Author Archive

  • Web Analytics Planning Model for Google Analytics

    Over 6 years of working with companies to implement and use Google Analytics I've consistently seen the greatest threat to a successful implementation is a lack of robust planning.  This is the first post in what will become a series on how to build a successful strategy for adopting Google Analytics and what you need to consider when planning effective use of this great web analytics tool. My simple model starts with business goals, moves to understanding good ...

    Posted at August 16, 2011 | By : | Categories : Digital Analytics Strategy,Google Analytics | 4 Comments
  • Understanding the Impact of Session Calculation Changes in Google Analytics

    On August 11th 2011 Google Analytics announced a change in how a session (i.e. "Visit") is calculated.  The update was explained by as an "improvement" to how Google Analytics identifies sessions to bring GA "inline with the common definition of a visit."  Personally, I am skeptical about whether or not this is a good change, however long-term I don't think it is inherently "bad" - it just changes things, and a change in such a key component as how a session is ...

    Posted at August 15, 2011 | By : | Categories : Google Analytics | 4 Comments
  • Hostname to Content Analysis Custom Report

    Have you ever looked at your Google Analytics content (pages) reports and wanted to see details about the hostnames (website domains) where the pages are located? Then we've got something in common! This kind of reporting is a common request from clients and also a reporting technique I use all the time to do technical diagnostics, audits, and multi-site roll-up reporting.  So, I recently created an uber Custom Report for the New Version of Google Analytics to do just this kind of analysis and thought I'd share it ...

    Posted at August 8, 2011 | By : | Categories : Google Analytics | 3 Comments
  • When the numbers don’t add up: tips for reconciling different analytics tools

    When the numbers just don't add up, what can you do?  The image at right illustrates this in a perfect way.  Notice the two blue dots?  Is one bigger or smaller?  Look carefully. The answer: it's all about perspective. I recently received an email from a reader that went like this: For 8 years we've been using Urchin 6, provided by our web hosting company. Now that we've switched hosts, we started using Google Analytics, and instead of reporting 50,000 total "sessions" a month, we now see 10,000 total "visits" a month. ...

    Posted at July 28, 2011 | By : | Categories : Google Analytics | 5 Comments
  • When Google Analytics E-Commerce Reporting is just… broken?

    There is a longstanding thread on the Google Analytics Help Forum discussing accuracy problems with Google Analytics e-commerce tracking and reporting.  This thread has continued to grow considerably since it was started in January of 2009 and accuracy issues with Google Analytics e-commerce reporting carry on -  in fact, getting worse.  However, I've recently narrowed down what I believe is the significant cause behind most of these issues. I've worked with a number of new clients in the last several weeks to address e-commerce issues. My ...

    Posted at April 19, 2011 | By : | Categories : Google Analytics | 1 Comment
  • New version of Google Analytics

    Wow!  Google has just announced the launch of a NEW version of Google Analytics.  This upgrade is the biggest leap forward for the product since 2007.  Catch more details about the announcement over at the official Google Analytics blog. I'll be writing a series of posts on the new version and what it provides, what I like about it, and what I don't like over the coming days and weeks.  There's a lot to be had!  So, stay tuned - it's going ...

    Posted at March 17, 2011 | By : | Categories : Google Analytics | 0 Comment
  • “Redeeming” the “9 Sins” of Google Analytics

    I've been working with Google Analytics since, well, before it was Google Analytics (remember back to the days of Urchin On-Demand?) and I've seen the product evolve time and again.  While everyone has their gripes with GA (I certainly have mine), I've seen time and again that people take shots at Google Analytics with uninformed ammunition.  There is a long list of myths circulating out there about GA - in this post I hope to dispel a few of them. This time around, I'm going to use the recent post by ...

    Posted at March 10, 2011 | By : | Categories : Google Analytics | 0 Comment
  • Google Analytics User Conference – GAUGE

    Finally, a Google Analytics User Conference! Woah, what's this, a User Conference for Google Analytics?  Yes, indeed!  I really can't express how excited I am about this... For years I've wanted to bring together GA users in a conference format where we can meet each other, share knowledge, and meet people from the Google Analytics team.  And, well, it's here.  Announcing GAUGE San Francisco 2011! About GAUGE GAUGE (the Google Analytics Users' Great Event) is a two-day event featuring a Google Analytics User Conference ...

    Posted at February 25, 2011 | By : | Categories : Google Analytics | 0 Comment
  • More on setDomainName, sub-domains, and internal referrals

    A recent forum discussion I was involved in raised a great question about just how Google Analytics goes about setting its traffic source cookie incorrectly when you have sub-domains and have followed the steps for tracking sub-domains properly in your page tags.  I wrote out a quick reply on the forum and decided it would be good fodder for the blog, so I've brought some of it over here for your reading enjoyment. The discussion I was involved in reference an article on the fantastic ROI Revolution blog about internal referrals in Google Analytics.  The point raised ...

    Posted at January 25, 2011 | By : | Categories : Google Analytics | 1 Comment
  • Advanced Segments with OR operators in Urchin 7

    A discussion recently came up between some Urchin Certified Partners around creating Advanced Segments that have "OR" operators and conditions. Most of us are familiar with the Google Analytics Advanced Segmentation tool that allows easy creation of "and/or" conditions. Urchin 7's new Advanced Segments tool isn't quite as "advanced" as GA and lacks that fancy UI, however I've found success in creating segments with OR conditions on the same field. Creating Single-field Advanced Segment with OR Operations Here is a quick screencast video of a simple Advanced Segment that identifies visits from the cities of Seattle OR Portland:

    Posted at November 18, 2010 | By : | Categories : Urchin Analytics | 0 Comment