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Based on the book Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics - by Brian Clifton

All 'Google Analytics specific' posts in date order i.e. newest first. Click on the post title to read in full.

Linking GA to Adwords – Avoiding permission issues

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Implementation ABCs Comments 2 »

A post to clarify a common misunderstood problem when setting permissions to enable the linking of your Google Analytics account with your AdWords account.

adwords linking permissions

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Google Content Experiments – A good or bad feature?

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding Comments 10 »

Quote: [Google Analytics] “Content Experiments sucks and I will never use it for any of my clients….run away

The above snippet came from a post by Michael Whitaker (smart thinker, worth following) who asked for feedback on comments made at the Imagine 2013 conference earlier this year. My initial response was “hmmm – poor comments indeed. Whether you like a G product or not, to say that Google’s stats methods are unreliable, or reporting doesn’t work really is silly and lacks credibility.”

I am actually no big fan of the Google Analytics Content Experiments either, but I wish to put my views into context based on the following simple A/B test.

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Calculating your REAL ROI for AdWords

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding Comments 2 »

Here’s the problem… The default Return on Investment (ROI) displayed by Google Analytics is misleading for two reasons.

Issue 1: Google Analytics combines revenue form your transactions and goals. That can lead to double counting, if for example, an add-to-cart click is a monetised goal.
Issue 2: Google Analytics has no idea about what profit margins you operate under – how can it? Google therefore has to assume that *ALL* revenue generated by your visitors is 100% profit.

In this post I show you how to avoid these issues and calculate your AdWords REAL ROI. Its purpose is to take you to the next level – allowing you to move beyond adjusting bids simply based on conversions. Instead, you can go after the “highest” value converters.

Figure 2 - How big a difference is the default ROI versus the REAL ROI?
real-roi-chart
As you can see in Figure 2, we are not tweaking the edges here!

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Multi-Channel Attribution Modelling – don’t write off the default models

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding 1 Comment »

 

Avinash Kaushik is a great measurement thought provoker (up there with the likes of Tufte imho), all-round nice guy and friend of mine. I always come away from his posts challenged and simulated – quite a feat to achieve for your peers in a niche industry. The following post from him – Multi-Channel Attribution Modeling: The Good, Bad and Ugly Models – is a great reference read, though I disagree on a couple of items. Once you have digested Avinash’s thoughts, here is my input…

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Online Privacy – The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Privacy and Accuracy Comments 7 »

Online privacy is a complex subject. Hence I use this slide to neatly sum up the issue by analogy. Essentially, to illustrate the different levels of privacy I use the scenario of an organisation wishing to understand the impact of traffic on their community.

privacy analogy

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A Flawed Feature – The New Multi-Currency Support in Google Analytics

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding Comments 5 »

wrong-way.jpegWhen speaking at events I am sometimes accused (light heartedly) of drinking too much of the Google Koolade – meaning I endorse the good parts and skip/skim the pitfalls. However this post is a criticism of Google for what I consider to be a flawed thinking with their recently announced support of multiple currencies in Google Analytics.

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Where did you buy the book…? [poll]

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 2 »

A very quick poll to help me understand book sales. This is to help me understand how to approach future editions, the value of an ebook, and how updates can be managed.

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The Future of Google Analytics – GA Summit 2012 [Infographic]

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Implementation ABCs, Metrics understanding Comments 8 »

Last week I attended my 8th GA Summit in Mountain View (the first one had just 10 people in the room! Four of that original group where there this year*). For a change, I summarise the highlights – and why I consider them important to you the GA user – as an infographic

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Know Your Limits – A Google Analytics Reference Guide

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding Comments 11 »

Its good to know the limits of your Google Analytics implementation. All software has it limits and Google Analytics is no exception. From Google’s viewpoint, setting boundaries and limits prevents errors and system overload, and it ensures that other users of the service are not affected by the processing of someone else’s data. For example, a website with a relatively low amount of traffic data should not have its reports delayed due to the processing of another user’s data from a site that has more traffic.

The table below lists the limits set for the free version of Google Analytics.

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Privacy, Web Analytics, Google and Ketchup

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Privacy and Accuracy Comments 4 »

Following a recent period of renewed media debate (I use that term loosely!) about the legality of tracking website visitors with Google Analytics, Sara Andersson, founder of Search Integration AB and the blog No Ketchup (hence the reference in my title), interviewed me about my opinions on this last week and what the debate should really be about. As always, I would be interested in your feedback…

The Questions:

  1. Can you give me your thoughts on how Google look at this product and how they handle data internally?
  2. The latest discussions on Google Analytics being illegal and the fact that they propose that people should not use GA on their sites, what is your reaction to this? Are the concerns legitimate at ALL?
  3. The latest EU privacy law is trying to stop people from tracking individual information. What is your thoughts on this in relation to Google Analytics as a product?
  4. Why does Google Analytics get all the focus in the debate about privacy? Are there other services and tools that in your opinion, website owners should be aware of when it comes to tracking sensitive data?
  5. What can website owners do in order to clarify to their visitors how they handle data?
  6. Beyond looking at the concerns of website owners, what should the privacy debate be about?

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What is the future direction of analytics?

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding 1 Comment »

I was recently interviewed by CMSWire. Apart from pointing you to the full article, I thought the questions, expertly posed by Siobhan Fagan, were very relevant. I particularly liked:

What do you see as the future direction of analytics?

I enjoy sticking my neck out on future predictions, so I reproduce my answer to this question here…

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Why Web Analytics Users Are Falling Behind The Industry

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding Comments 4 »

In my post form last week, I commented on Econsultancy’s 5th Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2012. An area that stood out for me in that report was the 8% market share of GA Premium, the paid version of Google Analytics. In this post I wanted to spend more time sharing my thoughts on the wider points raised by this report…

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Online Measurement and Strategy Report

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding Comments 2 »

I am a big fan of Econsultancy because of the quality of the work these guys do. In case you missed it they published their 5th Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2012 today. As with the previous reports, it’s fascinating snapshot on where web analytics is right now – both as a process and as an industry.

But what got my attention are the GA Premium numbers… [...]

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Jumpstart Regular Expression Tutorial for Google Analytics users

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding Comments 11 »

If you manage a Google Analytics account, then understanding regular expressions – and how to set them up – is a key part of your job. This tutorial is intended to jump start novice users into the world of regular expressions – specifically from a Google Analytics point of view. [...]

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Book errata – 3rd edition

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 15 »

A small number of typos have come to my attention with the 3rd edition – four so far. These will be corrected in the next re-print (due end of May). However I wanted to list them here for people to be aware of. Please let me know (by adding a comment here) if you find others.

Ch 7, page 254 – Figure 7.15
Figure 7.15 illustrates a hostname differentiation filter. The “Field B” and “Output To” have no option selected, and only show a dash -. They should instead read “Request URI”. Replacement image shown below. [...]

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The Best Google Analytics Add-Ons

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Implementation ABCs Comments 12 »

These are 13 of the best tools (aka add-ons) that have made significant differences to how I work with Google Analytics. I have not attempted to list all possible add-ons that are available – I seem to come across a new one every day…! Rather, ones that I have used in real-world situations that have helped me do my job. [...]

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3rd edition of Advanced Web Metrics now shipping – What’s it about?

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Implementation ABCs Comments 15 »

There are two fundamental questions you need to answer in order to assess the performance of your website:

1. What is driving visitors to my website?
2. What do they do once they arrive?

These are the same questions no matter what position you have in the organisation – its just the level of detail in the answer that changes. Essentially, no matter what your role of interest or responsibility is for your website, these two questions are where you start your investigations. For that is what “analysis” is – an investigation of data and the building of a hypothesis from it.

As a practitioner this is what I do for a living and this is what the 3rd edition of Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics is all about! [...]

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Book Launch – 3rd Edtion of Advanced Web Metrics

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 15 »

After two years since the last book the 3rd edition is finally here – officially shipping on Amazon et al from 19th March 2012. Thanks to all who have provided feedback on the last two editions. Its been both flattering and humbling when people write with praise. It makes my day/week in a way no other job or role has ever done – which ultimately is my driver for writing.

Come and join me for the Launch Party in Stockholm (March 29th)

What’s new in the 3rd edition?

As you may know, my aim with these books has always been to give the reader a thorough understanding of web analytics, from a practitioners point of view, using Google Analytics as the tool of choice. There are lots of details (well the book is called Advanced…!), but only when it is necessary. That is, where there is a good business opportunity/insight to be gained from it…

In 2011 alone there was a wealth of announcements from the GA Team (coolest first):

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Google Analytics Market Share

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 3 »

There are a number of commentators on the web that purport the level of adoption for Google Analytics i.e. market share. This is a short post to summarise the latest figures that I consider as solid and reliable. If you have conducted a study yourself, or know of other reliable sources of adoption numbers, please share the results in the comments section. I maintain a snapshot of major brands using Google Analytics at….

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A 10-Point Best Practice Privacy Guide for Working With Google Analytics

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Privacy and Accuracy Comments 12 »

Last year, privacy became mainstream news when the new EU privacy law came into effect on 26th May 2011 across all EU member states – see my previous posts on this subject. In short, the EU law states that you need to seek your visitor’s permission before you can track them. Exactly what permission is required (implied or explicit consent), and when this needs to be asked for (only when collecting personal information, or even to track visitors anonymously) is still a hot topic of debate in the industry, that I will return to in my next post. Whatever the impact of the EU Privacy law, the key to any organisation’s privacy strategy is it’s privacy policy document – your communication with your visitors about what you do with their data. I have therefore put down my guidelines for writing a best practice privacy policy that will stand you in Read the full article…

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Want to work with Brian Clifton? Google Analytics Account Manager, Sweden

Categories: Google Analytics specific No Comments »

My company is looking for a smart GA person to join the Swedish office and work with me as a Google Analytics Account Manager. If you have the experience and enthusiasm please take a look at: www.ga-experts.com/join-us.php

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Win a signed copy of Advanced Web Metrics

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 5 »

If reading a physical book like mine is your thing, that is, rather than trawling through online documentation (that may or may not be correct) or using a ebook (great as a compliment but doesn’t beat the real thing), then here is your chance to win a signed copy of the second edition posted direct from me – it may be really valuable one day…! All you need to do in this social media experiment, is simply retweet this post *adding* the hashtag #ga-book and I will pick a winner on August 15th (four weeks form today). Note you must add the hashtag so I can track it…! Good luck.    

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Google Analytics – Customisations you cannot live without #2

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Plugins & Hacks Comments 2 »

There are 2 main things that Google Analytics cannot do:

1. No regionalisation of Search Engines for SEO – previous post
2. No automatic tracking of file downloads and outbound links – this post…

The first is an major limitation for Search Marketers requiring regional search engine detail for SEO campaigns; The second is a real pain in the bum for webmasters of content heavy websites who need to track non-standard click throughs (file downloads, mailto, outbound links).

However, Google Analytics is a very flexible product and a little bit of custom JavaScript can go a long way – so I have developed JavaScript “extensions” to over come these limitations…

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Google Analytics customisations you cannot live without #1

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Plugins & Hacks No Comments »

There are 2 main things that Google Analytics cannot do:

1. No regionalisation of Search Engines for SEO – this post
2. No automatic tracking of file downloads and outbound links – follow-up post

The first is an major limitation for Search Marketers requiring regional search engine detail for SEO campaigns; The second is a real pain in the bum for webmasters of content heavy websites who need to track non-standard click throughs (file downloads, mailto, outbound links).

However, Google Analytics is a very flexible product and a little bit of custom JavaScript can go a long way – so I have developed JavaScript “extensions” to over come these limitations…

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Advanced Web Metrics at Small Business Trends Book Awards

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 2 »

This a nice (though blatant) attempt from the Small Business Trends website to manipulate social network connections. Essentially, any author who has written a business book this year will obviously want to be on this book awards list. Its a great way for their website to garner a large number of incoming links and mentions on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et al.

No problem with that. In fact, I wish I had thought of it….!

So while, the winner will be the book with the most votes rather than the best reviews, I am blatantly asking you to vote for me if you liked my work

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Google Analytics Book – is language important to you?

Categories: Google Analytics specific No Comments »

Germany is an interesting market from a web analytics perspective. The government their is pushing the privacy debate (and the boundaries) on how visitor data can be collected, what constitutes personally identifiable information (PII), and what control the actual visitor has over the whole process of collecting their visit history. I am a strong online privacy advocate, so I welcome the discussion.

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Track Offline Marketing with Google Analytics – Whitepaper

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding, Pro Lounge Comments 10 »

When it comes to tracking offline marketing campaigns, many marketers are unaware of the potential of using their existing web analytics tool to measure success. Typically, the reliance is on traditional, imprecise data such as print distribution figures (a.k.a. readership numbers), viewing figures (TV audience metrics), or footfall metrics (“20,000 people walk pass this sign every day”).

However, none of these metrics can provide any indication of success. That is, was my print, TV, or radio ad successful? Yet, if these readers, viewers or listeners visit your website as a result of exposure to your offline campaign, you can access a rich stream of success metrics. This whitepaper is a how-to guide to track your offline marketing efforts.

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Google Analytics ebook (PDF) available – 3rd edition

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 39 »

For those that are interested e-books (great for copy & pasting code) there is a PDF version of the Google Analytics book – Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics book, purchasable from Wiley.

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Google Analytics IQ promotional code

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 13 »

If you have a copy of the Google Analytics Book, you will know the second edition contains a 50% discount coupon/promotional code for completing the GAIQ certification – part of the Conversion University online learning centre. In turns out using this can be a little confusing and you may see a message saying “invalid code”.  This means you are trying to put it in the wrong field…! Don’t put the discount code in the first screen, that is for vouchers, which are different. Instead: From the test start page, click purchase select the GAIQ exam. Enter the coupon code from the book in the “Promotional Code” field – see screenshot What is the GAIQ certification? Back in 2007, while working at Google in London, my view was that there was far too little knowledge “out there” that helped digital marketers, web managers and developers learn the fundamentals of visitor measurement. Read the full article…

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Google Analytics Book – 2nd edition launched

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 22 »

The second edition of Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics started shipping from Amazon last week – almost exactly two years since the first book. Like becoming a father (well not quite), it’s a proud moment and milestone for me. If you want to dive straight in, try one of these: Download sample book content: Intro, Table of Contents, Chapter 1 and the Index (1.88Mb PDF) or Read more about the book or Order from Amazon.com (.co.uk) or Barnes & Noble or buy the PDF ebook or leave me your feedback with a comment, retweet or rating… Here’s what industry movers and shakers think about the second edition: “If you’re looking for a practical, tactical guide in how to implement and think about web marketing optimization, look no further. Brian Clifton spells it out by industry, by job function, by Key Performance Indicator, and more.” —Jim Sterne, Founding Director and Read the full article…

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How to choose between Urchin or Google Analytics

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Urchin software specific Comments 11 »

There are two Google products for web analytics – Urchin Software and Google Analytics. Which one should you choose? This article describes what criteria to use for deciding between the two and is a follow up to my recent article “What is Urchin 6“. As a general guide, Marketers prefer Google Analytics, IT departments prefer Urchin… This statement is reflected in the user-base for each product. Urchin is mainly used for measuring intranets (an area of the business that Marketing is not involved in), and used by web-hosting providers where deployment scalability for a large number of websites is important. On the other hand, Google Analytics, apart from being a free service (Urchin requires a purchased license), is used by organizations that wish to have greater control of their individual web analytics implementation. Those are not mutually exclusive rules or requirements, so lets look at some criteria. When GA is Read the full article…

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12 Useful Tools for Google Analytics Administration

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Implementation ABCs Comments 18 »

Tools and helper applications I have come across as a practitioner come in two flavours: those that help you with your administration of Google Analytics – install, setup and configuration, and those that help you use or interpret reports – visualisation aides, third-party integration, segmentation help, and so forth. Often these two scenarios overlap, and marketers frequently find themselves using the same toolset as webmasters and web developers. This post is a compendium of useful tools I have used for GA administration. Regardless of your job role, all the tools listed here are straightforward to use. [ This page is an edited version of Appendix B, taken from the second edition of Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics. The new book is due March 2010 ] Tools to Audit Your GATC Deployment The key to being able to improve your website is having good, solid, accurate data that you can rely Read the full article…

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Don’t buy this book

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 25 »

Seriously – don’t buy Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics (first edition)…. Why? Because there is a second edition just around the corner. In fact its due in March The first edition is nearly two years old – eons in Internet years (well probably equivalent to dog years). Those two years were a great success – both personally for me (reading reviews of your work form people you have never met before always brings a smile to my face and a glow to my cheeks – it’s a fantastic ego boost. So much so, I have to prick my head occasionally to prevent it getting oversized!) and for the publisher, who figured out the business of printing and distributing it was good enough to invite me to update the original. And that’s how it started out – an update. A few week’s work right, ten at tops. However, within 3 Read the full article…

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How to choose between Advanced Segments versus Profile Filters in Google Analytics

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding Comments 15 »

As anyone who has looked at the plethora of web metrics data available knows, even for a moderately active website, segmentation is the key to gaining insight. It allows you to group similar visitors e.g. customers, subscribers, contributors, engagers etc. together for comparison. Therefore instead of viewing metrics that are average of averages, the numbers actually mean something. For example, quoting the Average Order Value for all customers is pretty meaningless. Knowing that the Average Order Value for visitors that have downloaded your PDF catalogue is twice that as people who haven’t, is a KPI that values your digital collateral. It allows you to make informed decisions about its prominence, content, update frequency, cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. [ After defining and configuring goals, I view segmentation as your next most important step for your best practice web analytics setup. ] Segmentation is important you – no, critical. So what options Read the full article…

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Training Workshop – Using Google Analytics to Improve Your Online Business

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding 1 Comment »

Just letting members know that I will be in Palo Alto (California) this October presenting a Google Analytics workshop with e-nor. Title: Using Google Analytics to Improve Your Online Business This is a two-day training workshop on web measurement aimed at Marketers and Webmasters. Presented by Brian Clifton and Feras Alhlou (e-nor) 19/20 Oct. If you’re looking to get on top of your web metrics, please drop me a line before sign up as I have a 15% discount code for readers, valid until the end of this week. If you would just like to stop by and say hello, I will also be at Web Analytics Wednesday (WAW) social event in PA on Thursday(!) October 15, from 6:00 PM If you bring a copy of the book I will happily autograph it for you Brian Clifton

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Wow – did you see Adobe coming?

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 9 »

Like everyone else it appears, I certainly did not see the announcement of Adobe’s acquisition of Omniture for $1.8 billion coming. However, it reminds me of Telefonica’s $5.4 billion mind blowing purchase of Lycos in 2000. A good sales person can make it sound like a perfect match and a bargain to boot. Yet for me, it does not appear a good fit… In recent years (since November 2005 in fact), the web analytics market has been moving away from big, expensive software projects where you pay simply to collect data. The model is now about collecting data for free – computer memory, disk space and processing power are getting cheaper each year. This has been driven mainly by Google, but also adopted by Microsoft (though that failed) and more recently Yahoo. The model is, collect data for free and instead use your budget on insights – understanding and taking Read the full article…

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Would you value this book in your language?

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 4 »

If you have a copy of Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics, or are a potential reader, would you prefer it in your local language? I have always assumed that a local language is preferred. However, I ask because when translated, I loose editorial control of the text and screenshots that can result in a degrade in book quality.

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The Google Chrome operating system

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 12 »

I rarely comment on news, preferring instead to trial, demonstrate and collect my thoughts before writing a blog article. However this piece of news from the official Google blog is potentially so big, I wanted to add my comments straight away (and I was a web developer in a previous life)…. Yesterday, Google announced it is developing a new computer operating system and I am sure that created quite a shockwave at Microsoft’s HQ in Seattle: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/introducing-google-chrome-os.html Building a new operating system for the desk top market is a huge task – not so much from a technical point of view for a company such as Google (the company built its own operating system to run the Google infrastructure from day one – based on unix), rather the driving of user adoption where others have struggled for the past 20 years. Anyone remember OS/2…? The history of the Mac is Read the full article…

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SEO and Analytics – part 2

Categories: Google Analytics specific, SEO & Analytics No Comments »

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has been a part of my background since starting my career in the digital industry (since 1997). In fact it remains a major part of working with clients, though now social media is a bigger part of the mix. Hence I still speak at conferences such as SES London – as I did recently. http://www.sitevisibility.co.uk/blog/2010/02/12/interview-with-brian-clifton-author-of-advanced-web-metrics-with-google-analytics/ I was therefore honoured when Kelvin Newman  asked me to do a pre-show SES interview for his SiteVisibility blog. Below is reprint of the interview I did last month. I reproduce here to keep my thoughts in one place…

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Google Analytics – Four years on

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Urchin software specific Comments 18 »

Google Analytics has come along way since the acquisition of Urchin was announced in April 2005. In this article I wanted to summarise the achievements made to date and discuss my view as the future for the product. A brief history of Urchin Urchin analytics has been around for some time. In fact since 1997, Urchin software has been slowly and quietly building a strong reputation for its server-side web analytics software. I first came across it in 2003, where its lightening fast processing power, small resource footprint and good value for money caught my attention. Even on a moderately specified Linux box, Urchin’s number crunching performance far exceeded anything else on the market – and still does today. This has made it particularly attractive to ISPs and web hosting companies that remain its largest customer base. A differentiator for the Urchin product is its hybrid approach – combining data Read the full article…

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Google Analytics webinar idea – your feedback

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 3 »

As a number of you have taken the effort to connect with me over recent months, I wanted to pick your brains on an idea… I have created a small (6 questions!) survey to get your feedback on a dedicated GA webinar based on the content of the book. The questions are self explanatory and take about 1 minute to complete. So if you have the time please visit the All answers are strictly confidential and anonymous. If you have further suggestions or questions, don’t hesitate to contact me directly – my email address is at the bottom of every page. Thank you in advance, Brian

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Troubleshooting Tools for Web Analytics

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Implementation ABCs Comments 8 »

I recently read an article by a friend of mine Neil Mason, called – Tackling the basics of web analytics: Getting the right numbers right . To summarize, Neil discusses how difficult it can be to install even the most simplest of tracking tags (data collector beacons) across an enterprise web site. That is, a site that is large (thousands if not hundreds of thousands of pages of content), uses multiple technologies and has multiple stakeholders – often in different countries and sometimes different companies. However, this fundamental step of getting the data in using page tags, is the key to everything else i.e. getting good, solid, accurate data in*. There simply is no point investing in analysis if the data is flawed. After all, garbage in = garbage out. And of course the web is ever changing, so maintaining data integrity is also key. Page tagging is therefore not Read the full article…

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Book errata – corrections and typos, 1st edition

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 45 »

Many thanks to those who have provided feedback on the book so far. A couple of typos have slipped by me, so I wanted to post them here immediately. Please add if you find more. I will create a separate corrections page if needed. Note: this post is for the first edition of the book. The second edition (2010) errata post is part of the Pro Lounge. page 180, Differentiating Regional Search Engines: The placement of this code has had to change due to recent updates in the GATC. See the following post: www.advanced-web-metrics.com/blog/2009/12/15/customising-the-list-of-search-engines-in-google-analytics/ page 181/182: The code pageTracker._addOrganic(“images.google”, “prev”); should be placed just before the line pageTracker._initData(); – Not after, as mentioned on page 178 (grey box, positioning of GATC hacks). pageTracker._addOrganic(“images.google”, “prev”); pageTracker._initData(); page 191, point a (referring to Figure 9.8a): The regular expression pattern should be: (?|&)(q|p)=([^&]*) as shown in Figure 9.8a. Note the change in position Read the full article…

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Google Analytics Book launch: Advanced Web Metrics – 1st edition

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 28 »

Finally after 18 months I am excited to announce that the book has been published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc and is now available from Amazon and other outlets . The book started shipping on March 17th (coincidentally my birthday!) and just made the SES New York conference. Lucky for me as it sold out on the first day thanks to Sharon Preiss of Mobile Libris for her promotional work there. *if you are a book affiliate and would like to link directly to Amazon, please use this book link (ISBN: 978-0-470-25312-0). Updated Dec 2008: Book reviews for Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics Book corrections and typos Who is the book aimed at? Don’t be put off by the title! There are no maths and you do not need to be an analyst, statistician or engineer – I am not any of these. The book is aimed at Read the full article…

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Google is Like a Bank

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding, Privacy and Accuracy Comments 17 »

I have heard the notion of Google being analogous to a bank for a number of years. Recently, Jim Sterne also referred to this bank analogy while we were discussing online privacy at the Orion Analytics panel of SES London . So I wanted share and expand upon this discussion. Please take a moment to read my disclaimer before continuing – that is, the views express on this site are entirely my own and do not represent those of my employer. Is Google entering into online banking? In this respect no (I am not considering Checkout here). What I mean by being analogous to a bank, is in the way that data itself has become "currency". Information has always been valuable – no one likes to be the last to know, and being the first to know gives you a competitive advantage. So whether online or not, the storage and Read the full article…

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Google Analytics backup – using Urchin

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Urchin software specific Comments 15 »

Keeping a local copy of your Google Analytics data can be very useful for your organisation. For example, for third party data audits, reprocessing data, troubleshooting purposes, and for viewing data longer than 25 months (Google’s current data retention commitment). Having a local copy of the collected data allows you achieve all these and protects you from the accidental or malicious deletion of your GA account and profiles. If you are looking for an outsourced backup service for Google Analytics, contact GA-Experts.com, who can do this all for you… [This post updated: 04-Aug-2009] Benefits of keeping a local copy of Google Analytics visitor data What you can do with your local copy of your data: Greater control over your data e.g. for third-party audits Troubleshoot Google Analytics implementation issues Process historical data as far back as you wish – using Urchin Re-process data when you wish – using Urchin Use Read the full article…

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What is Urchin 5?

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding, Urchin software specific Comments 7 »

Urchin is the software company and technology that Google acquired in April 2005 that went on to become Google Analytics. Urchin software remains a product in its own right and is a downloadable software tool that runs on a local server (Unix and Windows) providing web analytics reports by processing web server logfiles – including HYBRID logfiles – which are the most accurate.

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Hosted v Software v Hybrid tools

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding, Urchin software specific Comments 7 »

My colleague Avinash recently presented at SES San Jose his thoughts on the current vendor space including: Visual Sciences, Omniture, IndexTools, Clicktracks, WebTrends and Google Analytics. As always, his talks are very engaging and thought provoking. For me though, one slide really stood out – the idea that a HYBRID web analytics tool can’t hunt – you need to view his presentation to follow that, but essentially the analogy is that HYBRIDs are not good as a web analytics tool. As Avinash knows, I disagree with this point of view, so I wanted to explain why here. By HYBRID tool, what is generally meant is the combination of the page tagging technique combined with logfile data to produce cookie fortified logfiles. This was discussed in a white paper before I joined Google – Web Analytics Data Sources . There are significant advantages to doing this as shown in the diagram Read the full article…

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Tracking links to direct downloads – Automatically

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Plugins & Hacks Comments 19 »

My standard word of caution – This is a tech tip and requires you to have a knowledge of html and javascript to implement and use it… [This hack is for the legacy urchin.js tracking code. Always refer to the Scripts & Downloads section for the latest version.] April 2011 – New async hack launchedThis hack has been completely revise for the latest GA async code. Further info >>   Following on from my previous post Tracking banners and other outgoing links automatically, this GA hack allows you to track downloads automatically. As you may know, tracking download files such as PDF, EXE, DOC and XLS can be achieved quite easily with the modification of the link to include an urchinTracker call to log a virtual pageview. However, as for tracking outgoing links, manually modifying each download link becomes inefficient when there are large numbers of ever changing files to Read the full article…

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What is the 2nd thing to do when considering a web analytics implementation?

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Implementation ABCs Comments 8 »

What is the 2nd thing to do when considering a web analytics implementation?

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SEO Tracking – Customising the list of recognised search engines

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Plugins & Hacks Comments 12 »

My standard word of caution – This is a tech tip and requires you to have a knowledge of html and javascript to implement and use it… [This hack is for the legacy urchin.js tracking code. For the ga.js version read: Customising the list of search engines in Google Analytics.]   April 2011 – New async hack launchedThis hack has been completely revised for the latest GA async code. Further info >> Google Analytics shows which search engine your visitors/customers have used in the Traffic Sources > Search Engines report. To view the list of all the search engines that Google Analytics currently identifies by default, simply load into your browser http://www.google-analytics.com/urchin.js. In this file you will see the section commented as: //– Auto/Organic Sources and Keywords This section is where the organic search engines are defined that once captured by the Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) will be reported Read the full article…

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Tracking banners and other outgoing links – Automatically

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Plugins & Hacks Comments 26 »

A word of caution – This is a tech tip and requires you to have a knowledge of html and javascript to implement and use it… [This hack is for the legacy urchin.js tracking code. Always refer to the Scripts & Downloads section for the latest version.] April 2011 – New async hack launchedThis hack has been completely revise for the latest GA async code. Further info >>   Your site may offer a visitor a link to click through to an external web site such a subsidiary, an affiliate, advertiser or an trade organisation. For Google Analytics, a visit leaving your web site requires an edit to the page in order to track it. This is achieved by modifying your outbound links to call urchinTracker and is extremely easy to do. However, what if your web site has hundreds of separate outgoing links that are constantly evolving and being Read the full article…

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Why is Google Analytics free?

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding, Privacy and Accuracy Comments 6 »

The Google Analytics business model is unique for the web analytics industry – a deep dive reporting tool suitable for companies of all sizes (see Who uses Google Analytics? ) given away free of charge. But is there a catch to this uniqueness? Well in my view there is none. Of course, given my background I am slightly bias, but the idea behind giving away Google Analytics makes perfect sense: Provide accountability and transparency to existing Google advertisers Provide confidence and prove the value of online advertising to potential new advertisers Happy customers are good for business For Google, may be as a result of using Google Analytics, customers will remain advertisers for a longer period, become less likely to lapse their accounts (take breaks from advertising), even raise their AdWords budgets to capture a greater share of the search market. For those users that are not advertisers, perhaps Google Read the full article…

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Google Analytics Customers

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Privacy and Accuracy Comments 14 »

Discovering Google Analytics customers is actually quite easy to detect – you simply view the source code and look for the tell-tale page tags. Though there are tools to help you, browsing around quickly show many a Fortune 500 company using GA and below I list of some of the big brands.

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New Google Analytics Authorised Consultants

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 4 »

What is a GAAC? Google Analytics Authorised Consultants are experts in the field of web analytics with proven backgrounds and a high reputation. As independent companies, they are authorised to provide their professional services around the free Google Analytics product range. GAACs provide chargeable services such as 1:1 consultation, implementation, training, data interpretation etc. A warm welcome the latest new GAACs to join the global network – 5 for Europe 3, for the US and 1 for Australia: Ireland – iQ Content Italy – BitBang Spain – Overalia Belgium – OX2 Netherlands – Netprofiler USA – LunaMetrics USA – Trinity Insight USA – WebShare Australia – Internetrix A list of all GAACs is shown on the right menu.

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A new phase for Google Analytics

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 4 »

So the new generation of Google Analytics is released. Though still in beta, its a significant milestone and one that marks a new phase – Phase II. I talked about Phase I for Google Analytics at last year’s eMetrics summit in London. The initial phase was about shoehorning an existing product (Urchin) into the Google infrastructure – integrating with Adwords, scaling to handle traffic from mega sites, internationalising into 16 languages and of course making analytics accessible to all by giving it away for free. So after the long wait, what does Phase II have to offer? For me, the emphasis has been in 3 areas, which I list in reverse order of significance for my own usage: Performance improvements Feature improvements UI redesign 1. Performance improvements: You will probably only notice this if you are a high traffic web site (usually this means above 1m+ pageviews per day). A Read the full article…

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Google’s free page testing tool

Categories: Google Analytics specific 1 Comment »

Last week on April 5th, Google launched Website Optimiser, a free multivariate testing tool. I know it should be spelt Optimizer, but I just can’t bring myself to ruin the English language! Simply put, multivariate testing is a way of testing the effectiveness of different content combinations on your web pages. By effectiveness I mean the ability to solicit a conversion. For example, suppose you have multiple photographs of a product you sell via your web site. Which one (or combination of several) best achieves the desired effect of converting your visitors into purchasers? Traditionally you would test one combination at a time. Using Website Optimiser, you simply create a page experiment and host your alternative content at Google. Google then delivers all possible combinations at random to visitors and measures the success (or not) of each combination by integrating with Google Analytics. Similarly you can try combinations of titles, Read the full article…

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eMetrics, London – questions to ask your web analytics vendor

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding Comments 4 »

An important series of events for anyone interested in web analytics is Jim Sterne’s eMetrics Summit. There are currently 4 of these per year with the London event held last Thurs and Fri (29/30 March) at the Russell Square Hotel. Unfortunately, due to illness I was unable to attend in person, though Avinash Kaushik stood in for me on the vendor panel and I hear did a great job… Some questions directed to the vendor panel and from the Google Analytics booth: Q: What features differentiate your product from others? Quick Answer: Ignore feature lists! That’s always a good question that regularly comes up. I don’t know other tools in detail, but essentially as far as features go there is very little to differentiate any of the vendors. For example, they all have site overlay, geo-overlay, marketing analysis, eCommerce analysis, x-segmentation etc. Of course there are many ways to skin Read the full article…

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Search Marketing World, Dublin – measure and understand your traffic

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding 1 Comment »

At the Measuring Search Engine Marketing Success session, I had the pleasure of presenting along side Brian Donnahue (IQContent) and Nick Walsh (Net Affinity). Moderated by Danny Sullivan, the session looked at the tools available as well as an overall process for measuring search marketing successes. It was great to see ‘measurement’ taking such a prominant role at a one day event with around 70+ people at this session. For me the key take away was – whatever you use you your web site for, measure and understand its traffic. A separate though very interesting session was ‘Ad Agencies and Search‘. Damian Burns from Google presented some novel ideas that had been used by some of the more pro-active media agencies integrating search with off-line campaigns. For example in his Pontiac demo, the tv campaign ended with a call for the viewer to go and search online for what people Read the full article…

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Avinash Kaushik joins Google

Categories: Google Analytics specific Comments 4 »

Welcome to Avinash Kaushik who joins the Google Analytics team. Based at the Goopleplex in Mountain View, Avinash will “work with Google Marketing and assist them with internal analytics for their marketing programs. I’ll also be working with the Google Analytics team on assignments that span speaking, web analytics education and evolution of the GA tool.” http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/2007/03/next-stop-wonderland.html For those that don’t know Avinash, he is one of the industry’s leading evangelists and web analytics bloggers (spending up to 20 hours per week on his blog! ). As Director of Web Research & Analytics at Intuit, he literally built that team from scratch into a world class web analytics outfit. I had the pleasure of “interviewing” him for the job in a local Indian restaurant. It was a no-brainer… If you want to catch up with him, Avinash will be with me at eMetrics London 29/30th March. I hope I don’t have Read the full article…

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SES London, Feb 13-15 2007

Categories: Google Analytics specific, Metrics understanding No Comments »

As usual I will be at SES London this year speaking at a couple of relavent sessions. Feel free to come over and say hello… A highlight for everyone has got to be the keynote conversation with Matt Cutts on the Wednesday, though I wonder if the “cat woman” will be there again…

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