Get the most from Google Analytics in 2013


Back in early November we were fortunate enough to spend 2 days at Google HQ in California attending their annual Analytics conference, a unique opportunity to speak with industry experts about the new features and ideas coming to the product in the near future.

We’ve had a few months to reflect on the announcements from the conference and below are what we are most looking forward to using with our client’s in 2013.

Universal Analytics

Universal Analytics enables us to track your website visitors at the human level rather than the session level, this is a big change from the current system based on cookies and short sessions. If your customers log in to your site or identify themselves in a unique way, you will be able to tell Google Analytics who this person is and if that person has visited before Google Analytics will tie up all their other visits in to a single history. This works across multiple devices and can span across the full history of interaction between you and your customer.

What does this mean for Web Analytics?
Now we track customers across different browsers and devices, we can clearly see how they behave before they convert (or don’t). Universal Analytics also introduces offline conversions, where if a customer visits your website then comes to your store, you will be able to track your offline sales as partly attributed to their web visit.

“Universal analytics is the new Google Analytics platform that is the biggest change to data collection and processing in it’s history.”

Unified Segments
The successor to Googles “Advanced Segments” brings the power of Universal Analytics to life. With better connected data about your visitors you can create segments of customers that have never been possible before. One example could be to create a segment of customers that have been visiting your site for over 2 years, or a segment of users that have purchased more than 10 items in the last 12 months. Comparing this data to other segments could help you identify intricacies in behaviour and better target your audience.

Customer Lifetime Value
Having these new powerful tools will help e-commerce sites keep track of their customers over long periods of time. Being able to clearly see customers behaviour over time will help us build a clearer understanding of how they interact with your site and it could help us set marketing budgets smarter. Using multi-channel funnels and the attribution modelling tool with this information will give us insights about how to keep customers for longer, and potentially encourage them to spend more.

Attribution Modelling Tool
To understand what the Attribution Modelling Tool does you need to understand a little about how Google attributes conversions to different campaigns.

Currently Analytics attributes any revenue from e-commerce or goal completions to the last action a user took to access your site, so if the visitor last came to your site through paid search, then paid search gets attributed the total value of the sale. However if the visitor came to your site 3 times, all by different marketing channels, shouldn’t those other channels also get some credit for the role they played?

Attribution modelling helps us do this by modelling how we attribute the revenue from conversions in different ways. For example we could attribute the money not to the last click, but to the first click, so the channel that generated the initial visit would be credited, or we could distribute the revenue across all channels equally. Often this throws up surprises, E-Mail is one channel we often see getting a huge increase from this type of modelling, often e-mails get a visitor to your site, but they don’t always convert right away, instead we see that the user comes back a few days later through another channel (paid ads, social, search) and then convert. So email did in fact play a big role in the conversion, but  using the traditional last click attribution was unfairly labelling its influence.

Cost Data Import
We are already seeing this in a few of our accounts, traditionally GA has only imported ad campaign data from Google Adwords. With the new Cost Data Import feature, we will be able to upload cost information from other campaigns we run through a CSV upload.
If you run other digital campaigns or even offline campaigns this will really help you visualise the ROI side-by-side in a single tool.

So these are the tools that we are most looking forward to using with our clients in 2013. If you would like any further information on how we can help you get the most from your marketing we would love to hear from you in the comments.


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