Here’s a brief review of some of the best posts written in 2008 about web analytics. The articles here will show you how to use web analytics more strategically as part of your marketing program design, use some of the new advanced features in Google Analytics, and investigate alternatives to GA that provide unique views of website traffic.
Melissa Burdon advises marketers to act like investigative journalists—ask the tough questions, dig for the story behind the story—rather than beat reporters who just report the who, what, where and when.
What To Expect From Your Web Analytics Tool (Web Analytics Series, Part 2) by NxtERA Marketing Blog
Elana Anderson presents a five-part framework to help companies maximize their investment in web analytics tools to develop integrated, customer-focused marketing programs. Her model outlines a progression of stages from site analysis (available to anyone using free tools) though optimization, targeting, and finally integration—a stage about which she writes “no one has nailed this one and that gives us all something to aspire towards.”
Two Alternative Solutions for Site Analytics by Web Worker Daily
Samuel Dean reviews two alternatives to Google Analytics, opensource web analytics software Piwik and the modestly priced Visitorville. Both are real-time (unlike GA) and both offer unique ways of viewing and analyzing website traffic. What’s more, as Dean points out, “In addition to being useful, these alternative site analytics solutions are fun.”
Google Analytics: Advanced Segments – Beta Feature by limeshot design
Here’s an excellent guide to using the Advanced Segments tool added to Google Analytics last November. While GA still lacks some of the features of high-end analytics packages, it is steadily encroaching further onto their turf with the addition of sophisticated new features. The post details how to use Dimensions and Metrics to set up filters, apply these to default reports, and even perform comparisons. As a real-world example, I recently used Advanced Segments to create lists of the most popular organic search phrases used to find the Spanish language version of a client website (trickier than it sounds, as the Spanish site was a virtual copy of the English site created through MotionPoint rather than a physically separate website), by month.
On the topic of the Google Analytics Advanced Segments tool, Richard Fergie provides more detail and walks through an example of how this GA feature could be used to analyze conversions by day part in order to maximize the profitability of AdWords bids.
Review: Google Insights Can Help Merchants Optimize PPC/SEO Campaigns by Practical eCommerce
Armando Roggio reviews another relatively new tool from Google, Google Insights, a free research tool which “provides detailed search data that can help online retailers improve their pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization.” Roggio shows how the tool can be used to help marketers determine the most effective marketing messages and discover new markets, as examples, but he also carefully explains the limitation of the tool.
50 Resources for Getting the Most Out of Google Analytics by KISSmetrics
Derek Collins has compiled an impressive and extremely useful list of tools to help web analysts get more out of Google Analytics. The list is also helpfully divided into different groups of resources including resources for beginners, tips & tricks, plugins & hacks, and new/advanced features.