After spending a week prepping for the GAIQ, I want to apply what I’ve learned with specific, concrete action items. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’ll forget the lessons.
Consequently, there are a few features I’d like to take advantage of immediately when I return to work after the holidays.
In Google’s reporting interface, you can annotate your account’s timeline in order to highlight key dates like when you experienced a major outage to your call centre or launched an in-store sales promotion that may explain either a spike or drop-off in web traffic.
I’ve totally ignored this feature until now, but I see the value of tracking events that may impact your site or mobile app’s performance since memories fade and staff leave or retire. You need to record these dates so that you don’t lose the knowledge or the ability to then monitor and report attendant changes to your account.
Filters let you include, exclude or change how data appears in reports. In practical terms, filters can be immensely helpful by letting you exclude data from your head office’s IP address or force all URLS to be reported either in lower-case or upper-case characters, aggregating data that should be listed together. This is one of my greatest pet peeves—Google Analytics is case sensitive so the results for the same page (mysite.com/thanks and mysite.com/THANKS) get recorded separately unless you set up a filter to clean up how that data is reported.
While studying, I also discovered Jason Cartwright’s article on 6 Must Have Google Analytics Filters that I’d like to put into action as well.
Pro tip: try any new filters on the Test view only so that you can validate everything is running correctly before promoting changes to the Master view. Changes can’t be undone or corrected once the data is processed so take heart the old carpenter’s adage to “measure twice, cut once.”
- Content Groupings
In addition to filters, you can configure Content Groupings so that you can organize content logically in order to view and compare aggregate metrics. You could choose to create groups of content by product pages, blog topics, content types, target audience or whatever principle makes sense on your site.
In the absence of Content Groupings, I’ve relied on the All Pages’ advanced search feature to ferret out useful nuggets about how our content performs. But I’d like to implement Content Groupings to enable more methodical, rigorous reporting in the future.
- Data Imports
Did you know that you can import your own data to be processed alongside what Google has tracked? This can result in sophisticated reports, enabling business insights to occur faster than ever before. As long as the two sets of data have a common “key” like a page URL then you should be able to tie the information together for reporting.
Of course, some of these features will be easier to start using straight away, while others might have to wait until a full measurement plan has been crafted. There are larger pieces to put in place like:
- Identifying the Goals that best align with corporate objectives;
- Attempting to get tracking code installed across all web-enabled touchpoints (not a small feat if you don’t “own” those channels like in-store kiosks); and
- Setting up custom reports and dashboards that will make sharing data smoother and more efficient.
What was the first thing you did on your account after finishing the GAIQ?