Ever since its inception, Google Analytics has evolved at a fast pace. Its evolutionary progress took larger steps with the introduction of Google Analytics Premium and the need to cater for more advanced analytical needs. This year has been no exception in Google Analytics’ progression.
Many exciting developments were unveiled at the Google Analytics Summit held earlier this month. I want to focus on three that particularly excite me: those that will open up new avenues on your journey of optimizing conversion rates.
1. Audience Reporting
Google Analytics is now truly able to provide demographic profiling of your visitors. Previously, Google Analytics’ attempt at demographic reporting was identifying visitors’ geo location and what default language their browser was set to. While this helped us infer useful information about our visitors, it wasn’t demographic information in its truest sense.
Audience reporting now allows us to understand three dimensions about our visitors (all anonymous of course):
And since these dimensions can be integrated into your custom segments, it allows you to bring more context to your data. Here are some examples on how we were able to use these insights to better connect with customers.
Content planning: The owners of a branding site believed that a majority of their users were middle-aged men. Subsequently all content was created with a male audience in mind. Audience reports debunked this myth.
What became very clear to this business was that their audience was in fact skewed towards younger females. Content strategy quickly changed to bring a larger focus to female-oriented messaging.
Influencing the buyer: Through segmenting their audience’s purchase behavior, an e-commerce operator was able to identify that females were purchasing their high-value products, and that males were impatient (no surprise there!) when it came to researching and buying.
The business is currently redesigning its site so that there is a focus on research content geared towards women, and that the less patient are able to find and buy what they are looking for within a minimal number of clicks.
Researching audience interest: An online branding player uses microsites to engage with their digital audience, but sell their products offline. While they have set up goals as proxy for sales (e.g. did the visitor use their store locator?) and can tell how effective they are at “converting” their audience, it still tells them nothing about who these people are. Audience interest reports helped them fill that gap.
They were able to gauge that their most interested visitors are those who seem to have an affinity for transport and vehicles, sports, and are business-oriented. These insights are being distributed throughout the company:
1. Product development teams are taking these into account as they design their new line of products.
2. Marketing are looking at how to create targeted messaging and increase the reach for these segments of their audience.
3. Their loyalty program is being tweaked to provide rewards that would appeal to the customers’ interests.
2. Unified Segments
It was an exciting time when Google Analytics first introduced advanced segments way back (in Internet years) in 2008. Suddenly we could get better meaning out of our data by looking beyond the aggregate, and into specific visitor segments (e.g. visitors from a particular geographic region).
However, there was one key limitation all these years: segmentation was based on a single session and couldn’t span sessions. This limited our ability to analyze visitors based on what they did over multiple visits. For example, we couldn’t segment our audience based on whether they bought our product multiple times over 6 months. We could only segment on the visits where they bought the product, but had no idea about what they did on prior visits before purchase.
Unified segments fixes all that! For example, below is an illustration of segments set up to analyze visitors that have purchased less or more than five times over all their visits in the last six months. We see that there were 649 visitors that we could place into our “most valued customers” bucket; and that they are more engaged than most in terms of pages per visit and visit duration.
I’ll elaborate on unified segments with more examples in my next article. If you can’t wait, read Justin Cutroni’s excellent primer to find out more.
3. Analytics Academy
If there’s one thing you should be doing after reading this article, it’s to sign up to the Analytics Academy. This is the next evolution of Conversion University and has vastly upgraded content that covers all of Google Analytics’ new features. Most importantly it provides guidance on how to use your Google Analytics data to drive better performance for your business.
These features will soon appear in your Google Analytics account (but you don’t need to wait to join Analytics Academy). Be sure to make use of them to unlock insights into who your users are and what motivates them to be a customer.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Vinny is managing partner and co-founder of Sparkline, a consultancy focused on optimizing conversion rates. Sparkline is a Google Analytics Certified Partner, Google Analytics Premium Authorized Reseller, Google Tag Manager Specialist, Adobe Marketing Cloud Solution Partner, and Optimizely Certified Partner. Vinny specializes in maximizing revenues for businesses by optimizing their digital presence across desktop and mobile websites, paid advertising, social media, and search engines. His core expertise lies in measurement, data analysis, testing, and insights that deliver results. Prior to founding Sparkline, Vinny was a senior conversion specialist at Google Southeast Asia for 5 years. You can get in touch with Vinny on Twitter @vinoaj, LinkedIn, Google+ or his company's website.
March 19, 2014