Focus on Assists to Understand Where Your Conversions Are Really Coming From

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Assists can provide a much more complete understanding of conversion sources.

In a recent post about Multi-Channel Funnels, we examined the Top Conversion Paths report. Assisted Conversions, another report that Google Analytics provides under Multi-Channel Funnels, specifically indicates how often a channel is participating in Ecommerce or goal conversion assists vs. acting as the final channel for conversion.

In the Assisted / Last Click or Direct Conversions column, a value greater than 1 indicates that a channel is stronger with assists than with closes, and a value greater than one indicates a stronger closer.

Assists and closes are both good things, but if you were to review the Source/Medium list in the Goal Overview report, you would know only which channels were closing the deal.

As additional options within the Assisted Conversions report, you can:

• switch from Assisting Interactions Analysis to First Interaction Analysis

• change the lookback window from the 30-day default to as long as 90 days

• narrow your analysis to a single goal or Ecommerce transactions only

In any case, make sure that you’re referring to the Multi-Channel Funnel reports to understand where your most valuable traffic is really coming from.

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Apply Advanced Segments to Goal Reports for More Meaningful (and Higher) Conversion Rates

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With an advanced segment applied, goal and Ecommerce conversion rates are more meaningful (and higher).

If you only expect one type of visitor to your site – such as a visitor who has or has not logged in, a visitor from a specific geographical area, or a visitor who has accessed a certain page – to complete a certain goal or an Ecommerce transaction, you should apply an advanced segment to your goal reports for more meaningful (and higher) conversion rates.

For example, let’s say that your website consists of two main sections: news and content on the one hand, and an online store on the other. If you don’t necessarily expect visitors on the news side to complete transactions in the store, you should create an advanced segment based on visitors who have viewed at least one page in the store and apply that segment to your goal and Ecommerce reports.

As is illustrated in the screen shot, the conversion rate for the segment will be higher (and more meaningful) than for all traffic, and variations in conversion rate over time will have greater amplitude and therefore be easier to detect.

This illustrates a general principle in Web analytics: the more specificity you apply to your analytics in terms visitor segmentation, the more you’ll be able to make meaningful observations and take concrete action to improve your website.

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Google Analytics “Hit”: Definition and Limits

Although pageviews are central to Google Analytics, the calculation of interaction metrics and limits in Google Analytics is based on a broader set of interactions.

A Google Analytics hit is defined as a pageview, a virtual pageview, an event, a social action, or an Ecommerce transaction. Unlike regular pageviews, the other types of interactions are not generated by the default Google Analytics tracking code but instead require special coding.

For calculating time metrics and bounce, Google Analytics treats all hits equally. For this reason, if a virtual pageview (from a PDF download, for example) or an event (from a video play) occurs during a single-page visit, that visit is not counted as a bounce (unless, in the case of the event, you have coded the event as non-interaction).

Google Analytics bases interaction limits on hits and not exclusively on pageviews. Google Analytics can capture up to 500 hits per visit and 10 million hits per month. (The monthly hit limit for Google Analytics Premium increases to 1 billion.)

Note that hit in Google Analytics differs from the general hit of Web server parlance, which instead refers to a request for any file from the Web server, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or an image. (It also differs from the layperson’s usage of hit as a visit to your website.)

Although hit does not appear anywhere in the Google Analytics interface, it’s an important concept for Google Analytics practitioners.

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Per Visit Value Gauges Overall Site Effectiveness

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With the Ecommerce selected as the metrics group, the Acquisition reports can display Per Visit Value.

Similarly to the neglected but extremely useful Page Value metric, the helpful Per Visit Value and Per Visit Goal Value metrics can be easily overlooked in Google Analytics.

It is overlooked perhaps because it does not display in any report by default. To view this important metric, you must select the Ecommerce metrics group within any of your Acquisition reports.

If you haven’t configured Ecommerce tracking but you have set up multiple monetized goals, you can instead select a Goal Set n metrics group in your Acquisition reports to display Per Visit Goal Value, which is the equivalent of Per Visit Value for goals instead of Ecommerce.

In either case, you can take advantage of these metrics to track your site’s overall effectiveness over time in generating higher-value Ecommerce transactions and goal conversions.

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Create a Simple Custom Report to Display Page Value for Landing Pages

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In a custom report, you can display Page Value for landing pages.

Although the Page Value metric is very relevant to landing pages, it does not appear in the Landing Pages report.

Fortunately, you can quickly define a custom report as follows to display Page Value for landing pages.

Dimension: Landing Page

Metrics: Entrances (as a related data point), Page Value

If the standard reports don’t provide the combination of dimensions and metrics that you need, you can in most instances create a custom report that fits the bill.

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Know Your Margins for Ecommerce and Goal Values

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Based on total goal value and Ecommerce revenue, not margin, the AdWords ROI and Margin metrics could be misleading.

To calculate the return on your marketing efforts, it’s important to know your actual margin for Ecommerce transactions and goal values.

Let’s say that your website sells tennis raquets for an average of $100USD, with a profit margin of $10USD not counting marketing expenses. If you spend $50 dollars in AdWords for each sale/conversion, the AdWords will show a very positive ROI and Margin, because it’s basing its calculations on total revenue.

In reality, however, you’d be losing $40 on each raquet (not counting the positive offset of phone sales).

Know your margins, and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns based on margins and not on total revenue.

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Add a Custom Page Value Widget to Your Dashboard

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You can add a custom Page Value widget to your dashboard.

After reading the recent post on the very important Page Value metric, you might want to highlight Page Value by adding it to your Google Analytics dashboard.

However, if you click Add to Dashboard in the Page report – where the Page Value metric appears – the only metrics available are Pageviews and Unique Pageview.

To add Page Value to your dashboard, you can click Add Widget directly in the dashboard, select Table format, then select Page Value as a metric (along with other relevant metrics such as Pageviews) and Page as the dimension.

With Page Value as the first metrics column, your table will sort by default with the greatest page value at the top, and you’ll easily be able to see which pages are really pulling the most weight on your site.

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Understand and Use the Page Value Metric

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Page Value helps you gauge a page’s effectiveness.

If the primary purpose of your website is goal completion or ecommerce transactions, Page Value is arguably the most important metric displayed in the Google Analytics Content reports.

Based on goal and ecommerce value, Page Value measures a page’s contributions to goals and ecommerce quite cleanly and directly.

Let’s look at one goal and two pages on your real estate website.

Your Goal URL is the thank-you page for a lead submission. Based on close rates for submitted leads, you have indicated a goal value of $800 USD when setting up your goal.

The two pages are Our Agents and Home Listings. Last month, Our Agents was viewed during 1000 visits, and a lead was submitted 500 times after Our Agents was viewed one or more times during the same visit. Home Listings was viewed during 2000 visits, with 700 leads submitted.

For Our Agents, we can calculate Page Value as follows:

(500 goal completions after a unique Our Agents pageview x $800)/1000 visits =
$400 Page Value

For Home Listings:

(700 goal completions after a unique Home Listings pageview x $800)/2000 visits =
$280 Page Value

Two notes:

• the pageview must occur at least once before the goal completion or ecommerce transaction to count towards Page Value

• multiple pageviews during the same visit do not affect the Page Value calculation

Also, you should consider assigning goal values even to goals, as in this example, that are not directly monetized so you can take advantage of Page Value.

As for actionable conclusions, you can, in this case, make Our Agents more prominent and measure the effect on overall conversion rate.

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