Smart Goals In Google Analytics

I was excited to find out Google has announced and started rolling out  smart goals last week. This new feature is a valuable tool for many small to medium sized businesses who don’t have a way of tracking conversions on their website.

Smart goals are a type of goal within Google Analytics. So what’s so smart about these goals? For some websites you may not have a thank you page or any sort of goal that you can set. This is where smart goals are valuable. Smart goals use machine learning in order to pull data from other websites to determine which visits to your site would likely convert. By pulling data from those thousands of websites (which by the way are anonymous at this time) Google is able to determine what behavior on the site correlates with users converting. An example of this might be a user spending over 10 minutes on your site while also navigating to 4 or more pages.

Another aspect of this new feature which makes it incredibly compelling is the fact that it is relatively easy to set up by setting it up within Google Analytics (please note smart goals are only eligible in your account if you have your Adwords account linked to Analytics). There is no need to add a piece of code to your site, a task that might hinder many small businesses from being able to track conversions in the first place.

One you have smart goals set up you can then pull the data into Adwords and optimize for smart goals as your conversions.

In my opinion, smart goals are a win for Google in two respects. First, by being able to show some form of conversions Google gives many of those small and medium business advertisers a chance to see the return on their ad spend (potentially for the very first time).

Second, indirectly Google is further aiding businesses in improving their user experience on the site. Even if a small business owner doesn’t change a single thing on their website if they know that their existing landing pages convert better on 5 specific keywords out of the 100 keywords they have in their campaigns, that advertiser is likely to focus future spend on those 5 terms. This in turn drives the most targeted traffic to their site, which at the end of the day is what Google wants for users clicking on ads.

It’s also good to see such a valuable feature ,aimed at benefiting mainly small business owners, roll out not long after the not so local-friendly Google+ update around Thanksgiving.

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Google Analytics For Social

Understanding the impact your social campaign is having on your overall website traffic can be difficult if yoSocial - Analytics (Photo 1)u’re not sure where to look. Did you know that Google Analytics has a whole section devoted just to social? Below I’ll take you through it!

First, how do you get there? The social section sits right under Acquisition (see screenshot). Once you’re there I recommend starting first on the overview section. Please keep in mind that this section  is really only helpful if you have goals set up in analytics (goals=conversions). Otherwise you have no conversions to track. Not familiar with goals? Check out how to set up goals in analytics here.

Overview

While in overview, you’ll see just that, an overview of conversions that your social channel is driving (the social channel can encompass multiple social networks). The circle graph shows your total conversions, contributed social conversions and your “last interaction” social conversions.

Social - Analytics (Photo 2)

 

Before we dive any further let’s define these three terms:

Conversions: A conversion happens  when someone takes an action that you’ve defined as valuable to your business, such as an online purchase or filling out a form on your site.

Contributed social conversions: The number of conversions that any of the social networks in the social channel assisted in converting. This happens whenever the social channel appeared anywhere along along a customer’s conversion path except as the final channel.

Last interaction social conversions: This is the number of conversions that the social channel completed. Another way to think of this is this was the last channel that a customer interacted with before converting.

This is valuable because by looking at this chart along with the breakdown on the side of sessions and conversions you’ll start to see exactly how much your social channel is helping you not only drive customers to your site but also convert your customers.

Tip: I would recommend also checking out  “shared URLs” to see some of your most popular content on social.

Conversions

While we are on the topic of conversions let’s hop down to the conversions tab of this social section. Here, by clicking on Assisted vs. Last Interaction Analysis we can zoom in further on assisted or contributed conversions and last click or direct conversions. Keep in mind in this particular screenshot below we are looking just at Facebook. I see there were 2 assisted conversions and 1 last click conversions on this network in the selected time frame.

Social - Analytics (Photo 3)

In the final column I can see a ratio of Assisted/Last Click Conversions. If this number is over 1 that means that this social network, in this case Facebook, is more effective at providing assists than last click conversions.  So why is this valuable?

If you know Facebook is a more of a “first click” interaction as opposed to a “last click” interaction you can better target your social messaging to those new customers who have little to no knowledge of your brand.

Network Referrals

The network referrals section is interesting because it provides a side by side chart of your overall sessions (in orange) with your sessions from social referrals (in blue). This is a great way to quickly identify a post that did really well on social and resulted in a lot of sessions. Additionally, I like how down below all of this it breaks out the different social networks and the average time on site from each network. This might be a good way to identify which social network is driving your ideal customers to your site.

Social - Analytics (Photo 4)

User Flow

The one thing I don’t like about the user flow functionality in Analytics is how much traffic there is condensed into one large chart. That being said, the social channel only user flow is neat because it is only a portion of your overall sessions (just those from the social channel) and breaks it down by social network.

Social - Analytics (Photo 5)

 

Even though I didn’t go through everything in this post I would highly encourage exploring the other parts of this social tab in analytics. If you’re active on any of Google’s Data Hub Partners, there’s a whole section for that called Data Hub Activity.  The one Data Hub Partner that most of us are familiar with is Google+. This functionality allow you to dive into specific social “conversations” about your site. Beyond that, the landing pages tab is incredibly helpful as you can take a closer look at the most popular landing pages from your social channels.

Those are just a few of the tools in Analytics to help you dive deeper into your social analytics. Hopefully, a few of them can be helpful.

 

 

The Simple Guide To Multi-Channel Funnels In Google Analytics

No Conversion Is An Island

Just like no man is an island, no conversion happens without the help of multiple marketing channels. True, there are plenty of these “assists” that we cannot track. For instance, word-of-mouth is nearly impossible to track. If a friend tells you she loves her new shoes, and you go buy the same pair of shoes that shoe company may never know that it was your friend’s endorsement that got you to type their brand name into a google search bar. However, in the online world we do have the ability to track these assists to some extent, we call them “assisted conversions.” So what is an assisted conversion?

Here’s the technical definition via Google:

“This is the number of sales and conversions the channel assisted. If a channel appears anywhere—except as the final interaction—on a conversion path, it is considered an assist for that conversion. The higher these numbers, the more important the assist role of the channel.”

And here’s another way of explaining things, let’s say instead of hearing about that shoe company from your friend offline, instead you saw her comment on a photo on their company’s Facebook page. I go to that shoe company’s Facebook page, decide I really want to know if the shoes worn by the model in the cover photo come in red so I venture over to the site. BINGO! I get to the site and see that yes in fact they do come in red. But before buying, I just want to be sure there’s no other place I can find these shoes for less. So I check out a few department stores online, but they carry this specific red shoe I want. At this point I google the name of that shoe company again (because its’ easier to google things than type out the whole URL, right?) and I end up ordering those red shoes. In Google Analytics, organic search will be the channel that gets credit for this conversion, but since my first interaction with the shoe company was on social it will be considered an “assisted conversion.”  Social assisted organic in making the final conversion.

So why does this matter? Because oftentimes the assisted conversions provide us with some of the most valuable insights and we ignore it because frankly its hard to see. However, Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics is here to solve that problem!

If you think “multi-channel funnel” is slightly intimidating, don’t worry, it’s actually one of the easiest things to understand in Analytics (in my opinion). You can get to it by navigating to the conversions tab on the bottom left hand side of your screen and then clicking Overview under “Multi-Channel Funnels.”

On the first half of the page, itScreen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.23.17 PM breaks down how many conversions you had and how many were assisted.

As you scroll down to the second part of the page this is where things get interesting. You can place up to four channels in your Venn Diagram. It will show in the time frame selected how many times Direct & Social, Direct & Organic, and so forth assisted each other in making a Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 9.27.24 PMconversion.

I normally only look at two channels at a time. You can scroll over the shaded area where the two circles overlap to see the percentage of conversions the two channels assisted each other on, as well as the actual number (in case you didn’t want to both doing the extra math).

This is a fantastic way to see which of your various channels are assisting each other in Google Analytics. And the best part is Analytics does all of the work for you!