Web Analytics You Should Know

October 5, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Good morning, happy people! It’s SMX East time and I’m already giddy on my apple juice. I also just realized I’m sitting so close to the speakers that it’s literally awkward to look at them. Front row seating fail. Hopefully you’re as sugarcoated as I am because we’re ready to go. Let’s do it!

Chris Sherman is waking us up moderating Andrew Beckman, Jill Emerson, Ben Seslja and Mathieu Sussman. Goodbye Chumbawamba and your Tubthumping. Helloooo Web analytics!

Up first is Ben Seslija. His accent is sexy. Like we should be talking about scud missiles. Or hostages. Either way, I’m so in.

Analytics allows us to track lots of different elements of searcher behavior. It lets us refine campaigns to make them far more effective.

Your success lies in the fundamentals.

  • Tracking: Track your funnel. Know all of the metrics at each of the friction points. Assign cost to each stage of the funnel.
  • Focus: Avoid paralysis by analysis. Establish key metrics to observe on daily basis and use for optimization
  • Automate: Use tools to diagnose opportunities and threats, and save time developing and managing your search efforts.

13 Key Metrics to Follow

Level 1

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • CTR
  • Cost
  • CPC
  • Avg position

Level 2

  • Conversion Sales
  • CPA
  • Conversion Rates
  • Revenue
  • ROI

Level 3

  • Customer GEO
  • Time of Conversion
  • Demo, LTV, Behavior, etc

Pay attention to regional differences. Certain products do better in certain markets.  There may be more people bidding on terms in a certain area which will affect your ROI and CPC.  You should know the ROI for each zip code to help you focus your efforts.

Top 5 Tips for Utilizing Market Differences

  1. Create GEO modified campaigns
  2. General Search Campaigns (Geo targeted)
  3. Create Local Ads – Once you have the name of the city/state, your CTRs will jump 3x.
  4. Custom Local City & General Landing Pages
  5. 25 mile radius

Your Quality Score is essentially: Ad Rank = Bid x Quality Score.

If you have quality scores that are below 4, then you’re seriously overpaying for clicks and are probably in big trouble.  He shows some case studies for monitoring quality scores. [Apparently we’re talking about PPC and NOT Analytics in this session. Which, you know, is cool. Who doesn’t love an impromptu PPC lesson?]

5 Tips to Improve Quality Scores

  1. Split keywords into smaller, more targeted ad groups
  2. Create relevant copy for each group
  3. Optimize Creatives
  4. Experiment with matching options
  5. Building your SEO – link building, keywords, essential site pages, make sure Google thinks you’re relevant.

Before you run wild on your SEM, make sure you know what you want to show up for.  Use negative keywords to get rid of irrelevant traffic.  If you’re Pottery Barn, you better know your product (because it’s expensive).  You don’t want to drive clicks, you want to drive conversions.  Campaigns that add negatives will see a significant increase in CTR over those that do not.

How to Find Negative Keywords:

  1. Use Keyword Research Tools
  2. Download the Search Query Performance Report: Once your account has been active for several days, the SQP report becomes the most relevant resource for identifying keywords.
  3. Your Analytics Tool
  4. Competitive Intelligence Tools

Up next is Andrew Beckman. Maybe he’ll talk about analytics.

He calls Google Analytics a choice analytics platform for most clients.  It offers comprehensive data, an easy-to-use interface, it’s free and there are tons of hacks. [sips Google Kool-aid]

Site Overlay Report: Helps you understand user interaction with your site.  Look for redundant areas that have no clicks, as well as successful areas that have a high percentage of clicks.   Use the information to make decisions about what needs improvement on the page.

Google groups all clicks on one URL as the same, even if they’re different links. To change this you need to put in an “&addlocation=x” at the end of each additional link. X is the number of the link.

Top Landing Pages Report: Helps you locate the elements that convert the best. Add those elements to your pages that get the most traffic.

Crazy Egg Heat Maps: Google Analytics works on clickable areas directing internally.  Heat maps show if users are clicking on nonclickable areas or external links. [Super, super informative]

Google Website Optimizer: A way to create different variables for landing pages. Before making any permanent changes, use GWO to test various elements against the original.

On-Click Events: To set up lead form funnels you need to create on-click events. This will also allow you to track external links, PDFs, videos, etc.  Add your JS code to all external links.

IP Filtering: Ensures that your analytics data is pure by removing the IP address from partners, family, friends etc.  Add new filter with “exclude all traffic from an IP address” setting.  Your mother may love you, but her visit to your site doesn’t count. Sorry.


Up next is Jill Emerson. I went to college at Emerson. Not that you care. Or relevant.  Jill is going to talk about some case studies.

Case Study 1:

Her firm used Web Analytics to identify that a large client was getting 10 percent conversions from MySpace. The goal there was to build brand awareness, to create a footprint and to open the door for two-way engagement.  They wanted to drive conversions back to the Web site by creating a social presence.

To do this, they started with Facebook.  They created a value-add by making the content different than what they can get on the Web site (important! do this!).  They filled their Facebook page with RSS feeds, photos of local events, links to videos via YouTube, daily status updates and links back to the client’s Web site. Within the first 90 days they boosted traffic by 300 percent. They have over 800 fans and they increased the conversion rate by 20 percent.  They developed an interactive footer that cross promotes the social sites back and forth to the  Web site.  They used Google’s Site Overlay to see how often people were clicking on the links in the footer.  [We’ve now moved on from PPC into Social Media. This session is confused.]

Case Study 2:

The client had high visibility on branded keywords in both organic and paid.  They pulled clicks and conversions and ran tests pulling back the paid spend over 30 days.  At the end of the run, only 16 percent of paid conversions shifted to organic conversions.  That means they missed out on 433 missed lead opportunities.  Ouch. The goal was to show the synergies between SEO and paid. They used Web analytics to show baseline and then create the tie in between the two.

Three tips to make it happen

  1. Answer the “so what?”
  2. Translate results for management
  3. Clearly identify next steps

Next up is Mathieu

Ideally, you’d walk in and have fully-integrated search analytics tools sharing tags. In reality, you have partial tagging and disparate tools. Focus on taking small steps towards integrating general Web analytics data into your search data.  Find a step in your analytical process that you think has the most potential for improvement.  Web analytics can help.

You want to study user behavior and review user content consumption and site paths. What is participation? Participation is the process of assigning value to pages or content that took part in conversion during a visit. You want to find what content was on a good path and which left to people abandoning. (I like.) Page views are becoming a thing of the past. Content participation is becoming much more important.  Use these reports to identify content that works and then repurpose or create new content that leverages successful content.

KPI Prioritization

  • What type of metrics have the most potential?
  • What are the chances of getting them implemented given limited resources?
  • Keep your focus. Focus on what is important to your site/industry. Focus your limited resources. Divide and conquer.
  • Talk to your Web Analytics person and get a Participation report.  Categorize content on your site. Sit down and match up your report to your priorities.
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