by Bryan Eisenberg
Just because Google
Analytics is free, don’t
let that mislead you into
believing it is somehow
disabled, cheap, or
Big corporate websites or sites
with complex selling structures
might need a paid analytics
solution like HitBox or
Omniture but, for most of us,
Google Analytics provides
enough customer insight to
stay busy for years.
The one thing that Google Analytics lacks, however, is
human support. For this reason, many businesses just
scratch the surface of its capabilities. Some are afraid to dig
deeper and others are just downright confused by it.
Tagging your site for Google Analytics should be a simple
affair. Google simply requires that you include a snippet of
code (tag) on any page you need to track. Google itself offers a
simple set of instructions on how to do this on any type of site.
In fact, Google Analytics created Conversion University
— a series of lessons on several Google Analytics related
topics. It is fairly easy to understand and a good place to start
if you have questions about the tool. You can find it at:
Once you get the code installed, there are several other
tools that will test to ensure proper set up. Sitescan by
EpikOne will check your site for proper installation with a
free scan at http://www.sitescanga.com/. Firebug is a free,
open-source Firefox plug-in that offers some features helpful
for tagging. Get it at http://www.getfirebug.com. If you want
something a bit more specialized (a paid version that will
crawl all the pages on your website) you can use W.A.S.P.,
available at http://webanalyticssolutionprofiler.com/.
1. Setting Up Goals
If you are only using Google Analytics for traffic and source
reports, you are missing out on a huge amount of useful data
and insight. One of its most powerful features is the ability to
track goals for your customers. Whether you want them to
buy something, subscribe, or become a lead, it is mission critical
that you set up goals. Not only will this allow tracking of
conversion rates, but also better enable you to find out where
visitors are falling out of your conversion funnel.
With the cost of online traffic getting higher and higher,
not knowing how good your site performs against its goals is
not just wrong — it costs you money.
There are many great posts about setting up goals. The
ZenCartOptimization.com blog has a series titled “Google
Analytics Demystified.” Part 5 deals with goals, and is a highly
2. E-Commerce and Lead Gen Tracking
To make changes based on analytics data, you should have
confidence that the numbers from which you are basing your
decisions are accurate and clean. I’m still surprised to see many
clients still not filtering out traffic that is clearly unqualified.
The most common misstep is the failure to filter out internal
traffic. On your Analytics home page, at the bottom right
is a link called “Filter Manager.” Here you can exclude internal
traffic, as well as traffic from any other domain — some
companies filter out their competitor’s domains, as these are
most likely people simply checking up on developments with
your site. If you have members that make repeat visits to view
subscription content or access a tool that requires a log-in,
these should be filtered out as well.
Filtering out unqualified visitors will help you get a handle
on exactly how well you are converting qualified visitors.
Google Analytics also allows analysis of visitors by
defined segments. For example, we recently worked with a
client who began a partnership with a very large retailer. The
inclusion of a link from his partner’s home page quadrupled
his traffic. However, he only saw a very small increase in
sales. By segmenting this traffic it was determined that,
unlike traffic from other sources, his partner traffic was either
unqualified or early in their buying process and unfamiliar
with his products. We helped build a specific landing page for
this partner traffic and focused on increasing that segment’s
conversion rate. Then, by providing content on that page specific
to the partner traffic, sales increased.
Google Analytics also allows segmentation and tracking
of results from Adwords campaigns. Google’s Conversion
Rate University has great instruction for setting this up and
even offers some advice on building better converting ads
and landing pages.
The Bottom Line: Take Action
Don’t get hung by the rope that is “analysis paralysis.” And
don’t get caught up in running report after report but changing
The purpose of Web analytics is to turn the information
into something you can optimize on your site. If you look at your analytics and don’t walk away with a to-do list, you are
wasting time and likely missing valuable opportunities.
Here are a few things you can do to start your action list:
• Look at your top entry and exit pages, and optimize
those with a 40 percent plus exit rate.
• Look at your top referring keywords, and optimize landing
pages for terms with a 40 percent plus exit rate.
• Look at your goal conversion funnels, and start optimizing the step that has the highest exit/drop rate from one step
to the next.
Finally, ask yourself why site visitors might be clicking
here, bailing out there, or spending five minutes on one
page versus 12 seconds on another. Never forget: When
running reports and staring at averages in Google Analytics
or any other analytics, those clicks are real people making
For all the above links and dozens more Google Analytics
resources, visit GrokDotCom.com/GoogleAnalytics.
About the Author:
Bryan Eisenberg is an internet marketing pioneer and is
professional marketing speaker. Bryan is the recognized authority and pioneer in improving online conversion rates and was recently recognized as one of the top 10 User Experience Gurus. Eisenberg is the co-author of the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, USA Today and The New York Times bestselling books “Call to Action,” “Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?” and “Always Be Testing.”