Tag Archives: analytics

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How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Event tracking is one of the most useful features in Google Analytics.

With just a little bit of extra code, you can capture all kinds of information about how people behave on your site.

Event tracking lets you monitor just about any action that doesn’t trigger a new page to load, such as watching a video or clicking on an outbound link. This data can be invaluable in improving your site.

There are two different ways you can set up event tracking in Google Analytics. One way is to add the code manually. The other is to set up tracking through Google Tag Manager.

Both methods are doable without a developer, although you may find it easier to use Google Tag Manager if you have no coding experience.

How to set up event tracking manually

What exactly is an event? Before you start tracking events, it’s important to understand how they’re put together. Each event is made up of four components that you define. These are category, action, label, and value.

Category

A category is an overall group of events. You can create more than one type of event to track in the same category “basket.”

For instance, you could create a category called Downloads to group a number of different events involving various downloads from your site.

Action

An event’s action describes the particular action that the event is set up to track. If you’re tracking downloads of a PDF file, for instance, you might call your event’s action Download PDF.

Label

Your label provides more information about the action taken. For instance, if you have several PDFs available for download on your site, you can keep track of how many people download each one by labeling each separate event with the PDF’s title.

A label is optional, but it’s almost always a good idea to use one.

Value

Value is an optional component that lets you track a numerical value associated with an event. Unlike the first three components, which are made up of text, value is always an integer.

For instance, if you wanted to keep track of a video’s load time, you would use the value component to do so. If you don’t need to keep track of anything numerical, it’s fine to leave this component out of your event.

A table of the four components of an event. Source: Google Analytics

Step one: Decide how to structure your reports

Before you dive into tracking your events, come up with a plan for how you want your data to be organized. Decide which categories, actions, and labels you’ll use, and choose a clear and consistent naming pattern for them.

Remember, if you decide to change the structure of your event tracking later, your data won’t be reorganized retroactively. A little thought and planning up front can save you a lot of hassle down the road.

Step two: Connect your site to Google Analytics

If you haven’t done so already, set up a Google Analytics property and get your tracking ID. You can find your tracking ID by going to the admin section of your GA account and navigating to the property you want to track.

Once you have your ID, add the following snippet right after the <head> tag of each page:

<!-- Global Site Tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics -->
<script async src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtag/js?id=GA_TRACKING_ID"></script>
<script>
window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || [];
function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);}
gtag('js', new Date());

gtag('config', 'GA_TRACKING_ID');
</script>

This code snippet enables Google Analytics to track events on your site. Replace GA_TRACKING_ID with your own tracking ID. Source: Analytics Help

Step three: Add code snippets to elements you want to track

Here is the format for an event tracking code snippet:

ga('send', 'event', [eventCategory], [eventAction], [eventLabel], [eventValue], [fieldsObject]);

After filling in the information that defines the event you want to track, add this snippet to the relevant element on your webpage. You’ll need to use something called an event handler to do so.

An event handler is a HTML term that triggers your tracking code to fire when a specific action is completed. For instance, if you wanted to track how many times visitors clicked on a button, you would use the onclick event handler and your code would look like this:

<button onclick="ga('send', 'event', [eventCategory], [eventAction], [eventLabel], [eventValue], [fieldsObject]);">Example Button Text</button>

You can find a list of common event handlers, as well as a more in-depth explanation on how they work, here.

Step four: Verify that your code is working

Once you’ve added event tracking code to your page, the final step is to make sure it’s working. The simplest way to do this is to trigger the event yourself. Then, check Google Analytics to see if the event showed up.

You can view your tracked events by clicking “Behavior” in the sidebar and scrolling down to “Events.”

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Your tracked events can be found under “Behavior” in Google Analytics.

How to set up event tracking with Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager can be a little tricky to navigate if you aren’t familiar with it. However, if you’ve never worked with code before, you might find tracking events with GTM easier than doing it manually.

If you have a large site or you want to track many different things, GTM can also help you scale your event tracking easily.

Step one: Enable built-in click variables

You’ll need GTM’s built-in click variables to create your tags and triggers, so start by making sure they are enabled. Select “Variables” in the sidebar and click the “Configure” button.

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Enabling built-in click variables, step one

Then make sure all the click variables are checked.

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Enabling built-in click variables, step two. Source

Step two: Create a new tag for the event you want to track

Click “Tags” on the sidebar. Then click the “New” button. You’ll have the option to select your tag type. Choose “Universal Analytics.”

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Creating a new tag in Google Tag Manager

Step three: Configure your tag

Set your new tag’s track type to “Event.” Fill in all the relevant information – category, action, label, etc. – in the fields that appear underneath, and click “Continue.”

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

An example of how to configure a new tag in Google Tag Manager. Source: Analytics Help

Step four: Specify your trigger

Specify the trigger that will make your tag fire – for instance, a click. If you are creating a new trigger (as opposed to using one you’ve created in the past), you will need to configure it.

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

Types of triggers that you can choose in Google Tag Manager

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

An example of how to configure a trigger. This one fires when a certain URL is clicked. Source: Johannes Mehlem

Step five: Save the finished tag

After you save your trigger, it should show up in your tag. Click “Save Tag” to complete the process.

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics

A tag that is ready to go. Source: Analytics Help

The takeaway and extra resources

Event tracking is one of the most useful and versatile analytics techniques available – you can use it to monitor nearly anything you want. While this guide will get you started, there’s a lot more to know about event tracking with Google Analytics, so don’t be afraid to look for resources that will help you understand event tracking.

Courses like the 2018 Google Analytics Bootcamp on Udemy (which I used to help write this article) will give you a solid grounding in how to use Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, so you’ll be able to proceed with confidence.

Google-Analytics-bootcamp.png

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

If you love data (and what marketing expert doesn’t?), then learning Google Tag Manager should be high on your priority list this year.

Unfortunately, many spend so much time on Google Analytics that GTM gets pushed to the wayside. Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a powerful, versatile tool that helps you track and manage your own website data.

Since understanding analytics is increasingly important for businesses of all sizes, there’s no better time to start learning GTM than right now.

So what exactly does Google Tag Manager do for you? In a nutshell, this tool lets you easily add snippets of code called tags to your site. These tags track things your visitors do.

For instance, you could set up tags to track how many people download a specific file, which channels bring visitors to your site, and even how quickly visitors scroll through your pages. The tags then send your information to your third-party sites of choice, such as Google Analytics or Bing Ads.

The GTM web interface is easy to use and requires no in-depth coding skills, so you can stay on top of your tracking without relying on your web developer to do everything for you.

Getting started with Google Tag Manager isn’t always an intuitive process. You’ll probably want to seek out some training instead of trying to figure things out as you go.

Whether you’re brand-new to this tool or you have some basic knowledge about it already, here are seven courses that will help you get the hang of GTM and take charge of your data.

1. The 2018 Google Analytics Bootcamp on Udemy

If you’re not sure where to start learning GTM, the 2018 Google Analytics Bootcamp on Udemy is a great place to begin. I’ve found that this course is unique among the many other Google Analytics courses out there because it doesn’t just teach you the basics of Google Analytics – it also shows you how to combine that tool with Google Tag Manager.

GTM is essential for making the most of Google Analytics, yet many marketers don’t learn it until long after they’ve mastered the GA basics. Learning both together is a smart way to ensure you make quick progress right out of the gate.

The 2018 Google Analytics Bootcamp on Udemy will get you up to speed with both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager

If you know a little bit about Google Analytics already, but you want to start getting more out of it, you will most likely find this course helpful. You’ll learn how to set up a Google Analytics property the right way, read and understand reports, and track different kinds of data using Google Tag Manager.

If you’re an intermediate-level marketer, some of this course’s Google Analytics information may be familiar to you already, but it’s still a great introduction to GTM.

I was able to get this course during a Udemy sale for less than the original cost, and with the course you’ll get lifetime access to three hours of instructional videos, several supplemental resources, and a certificate of completion.

Udemy has frequent sales, so if this price is a little steep for you now, keep an eye on the course – you may be able to snag it at a discount later.

2. Google Tag Manager Fundamentals course by Google

If you’re just getting started with Google Tag Manager, why not go straight to the source for information?

Google’s own course provides a solid and comprehensive overview of using GTM. And like Google’s other analytics courses, this course is free. Just keep in mind that you’ll probably want to combine this course with at least one other.

This will ensure you get a well-rounded perspective on GTM.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

After you finish the Google Tag Manager Fundamentals course, you can brush up on your skills with some of Google’s other free courses

3. Google Tag Manager Essential Training on Lynda.com

If you’ve ever browsed through Lynda.com’s extensive library of tech-related videos, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that they offer a Google Tag Manager course.

This course is just over two hours long and provides an overview of the most important aspects of using GTM, from creating containers to understanding the data layer.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

Google Tag Manager Essential Training on Lynda.com

If you don’t already have a Lynda.com subscription, prices start at $25/month. You may also be able to get free access to the site through your workplace, school, or public library.

4. Google Tag Manager YouTube Series by Weboq

YouTube can be a great place to learn about almost anything, including Google Tag Manager.

If you’re a beginner or intermediate-level marketer, you may find Weboq’s GTM playlist very useful, even though it’s not a course per se. This playlist starts with the basics and tackles more complex topics later on.

If you want to learn to do something specific with GTM – like installing Hotjar or remarketing with AdWords, for instance – you’ll find plenty of specific, step-by-step how-tos here.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

Weboq’s Google Tag Manager YouTube playlist starts with the basics

5. Google Tag Manager Tutorials on YouTube by Measureschool

Measureschool’s channel is another good resource for learning about Google Tag Manager on YouTube. There’s a lot of content here, directed towards a wide range of skill levels – beginners as well as advanced users will be able to find something helpful.

This channel is updated with new videos regularly, so if you like the material, check back for fresh GTM tips and tutorials every week or two.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

Measureschool publishes new Google Tag Manager tutorials on YouTube regularly

6. Master the Fundamentals of Google Tag Manager by CXL

This results-oriented course, led by marketing expert Chris Mercer, is designed to take you from beginner to proficient in GTM in just eight classes.

Starting from the very first class, which walks you through setting up a tag, you’ll practice essential hands-on GTM skills. This course also gives you access to 10 video lessons that explain the more conceptual side of GTM, such as understanding what tags, triggers, and variables are.

After you finish the course, you’ll get a certificate of completion. This course is on the pricey side at $299, but if you’re motivated and want to see results ASAP, it may be worth the cost.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

CXL’s beginner-level Google Tag Manager course will get you up and running in eight classes

7. Google Tag Manager Workshop by LunaMetrics

Online classes are convenient and accessible, but sometimes, the ability to ask questions and discuss new concepts in person is priceless.

If you learn best in a real-life classroom environment, LunaMetrics’ in-person GTM training sessions might be ideal for you. These day-long workshops are offered in major cities across the U.S., from Los Angeles to Boston.

7 Google Tag Manager courses to prioritize in 2018

Cities where LunaMetrics holds training sessions for Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, and more. Source

Prices start at $799 for a one-day workshop. While this isn’t a cheap way to learn Google Tag Manager, keep in mind that you’re also getting a unique opportunity to network with other marketers and collaborate while you learn – something that’s hard to replicate over the internet.

Wrapping up

Google Tag Manager is a must-have tool for every marketer and data-savvy webmaster out there. While it has a bit of a learning curve, GTM opens up tons of possibilities for tracking and improving your site’s performance, so it’s well worth putting in the time and effort to learn how to use it.

Which of these Google Tag Manager courses are you going to focus on this year?

 

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for No Risk SEO, an all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

A guide to the standard reports in Google Analytics: real-time reports

Google Analytics is a tool that can provide invaluable insights into what’s happening on your website, your levels of traffic and engagement, and the success of your campaigns.

However, to a newcomer to Google Analytics, the array of different reports available can seem a little overwhelming. Once you’ve got Google Analytics set up for your website, where do you look first? Where will you find the most useful data for your campaigns?

Reports on Google Analytics are broadly divided into two types. There are standard reports, which are the preset reports listed down the left-hand side of your dashboard, divided into the segments Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions.

The data that appears in these is predetermined by Google Analytics, but you also have the option to customize many of them, allowing you to use the standard reports as a base and then tweak them to your liking.

Then there are custom reports, which can either be created completely from scratch with whatever data you want to gather together in a single view, or created based on a standard report, with additional segments or filters added to tailor the report to your needs.

There are dozens of different standard reports available in Google Analytics, providing a wealth of insight into audience demographics, sources of traffic, content performance, campaign performance and much, much more.

In this series, we’re going to tackle the gargantuan task of explaining each segment of Google Analytics and the standard reports they contain. We’ll cover the data you can find within each standard report, and how it can be used in your marketing and SEO efforts.

First up are real-time reports. How do they work, and what kinds of campaigns are they useful for?

What are real-time reports?

As it says on the tin, the Real-Time Reports section in Google Analytics allows you to monitor activity on your site in real time, as it happens.

It can be a useful way of “taking the pulse” of your website in a specific moment, or tracking the response to a campaign in real-time. Just don’t get too obsessed with watching the numbers go up and down!

A visitor to your site qualifies for the real-time report if they have triggered an event, or pageview, within the last five minutes. This is different from the other types of standard report, where a session is defined by a 30-minute window.

The Real-Time Reports section is broken down into:

Overview

This is the big-picture view of what’s happening on your website at any given moment. The Real-Time Overview report shows how many users are currently active on your site, a list of the top active pages, top sources of referral traffic, top social traffic sources, the top locations that users are visiting from, and more.

Locations

This report drills deeper into the available data on where exactly in the world your users are accessing your website from.

A guide to the standard reports in Google Analytics: real-time reports

In the initial view, this information is broken down by country, but if you select a country name from the list or the map of active users, you can ‘zoom in’ on exactly which cities your users are logging in from. If you select a city from the list or map, you can get even more granular and filter the data by that specific city.

Note that if you apply a country or city filter and then navigate to another report in the section, such as Traffic Sources, the data presented to you will continue to be filtered by that region until you opt to clear the filters.

A guide to the standard reports in Google Analytics: real-time reports

Real-time location data can be useful if you’re running a campaign targeted at a specific region of the world and want to monitor its performance, or if you want to get a sense of where your users are accessing your website from at different times of day.

Traffic Sources

As the name indicates, this real-time report shows where on the web your visitors are coming to your site from.

The data is organized by medium (how the visitors are getting to your site – organic search, direct traffic, via email, via social media, and so on), source (where visitors are coming to your site from), and the number of active users – or, if you select the Page Views filter, the number of pageviews from that traffic source in the last 30 minutes.

This real-time report can be useful if, for example, you’ve had a few different mentions in the press recently and want to gauge which one is generating more traffic to your site, or if you’re running a social campaign and want to assess how well it’s working.

Content/Screens

The Content report (called Screens if you’re viewing analytics for a mobile app) shows which specific pages of your site visitors are currently active on, showing the page URL, the page title, and the number and percentage of active users on that page. Again, you can switch to viewing this by pageviews (or screen views) in the last 30 minutes instead of by active users.

Another handy feature of the real-time Content report is that it breaks down your user data by device, so you can see which percentage of visitors are accessing your site on desktop, mobile, and tablet.

A guide to the standard reports in Google Analytics: real-time reports

Events

This report is useful if you’ve used Google Analytics’ Events feature to create custom events for interactions on your site – such as button clicks, downloads, video plays, ad clicks, and so on. More detailed, non-real-time data on Events can be found in the Behavior section of your Google Analytics dashboard.

You can then use the real-time data from this report to track the top events on your site as they occur, or switch to viewing those activated in the past 30 minutes. Google sub-divides these into Event Categories and Event Actions, and as with the Content report, also shows you the breakdown of which devices your visitors are using when they trigger Events.

Conversions

The Conversions report will track the real-time completion of any Goals you’ve set up in Google Analytics.

Goals are different to Events in that they track the completion of an activity that contributes to the success of your business, rather than just an interaction with your site. This can include making a purchase, filling in a sales form, subscribing to a mailing list, and so on. More detailed, non-real-time data about Goal completions can be found in the Conversions section of GA.

As with the previous two reports, the Real-Time Conversions report breaks down which devices your visitors are using when they convert, and also allows you to view the data by active users or by Goal Hits in the last 30 minutes.

How can you use real-time reports in your campaigns?

Testing and troubleshooting campaign setup

One very handy quick use for real-time reports in Google Analytics is to test that everything is set up and working correctly. Unlike with non-real-time reports, there’s no wait for data to begin displaying, so you can immediately tell if things are in order, or if there’s an issue you need to troubleshoot.

Maybe you’ve just set up a new tracking feature in GA, such as a new Event or Goal, and you want to make sure you’re registering the form submissions properly. Or you might have created a new tracking link for your email marketing campaign, and you want to test that it’s showing up in the reports as expected.

You can test these out by having someone from your team carry out the Event or Goal that you want to track, or click the link in your campaign email, and then monitoring real-time reports to make sure that the activity shows up correctly.

Monitor campaigns unfolding in real-time

As we mentioned earlier, it’s not always a good idea to get too bogged down in watching the numbers on your site go up and down – often, the best insights from a campaign can be gleaned after the fact, as it’s not always clear what’s taking place in the moment.

However, there are some types of campaign that benefit from real-time monitoring and influencing. For example, say you’re running a social campaign, and you want to adjust your level of activity in real time based on audience interaction.

Real-time reports are the best way for you to monitor this, and will tell you useful things like when activity from a post or a tweet has dropped off (meaning it’s time to push out the next one), turn on paid promotion, or ask influencers to give your campaign a boost.

Capitalize on what’s trending

You may also need to react in the moment to something that isn’t part of a pre-planned campaign. For example, sudden activity on a specific piece of content or on one of your social channels might alert you to a big press hit, or that particular topic suddenly being in the news.

Checking up on real-time reports every so often can tip you off to when this is happening, and allow you to respond in an agile fashion. If it’s a trending piece of content, you could spotlight it on your front page, or knock out a quick update or refresh.

If it’s a big press hit, you can monitor where the traffic is coming to your website from and plan how to capitalize on the attention: are lots of people finding you on Facebook? Can you update your Facebook page or push out some paid social advertising? If people are searching for your brand all of a sudden, now might be a good time to check how you appear for those search terms and if necessary, do some on-the-spot reputation management.

How do you make use of real-time reports in Google Analytics? If you have any novel ways of integrating these into a marketing campaign, share them in the comments!

real-time-reports-overview.png

A guide to the standard reports in Google Analytics: Real-time reports

Google Analytics is a tool that can provide invaluable insights into what’s happening on your website, your levels of traffic and engagement, and the success of your campaigns.

However, to a newcomer to Google Analytics, the array of different reports available can seem a little overwhelming. Once you’ve got Google Analytics set up for your website, where do you look first? Where will you find the most useful data for your campaigns?

Reports on Google Analytics are broadly divided into two types. There are standard reports, which are the preset reports listed down the left-hand side of your dashboard, divided into the segments Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions.

The data that appears in these is predetermined by Google Analytics, but you also have the option to customize many of them, allowing you to use the standard reports as a base and then tweak them to your liking.

Then there are custom reports, which can either be created completely from scratch with whatever data you want to gather together in a single view, or created based on a standard report, with additional segments or filters added to tailor the report to your needs.

There are dozens of different standard reports available in Google Analytics, providing a wealth of insight into audience demographics, sources of traffic, content performance, campaign performance and much, much more.

In this series, we’re going to tackle the gargantuan task of explaining each segment of Google Analytics and the standard reports they contain. We’ll cover the data you can find within each standard report, and how it can be used in your marketing and SEO efforts.

First up are real-time reports. How do they work, and what kinds of campaigns are they useful for?

What are real-time reports?

As it says on the tin, the Real-Time Reports section in Google Analytics allows you to monitor activity on your site in real time, as it happens.

It can be a useful way of “taking the pulse” of your website in a specific moment, or tracking the response to a campaign in real-time. Just don’t get too obsessed with watching the numbers go up and down!

A visitor to your site qualifies for the real-time report if they have triggered an event, or pageview, within the last five minutes. This is different from the other types of standard report, where a session is defined by a 30-minute window.

The Real-Time Reports section is broken down into:

Overview

This is the big-picture view of what’s happening on your website at any given moment. The Real-Time Overview report shows how many users are currently active on your site, a list of the top active pages, top sources of referral traffic, top social traffic sources, the top locations that users are visiting from, and more.

Locations

This report drills deeper into the available data on where exactly in the world your users are accessing your website from.

A guide to the standard reports in Google Analytics: Real-time reports

In the initial view, this information is broken down by country, but if you select a country name from the list or the map of active users, you can ‘zoom in’ on exactly which cities your users are logging in from. If you select a city from the list or map, you can get even more granular and filter the data by that specific city.

Note that if you apply a country or city filter and then navigate to another report in the section, such as Traffic Sources, the data presented to you will continue to be filtered by that region until you opt to clear the filters.

A guide to the standard reports in Google Analytics: Real-time reports

Real-time location data can be useful if you’re running a campaign targeted at a specific region of the world and want to monitor its performance, or if you want to get a sense of where your users are accessing your website from at different times of day.

Traffic Sources

As the name indicates, this real-time report shows where on the web your visitors are coming to your site from.

The data is organized by medium (how the visitors are getting to your site – organic search, direct traffic, via email, via social media, and so on), source (where visitors are coming to your site from), and the number of active users – or, if you select the Page Views filter, the number of pageviews from that traffic source in the last 30 minutes.

This real-time report can be useful if, for example, you’ve had a few different mentions in the press recently and want to gauge which one is generating more traffic to your site, or if you’re running a social campaign and want to assess how well it’s working.

Content/Screens

The Content report (called Screens if you’re viewing analytics for a mobile app) shows which specific pages of your site visitors are currently active on, showing the page URL, the page title, and the number and percentage of active users on that page. Again, you can switch to viewing this by pageviews (or screen views) in the last 30 minutes instead of by active users.

Another handy feature of the real-time Content report is that it breaks down your user data by device, so you can see which percentage of visitors are accessing your site on desktop, mobile, and tablet.

A guide to the standard reports in Google Analytics: Real-time reports

Events

This report is useful if you’ve used Google Analytics’ Events feature to create custom events for interactions on your site – such as button clicks, downloads, video plays, ad clicks, and so on. More detailed, non-real-time data on Events can be found in the Behavior section of your Google Analytics dashboard.

You can then use the real-time data from this report to track the top events on your site as they occur, or switch to viewing those activated in the past 30 minutes. Google sub-divides these into Event Categories and Event Actions, and as with the Content report, also shows you the breakdown of which devices your visitors are using when they trigger Events.

Conversions

The Conversions report will track the real-time completion of any Goals you’ve set up in Google Analytics.

Goals are different to Events in that they track the completion of an activity that contributes to the success of your business, rather than just an interaction with your site. This can include making a purchase, filling in a sales form, subscribing to a mailing list, and so on. More detailed, non-real-time data about Goal completions can be found in the Conversions section of GA.

As with the previous two reports, the Real-Time Conversions report breaks down which devices your visitors are using when they convert, and also allows you to view the data by active users or by Goal Hits in the last 30 minutes.

How can you use real-time reports in your campaigns?

Testing and troubleshooting campaign setup

One very handy quick use for real-time reports in Google Analytics is to test that everything is set up and working correctly. Unlike with non-real-time reports, there’s no wait for data to begin displaying, so you can immediately tell if things are in order, or if there’s an issue you need to troubleshoot.

Maybe you’ve just set up a new tracking feature in GA, such as a new Event or Goal, and you want to make sure you’re registering the form submissions properly. Or you might have created a new tracking link for your email marketing campaign, and you want to test that it’s showing up in the reports as expected.

You can test these out by having someone from your team carry out the Event or Goal that you want to track, or click the link in your campaign email, and then monitoring real-time reports to make sure that the activity shows up correctly.

Monitor campaigns unfolding in real-time

As we mentioned earlier, it’s not always a good idea to get too bogged down in watching the numbers on your site go up and down – often, the best insights from a campaign can be gleaned after the fact, as it’s not always clear what’s taking place in the moment.

However, there are some types of campaign that benefit from real-time monitoring and influencing. For example, say you’re running a social campaign, and you want to adjust your level of activity in real time based on audience interaction.

Real-time reports are the best way for you to monitor this, and will tell you useful things like when activity from a post or a tweet has dropped off (meaning it’s time to push out the next one), turn on paid promotion, or ask influencers to give your campaign a boost.

Capitalize on what’s trending

You may also need to react in the moment to something that isn’t part of a pre-planned campaign. For example, sudden activity on a specific piece of content or on one of your social channels might alert you to a big press hit, or that particular topic suddenly being in the news.

Checking up on real-time reports every so often can tip you off to when this is happening, and allow you to respond in an agile fashion. If it’s a trending piece of content, you could spotlight it on your front page, or knock out a quick update or refresh.

If it’s a big press hit, you can monitor where the traffic is coming to your website from and plan how to capitalize on the attention: are lots of people finding you on Facebook? Can you update your Facebook page or push out some paid social advertising? If people are searching for your brand all of a sudden, now might be a good time to check how you appear for those search terms and if necessary, do some on-the-spot reputation management.

How do you make use of real-time reports in Google Analytics? If you have any novel ways of integrating these into a marketing campaign, share them in the comments!

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Mystified by martech? Introducing the ClickZ Buyers Guide series

Search Engine Watch sister site ClickZ has just launched the first report in its new series of buyers guides, which aims to to disentangle and demystify the martech landscape for marketers.

The guide, which focuses on bid management tools, covers a range of market leading vendors and draws on months of research and more than 1,600 customer reviews.

This will be the first in a series of guides created using the collective knowledge of the ClickZ and Search Engine Watch communities to help our readers arrive at more informed technology decisions.

The modern martech landscape is complex and competitive, making it difficult for marketers to cut through the noise and select the right technology partners.

Our buyers guides are created with the objective of providing a clear view on the areas in which vendors excel, in order to allow our readers to establish successful relationships with the most suitable platforms.

What sets our guides apart is the use of a customer survey to hear directly from current clients of each software package. For the bid management tools guide, we received more than 1,600 survey responses, which has provided a wealth of valuable data across our six assessment categories.

 Graphs in the report are interactive to allow comparison.

The series of guides begins with bid management tools because of the importance these technologies hold in the modern martech stack. Along with deriving maximum value from the $92 billion spent annually on paid search worldwide, these platforms also help marketers manage their display advertising and social budgets, with some even providing support for programmatic TV buying.

This creates a varied landscape of vendors, with some focusing on the core channels of Google and Facebook, and others placing bets on the potential of the likes of Amazon to provide a real, third option for digital ad dollars.

Though the vendors we analyzed share much in common, there are subtle distinctions within each that make them suitable for different needs. A combination of customer surveys, vendor interviews, and expert opinion from industry veterans has helped us to draw out these nuances to create a transparent view of the current market.

Within the guide, you will gain access to:

  • Tips on building a business case for investing in a bid management platform
  • Questions to ask of potential bid management tool partners
  • Profiles of the six vendors we analyzed
  • The ClickZ and Search Engine Watch customer survey results

Follow this link to download the Bid Management Tools Buyers Guide on Search Engine Watch.

 

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Snapchat Gives Creators Access to Audience Analytics by @MattGSouthern

Select creators on Snapchat are getting access to analytics data. This includes insights such as story views, engagement, and demographics.

The post Snapchat Gives Creators Access to Audience Analytics by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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3 Data-Driven Approaches to Find the Most Effective Content Ideas by @semrush

Here are three approaches that can help you find content ideas based on data and analytics.

The post 3 Data-Driven Approaches to Find the Most Effective Content Ideas by @semrush appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Even though most web professionals and marketers know about Google Analytics, not many understand how they can fully unlock all the power of this free analytics software.

If you have an ecommerce website, you can harness Google Analytics to track your transactions, see online traffic sources, and provide detailed analytical data to help establish the path to maximum ROI.

All it takes is a few simple steps to get started. This guide will help you to get set up with tracking your ecommerce site in Google Analytics.

Getting started with Google Analytics

First, start by setting up a primary Google account. You can create a Gmail ID that is unconnected to your personal email accounts if you don’t already have one. Always remember that keeping personal and business accounts separate makes managing them easier in the long run.

Alternatively, you can make use of a Google Analytics Demo account.

Done creating a new Gmail account? Now, it’s time to connect it to the Analytics account.

  • Visit Google Analytics and press the Sign In button. Instantly, a three-step registration guideline will show up on your screen
  • Follow the mentioned instructions carefully
  • Add the property to track. In this case, it will be your ecommerce site
  • Now, mention the name of your ecommerce account, the URL, the name of your site, your preferred time zone, and the industry to which your website belongs
  • Choose the Data sharing settings with Analytics. Now, click the Get Tracking ID button.

Remember it is possible to set up 100 different accounts on Google Analytics using a single Google account. List 50 separate properties, including blogs, pages, apps, and websites – all related to your ecommerce site – under a single Google Analytics account.

Worried about messing up during your initial try or want to set up something temporary? Google has you covered! You can shift properties easily between accounts, which bodes well for your marketing efforts.

Set up the tracking code

Complete the setup process and then click on Get Tracking ID. You will immediately notice a pop up featuring the terms and conditions. Read them and agree to them so you can proceed to the next step – receiving the code for Google Analytics.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Install this code on every single page of your ecommerce website. Without the tracking code, do not expect Analytics to read the information present on the page and supply necessary data.

Keep in mind that the installation process tends to vary from one platform to another. No technical knowledge, however, is necessary to ensure proper application of the code. Simply copy the given code and then paste it in front of the ending head tag of your ecommerce site’s HTML code.

Add the secondary user

Speak to someone who’s managed Google Analytics for many years, and they will tell you that they’ve had issues with account access at some point. Mostly they experience trouble due to problems with their primary account or email.

To avoid such a thing from happening, it is always recommended that you add a secondary user with a different Google account who can provide another point of access. So, overcome problems, such as the loss of your password or hacking attempts by having a backup at all times.

To set up the secondary account, click the Admin option present on the top of your screen. Choose the option marked User Management from the Account menu.

Find the field marked Add Permissions For, and enter the relevant Gmail ID. Choose every option that grants the permissions necessary for the second account to gain access to your Google Analytics profile.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Select your goals wisely

Next on the agenda is figuring out the right way to add goals to Google Analytics. Search under the View column for the Admin link from where you can choose goals. These goals are necessary to inform the Analytics program about important occurrences on your site.

Since you’re able to set a maximum of 20 separate goals, select the ones for your ecommerce site carefully. The majority of businesses tend to set goals for lead form subscriptions, email list subscriptions, and other definitive actions.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Begin by clicking the Next Goal button and selecting custom or existing options depending on your requirements. Once you’re done, tap the Next button. Make sure you set a name that you can easily recall and then click on the Destination button before you head to the following step.

In the destination field, enter the Thank You or confirmation page URL. Then, in the drop down list, select the Begin With option. Now, toggle the preferred value and select the amount for conversion. When completed, simply click the Create Goal option.

Doing so will enable you to monitor essential conversions on your ecommerce site. Selecting the proper goals can mean all the difference between tracking the necessary processes or user actions.

Begin ecommerce tracking

Ecommerce owners can now proceed to start ecommerce tracking through their Analytics account. There are two ways to track ecommerce actions in Analytics, and they include:

  • Basic ecommerce tracking
  • Enhanced ecommerce tracking

Simply adding code to your website will already track these options. Enabling these options will help you check tracking reports.

For basic tracking, you need to open the Admin panel and click on the Account tab. Then go to Property and View. Click what you wish to track, and then move on to Ecommerce settings. Set the Ecommerce Status to On.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

For Enhanced tracking, find the option marked Enhanced Ecommerce settings. Click on the same and navigate to the Enhance Ecommerce Reporting tab. Toggle it On and then choose the Submit button.

Turn on website search tracking

When you have an ecommerce site, you want to know all you can about your customers’ interests and purchase behavior. And tracking the searches performed by visitors is a good way to do so.

Enable site search tracking to find out which services or items are most popular among your visitors. Simply visit the Admin menu and then click on the View column. Go to Site Settings and turn it On. Check out different query parameters in search results. Enter Q or S in the field and then choose Save.

Concluding remarks

Follow the steps above, and you should be able to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics with ease. Once you’re able to get the process up and running, it becomes easier to monitor your ecommerce campaigns.

Considering how Statista mentions that global retail ecommerce sales will hit the $4.5 trillion mark by 2021, it makes sense to monitor your progress so you know you’re not missing out on the action.

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How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Even though most web professionals and marketers know about Google Analytics, not many understand how they can fully unlock all the power of this free analytics software.

If you have an ecommerce website, you can harness Google Analytics to track your transactions, see online traffic sources, and provide detailed analytical data to help establish the path to maximum ROI.

All it takes is a few simple steps to get started. This guide will help you to get set up with tracking your ecommerce site in Google Analytics.

Getting started with Google Analytics

First, start by setting up a primary Google account. You can create a Gmail ID that is unconnected to your personal email accounts if you don’t already have one. Always remember that keeping personal and business accounts separate makes managing them easier in the long run.

Alternatively, you can make use of a Google Analytics Demo account.

Done creating a new Gmail account? Now, it’s time to connect it to the Analytics account.

  • Visit Google Analytics and press the Sign In button. Instantly, a three-step registration guideline will show up on your screen
  • Follow the mentioned instructions carefully
  • Add the property to track. In this case, it will be your ecommerce site
  • Now, mention the name of your ecommerce account, the URL, the name of your site, your preferred time zone, and the industry to which your website belongs
  • Choose the Data sharing settings with Analytics. Now, click the Get Tracking ID button.

Remember it is possible to set up 100 different accounts on Google Analytics using a single Google account. List 50 separate properties, including blogs, pages, apps, and websites – all related to your ecommerce site – under a single Google Analytics account.

Worried about messing up during your initial try or want to set up something temporary? Google has you covered! You can shift properties easily between accounts, which bodes well for your marketing efforts.

Set up the tracking code

Complete the setup process and then click on Get Tracking ID. You will immediately notice a pop up featuring the terms and conditions. Read them and agree to them so you can proceed to the next step – receiving the code for Google Analytics.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Install this code on every single page of your ecommerce website. Without the tracking code, do not expect Analytics to read the information present on the page and supply necessary data.

Keep in mind that the installation process tends to vary from one platform to another. No technical knowledge, however, is necessary to ensure proper application of the code. Simply copy the given code and then paste it in front of the ending head tag of your ecommerce site’s HTML code.

Add the secondary user

Speak to someone who’s managed Google Analytics for many years, and they will tell you that they’ve had issues with account access at some point. Mostly they experience trouble due to problems with their primary account or email.

To avoid such a thing from happening, it is always recommended that you add a secondary user with a different Google account who can provide another point of access. So, overcome problems, such as the loss of your password or hacking attempts by having a backup at all times.

To set up the secondary account, click the Admin option present on the top of your screen. Choose the option marked User Management from the Account menu.

Find the field marked Add Permissions For, and enter the relevant Gmail ID. Choose every option that grants the permissions necessary for the second account to gain access to your Google Analytics profile.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Select your goals wisely

Next on the agenda is figuring out the right way to add goals to Google Analytics. Search under the View column for the Admin link from where you can choose goals. These goals are necessary to inform the Analytics program about important occurrences on your site.

Since you’re able to set a maximum of 20 separate goals, select the ones for your ecommerce site carefully. The majority of businesses tend to set goals for lead form subscriptions, email list subscriptions, and other definitive actions.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

Begin by clicking the Next Goal button and selecting custom or existing options depending on your requirements. Once you’re done, tap the Next button. Make sure you set a name that you can easily recall and then click on the Destination button before you head to the following step.

In the destination field, enter the Thank You or confirmation page URL. Then, in the drop down list, select the Begin With option. Now, toggle the preferred value and select the amount for conversion. When completed, simply click the Create Goal option.

Doing so will enable you to monitor essential conversions on your ecommerce site. Selecting the proper goals can mean all the difference between tracking the necessary processes or user actions.

Begin ecommerce tracking

Ecommerce owners can now proceed to start ecommerce tracking through their Analytics account. There are two ways to track ecommerce actions in Analytics, and they include:

  • Basic ecommerce tracking
  • Enhanced ecommerce tracking

Simply adding code to your website will already track these options. Enabling these options will help you check tracking reports.

For basic tracking, you need to open the Admin panel and click on the Account tab. Then go to Property and View. Click what you wish to track, and then move on to Ecommerce settings. Set the Ecommerce Status to On.

How to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics

For Enhanced tracking, find the option marked Enhanced Ecommerce settings. Click on the same and navigate to the Enhance Ecommerce Reporting tab. Toggle it On and then choose the Submit button.

Turn on website search tracking

When you have an ecommerce site, you want to know all you can about your customers’ interests and purchase behavior. And tracking the searches performed by visitors is a good way to do so.

Enable site search tracking to find out which services or items are most popular among your visitors. Simply visit the Admin menu and then click on the View column. Go to Site Settings and turn it On. Check out different query parameters in search results. Enter Q or S in the field and then choose Save.

Concluding remarks

Follow the steps above, and you should be able to set up ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics with ease. Once you’re able to get the process up and running, it becomes easier to monitor your ecommerce campaigns.

Considering how Statista mentions that global retail ecommerce sales will hit the $4.5 trillion mark by 2021, it makes sense to monitor your progress so you know you’re not missing out on the action.

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8 key Google Analytics reports for SEO

Any stellar SEO strategy should be meticulously tracked and heavily data-driven.

Gut feel is great when deciding on which new pair of shoes to buy, but it’s not the best foundation to base your SEO work upon.

Google Analytics is a treasure trove of insightful data. And it’s free! However, with so much data available at our fingertips, it can be a bit of a minefield, and most people only scratch the surface.

Keyword rankings are great for stroking your ego and making your client smile and nod, but they don’t tap into the bigger picture.

In order to continually build on and improve your campaign, you need to pay close attention to the nitty-gritty of your data. There’s a lot to take into account, but in this post we’ll provide an overview of the key Google Analytics reports and views to bolster your SEO campaigns.

Many of these reports can be created as custom reports, which is handy for tailoring your reporting to specific business needs and sharing with clients.

Read on and we’ll help you to track and measure your SEO efforts like the analytical guru you are.

1. Organic search

Where to find it: ‘Acquisition’ > ‘Overview’ > Click through to ‘Organic Search’

It’s an obvious one but a good place to start. Head to the ‘Overview’ tab under ‘Acquisition’ for a base level indication of your website’s primary traffic channels. This provides an immediate summary of your top channels and how each is performing in terms of traffic volume, behavior and conversions.

As well as showing a general overview of organic traffic, you can also dig deeper into the data by clicking on ‘Organic Search’ in the table and playing around with the filters. Consider the most popular organic landing pages, an overview of keywords, search engines sending the most traffic, exit pages, bounce rates, and more.

On the topic of bounce rates, it’s a good idea to pay particular attention to this metric with regards to individual pages. Identify those pages with a bounce rate that is below the average for your site. Take some time to review these pages and work out why that might be, subsequently applying any UX/UI or targeting amendments.

This is all very well but wouldn’t it be handy if you could view only your organic traffic across the whole of your Google Analytics? It’s easier than you think. Simply click  to ‘Add Segment’ and check the box for organic traffic.

Leave the ‘All Users’ segment for a handy comparison, or remove this segment for a view of only your organic traffic.

2. Landing page and page titles

Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Content’ > ‘Landing Pages’ > Add secondary dimension ‘Page Titles’

One of the most frustrating aspects of Google Analytics organic reports is the dreaded ‘(not provided)’ result which features under ‘Keyword’.

This unfortunate occurrence is the result of searches which have been carried out securely. In other words, if the URL of the search engine features HTTPS or if they are logged into a Google account and therefore protected by data privacy policies. In these scenarios, the search term deployed by the user will not be provided.

But how wonderful would it be to see a list of all the search terms people used to find your site? Unfortunately I’m not a magician and I can’t abracadabra these search phrases from the Google abyss. But I can offer an alternative solution that will at least give you an overview.

View your organic traffic via landing page and page title, as this will show which pages are performing best in terms of organic search. By including the page title, you can then look at which keywords those pages are optimised for and get a pretty good idea of the search phrases users are deploying and those which are performing best in terms of traffic and bounce rate.

8 key Google Analytics reports for SEO

This can also help you identify the pages which are not performing well in terms of organic traffic. You can then review whether the keywords need refining, the onsite optimization needs an overhaul, or the content needs revamping.

3. Conversion goals

Where to find it: ‘Conversions’ > ‘Goals’ > ‘Overview’

It’s all very well having a high volume of organic traffic but if it isn’t converting then there’s really not much point. To test the quality of your organic traffic, you need to be tracking conversions. There are two levels to this.

The first is your conversion goals. You can filter these with regards to traffic and understand what percentage of a website’s conversions are resulting from organic traffic.

To further improve this data, add monetary value to your conversions to better demonstrate the value that your SEO efforts are bringing. Some clients care only about keyword rankings, some care only about the dollar signs. Either way, it’s worth spending some time with your client to work out how much each conversion is worth and the data that they are most interested in.

For example, let’s say you sell kitchens. If you know the average cost of a sale and the percentage of kitchen brochure downloads which convert to a sale, then you can work out an approximate value for each conversion.

4. Assisted conversions

Where to find it: ‘Conversions’ > ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ > ‘Assisted Conversions’

Although useful, conversion goals only give a surface view of conversions. What if someone initially found your website via Google and didn’t convert, but then later returned to your website by typing in the URL direct and then converted?

It’s very common for users not to convert on their first visit to a website, especially if they are only in the awareness or consideration phase of the sales funnel. When returning the next time around to make a purchase, they are more likely to go direct, or perhaps they see a reminder via social media.

This is where assisted conversions can save the day. Find these by clicking on ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ under ‘Conversions’, and then ‘Assisted Conversions’.

With this data, you can identify whether each channel featured on the conversion path of a user, therefore providing more accurate data in terms of the quality of your organic traffic.

8 key Google Analytics reports for SEO

Pay attention to any drops or surges in organic traffic in this section. If, for example, you have noticed a drop in organic assisted conversions yet your organic traffic has remained consistent, then it may indicate that the leads are no longer as qualified. This should prompt a review of your keyword and content strategy.

5. Site speed

Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Speed’ > ‘Overview’

Site speed is important, we all know that. There are a number of tools we can use to find out the overall speed of a website: Google Page Insights, Pingdom, GTmetrix. However, these don’t tend to drill down into specific pages. The site speed report via Google Analytics can help you to identify any pages which are proving particularly slow.

You are likely to see a correlation between the time taken to load and the exit pages, you can also layer in bounce rate metrics.

Using this information regarding individual pages, you can then approach your development team with the cold hard evidence that they need to resolve that page speed issue.

6. Site search

Where to find it: ‘Behavior’ > ‘Site Search’ > ‘Search Terms’

If you have a site search function on your website then this report is super useful for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can indicate where the user experience may not be particularly strong on your website. If a page is proving difficult to find without having to search for it then it may hint at a wider site navigation issue.

In addition, it can also help identify any keywords or search terms which you may need to create a new page for if one does not already exist. The site search report is ideal for unearthing these gaps in your website’s offering.

7. Mobile

Where to find it: ‘Audience’ > ‘Mobile’ > ‘Overview’

Comparing the traffic of mobile users to that of desktop and tablet is a handy way of identifying whether your site may have some mobile optimization issues. For example, if the bounce rate of mobile sessions is significantly higher than that of your desktop sessions, then you may need to carry out a mobile site audit.

It’s also worth considering the conversion rate of the different devices, as this can indicate which device traffic is the most valuable.

Given that over half of website traffic is now on mobile, you should see similar results reflected in your own analytics. Although it’s worth bearing in mind that some businesses are more likely to be more prevalent on mobile than others.

For example, a local business should feature in a lot of mobile searches, whereas a business to business service is more likely to be searched for on desktop by people sitting in an office.

8. Customize your dashboard

Where to find it: ‘Customization’ > ‘Dashboards’

Finally, for a quick overview of reporting, it pays to design a tailored dashboard for your client. We often find that clients don’t appreciate too much text or complex tables in reports, as they can be overwhelming at an initial glance.

Sure, you may be a Google Analytics whizz, but the chances are that your client isn’t. Therefore presenting the data in a way that is digestible and manageable is key to convincing them of your SEO prowess.

Create a dashboard that your client will understand. Use digestible charts, like bar graphs, pie charts and simplified tables. This will help the client visualize all of the data in one easy-to-view report. This can also be emailed to your client each week so they get regular updates.

Dashboards are created using customizable widgets. Begin by selecting the type of widget: this could be a simple metric, a timeline, a geomap, a table, or a pie or bar chart. With some widgets, you can also select whether to show a specified date range or whether to show data in real-time.

Once you have chosen your widget, you can configure the finer details, such as dimensions and other options depending on the type. Widgets can be edited, cloned or deleted, allowing flexibility in refining your dashboard as both you and your client see fit. For further information on creating a custom dashboard, have a read of Google’s handy guide.

There are a whole myriad of other reports and views available within Google Analytics; it takes time to become familiar with all the different types of data and formats. Hopefully this list has provided a solid starting point for genuinely valuable and insightful SEO reporting.