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Marketing With Google Analytics: 6 Defining Funnels

Sarah Jamieson - Sunday, April 06, 2014

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A funnel is a series of steps, or pages, which you expect prospects to move through on their way to complete a conversion.

For each URL destination goal (a page viewed after a visitor completes a desired action), you can define a funnel.

For example, you could define each page of your sales process as a step in a funnel.

You would set the Thank You page displayed after the sale as the goal, indicating you’ve made a sale.

  • Funnel steps:

    Shipping information > Payment information > Review and submit order.
  • Goal page:

    Thank You page confirming sale (triggers conversion)

Why Define Funnels?

  • Discover entry and exit points in the conversion process
    For example, you may have a high level of exits on the page where prospects enter their credit card information.
     
  • Eliminate bottlenecks
    You can then look at possible problems with the credit card page.

    Is it encrypted for security? Is it clear how to complete the order? 
  • Identify which site paths lead to the most conversions
    You may learn that many prospects enter the sales funnel after viewing the Features page, and facilitate this by adding a Buy Now button at the bottom of the Features page.
     
  • Use your findings to test changes on your site
    You can add a tutorial to your credit card page telling users how to complete the process and answering ordering FAQs.

 

Funnel Reports

 GA provides the following funnel reports to help you analyze performance:


  • Goal Abandoned Funnels
    The number of times a visitor entered a conversion funnel but didn’t complete the goal.

    For example, shopping cart abandonment is a problem for many sites – visitors begin the order process but don’t complete it.

    You can minimize funnel abandonment by ensuring that each funnel step is easy to complete and clearly explained. Test some options to make your funnels easier to complete and track your results.

Funnel Visualization Reports: Overview


 
Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_funnel/index.html


On the left, you can see how many visitors enter the funnel at each step and where they came from.

On the right, you can see how many visitors leave the funnel at each step and where they go.

In the middle, you can see how many visitors continue on through the funnel steps and complete the goal.

Let’s look at some detailed views of the report …

Funnel Entry Pages


 
Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_funnel/index.html


On the left, you can see the pages that visitors entered each step of the funnel from.

In this example, the “View Product Categories” page is defined as the first step of the funnel.

(entrance) shows how many times the funnel page itself was the entry page.

 

Funnel Exit Pages


 
Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_funnel/index.html


 
On the right, you can see the pages that visitors exited each step of the funnel from.

(exit) means that the visitor left your site from the funnel page.

The boxes on the right show where visitors went when they abandoned the funnel.
For each step, you can see the pages that visitors went to.

(exit) means that the person not only abandoned the funnel but also left your site.

Funnel Progress

Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_funnel/index.html


You can use the Funnel Visualization report to see how many visitors progress from one step of the funnel to the next.

Using this information, you can see which funnel pages are “leaking” visitors out of the funnel and losing conversions.

Here you can see that 994 visitors, or 29%, on the “View Shopping Cart” step of the funnel progressed to the next step, the “Login” page.

The other 2,418 visitors in the funnel exited the “View Shopping Cart” page and went to the pages listed on the right.

You can use this information to point to pages that need to be improved and track the results of changes you make.
 

Interpreting the Numbers

Let’s put it all together and take a look at what each of the key numbers in this report means …

Source: http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/interpreting_reports_funnel/index.html


Next blog: Google Analytics and eCommerce.

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Marketing With Google Analytics: 4. Content Metrics

Sarah Jamieson - Thursday, April 03, 2014

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Here are some of the Content Metrics that are obtained from Google Analytics.

 

Top Content

You can discover the most-viewed pages on your site and information about how users interact with them. For example, a high:

  • ‘Time on Page’ may show content that is especially engaging to visitors.

 

  • bounce rate may indicate a landing page that needs to be more relevant to the ad that links to it.
  • number of exits from a funnel page may mean your process is not clear enough or the page is generating an error. (With this you can easily find and fix all your error pages by doing a Site Audit with Persuasionworks’ SEO Software.)
     
       

Content Drilldown

View your content by drilling down through your site folder / silo structure to view data for each page. See 'Top Content' above, for some examples of useful data.
 
 

Top Landing Pages

Discover the most popular pages that visitors use to enter your site (also called entry pages).

You can view effectiveness metrics like bounce rates and goal conversion rates. These indicate how successful your landing pages are at meeting visitors’ needs and leading them to complete your site goals.

You may need to better target your ads and landing pages to give your visitors what they want, and make sure you are telling visitors what you want them to do with a clear call to action.
 

Top Exit Pages

View the top pages that visitors exit your site from. The significance of this varies by page.

Exiting from a goal page, like a “thank you” page displayed after an order, means a goal conversion.

However, exiting from a non-goal page, especially a page within a funnel you’ve defined, means that page may be confusing to users, or generating an error.
 

Site Overlay

This is a cool intuitive feature that lets you browse through your site while viewing clicks, conversions, and revenue numbers for each link.

How could you make your most valuable links more eye-catching and effective?

Site Search

Gives you information about visitors who use your web site search. Visitors often use your site’s internal search tool as a form of navigation.

Site search reports provide information that you can use to improve results. For example:

  • New keywords to use in search marketing
  • Poor search results
  • Missing content.

 

Virtual Pageviews and Event Tracking

Use these methods to track the performance of technologies that don’t generate pageviews.

For example: Flash, video players, JavaScript, file downloads, and dynamically generated pages (e.g. PHP).

You can get useful information such as:

  • Number of times a video is viewed
  • Length of time to load video
  • Number of times a report is downloaded
  • Number of errors visitors get when completing a form.
       

AdSense

  • You can link your AdSense account to GA for integrated reporting:
     
    Top AdSense Content – See details of your web pages’ performance and track ad performance.

    For example, if you discover that some of your pages have a high number of pageviews but aren’t very profitable, you can focus on improving these pages.
     
  • Top AdSense Referrers – Shows how different traffic sources contribute to your income.
     
  • AdSense Trending – Discover trends in revenue at different times of day and different days of the week.
     
  • View revenue by user visits as well as page impressions. This gives you a more complete view of what visitors are doing on your site before they click your ads.
     
  • Break down revenue by visitor location, browser, and traffic source to learn more about your users so you can better tailor your site for them.
     
  • View traffic by AdSense impressions, clicks, and earnings rather than just by pageviews.
     

Next Blog:  Goals and Conversion

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Marketing With Google Analytics: 2. Site Visitor Reports

Sarah Jamieson - Tuesday, April 01, 2014

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Google Analytics has over 80 reports with customizable features so you can see the data you want, how you want. You can also create your own custom report with just the information you want.

Visitors

Discover how visitors interact with your site, the type of visitors you’re receiving (new vs. returning, geographic region, etc.), and information about their browser and network capabilities.

How many new and repeat visitors came to your site, and how much did they interact with your content?

The answers to these questions tell you how well you’re doing with:
 

  • Driving new traffic to your site
  • Visit quality and engagement with content
  • Here are some basic terms to help you understand more about your visitors and the pages they viewed on your site:

 

Pageviews

 

The total number of pages viewed. Counted every time a page on your web site loads. Pageviews indicate how much your site is used.
 

Average Pageviews

A measure of visit quality, indicating how much visitors engage with your site.

A high Average Pageviews number results from targeted traffic (visitors who are interested in what you offer) and quality, relevant content (your site meets visitors’ needs).

A low Average Pageviews indicates a need to improve in one or both areas.
 

Unique Pageviews

The number of visits during which page was viewed. For example, three pageviews of a page during one visit = one unique pageview.
 

Time on Site / Page

This is a measure of visit quality that indicates the level of visitor interaction at your site. However, Time on Site or Page is not 100% reliable because visitors often leave their browser windows open but are not actually viewing your site.
 

Length of Visit

A measure of visit quality. A high number of long visits indicate many visitors are engaged with your site. You can see the entire distribution of visit times rather than just Average Time on Site / Page.
 

Depth of Visit

A measure of visit quality. A high number of visits with many pageviews per visit indicate your site is delivering what visitors want. You can see the entire distribution of visits, rather than just Average Pageviews.
 

Bounce Rate

The percentage of visits that ended after viewing only one page. Bounce Rate is a measure of visit quality. Often landing pages for ad campaigns are not adequately targeted, causing a high bounce rate. Always make sure your landing page features the product, service, or information that the ad promised.

You may also be driving traffic using keywords or ad copy that is too broad, resulting in untargeted visitors.

For blogs, bounce rate is usually not relevant, because most visitors only view one page.

Visit (or Session)

A period of interaction between a browser and a web site, ending when the browser is closed or the user is inactive for 30 minutes.

Visitor

Visitors are identified by a cookie so they are counted only once. This is designed to estimate as closely as possible the number of actual people who visit.
 
 

New vs. Returning Visitors

Lots of new visitors mean you’ve been successful at driving new traffic to your site.

Lots of repeat visitors mean you’ve been successful at engaging visitors with your content.
 

Map Overlay

– Visualize visit volume (visits and pageviews) and quality (conversion rates, per visit value, etc.) measures by geographic region, with the ability to drill down to the city level.

Languages

Tells you the preferred language visitors have configured on their computers. This can be valuable for targeting your content development and marketing spend.

Recency

How often visitors return to your site is a measure of how engaged they are with your site and their readiness to buy.

Loyalty

– A high number of repeat visits indicate visitors who are loyal to and engaged with your brand.

You can also see how recently prospects have visited, and how often they visit.

Browser Capabilities and Network Properties

Optimize your site appropriately for the technical capabilities of visitors’ browsers and networks.

This helps make your site user-friendly and engaging and can produce higher conversion rates and more sales.

Get answers to questions such as, do visitors’ browsers support Java? Which version of Flash is installed? What is their connection speed?

Track and Analyze Segments

You can define a specific segment of visitors to track separately.

For example, visitors who have selected an option on a form can be tracked separately. This is a good way to track the market segments you identified in your market research survey.

You can also define a segment by site interaction. For example, visitors who have joined your email list or commented on your blog.

Benchmarking

This is an optional functionality that shows how your site’s metrics compare with data from categories of other web sites.

Metrics you can compare include Visits, Pageviews, Pages per Visit, Bounce Rate, Average Time on Site, and New Visits.
 

Custom Visitor Segments (User Defined)

User Defined is an area within the Visitors section of GA where you can assign a “label” to track visitors who complete an action on your site.

 

For example, you can assign the label “Customers” to visitors who make a purchase.

 

Labels continue through multiple visits to your site, so you can use these labels to track the behavior of visitors in a certain segment.

 

Labels are called “User Defined Values” or “Custom Segments” in GA.

 

Assign a User Defined label to visitors, who complete an action on your site, including:

 

  • Visiting a page

    For example, you can assign the label “Customers” to visitors who reach the “Thank You” page displayed after a sale.

    Or you could assign anyone who visits the “Web Design” pages of your site to the “Web Design” segment.
     
        
  • Clicking a link

    For example, you can assign the label “Needs Help” to visitors who clicked your live help chat link (great for identifying pages that are confusing)
     
     
  • Submitting a form

    For example, you can assign the label “Sales” to visitors who selected this as their profession on a form.


    Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to divide your visitors into two groups, subscribers to your email list and non-subscribers:

    When visitors sign up for your email list they are cookied so they will be tracked as subscribers when they return to the site. 
     
    You can then compare purchases and other data for the two groups to see if your email list is making a difference to your bottom line.

    You can also track changes you make to your email list over time to see how they affect performance. 

    For example, does changing the day of the week you send your email newsletter have an effect?

 

Let’s look at another example, from GA.

 

You can see below that there have been:

 

- 28 visits from people labeled as “Customers”

- 4 visits from people labeled as “Needs Help” and

- “Not set” indicates all other traffic:

 


 

Source: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/07/segment-your-traffic-with-user-defined.html
 
 

Benchmarking

Benchmarking is an optional service that shows how your site’s metrics compare to other participating sites in your industry vertical market.

Benchmarking provides a valuable context for site performance and trends.

You can also compare your site to other industries.

 

This can be valuable, for example, to learn more about industries you are thinking about advertising in.

Metrics you can compare include:

  • Visits
  • Pageviews
     
  • Pages per Visit
     
  • Bounce Rate
     
  • Average Time on Site

  • New Visits
     

This benchmarking report shows a comparison of apparel sites of similar size:

 

Source: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2008/03/benchmarking-now-available-plus.html

In my next GA blog I'll discuss Traffic Sources.

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Marketing With Google Analytics: 1. Introduction

Sarah Jamieson - Sunday, March 30, 2014

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Online businesses have a huge advantage because everything online is easily measurable! Most businesses I have surveyed never track and test their processes, so ongoing testing will put you way ahead of the game. It’s easy to keep finding new ways to improve performance.

There is room for improvement in everything connected with your eBusiness.

The results obtained from analytics are scientific. They are the only way to refine and optimize your business and marketing processes for the highest performance!

Remember, exponential growth does not have to just be one big improvement – it is lots of little improvements that add up.

If you neglect analytics: testing, tracking, and optimization then you are throwing away one of the greatest advantages of running an eBusiness.

I know that the following analytics material is somewhat dry and difficult to read. However, I suggest that you make a quick overview of the whole chapter and refer back to the items on an ‘as needs’ basis.

With our Persuasionworks system you can choose to use our analytics or install Google Analytics - or use both.

Tracking with Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is a web site tracking tool provided free by Google. It used to be a system that you paid for, but Google bought out the system and now provide it gratis. You can’t beat free!

GA is intuitive and user-friendly, and it’s perfect for beginners and non-techies and it also has the advanced functionality to keep experienced marketers very happy!

Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it doesn’t have powerful features. Google Analytics will give you “insight payoff” that’s the equal of tracking programs costing thousands of dollars.

What Google Analytics Does for You

Basically, GA shows you:

  • Where your visitors came from;
  • How they interacted with your site;
  • How to improve your site so more visitors take the actions you want them to take.

With this information, you can improve your site and marketing performance to make more sales with higher Returns on Investment (ROI):

  • Sales process – Spot the weak points where you’re losing visitors, and “plug the leaks” to improve conversions.
  • Content engagement – Track visitors’ engagement with your site content and social media. Engagement is key to building relationships, positioning yourself as an expert, and creating loyalty. 
     
    Find out how to improve visitors’ experience on your site so they consume more of your content, revisit more often, and interact more with you.
  • Traffic sources – Compare the behavior and profitability of visitors from each of your traffic sources (such as ads, search engine listings, emails, and keywords). GA will track your visitors from click through to conversion.
  • AdWords – GA integrates with AdWords to provide extra information that can increase performance and ROI. GA automatically tracks cost and conversion rates by keyword and landing page.
  • Most and least popular and effective pages – See which pages are viewed the most and find out which pages are most and least effective at getting visitors to take the actions you want. 
  • Goals – Track how often visitors take the actions that are important to you, like purchasing, signing up for your email list, or even spending a certain amount of time on your site.

Ok, that's the intro to GA. Next blog: Google Analytics and Site Visitors.

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