Category Archives: Reporting

Now Supporting User-Defined Goals and Events

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Today we’re happy to announce support for user-defined Google Analytics Goals and Events. You can now automatically pull in custom metrics such as conversion events, leads, email sign-ups or key pageviews into your Measureful reports.

We provide both comparison and over-time stories. Comparison stories look at multiple goals or events together measured against similar metrics for context. Here are a couple examples of custom comparison stories –

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As with all of our stories or report modules, we include additional analysis in the form of a editable narrative to help better tell the story of your data.

Over-time stories on the other hand look at a single goal or event over a period of time.

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It’s super easy to create these unique stories, simply select the story you want and choose your user-defined metrics.

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We’ll be adding some interesting visualization to go along with the custom tables, headlines and narratives in the coming weeks as well.

 

Why You Want Sticky Fingers on Your Website

Vinyl records collectorsIn 1971, the Rolling Stones released Sticky Fingers, which would become known as one of their best albums of all times… and one of the most controversial pieces of cover art ever. The front of the cover displayed a close-up of a man’s denim-clad groin, with early vinyl editions featuring a working zipper and a real belt buckle you could actually undo. (It would even be dubbed the greatest album cover all of time by VH1 in 2003.) It was also the first work that the Rolling Stones would release that featured their trademark lips and tongue logo.

Over 40 years later, the lesson from this release holds true for everyone with a website today: be usable, be fun, be yourself, and don’t be afraid to cut through the clutter. And most importantly: be sticky.

Sticky? My website? What?

In the world of website owners, “sticky” is a term that means different things, depending on your business goals. It usually means that people stay on your website, looking at multiple pages and spending quality time with your content before leaving. Sometimes it means that they come over and over again to your site, always eager for the next big thing that you’re talking about or promoting. Whichever way you look at it, “sticky” is a good thing.

How do I know if it’s sticky?

There are two main indicators of whether or not you’re “sticky” enough to be successful. The first one is your bounce rate. Your bounce rate is the percentage of people that leave your website after only looking at one page. One of the greatest minds in all of web analytics, Avinash Kaushik, refers to this phenomenon as “I came, I puked, and I left.” No matter what business you’re in, you want your bounce rate to be as low as possible.

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Keep in mind that it makes sense for some businesses to have a high bounce rate. For example, if you’re a breaking news site, people tend to only check the headlines on the first page before leaving, so you might see bounce rates of 50% or higher. However, for most businesses, we recommend at most a 25% bounce rate (preferably less). If you can’t get 1 in 4 people to learn more, you need to update your website copy or your offer.

Whatever website analytics tool you use, whether it’s Measureful or another tool like Google Analytics, bounce rate is always on the main dashboard because it’s so important.

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Sample snapshot from Google Analytics: bad bounce rate, low page views per visit, not enough returning visitors

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Sample from the Measureful report: good bounce rate, not enough returning visitors (3 out of 33 is not good)

Sticky = multiple touches

You can also determine your website’s stickiness by how many pages people look at when they visit. This metric is also known as “page views per visit.” This is usually an indication of how useful your website is at providing information people want. If you have a good average page views per visit (which is usually 3 or more pages per visit) but low conversions, you need to work on your offer. If you have low average page views per visit (2 or less), you need to work on your content and find out what your audience wants to read that they aren’t getting from you right now.

You can also look at the percentage of returning visitors you have. There’s no industry benchmark, but we recommend at least 30% or higher – you want at least 1 in 3 of your visitors to want to come back, in most cases. Even if you’re a business that deals with one-time or very low-frequency needs (such as a home purchase, wedding planner, estate planning, etc.), these are typically high-consideration items and you should expect several visits prior to purchase.

Sticky = attention

In conclusion, you want to be fascinating, just like in real life. Your website should make people babycomebackwant to get to know you or your business better. They should want to read more about what you do, and keep up with breaking news and new content. Keep your bounce rate low, your pages per visit at 3 or above, and your returning visitors over 30% or you’ll be singing along to a much less successful 70’s song: Baby Come Back.

 

 

Drag-and-Drop Custom Report Builder

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Building custom reports has always been a time-consuming and costly endeavor. This is especially true if you’re a follower of Stephen Few and Edward Tufte and strive to deliver more than just a spreadsheet. Offering custom reports has traditionally been left to the few that can afford to put a great deal of effort and resources against it.

Today we’re excited to announce an easy way to build custom marketing reports and without all the additional resources and time. Following-up on our new report designs dubbed “Flipboard for data” by VentureBeat, we’ve released a powerful new report designer tool that makes building beautiful marketing reports dead simple.

Using Ducksboard’s Gridster as the underlying foundation, we’ve built a catalog of various stories that can be changed, resized and arranged as you see fit. There are a total of 12 sizes per each story creating an endless combination of report designs and customizations.

1-Column Story Sizes

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2-Column Story Sizes

2 Column

3-Column Story Sizes

3 Column

4-Column Story Sizes

4 Column Arrange and resize the stories to emphasize the narrative of a particular report. We recommending using the smaller 1-column story sizes at the top with your preferred KPIs (key performance indicators) and more detailed stories below.

Preview your individual stories before saving and powering it up with real data.

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From this: custom report To this: custom reporting 2

Effectively communicating your efforts is an easy step to skip after all of the data you just collected and aggregated but arguably the most important when you’re looking for that additional marketing budget, quantifying your campaigns or simply informing. Measureful’s new Report Builder tool puts the power of design and customization into every marketer’s hands.

5 Tips for Testing with Google Content Experiments

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Have you had a chance to use Google Content Experiments to optimize a website? Formerly known as Google Website Optimizer, Content Experiments was introduced in 2012 as a feature within Google Analytics. Content Experiments allows marketers to conduct A/B testing of an original page (A) against a variation (B).

During testing, Google will send a pre-determined percentage of new visitors to the test page and compare metrics for clicks, conversions, time on page, and pages per visit.  If you are new to A/B testing or Content Experiments, then follow these best practices for running successful tests below:

1. Establish a Measurable and Realistic Goal
Content Experiments has four types of goals or visitor behaviors that you can track including: URL destination, visit duration, pages per visit, and events (such as adding something to a cart). Don’t just test alternate web design elements for general usability. Instead, set a measurable and realistic marketing goal and use website testing to reach that goal. Why are you testing? What kinds of results do you hope to achieve? Maybe your goal is to send 10 percent more visitors from the home page to the highest-revenue generating page on your website. Or you could test two different call-to-actions in an effort to increase sales conversions by 3 percent or more. 

2. Keep it Clean
True A/B  testing means experimenting with one variable at a time against your original page. For example, here are three separate variations you can test for in a call-to-action:

  • Changing the language of a call-to-action. For example, “Get Started Today” vs. “Signup Today.”
  • Changing the position of the call-to-action. Testing an upper right hand corner placement vs. a middle of the page placement.
  • Changing the color of the call-to-action. Testing a red button vs. a yellow button.

Each of these individual tests can provide a lift for your marketing results. For accurate test results, keep your experiment clean and limited to one variation at a time. If you test a new color and a new placement for your call-to-action in one experiment, then you will not be able to isolate which change impacted visitor behavior.

3. Set The Right Parameters
If your website is highly trafficked, then running a test for one or two days may give you time to collect a relevant sample size and draw conclusions. However, if your site receives only a few hundred visits per day, then you may want to run your test over the course of a week or longer. Likewise, those sites with fewer visitors should send as much as 75 percent or more of new visits to the test page to help speed up testing. Use this A/B split test calculator from VisualWebsiteOptimizer.com to determine the right timetable for your test.

4. Use Content Experiments to Optimize AdSense Revenue
In September, Google announced Content Experiments integration for AdSense users. If you are a publisher running ads on your web properties, now you can leverage Content Experiments to optimize those ads for the greatest revenue. First link your AdSense and Analytics account, then test ad size or placement variations to determine which ad types  generate the most clicks and ROI for your site. Publishers may appreciate Google’s multi-armed bandit algorithm, which looks at live data and sends more traffic to the winning variation for maximum revenue. Or, publishers can override this option and send a predetermined amount of traffic to each variation. 

5. Take Advantage of the API
In June, Google opened the Content Experiments API to developers, enabling advanced users to pick and choose which testing functionalities they want to include. Using the API allows you to test without redirects, which provides a quicker and more seamless page load experience for visitors. You can also conduct server-side testing or offline testing (great for interactive kiosks). In addition, developers can use A/B or proprietary testing logic in lieu of Google’s multi-armed bandit approach.

What are your tips for testing website variations with Content Experiments? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

The Ultimate Guide for Acing The Google Analytics IQ Test

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Have you considered pursuing Google Analytics certification? Google offers an Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test that certifies online marketing professionals as expert users. This qualification ultimately separates advanced users from analytics beginners. Google even offers a free curriculum to help test-takers prepare.

Why Take The Google Analytics IQ (GAIQ) Test?

As a freelancer or smaller agency, this certification will lend greater credibility to your services and sales pitch. By following along with the free curriculum and other resources, small business owners doing in-house marketing can advance their working knowledge of Google Analytics.

What is The GAIQ Test Like?

GAIQ is a 90-minute online test that you can take within a web browser. You will be able to pause and return to the test for up to five days before completing it. There are 70 questions including multiple choice and true or false. Marketers must achieve an 80% (56 correct answers) or higher score to pass.

The exam is considered open-book, so you can use study guides and resources to help answer questions. However, without working knowledge of Google Analytics or dedicated test preparation, even the most detailed cheat sheet or study guide will not help you to pass.

If you are considering taking GAIQ, or just want to improve your understanding of Google Analytics, then follow the tips and visit the resource links below:

1. Start with Google’s Curriculum

Google’s free curriculum covers everything on the test. The videos move really quickly, so push pause, take notes and apply what each video is teaching within a live Google Analytics account. According to a blog post on Moz.com, the curriculum videos take a little more than two hours to watch, but that does not account for time to take notes and practice.

2. Set Up Your Own Google Analytics Account

To really apply your training and master the platform, make sure you are using the newest version of Google Analytics. It is also helpful to have a Google Analytics account with at least a few months worth of data and features like advanced segments, goals and flow visualization enabled. If you are new to Google Analytics, this resource can help you to set up and begin using your account.

3. Dive into More Test Prep Resources

Here are three more helpful resources for in-depth test preparation:

4. Download An Outline Or Visual Overview

Since GAIQ is an open-book exam, you will want to gather a few easy-to-scan, searchable resources. You can use overview documents as study guides and keep them open on your computer while testing. Here are a few overviews options to consider downloading:

5. Take Practice Tests

Here are two places to find practice test questions. You may be able to discover more sample test questions embedded within recent blog posts about GAIQ test prep.

If we missed any critical resources for Google Analytics IQ test preparation, then please share those links in the comments below. Once you pass the test, your certification is active for 18 months. You can show proof of qualification by following the steps in this blog post. Happy studying and good luck!

 

Britt Brouse is an online marketer with a background in journalism and agency experience using online channels to increase leads and revenue for businesses. You can also find her on Google+.

4 Time-Saving Tips for Creating Digital Marketing Reports

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Measureful recently surveyed 75 digital marketers across several organizations and found that 45 percent of marketers spend at least five hours exporting and formatting reports monthly. Twenty-one percent said they spend more than ten hours monthly on client reporting.

How much time do you spend building custom marketing reports? Analytics reports can be extremely time consuming because they must be accurate, look great, tell a story and positively reflect your brand. However, spending hours pulling and formatting data takes valuable time away from executing marketing campaigns. Is there a way for digital marketers to save time while generating accurate reports that make clients happy?

Below I’ll share my top four tips for more efficient and effective digital marketing reports:

1. Stay Focused on Goals

Structure reports around marketing initiatives and long-term goals. Start each section by showing clients what actions you took and how the actions relate back to marketing goals. For example, under the heading “PPC,” you could say, “We tested 15 new keywords in Pay Per Click advertising against our goal to increase paid traffic to the website by 2 percent. Present the current results in a quick one-to-two sentence summary and then dive into costs, clicks and conversions on a more granular level for each ad group or keyword. As you are culling through data and building a report, ask yourself, “Is this relevant to the client’s goals?” If the answer is no, leave that information out.

2. Make Reports Work for Your Clients

Ask your clients what they want to see in reports. A great way to do this is to include a few key questions during your initial kick-off call. Ask clients which metrics they want to see and how they use reports internally. If a client is re-formatting your reports to present data to internal stakeholders, then you may discover opportunities to add value and save your client some time. Ask clients what they liked or disliked about reporting from their previous marketing providers? Find out who the decision-maker is at the client’s company and include metrics that address the decision-maker’s needs. Always start reports with an executive summary. If someone is looking at a report for the first time, he or she should be able to jump right in.

3. Time Reports Wisely

Set reasonable expectations for when you’ll deliver reports. If you have a small traffic sample or inconclusive data, then do not rush into full reporting. While building a data sample or waiting for long-term initiatives like SEO to kick in, you may want to provide shorter updates of highlights and leading indicators for the first few weeks or months of a campaign. When working with several clients, stagger reporting dates to avoid a serious time crunch. If a client’s traffic tends to spike midweek, be sure your reporting schedule incorporates that spike into the latest results. Ensure that clients have enough time to view a report before you discuss it together. Sending reports a day in advance will lead to a more fruitful discussion.

4. Take Smart Short Cuts

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel each time you create a report. Save time by building branded templates in PowerPoint or Word and reuse them across clients. You can create custom weekly or monthly reports in Google Analytics, which allow you to simply grab your data and go. Take advantage of the clean and simple design of your analytics dashboard. Grab screen shots of data highlights from your dashboard and drop the images directly into reports. Finally, investigate how new reporting solutions like Measureful can save you even more time. I recommend signing up for a free 30 day trial to give Measureful a test run during your next reporting cycle.

What are your tips for creating effective and efficient digital marketing reports? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

 

Britt Brouse is an online marketer with a background in journalism and agency experience using online channels to increase leads and revenue for businesses. You can also find her on Google+.

Identifying Trends in Google Analytics Data [free tool]

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Reporting trends in your online marketing data is often more art randomness than science. It’s relatively straightforward to eyeball time-series data and interpret the direction of the data – is it going up or is it going down? Yet, with so many sources, segments and campaigns, it’s difficult to surface trends, understand the reliability of trends, and report them to your clients, team or boss.

In this blog post I’ll show you how you can use Google Spreadsheets to easily and automatically monitor different trends in your Google Analytics top segments and metrics.

This is an adapted version of Jamie Steven’s post on a building Google Analytics reports in Google Spreadsheets. It uses scripts by Mikeakl Thuneberg to pull data from the Google Analytics API.

Charting trends with regression analysis

Trendlines are the best way to graphically represent trends in data. This is also known as regression analysis, which is a statistical technique for studying linear relationships. By plotting a trendline and calculating the R-Squared value, we can understand whether a trend exists beyond a rudimentary “eyeball” approach. It also gives us a great visualization and statistical backing that most stakeholders easily understand. Google Analytics Trend Analysis Report-6

Getting to know R²

In these reports, we’re using R-squared values to understand the reliability of a trend. The short explanation is that an R-Squared value is something of a magic number. R-Squared values are between 0-1 and a trend is most reliable when its R-squared value is at or near 1. It represents the strength of the relationship and is mainly used to analyze how well a variable can predict another one. We’re simply using it as a determinant of how much “weight” we can place on a trend and thus how much further analysis or attention it deserves. The higher the R-Squared value, the stronger the trend and the more it becomes critical to report and explain.

Google Analytics Trend Analysis Report-7 So let’s get started by setting up and customizing your report.

1. Save a copy of the Trends Analysis Report

Open the Google Analytics Trends Analysis Report and save a copy to your Google Account. Click “File”, then “Make a copy”.

Get the free report: Google Analytics Trend Report

Once you’ve saved your own version of the report, we’ll be working on the plumbing to connect your data.

2. Connect your Google Analytics account

In order to automatically connect your Google Analytics data, you’ll need to ask Google for a token that allows Google Spreadsheet to access your data. We’ll use AutomateAnalytics Functions to request a token.

Get your token here.

Copy and paste your token into cell B14 on the Instructions & Data tab in the report.

Google Analytics Trend Analysis Report-2

3. Locating your Google Analytics View ID –

Next, you’ll need to enter your Google Analytics View ID. View IDs can be found in the Admin section of Google Analytics, under View Settings.

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Enter your Google Analytics View ID into cell B13 on the Instructions & Data tab in the report.

Google Analytics Trend Analysis Report-1

If entered correctly, you’ll start to see the spreadsheet pulling in data from your Google Analytics account and populating the Reporting tabs. A few things to note about the reports:

  • We’re analyzing trends over the last 24 weeks, beginning with the previous week. For the monthly report, it analyzes data over the last 12 months, beginning with the previous month.
  • An R-Squared value of .6 is used to generate the narrative about a trend. This can be adjusted in the narrative formulas.
  • Ideally your Google Analytic account will have at least 1 year of data. The formula array is not dynamic, meaning it will calculate the 0’s in your data if you don’t have data that goes back a year. You’ll need to adjust the formula arrays on the Instructions & Data tab.

Customizing the metrics

We’re analyzing visits against different segments. To change the metric, simply update the metric cell for that particular trend on the Instructions & Data tab. For instance, if you want to measure pageviews, simply enter “pageviews” in the cell that says “visits”. All trends operate independently so each one can be adjusted to the metric of choice.

Google Analytics Trend Analysis Report-3

A full list of Google Analytics API metrics and dimensions can be found here.

Customizing the segments

Much like metrics, segments can also be edited. Segments specify a subset of visits based on an expression or filter. In the example below, the ID “-3” specifies referring visits as the subset.

Google Analytics Trend Analysis Report-4

The easiest way to see a list of various IDs is to use the Google Analytics Query Explorer tool. Once you’re signed in to the tool with your Google Account, you can use the Segment drop-down to view the different segments and corresponding IDs. Pick the ID you want and enter it into the Advanced Segment cell.

Here are a few quick IDs you can use to customize your reports:

  • New Visitors: -2
  • Returning Visitors: -3
  • Paid Search Traffic: -4
  • Non-paid Search Traffic: -5
  • Search Traffic: -6
  • Direct Traffic: -7
  • Referral Traffic: -8
  • Visits with Conversions: -9
  • Visits with Transactions: -10
  • Mobile Traffic: -11
  • Non-bounce Visits: -12
  • Tablet Traffic: -13

Changing the dates

Lastly, you can edit the dates in the report with a few quick tweaks. Keep in mind that if you change the dates you’ll also need to adjust some formulas as well as the chart arrays. Currently, the “End Date” is set to today and the “Start Date” is a formula that calculates either 24 weeks or 12 months back depending on whether it’s a Weekly or Monthly trend report. You can change both the dates to analyze the number of weeks or months you want.

Google Analytics Trend Analysis Report-5

The formulas, RSQ and Trend Line arrays will need to be adjusted if you add or subtract rows by changing the dates. Be sure to edit the charts in the reports as well if you add or subtract rows.

Feel free to comment with any questions. We’d love to see any useful iterations to the reports or great use cases!

New Custom Analytics Report Builder

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We love automation. We love saving our customers time by handling the hard work of aggregating data and determining what to report on, automatically. Today, we’re excited to announce the ability to manually build your own custom reports.

While we love fully automating the process of report creation, we understand there are always required metrics. Our new report builder functionality allows you to build custom reports, save templates and still infuse them with our unique findings.

The process of creating a report takes about 2 minutes. Start by naming your report.

custom report 1

Connect your data sources. No IT or code required.

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From here we’d normally take over, analyze your data and dynamically produce a report – our Smart Reporting technology. Now you can take it a step further and configure the report the way you or your client wants.

Select from a set of our KPIs (key performance indicators).

custom kpi report

Or create your own set of KPIs unique to this report template.

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From there, you can select what report modules or “stories” you want to alway show in your report. Save the set of stories so you can easily configure similar reports.

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You define the metrics in your reports and we’ll automatically add a layer of analysis and narrative to the metrics you select. You can also choose to include dynamic, unique findings powered by our set of algorithms. Best of both worlds; dynamic findings coupled with custom selected metrics.

Weekly Next Report 5 - Measureful-1

We’re continuing to integrate more data sources to automate SEM, SEO and Social Media Reports. Try Measureful free for 30 days or reach out and let us know what you think!

 

Digital Marketing Reports By The Numbers

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Compiling digital marketing reports is a real effort for most marketers who oversee digital initiatives – agency, freelancer, internal marketer, etc. We surveyed 75 digital marketers at various organizations and found that a significant amount of time and resources are spent (let’s call it wasted) simply collecting and formatting data –

digital marketing reports

Analytics Reporting for Agencies

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Today we’re excited to announce a whole new set of features including our Agency Analytics Reporting suite.

In my previous life as a digital marketing agency owner, handling client reporting was one of the most difficult processes to manage and streamline. You want to deliver beautiful, custom monthly reports to your clients but the resources and time involved can be a big barrier.

Exporting, analyzing and piecing together unique monthly reports is such a daunting endeavor it has its own name: Reporting Week. We literally spent hundreds of hours each month building client reports, getting frustrated and looking for ways to automate what was largely a manual process. That search for a streamlined approach to client reporting is why we started Measureful and it’s why we’re excited to announce our agency offering.

With Measureful’s Agency Analytics we’re giving agencies and freelancers the ability to not only automate their monthly data crunching but deliver truly custom, beautiful reports and insights to their clients like never before.

Monthly Reports

Unlike other reporting tools, we dynamically build your reports and deliverables each month based on what findings are the most critical. Our algorithms understand what to report and why – automatically. It’s not a widgetized dashboard. It’s a data analyst in a box.

You might already be familiar with the typical approach to automated reporting. It usually looks something like this –

Untitled-1

What’s missing from this process is the actual analysis, meaning you’re stuck reporting the same metrics every period without any real narrative or unique story to tell your clients. It’s static and only covers the tip of the data iceberg.

Without gathering and analyzing all the client’s data it’s impossible to truly provide a complete report. That’s why the analysis piece has always been handled by people – and why building unique and beautiful reports is so time-consuming and costly.

Our automated approach to building client reports looks like this –

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We’ve included a critical layer that does the hard work of determining what insights to surface each period – giving you a shortlist of findings you can take to your client. We make sure you don’t miss a big win or fail to diagnose a critical problem.

PDF Export

We’ve also launched the ability to turn reports and findings into white-labeled PDF deliverables. You’ll save time on data gathering, formatting and design while providing high-value PDFs to your clients.

PDF Analytics Reports

Comments

Your team can now enrich our findings with your own comments and analysis.

analytics reporting commentsWe’ll do the grunt work while you take all the credit for the analysis. We see comments are a great place to relate the findings back to your strategy and suggest new campaigns and projects to your clients.

Remove Stories

We understand that not all of our findings are applicable to the story you want to tell your clients so we’ve made it easy to remove findings that aren’t inline with your initiatives.

Untitled-5

White-labeling

Pretty straight-forward – we now support white-labeling the PDF reports. Simply add your agency logo and we’ll include it in the reports.

 Account Management Digests

No one likes receiving that email from a client asking – “Why did my referring traffic drop off last week? Why didn’t you let me know?” As a freelancer or Account Manager, there’s no way to keep up with important changes in your client’s account without spending hours digging through the data. Unfortunately it’s easy to miss critical insights that pop up on a daily basis.
digest emailsWith Measureful’s Agency Analytics, we’ll automatically send you Weekly Digest emails that outline your client’s top KPIs as well as important findings from the previous week.

You’ll know exactly what’s happening with your client accounts with a quick check of your email.

Add your entire account team to the digest notifications and be confident no one is missing any critical client insights.

Share all the Nuggets

Not only can your team stay up-to-date on all of your client’s digital activities, they can now be proactive about sharing analytical insights with their clients. We’re serving up ready-made analytics nuggets to deliver to your clients every week.

We’d love to get your reaction to our agency reports – sign-up for a free trial and let us know what you think!

– john