Google Analytics

Google Analytics Beta Released

Google Analytics recently released their new tracking code. The improvements to Google Analytics are quite substantial and take into account the growing use of components on a web page that do not load a new page. The problem for many years has been the bounce rate may not accurately reflect what’s going on, on a page. The new Google analytics tracking code will help developers track uses of these new developments in scripting.

Best Change? Easier tracking for subdomains.

The best change is easier setup for tracking visitors across subdomains. Previously setting up cross site and subdomain tracking was a nightmare. The new version will easy this process.

Wish I could get back hours for ….

Countless hours went into setting up e-commerce websites to switch Google Analytics from http to https. Now it’s done automatically.

Summary of Google Analytics Changes

  • Track visitors across domains without trying to reinvent the wheel
  • Track visitors across subdomains much easier
  • E-commerce transaction setup is now much easier
  • Surprise – Google allows you to add other smaller, regional, search engines now that were previously not listed.
  • Very cool – segmenting visitor types e.g. new visitor vs repeat, product request vs service request, etc.
  • Controlling data collection settings – this will make the privacy advocates happy. But how many site owners will actually use it?
  • Control session timeout – standard is 30 minutes – seems like a good setting that you don’t want to mess with.
  • Control campaign conversion timeout – standard is 6 months – this is seems long because different ad sources can generate the same visitor.
  • Ignoring searches for your own domain name – for example some times I type in in the search box instead of the address bar. Then google searches for the site by name. You can now set this so your organic traffic isn’t adjusted up artificially.
  • Solution for a problem we all wish we had – Controlling the data sampling rate – if you’re getting too much traffic to analyze you can now skip x amount of visitors.

Downloadable Files with more information on the new Google Analytics ga.js

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a way to capture visitor data to your website using java script tracking of visitors. Google describes the services as the following “Google Analytics tells you everything you want to know about how your visitors found you and how they interact with your site. Focus your marketing resources on campaigns and initiatives that deliver ROI, and improve your site to convert more visitors.”

Google explanation is correction, yet knowing what to do with the data that Google Analytics delivers is the difficult part.

Usefulness of Google Analytics

Google analytics are extremely useful. For nearly websites e-commerce and otherwise Google analytics will provide more than enough data to determine how to improve ones website. The more time you spend on Google analytics the more you will realize that the power of the data included in the reports is barely touched.

Google Analytics is a great tool for the following:

  • Comparing ROI between various PPC campaigns.
  • Comparing ROI between PPC and SEO campaigns.
  • Determining which pages are the most useful to visitors (time spent on page in conjunction with conversion rate for those specific pages).
  • Goal conversion analysis
  • Determining visitor loyalty (new vs returning visitors).
  • Web design parameters (e.g. screen size, browser type, etc)

It is difficult to take the data available on Google Analytics and create suggestions and then implement those changes to create a positive influence on the variable you would like to improve (usually conversion rate). Fruition’s experience with Google Analytics and conversion analysis in general, can save you a substantial amount of time when optimizing your websites.

Who should use Google Analytics?

Fruition recommend all customers use Google Analytics unless they have privacy concerns. It is a very cost effective way of analyzing data to your web site.

The history of Google Analytics

The Google analytics tools were first available from Urchin. Urchin was a San Diego area company who developed the tools which were primarily server based analytics. Google’s acquisition of Urchin had two effects. It made the services free and increased the user base significantly. used Urchin for several years on its client’s websites and considered it a great acquisition for Google. Although, we must admit we were paying significant fees to Urchin and when Google made the services free it did sting a bit. Yet, the improvements in the Java based Google Analytics have been consistent and the tracking has become increasingly more useful.

Google Analytics setup

Google analytics is easy to setup and free to use (for now).

1. Sign up at Google Analytics Sign-up.

2. Insert the tracking code on the site. The code must be inserted right above the body tag. You no longer need to adjust the code for https.

For e-commerce sites that utilize smarty (e.g. C-cart) the most efficient way to include the code is to display the https or http depending upon what is needed (if statements):

This is no longer need with the new Google Analytics ga.js

{if $body_onload ne ” or $smarty.get.mode eq “order_message”} onload=”{if $smarty.get.mode eq “order_message”}javascript:__utmSetTrans();{/if}{$body_onload}”{/if}>.

Alternatives to Google Analytics

1. Click tracks. Click tracks is a great analytical tool. If you are going to purchase an additional analytic service this is it. TANGENT: check out Click tracks only has the plural of their name and “clicktrack” does not have the plural of their name. This is a common mistake that has been going on since domain names were first registered. Of course, there were probably some high level decisions going on as to whether it makes that big of a difference. Regardless, it’s an issue that should be avoided at all costs.

2. Webtrends. Fruition’s experience with Webtrends has not been good. We recommend not purchasing this service. It is difficult to use, the interface is bulky. We haven’t used it in a few years so check it out for yourselves.

3. Omniture. Omniture is a high end tool that has been and will continue to be popular.

Fruition’s Google Analytics Services

Fruition provides several services related to Google Analytics, from basic setup to substantial analytic analysis service for websites with over 1+ million visits per month. Fruition web analytics services include:

1. Setup.

2. Analysis of plain English reporting of data i.e. we tell you what the reports tell you about your website.

3. Conversion analysis and implementation of conversion improvements. Fruition performs extensive analysis of your website’s performance. We then suggestion and implement changes that will improve the conversion rate of your website.

If your website does not have Google Analytics installed we can install it and being the baseline testing using log analysis tools. After the baseline conversion rate is establish Fruition will implement (or suggest for your implementation) design and content changes to improve the conversion rate. Achieving even a nominal improvement in a site’s conversion rate will result in long term improvements in revenue and profit.