You’ve likely at some point come across the contention that humans only use 10% of our brains’ capacity (which is a myth, though a popular one). The science fiction thriller Lucy delves into one writer’s imagining of what human beings may be capable of if we were somehow able to use 20%, or 50%, or more of that capability.
It’s almost certainly less of a myth that most companies use 10% (or less) of the website visitor data available to them. Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular tool for tracking web visits, used by more than half of all companies, including two-thirds of the Fortune 500.
But, as with (perhaps) our brains, most businesses don’t utilize all of the capabilities of GA. What if they did use 20%, or 50%, or more of what the tool can provide?
It wouldn’t be as exciting as a Scarlett Johansson action movie, but it may help a lot of firms get more out of their web marketing efforts. To help you use more than 10% of your website analytics, here are seven expert guides to GA.
Why you can’t ignore Google’s new Universal Analytics by iMedia Connection
While Universal Analytics is no longer quite “new,” this article from Brandt Dainow is still a worthwhile read. He reviews what Universal Analytics is, how it works with existing GA accounts, and astutely details the strengths (“Universal Analytics can track anything, in pretty much any fashion you want. All you need do is get a signal to an internet-connected device. Hence Universal Analytics could, for example, track RFID tag movement around a trade show or light switches being turned on or off”) and weaknesses of Universal Analytics.
Writing that “Out of the box, Google Analytics handles being deployed across multiple domains or subdomains extremely poorly. This is easily the most common critical problem in Google Analytics, despite its being relatively easy to fix,” Tom Capper provides a helpful table showing how to set up Google Analytics for different situations (e.g., multiple subdomains on a single domain which are treated as a single site) as well detailed instructions for properly setting up separate tracking IDs, ignoring self-referrals, prepending hostname to request URIs and more.
How to Setup Google Analytics: 5 Quick Videos That Make it Easy by Orbit Media Studios
Don’t let the title fool you–while some of what’s here is Google Analytics 101, there are also more advanced tips (i.e., how to create dashboards and alerts) because, as Andy Crestodina points out, “Even expert marketers and big blogs often haven’t finished setting up Analytics. It’s very common.”
4 shortcomings of Google’s attribution modeling tool by iMedia Connection
While acknowledging it’s “great that Google has recognized that its current conversion tracking is antiquated, and its expanded attribution capabilities can help some advertisers better optimize search spend,” Phil Gross exposes several shortcomings of the tool, such as that it only looks at search (it “It’s great that Google has recognized that its current conversion tracking is antiquated, and its expanded attribution capabilities can help some advertisers better optimize search spend”) and doesn’t even look at all search activity.
How to Use UTM Tracking Codes in Google Analytics by SEMrush Blog
Marvin Russell explains that “UTM (Urchin Traffic Monitoring) tracking helps you not only identify the website your clicks and conversions are coming from, they also identify the specific ads or links that are responsible getting you those clicks and conversions. If used properly, UTM tracking codes will double, triple or even quadruple your clicks and conversions without spending another dollar,” then shows step-by-step how to implement and use these.
To make the case that “much of the value of search marketing – and search clicks – isn’t acknowledged at all by most marketers,” Kevin Lee details half a dozen examples of how search clicks can be undervalued, including under-reporting of phone and chat contact: “Even pure-play online businesses (retailers, B2B, lead gen, etc.) have phone numbers on their sites. Highly interested visitors may prefer to engage via phone or chat. Each marketer must decide whether or not to use unique numbers (or extensions) to track phone behavior at a granular level, or simply apply a ratio of phone to online conversions.”
3 Ways Merging Google AdWords & Analytics Can Improve PPC Results by Search Engine Watch
Lisa Raehsler steps through three techniques for combining Google AdWords and Analytics to improve the performance of paid search campaigns, such as using matched search queries: “combine query data with behavior, conversions, social, and more…Using Visitors data in the secondary dimension opens to the door to in-depth information including demographic like age, gender, and location. Advertisers can use this information, for example, to build personas or optimize targeting in AdWords.”