Play Google Analytics Jeopardy!

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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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Share Segment, Dashboard, Goal, and Custom Report Configurations – Even With Yourself

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You can access Share Assets from the view admin.

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.

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Abandonment Rate Is a Useful Metric, So Define Your Goals with Funnels

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Abandonment is calculated only for goals with funnels.

Everyone understands funnels, and everyone understands abandonment.

Since a significant part of our role as analytics is to communicate data – to others in our organization, to clients, and to ourselves – in a way that is clear and meaningful, we should define funnels on top of our Destination goals so Google Analytics can fully populate the user-friendly Funnel Visualization and Goal Flow reports and also calculate the emotionally resonant Abandonment Rate metric.

The more visual and emotional we can make our data, the more effectively we can demonstrate the need for, and the benefits of, optimization of key user interactions on our websites.

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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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Conversion Rate Down? – Check the Path Length Report

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The Path Length report can provide another perspective on your conversion rates.

A lower goal or Ecommerce conversion rate relative to the same period last year may not necessarily indicate that your site’s performance has slipped: it may just mean that visitors are visiting a greater number of times before converting.

As with the other Multi-Channel Funnel reports, the Path Length report provides an additional perspective on your conversions. In the case of Path Length, you can see how many visits are required for visitors to convert.

Because conversion rate is based on visits and not unique visitors, a greater number of visits before conversion would lower conversion rate, perhaps even if the overall number of conversions has increased. The opposite could also be true: if visitors are converting in fewer visits, but fewer conversions are occurring overall, conversion rate could actually increase, since there would be fewer total visits before conversion.

Thus, when we’re looking at conversion rates, it’s helpful to also consider path length and, of course, total conversions.

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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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Goal Conversion Rate Is Based on Total Visits, Not Unique Visitors

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Conversion Rate can be somewhat ambiguous as a metric.

A conversion rate of 2.62% for the main goal of your website does not indicate that 2.62% of people converted. Rather, it means that 2.62% of total visits included a goal completion.

The implication is therefore that your conversion rate could be decreasing while the actual performance of your website for that goal is improving. If more visits are required for a goal completion but the goal completion is ultimately taking place, your website is doing its job.

A less ambiguous metric is goal completions. This is an absolute number that requires little interpretation (although we always need to keep in mind that a significant number of website visits could result in phone and brick-and-mortar conversions).

Does this mean that we should ignore conversion rate? Surely not, but we do need to remember how it’s calculated.

In future posts, we’ll look at ways you can further analyze and better understand your goal conversion rates.

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Multi-Channel Funnel Reports Show Conversion Attribution Chain

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The Top Conversion Paths report displays conversion attribution history.

In a recent post, we saw that the Goals reports in Google Analytics attribute conversions entirely to the last click or to the last direct visit that didn’t follow a more specific source.

The Multi-Channel Funnel reports, however, do preserve the entire attribution history leading up to conversions. Also, they do not overwrite (direct)/(none) as (source)/(medium) for a visit if a more specific source (such a referral, an organic visit, or a campaign) generated a previous visit. In this way, the Multi-Channel Funnel reports can more accurately reflect the chain of sources that drove conversions.

As with any sort of visit-to-visit tracking, the Multi-Channel Funnel reports depend on browser cookies. If the visitor deletes cookies, attribution history is lost, and Google Analytics starts a new attribution record on that visitor’s next visit.

By default, the channels defined in the Multi-Channel Funnels report may be too general. In an upcoming post, we’ll discuss how to create custom channels for more actionable insights.

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Goal Overview Report Displays Most Recent Source/Medium

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The Goal Overview report displays the source/medium for the converting visits, which may or may not be the same as for the original visits.

A previous post illustrated the principle of last-click attribution: in most reports, including Goal Overview, applies the source/medium of the most recent visit. (The exception is (direct)/(none), which does not overwrite a more specific source/medium from a previous visit.)

This means that Google Analytics would ascribe all credit for a conversion to Google organic if that was the source/medium of the converting visit, even if two visits by that same visitor prior to conversion were driven by Google AdWords and an email campaign.

In an upcoming post, we’ll review the Multi-Channel Funnel reports for a more complete picture of the sources that are generating conversions on your site.

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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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