Google Analytics Knock It Out of the Park

September 4, 2006 § Leave a comment

[ratings]

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Google Analytics Overview

In adding the Analytics service, Google provides a comprehensive product that can be used to complement Ad Sense or any other tracking a web owner might want.

Google has long been the number crunching titan in the web world and prove themselves yet again with this FREE service. They have more reports than you can shake an IP address at (I counted over 80 reports) and allow multiple sites with up to 10 unique administrators.

Setting Up the Service

Despite the sophistocation, the setup was just as easy as any other service. By adding a few lines to your template code, you can begin tracking web visitors immediately:

Users can manage websites from a top-level settings page. Each site can then be individually configured for filters and goals.
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(screenshot: Analytics Home)

What, exactly are your goals?
One of the more interesting features is the ability to track a visitor’s conversion to a defined goal. Goals can comprise a destination URL with several required or optional interim steps and/or specific commerce objectives. Many reports are cross-referenced with these goals.

We plan to test this neat feature by seeing how many users register a login on VibeTalk when viewing these reviews!
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(screenshot: Goal Setup)

The first reporting screen provides dashboards for three types of users: Executive, Marketer and Webmaster. The overview dashboards are identical between each, but as you move to Webmaster, you are offered dashboards of the more technical sort.
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(screenshot: Executive Overview Dashboard)

Marketers can see top keywords from search engines (you can even drill down and see which search engine).
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(screenshot: Marketing Summary Dashboard)

It is easy to see relative click activity and goal conversions with their page overlay (sadly, lots of clicks but NO goal conversion on the MyVibe Media Gallery!)
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(screenshot: Activity Overlay Report)

Other Reports
Many more reports are accessible in the sidebar that help administrators understand visitor behavior. Each report includes a handy help section at the bottom and related links along the right.

Unique Visitor Tracking
– Daily Visitors
– Visits & Pageview Tracking
– Goal Conversion Tracking
– Absolute Unique Visitors
– Visitor Loyalty
– Visitor Recency

Visitor Segment Performance
– New vs Returning
– Referring Source
– Geo Location
– Geo Map Overlay
– Network Location
– Language
– User-defined
– Domains

Web Design Parameters
– Browser Versions
– Platform Versions
– Browser & Platform Combos
– Screen Resolutions
– Screen Colors
– Languages
– Java Enabled
– Flash Version
– Connection Speed
– Hostnames

Marketing Campaign Results
– Campaign Conversion
– Source Conversion
– Medium Conversion
– Referral Conversion
– Campaign ROI
– Source ROI
– Medium ROI

Search Engine Marketing
– All CPC Analysis
– AdWords Analysis
– AdWords Keyword Positions
– Overall Keyword Conversion
– CPC vs Organic Conversion
– Keyword Considerations

Ad Version Testing
– Overall Ad A/B Testing
– Source Specific Testing
– Keyword Specific Testing

Content Performance
– Top Content
– Content Drilldown
– Content by Titles
– Dynamic Content
– Depth of Visit
– Length of Visit

Navigational Analysis
– Entrance Bounce Rates
– Top Exit Points
– Site Overlay
– Initial Navigation
– All Navigation

Goals & Funnel Process
– Goal Tracking
– Goal Conversion
– Defined Funnel Navigation
– Defined Funnel Abandonment
– Reverse Goal Path
– Goal Verification

Some of my Favorite Reports

It’s good to know that Firefox / Windows are the top combinations of browser and platform – that’s what we do most of our testing on.
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(screenshot: Browser and Platform Report)

Although visitors come from all over the world, most of my visitors come from California – Menlo Park, to be specific. Could there be a few VC firms keeping track of investments and potential competitors? 🙂
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(screenshot: Geo Location Report)

Of course, you can get a birds-eye view of geopraphic location!
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(screenshot: Geo Overlay Report)

As more users find Vibe Technology through search engines, I can see which of those result in useful conversions.
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(screenshot: Overall Keyword Conversions Report)

Summary

What can I say, except WOW! Before this review, I had no idea such a service existed. In previous companies, I’ve used WebTrends and created many custom reports, but they were never this easy to use (and certainly not free). And it seems we’ve only scratched the surface of Google’s capabilities.

If you are not tracking visitors, I recommend you drop what you are doing and start with Google Analytics. It may well be the only service you’ll need.

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