twitter integrations, and the new workflow automation canvas.
Send Time Optimisation
For each contact, send time optimisation automatically schedules email messages to send at the time of day, and optionally the day of the week, the contact is most likely to open emails from you. You should avoid using send time optimization for time sensitive deliveries where you want control over when the email is sent. If a contact is new or we don’t have sufficient open time data for a contact, the delivery will be made using the time you choose using the Send message now or Send at this time radio buttons.
NOTE: send time optimisation option is only enabled in advanced options when sending your email campaign.
Workflows (available end of June, 2011)
With workflows you can specify combinations of triggers, filters, and actions that determine how to handle contact data, and what marketing communications to send them.
By integrating your email account with a Facebook account you’ll be able to add a Like button to email messages and webforms, schedule & post Facebook messages, let contacts sign-up using their Facebook information, and map Facebook data to contact fields. You can also trigger workflows based on if someone liked a status, liked a page, commented on a status, or posted to a page.
As with Facebook integration, integrating your account with your Twitter account allows you to post to Twitter and track the posts made via the application. You can also trigger workflows based on whether a contact mentions or retweets a Twitter username you have setup in your account.
Support For QR Codes
QR codes allow you to encode a URL into an image that you can add to email messages. If a contact prints out the email, they can take a picture of the QR code with their smart phone and they will be redirected to the URL you specified for the QR code. Read more about What’s a QR code.
Redesigned Message Overview Page
Redesigned message overview page now includes more information about metrics associated with email messages, as well as the delivery groups which an email message has been added to.
Auto-Saving of Messages
This new feature will auto-save your messages automatically to the Drafts folder every minute. That way, if you forget to save a message or your computer crashes, you will still be able to access the version of the message you were working on. The Drafts folder is automatically created for you when this feature is enabled.
Message Approval Prior to Sending
When enabled, all newly created messages will require approval before they can be send. To enable go to: Home > Settings > General >
2 minutes tour
30 minutes webinar
If you ever seen this strange looking black & white square in any form of advertising on a bus, train, email, business card etc., then you met a QR code.
What is a QR code?
The definition on Wikipedia says – QR code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers.
Country of origin
Japan. Approved by AIM International (Automatic Identification Manufacturers International) standard (ISS – QR Code) in October 1997.
How do you read it?
You need an iPhone or Android phone with installed QR code reader.
What does this code contain?
An URL to a website you try to promote, or text, phone number or SMS (check our QR code to see what’s there).
Is it good for anything useful?
If you think creatively there are many ways that you can use QR codes to promote your business such as on labels, business cards, storefront displays, and embedding promotions and discounts and links to Facebook.
QR codes are already widely used in Japan and increasingly in the UK. I guess the more tech savvy people will be more amenable to them.
How other companies use it?
- On their business cards – by placing a QR code on your business card you allow the receivers to save your business card details without any typing
- In print/magazines – will take a reader directly to your website, without typing your URL
- On billboards and in advertising on public transport
- On products
Couple of good marketing ideas how to use QR codes I collected from the net
Put a tag 20 feet tall on billboards all over the country. People in cars take a picture of it, and some of them unlock URLs that win Xboxes and Kinects. Regardless, think big.
Make them surprising & unpredictable – the more surprises, innovative ideas and unexpected offers will be hidden in these QR codes, the more will people check them. Beware of increased number of ‘treasure hunters’ checking every single QR code they come across and leaving your site as quickly as they came, if not a ‘treasure’ found there.
Are your bounce rates extremely high? Does Google Analytic’s show that people are only spending a very short time on your site before leaving? Loyalty rates low? As a web-master if you face any of these issues, read on for some tips on how to overcome them:
Have some “me” time
Link to your site – on your site. The more links your website includes to the pages on your site the better. The simple logic behind it is this, when these links are clicked, they lead to another area of your site. This means people will be hanging around longer, seeing what else there is to see rather than being lead off to other places online or simply leaving altogether.
Opt for quality over quantity
What would you rather:
(a) thousands of visitors daily who stumble onto your site & realise they have been duped by your misleading ad causing them to instantly leave and grumble about wasted online browsing (which would result in high CTRs, virtually no conversions and an extremely high bounce rate).
(b) a consistent amount of daily visitors who spend a little longer on your site browsing and hopefully converting?
The point of this rhetorical question is relevance. A person wanting to buy household goods for interior design, finding your site through an ad suggesting household goods for interior design before discovering what you actually sell are gardening products, will leave. You may be happy about a high CTR but remember, you are paying for every click in a CPC campaign and every thousand impressions in a CPM one; be specific.
Avoid mazes, nobody likes those
The origins of the internet arguably date back to the 19th century, yet 2 centuries later people still create websites with awful navigability leaving the average web surfer frustrated enough to give up searching for whatever it is they wanted on that particular site and going elsewhere. If you want people to stay, you must make each section of your site clear and easy to get to, it wouldn’t matter if you had the most wonderful web content available if people didn’t know it was there.
Get the right look
Using Google Adsense is one great way to bring some extra revenue. When people come to your site and you have too many ads, links to here & there, misspellings, dodgy looking logo’s/pictures, flashing animations and the like…they leave. These things are annoying and really count towards (or in this case against) customer confidence. Try Google’s ’website optimiser’ – a tool that allows you to test different versions of your site to help decide what the best version is.
Incentives and interaction
Incorporate things into your site that people want to spend time doing, this could include anything from quizzes, polls, questions, comments areas, forums, things to rate, games etc (I could keep listing things but I think you get the point).
April 15th, 2011.
PPC is a complex system of bidding on low cost, undiscovered but really high traffic keywords in attempt to rank as high up in Google’s SERP’s for your brand as possible.
Often underestimated, users create campaigns which run okay. Maybe they break even, perhaps their site is getting more exposure and if they are lucky, they might even get some conversions. One quick search, and the internet overflows with hints, tips and tricks on how to effectively create PPC campaigns to maximise your ROI, and everyone lives happily ever after…
Unfortunately this isn’t the reality for everyone. Sometimes campaigns can take an awful turn for the worst and instead of those fluffy guides that explain how to be a PPC mastermind, I often wonder if those company owners and PPC newbie’s who suffer have done so because they read a different, slightly darker guide that mislead them. This is how I imagine such a guide would read:
Spend wisely and try to set a reasonable budget that you will be able to pay.
Invest copious amounts of money into every campaign almost breaking the bank. It doesn’t matter if you have other bills to pay or budgets to keep to, now that you’ve read a little here and there, it’s guaranteed that this will pay off – the more money invested the better!
Avoid the main keywords for your brand, there is likely to be high competetion for these which will result in high CPC rates!
Try your very best to beat-out the competition by going head to head for the most competitive keywords for your brand. Be generic and avoid specific. For example, if you’re selling sportswear, bid on “shoe”, “trainer” and “clothing” so that when somebody searches for those terms, your ad will appear somewhere in the results as long as you followed that first rule about money!
Try to use long-tail keyword prhases that have lower search volumes but also lower CPC rates. Using a variety of broad and “phrase” match terms can help with this too.
Be extremely precise by using [exact match] for everything. Long keywords are for suckers, get to the point with one word terms, be honest who has the time to think up long-tail keywords anyway? Instead, spend the time you have saved and go shopping or catch up with an old friend!
Carry out keyword research so you can get an idea of the kinds of things people are searching for. This might also help you to think of alternate keyword variations that people might not have thought up, but will get the desired result.
Do everything as quickly as possible! You don’t have the time to hang around when people are selling the same product as you! Use your intuition and instinct, the first words that pop into your head when you think of your product are the ones you should go for. Get them in and bid ASAP!
Monitor your ads throughout the day, this will help you to discover what is getting clicks and impressions and what isn’t. If something isn’t working, change it.
Time is money. Once you have quickly set up one campaign leave it to simmer and create the next one. If you have followed this guide so far then everything should be a-okay!
Don’t worry if you aren’t getting a good enough ROI to begin with. Use whatever results you have as a learning curve and improve what you need to. Use helpful features like the opportunities tab, or the many reporting tools to make a difference.
Money is everything. If you check and your campaigns aren’t doing well, you’re doomed and should probably give up. Shame on you!
Follow this guide and be a professional failure now!
April 13th, 2011.
Using non-standard characters in the page title and meta description tag seems to be a growing trend in many industries. The idea is that by using eye-catching non-standard characters readers attention is drawn to their result first, even in preference to results that may be above them.
The practice of optimising search results to maximise click-through-rate is not a new one and has been used in PPC advertising to good effect for years, but where PPC ads have to go through an approval process (where many techniques are outlawed) meta descriptions and organic results do not, so boundaries can be pushed much further.
Who Is Doing It?
How Do I Use Special Characters In My Title And Description?
Use of many characters seem to be by trial and error. John Campbell is a man with far more patience than I, and he has tested the indexing of many special characters.
Special characters can be created using Unicode such as,
© is created with:©
® is created with:®
™ is created with:™
A full list of Unicode characters can be found on Wikipedia
What Are The Effects?
Currently there is largely anecdotal evidence for the benefits of an increase in click through rate. It would be difficult to test definitively as there are several other variables to factor-in.
Shaun Anderson at Hobo is well respected within the industry for running extensive tests on theories rather than relying on guesswork, he is running one the tests shown above,
It’s incredibly hard to test the impact of this on SERPS in an accurate manner. I am currently running some tests on pages on my site. You need a page with stable rankings, and a stable flow of traffic to get exact results, and that’s kind of difficult with the ever-fluctuation of Google SERPS and how changes to the UI (based on query or geo-location – for instance) impact your rankings and clicks on a daily basis – over time – in a natural way. Special characters in snippets certainly get noticed and commented upon, that’s for sure. Once you rank, GETTING CLICKED is what it is all about – every little thing that might help, should be tested on for size. You can get a way with a lot in terms of getting special characters in your snippet DESCRIPTION – but not so much in your TITLE link description (Google strips out some special characters from this element if you try it).
I was also lucky enough to hear from Craig Parker at Soula.com who has conducted some tests of his own.
In a short test I ran on a UK based e-commerce site I found implementing special characters in title tags had a small positive effect on click-through but this was not statistically significant, after around a week it caused a small negative change in [Google] rankings.
Implementing special characters in the meta was difficult to get indexed/displayed on the SERPs and provided a very minimal increase, again not statically significant.
The Bigger Picture…
The largest problem with this technique is that the more people use it the less effective it becomes. how long until our search results pages look like this and nobody derives any benefit from it?
The new and improved version
What are your thoughts on this?