Category Archives: Web Analytics

Analytics Tip: Google Analytics Remarketing Basics for Your Business

Need to raise your online sales? That means raising conversions, and these days, it means considering a remarketing program to make higher conversions possible.

Remarketing is one of the newest techniques being used in paid search. Remarketing is a strategy in which an ad appears after a webste visit. Its purpose is to provide a “reminder” to a site visitor to come back and make a purchase, register for an event, or to sign up on the website. Think of it as a conversion reminder, because a remarketing campaign is meant to remind a visitor to comeback to a site.

Before making the first steps to create remarketing lists, make sure you or someone who will be responsible for the list has administrator access to the Google Analytics account, as well as someone who can modify the code  to accommodate the remarketing protocol.

Google Analytics Remarketing

The admin page contains a remarketing selection (center column, product listing)

Modifying the Analytics Code

To create a remarking campaign, you must add a remarketing tag, a small snippet of code. The code is applied to all your site pages exactly like that of a web analytics code.

The revision is based on whether the site is running Universal Analytics (analytics.js) or the previous version (ga.js), but in both protocols, the change is a minor line revision. For GA, you can  replace the following line in the GA tag…

ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘’;

with the following line:

ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://’ : ‘http://’) +

For Universal Analytics, adding the following line to the script is required, instead of a substitution:

ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);

If you are uncomfortable with Javascript edits on a webpage, use a tag management system such as a Google Tag Manager. Using the tag manager will better align the management of the site with reporting features and can take advantage of the Universal Analytics tag.

Establishing A Privacy Policy To Guide Customers and Gain Trust

The next step after the tag modification is indicating in your privacy policy that remarketing tags are being used. The disclosure provides an opt out choice for visitors who are sensitive to being tracked, and in Google’s analytic configuration, the usage of a DoubleClick cookie separate from the standard Google Analytics tag. Google provides guidance, particular to address display ad campaigns on what should be contained in a privacy policy (you can read it here.).

A privacy policy ensures that customers understand what impact remarketing ads can have on their online experience. The policy should disclose:

  • The capacity for display advertising.
  • Implemented Google Analytics features based on display advertising (e.g., remarketing).
  • That visitors can opt out of Google Analytics for display advertising and customize Google Display Network ads using the Ads Preferences Manager.
Google Analytics Remarketing - Linking Adwords

Linking an Adwords account is required to setting up a remarketing campaign. The link permits measurement within Google Analytics

Creating Remarketing Lists

With the settings adjusted and the privacy policy in place, the next step is to form remarketing lists for the webpages involved in a remarketing campaign. Remarketing lists describe website “triggers” – the events that will cause the ad to be shown to a visitor who triggered the event. The events are based on the objective you have set for your website. The lists can be created in the admin section of your Google Analytics. For the setting adjustment, make sure that you have access as the administrator. Navigate to the Product Linking  section on the admin page for an account. Next, click on “Remarketing”, then click “Lists” – making sure that there is a Adwords account linked to the profile.

  1. Select the profile from which you want the lists to be built from.
  2. Select the simple list type. You can have a list for several different configurations such as:
  • all your visitors,
  • visitors who visited a subsection of your site,
  • visitors who completed a goal.

The lists can be viewed within the linked  AdWords account.

Once a remarketing list has been created, a new Adwords  campaign can be launched. The remarketing list can be added to an ad group. If more than one remarketing list is added to an ad group, the ad group will target all of these lists. This means that a remarketing list is treated as an ad group (or as a sub-ad group if two or more list are added. Either way, it also means understanding an Ad group is essential to maintain the right digital message for a campaigns)

Remarketing has revitalized digital media marketing. Clickz noted remarketing as one of the top trends in 2014.  Remarketing has particularly rearranged the value that paid search can have in a given strategy.  The benefits include:

  • Remarketing can increase conversion rates by reminding customers of an offer. The tactics focuses on the audience that does not convert initially but may have potential interest that is never developed further because no media is there to remind them
  • Remarketing tailors marketing to the intended customer segment by setting triggers that a segment uses regularly on a site
  • Remarketing can strengthen brand message by reducing the number of messages that appear on different media. The multiple combinations of message and media can confuse and annoy customers.
  • Because message confusion is reduced, remarketing can enhance communication with customer. This is valuable as customers increasingly see marketing offers and messages across multiple devices

Ultimately remarketing can enhance marketing message to a fragmented customer attention span. What other benefits can remarketing offer? Share your thoughts and questions below.

Analytics Tips: Starter Ideas for Managing E-commerce Reporting

Sometimes e-commerce reporting in analytic solutions can be intimidating place to start.  An e-Commerce business or an organization with an e-Commerce group faces many reports combined with many products for a visitor to view.  So on first blush, considering what details to manage at first seems confusing.

To develop analytic reporting, consider these activities to build best reporting practices.

Monitor speed to purchase

Visits to purchase and days to purchase are valuable metrics in determining how quickly purchases are being conducted. This is a different perspective than the standard goals and recency reports shown in Google Analytics. Goals usually reflect the current within a visit clicking on a button playing a video for reaching for page referred time on the website.  Multiple actions are typical for e-commerce site, given the number of items made available. Thus E-commerce goals differ by representing both a conversion in a visit or actions with a visit.

Match analytic reporting to territory to better track sales by currency 

It is best to have a profile for each country in which you intend to operate. The reason is currency differences. Most analytic solutions have no means to combine currencies within one profile. So to make retail reporting easier, establish an analytic profile that contains data for local websites serving a specific region.

Watch for discrepancies in the visitor data 

Some decay in data can occur as traffic is examined from a click of a tagged form to a conversion goal. This error is usually represented as a difference between visits and orders forfilled. The error comes about due to tracking concerns. Browser settings, blocked cookies, and multiple clicks within a visit increases the likelihood of an error count. Users can use Charles or Fiddler to confirm that there are no consistent client-server issues with the website that could be causing the error. Errors over 10% are a concern worth seeing a correction.

Check the item details that go into the E-commerce Javascript tag

Details such as SKU codes are usually required in the Javascript tag. These details are necessary for the E-commerce analytics reports to capture metrics and data. Make a list of what should be included

Check Javascript syntax where possible

Another area to check in the syntax used in the Javascript tag.  Watch for unique symbols that do not work well in a Javascript syntax, such as currency symbols. Sometimes a symbol is not interpreted in the script well, causing a misfire of a code.

To make an inspection easier, set a master profile where unfiltered data can be examined.  This can provide a check for setting changes and help validate proper code.  A web developer can verify and dig into the code details for errors or possible mismatch within the Javascript syntax.

Maintain a roll up account

Just as with filters, where maintaining an “unfiltered” account is important, E-commerce should maintain a roll up account that covers all related e-commerce reporting. This is particularly useful when purchases are handled through various territories and there needs to reporting unfiltered to detect reporting and in some cases diagnostic concerns.

Analytics Tip: How to consider precision vs accuracy for better analysis

Some businesses install two or more analytics tools – it is possible to have a Google Analytics tool with Piwik or Woopra on the same site. Or have Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics on the same page. Many large organizations run both Adobe and Google – usually with Google at the onset of an analytics project, with Adobe considered for its ability to manage complex campaigns. Or WebTrends or Google Premium…. I think you get the point.

But not every result from a measurement tool will be exactly the same. The number count on Piwik may differ from that of a Google Analytics reports.

So what is the benefit of having dual tools on a site?  The best answer lies in comparing data for general trends that appear on both tool. Given the same referral traffic and online conditions, a general increase in one can be similar in another. That can be useful to vet if conditions, such as a campaign effect, are indeed an influence on a result.

In this instance you are comparing precision across measurement tools. Precision in scientific terms is about repeatability – how well your results can be duplicated.

This perspective differs from that for accuracy. Accuracy is defined as a quality or state of being correct or precise; nearness to what should be in place.  Given that there may be subtle differences in how solutions measure, you will have a difficult time reconciling different numbers. High data volume and data imperfection impair accuracy.  Analytic solutions are not all the same, so there an be some accuracy discrepancy between solutions.  How one measures the sources for a bounce rate may be different from another. You or your team can even waste time examining why a difference exists within a given time period between two solutions.      Indeed using one solution can eliminate confusing decisions about trends in a set of data. It is ultimately the ideal arrangement for an analytic solution.

But for instances in direction regarding data accuracy,multiple solutions on a site can have a beneficial diagnostic effect for organizing potential reporting issues.

Analytics Tip: 3 Quality Assurance Tools for Google Analytics

Justin Cutroni, Google Analytics evangelist, once said that there’s more to analytics than just adding a tag to a webpage (very true!). For many analytics practioners, that “more” comes in the form of quality assurance or QA tools. These tools are extension of various web development tools, used to confirm functionality of a tag as well as the website after a tag is installed, as well as other function checks at the browser.

Many analytics solutions have some level of diagnostic, but again, these are meant for once the analytics is in place, and are more about client side issues. Not all reporting covers server side issue, which can affect analytic performance as well.

Tag assistant is a Chrome plugin in that verifies Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics tags, as well as a few other enterprise-level Google advertising services in which a tag is used. The assistant provides a drop down menu when prompt that leads to a Google webpage with a list of diagnostic suggestions.  There is also a Google Plus community that supports the tag assistant plugin with questions and answers.

Another Chrome plugin is GA Debugger. This plugin sends debug information to the Javascript console, a screen that appears alongside a webpage. The console is meant to show webpage elements while on-page, permitting developers to understand what is in the code.

Among the most well known tool among web analytic practitioners is a Google Analytics specific tool called WASP. Developed by Stephane Hamel, WASP also debugs code. There is a crawler functionality, meaning the debugger can crawls a site for issues. There is a plugin version which runs in the Chrome browser (and also works from within the Javascript console).

The point of each of these tools is to help audit issues that affect how a page loads in a browser. Minimizing problems at the browser can maximize visitor engagement at the website.

Analytics Tip: How Wireframes And Event Tracking Plans Improve Your Business Online

When it comes to building a digital presence, one of the most overlooked activities businesses make is to not optimize their website layout.  Reviewing a wireframe makes such a review possible.

A wireframe is basically a sketch of website hierarchy. To envision it, think of a NCAA basketball tourney bracket, or any other sports bracket for that matter. Now imagine that bracket cut in half and turned north-south like a pyramid. That’s basically similar to what a wireframe layout should be – a bracket of pages that indicates how they are related. To make your wireframe effective, think of each of your webpages in each slot of the tourney brackets, like the image below. The connections are meant to reflect how a website visitor is meant to navigate from page to page.

Adobe Muse Website Layout

This matrix in Adobe Muse is not a wireframe, but does show how pages are connected in a website. This overview can aid discussion about navigation and other wireframe concerns.

Consider the following criteria for website elements, based on a Website Magazine article “Getting Wilde With Wireframes“. These criteria determine how a page layout best addresses the overall website experience:

  • Information: When it comes to the product or service represented on the site, does the element “reflect the goals of the user and what tasks a user should take”?  That question needs to be answered for any content that appears on a page.
  • Navigation: Navigation reflects “the degree of interaction that results in the user experience”. Optimizing it with a wireframe becomes essential to ensure users to move through the site or app.
  • Interface:  The consideration of how buttons and boxes, menus and text fields will be presented (where and in what general style).

Examining these criteria leads into discussion about inserting analytic tags – the labeling of players, buttons, and other website sections as a conversion action.  Event tracking was explained in this early Zimana post. Since that time, web apps and updated websites have invented new event tracking usages to understand how visitors will interact with website or app elements.

In a past Zimana post on event tracking, the Javascript protocol was added as a script to a website button. When Google introduced its tag manager, accessing the code and control for event tracking was moved from the page to a user interface.  The benefit was no longer having to manually add the event tracking code to a page.

Google Analytics evangelist Justin Cutroni once explained a great usage for event tracking  - he notes how event tracking can be triggered as a website visitor scrolls down to certain page  segments.  This technique can be useful for vertical parallax website design, revealing how content is consumed in analytics reports.

Reviewing the tag concerns can bring forth a better identified purpose for the site, a better selection of supporting marketing, and be easier to install at a website’s launch.  It can also lead to early detection of potential website performance issues. For more on page load performance and other website development tips, check out these Zimana posts: