Google Analytics segments, formerly called advanced segments, are among the many useful yet underutilized features in Google Analytics.
There are two basic kinds of segments: pre-built and custom. The real power of segments lies in those you define yourself as custom segments, but many of the pre-built segments are also very handy.
For example, you can apply the pre-built Mobile segment to temporarily restrict your reporting to visitors who have accesses your site on a device that Google Analytics has recorded as the mobile Device Category dimension, that is, smartphones and devices such as Apple iPods with smartphone-sized viewports.
If you wanted to see specifically Android smartphone user interacted with your site, you could easily define a custom segment as Device Category exactly matches mobile and Operating System exactly matches Android.
Make sure to take full advantage of the segments feature in Google Analytics. Segments are flexible and retroactive, they affect only your display without permanently altering the underlying view data, and they’ll provide insights more quickly than the default All Sessions report display.
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You can select specialized dashboard templates from the Solutions Gallery.
Note from Eric: apologies for the long hiatus. Regular posting schedule resumes today.
When you’re creating a new dashboard, you have three options:
• blank dashboard
• standard template
• specialized dashboard from the Solutions Gallery
The first two options are perfectly suitable in many cases, but if you need a dashboard that is focused on
a specific industry or marketing/analytics function, the Solutions Gallery is a great place to start.
When you’re creating the new dashboard, click Import from Gallery the many great options that other community members have contributed.
Keep in mind that you’re only importing the dashboard configuration and that your own data will populate the template. You can customize the dashboard as you like, and if you find that the dashboard doesn’t suit your purposes, you can delete it.
Don’t reinvent the wheel for each dashboard that you need – take advantage of the templates in the Solutions Gallery.
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Google Analytics Jeopardy! board from the Evolve with Google Analytics conference.
Today’s tip combines 30 tips in the form of a Jeopardy! board.
Among highlights of the Evolve with Google Analytics conference in Boston this month, Judah Phillips hosted a live round of Google Analytics Jeopardy!
You can read more and access the game from the original post on the E‑Nor blog.
Round two is coming up…
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Page Analytics plugin for Chrome displays Google Analytics data directly on your page.
There are a range of useful Google Analytics extensions for Chrome. In a previous post, we discussed Google Tag Assistant. Today we look at the Page Analytics extension that overlays your Google Analytics data directly onto a page in the browser.
To use the extension:
1. Install and activate it.
2. In one tab, log into Google Analytics.
3. In another tab, access a page that is tracked under your Google Analytics login.
The Page Analytics extension will take advantage of Enhanced Link Attribution, if you have made that customization in your tracking code.
The Page Analytics plugin is a handy addition to our Google Analytics toolkit – not only for our own analysis, but as an aid for analytics communication with clients, colleagues, and managers.
If you filter your Referrals report for facebook, the “l” (that’s l as in lemon) referrals were directed through Link Shim, which Facebook uses to protect clickers who may be unknowingly accessing malicious sites. If your site is legitimate, Link Shim is no problem, but the referrer will still appear as the l version.
This apparently represents an improvement for analytics, because the current Link Shim versions previously registered in Google Analytics without accurate source attribution, so you could not even tell that the visits originated from Facebook.
To sum up the four combinations of desktop/smartphone and Link Shim:
- facebook.com – desktop or tablet, link not directed through Link Shim
- l.facebook.com – desktop or tablet, link directed through Link Shim
- m.facebook.com – smartphone, link not directed through Link Shim
- lm.facebook.com – smartphone, link directed through Link Shim
For more information on Link Shim referrals in Google Analytics, check out this great post by Jules White.
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Bot Filtering could have more of an effect on reporting for certain types of websites.
Apparently, however, traffic inflation by bots has been reported as serious problem on certain websites, particularly those selling ad space based on pageviews: the more impressions that the advertiser and publisher report, the more they can charge the advertiser.
For other types of sites, this issue may have only minimal impact. How can you find out for your own site?
1. Copy a view.
2. In the settings for the view copy, select the Bot Filtering checkbox.
3. After a period of time, compare sessions and pageviews between the original view and the bot-filtered view.
In the test that I ran, there was a difference of only five sessions and six pageviews over the course several weeks, but you can very easily set up your own test as described above and determine if the impacts are greater for your own website.
For additional perspective on the bot issue, see this article on TechCrunch.
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The Google Tag Assistant panel indicates the presence of Google Analytics on a Web page.
The Google Tag Assistant extension for Chrome allows you to check for the presence of several different types of Google code snippets, or “tags”, on a Web page.
After the free and easy install, you can click the tag icon in the Chrome extension bar to display information about the Google Analytics code on the page, including the UA number, which identifies the Google Analytics property to which all raw website data is sent. It also offers suggestions, such as placing the Google Analytics tracking code within the
tags (which is recommended but not completely necessary for Google Analytics to execute correctly).
Interestingly, Google Tag Assistant also displays the container ID of Google Tag Manager container if this code is also present and indicates the UA number of any Google Analytics tags that you have deployed to the page through Google Tag Manager. (Remember not to confuse Google Tag Assistant with Google Tag Manager.)
One issue that Google Tag Assistant sometimes calls out is the occurrence of multiple Google Analytics UA numbers on a single Web page. It may be perfectly valid to have two different tracking codes with two UA numbers on a single page (for rollup reporting), but multiple tracking codes sometimes indicate a need for tighter management of the Google Analytics deployment.
Keep in mind that you do not need to be logged into Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager to use Google Tag Assistant, and that you can activate it to display Google tag information for any page on any website, not just your own.
Optimization is not only about analytics. While quantitative data is indispensable for website optimization, the qualitative feedback from usability testing can quickly provide insights that would take much longer to garner from Web Analytics data.
For example, it would be nearly impossible for Web analytics data on its own to indicate that you need a guarantee on your purchase page. A single usability test could quickly flag this potential issue. If one or two more testers voice the same concern, you might really need that guarantee.
You can run your first usability test for free at trymyui.com. (You’ll need to provide a credit card to sign up – just make sure to select one credit only, unless you want to purchase additional credits.)
Other types of qualitative feedback include surveys, as well as direct conversations with end users, colleagues, and clients who may have never had the opportunity to critique Web processes.
Of course, even with seemingly decisive qualitative feedback, we can’t assume that any change will increase conversion, so monitor key metrics after you make any change. Better yet, run a split test in Google Analytics Content Experiments or another testing tool to measure performance of the page variations.
In any case, don’t limit your optimization efforts to quantitative analysis. Incorporate qualitative channels for faster insights.
In Google Analytics, goals, custom reports, and dashboards are created at the view level. If you want to use that same asset in another view, property, or account – or if you want to share with other Google Analytics users – you can forward a link from the Share Assets screen, accessed from the view admin.
Segments are somewhat different in that they’re accessible in all views within the same Google Analytics account, so you’d share a segment with a different GA user, or potentially with yourself if you happen to maintain GA accounts under different logins.
When you share any asset in this way, you’re not sharing any data, but rather a link that another Google Analytics user can click and then apply to their own views. For example, the link below shares a simple custom report for sessions and bounce rate by referrer, but not any of your actual referral data.
This same sharing mechanism allows you to import predefined bundles of segments, dashboards, and custom reports, which you can access by clicking Import from Gallery in the Share Assets screen.
If you or your team have already created additional views for your Google Analytics property (or properties), congratulations. You’re already doing at least one thing the way you’re supposed to.
Why is it considered best-practice to have multiple views per property? For one thing, you should be filtering out your internal traffic and your development server activity, and there are also a range of other view settings and filter that can help you to clean, consolidate, and segment your view data.
However, you should not apply any settings or filters to your single All Web Site Data view. At a minimum, you should create a test view and a backup view.
As a note, the previous name for view was profile. In Google Analytics, the terms are synonymous. View is a more descriptive name, since the purpose of a view is to provide a particular view on your raw Website or app data.
You can create up to 50 views per standard Google Analytics account, but you do need Edit access at the property or account level.
Still have only that one view? Create test and backup views today, and try out a filter or setting in your test view. In any case, don’t be afraid to create additional views: backup and test to begin with, and whenever you need a more specialized representation of your data.