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Friday, Dec. 11, 2009 at 9:41 am

Data Diving – What’s In Your Dumpster?

By Natalie Hart
December 11th, 2009

Picture 1In my earlier days with FutureNow, I  was a part of a team that was responsible for transitioning clients from signing the contract to getting work from the analyst. Essentially what I did was “take their temperature” to see what they’ve done so far, what resources they have available internally and externally to implement, and understand what different tools they were already using to aid them in their optimization efforts.

One thing to note is that many, perhaps even most, of our clients are not new to online optimization efforts in search or conversion, and have either already hired another company in the past or tried some best-practice implementation DIY style. Unfortunately, many of them claim they’ve been “burned” in the past, and we hate to hear that.

Time and time again when I ask, “What are you currently using to track your analytics?” the response I hear is, “Google Analytics, but I’m not really sure if it’s set up right or what I’m supposed to be looking at.”

Everyone assumes (based on what the industry tells us) that having Analytics is important. Everyone knows that the more data you have, the more information that can be extracted from it. However, what good is a bunch of numbers if you don’t know what it’s tracking or what this data means? It’s no surprise that many have a difficult time understanding their visitors and don’t know how to optimize their site. They’re driving without a map. They aren’t connecting the data to the people!

So, if you find yourself saying, “I’ve got Google Analytics, but I’m not sure what it’s telling me” here’s what to do:

1. Take the time to make sure that it’s properly installed and tracking. If you’re using Google Analytics, try the free SiteScan tool from EpikOne.  If you need professional troubleshooting, contact an Authorized Consultant.

2. Make sure that it is tracking the metrics that influence your conversion. Setup a goal to track the conversion funnel so that you will be able to look at the performance of your shopping cart or lead generation form.

3. Ask yourself a few basic questions and look for the answers to these questions in your Analytics such as: Where are most of my visitors coming from and what landing pages are they being sent to from these sources? What’s the bounce rate on my top landing pages? What keywords are they using to get to these pages from search? The answers to these questions will help you understand what is happening at the front end of the visitor’s experience on your site and where some of your highest impact opportunities for improvement may reside.

If you’re not currently using your Analytics data to influence your optimization efforts, you’re ignoring a wealth of insights into who your visitors are and what they are experiencing when they get to your site. At FutureNow, our analysts weed through data continuously to gain increasingly deeper insights into what is happening on sites and WHY it’s happening. We help clients continuously optimize their web site performance by understanding the way visitors are looking to buy, and helping map the sales process to the customer’s buying process.

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Comments (38)

  1. User’s definitely have to spend more time on Analytics in order to understand the statistical data. Especially since recently Google Analytics came with even more features. It’s also important to be able understand the data once you merge Analytics and AdSense account.

  2. hmmm… very valuable information here, Natalie. Thanks for sharing with Groks readers!

  3. Google Analytics is my best friend and any successful webmaster’s, I would assume. The most important thing is to keep all analytics accounts organized. I had problems with some sites having overlapping analytic scripts and it was a major hassle.

  4. I used to use Google Analytics for a couple years when I first started tracking my website traffic. However, I have used sitemeter because I like how you can track your traffic. It is pretty easy to set up and does have a lot of functions I do like. I have it set to send me my traffic report weekly.

    Anyways good post and keep up the good work ;)

  5. Google analytics is very good and stable stats platform, but it is bad that is not realtime.

  6. Thank you very much for your information. It was a great help.

  7. They are indeed very powerful but like most statistical tools they are only as good as your ability to interpret them.

    Its a double edged sword for businesses as mostly they want a lot of results and info but find it hard to dig deep and really spend time understanding this extremely powerful and in depth software.

    Still therein lies the opportunities for Marketing Business like us and the people that visit the excellent Grok blog/resource

  8. NIce information..
    do you use special software to do this job?

  9. @Rapid Searcher: Try Woopra if you’re looking for realtime analytics

  10. Google has an excellent product in analytics although it will take some time to familiarize yourself if switching form another.

  11. nice info, maybe useful for me

  12. [...] Source:Data Diving – What’s In Your Dumpster? Share and Enjoy: [...]

  13. Thanks for the tip on the free Site Scan Tool from Epik One. We’re going to check it out.

  14. Great articles thanks for sharing

  15. Google Analytics provides a treasure trove of information, definitely worth taking the time to make sure it’s setup right.

  16. Thank you very much for your informatio

  17. nice information!!

  18. i really like your posts natalie :)

  19. Actually I am using Google Analytics, but have put another tracker on my blog, because Analytics seems to record my traffic partially, around like 10%!

    I am not really sure why this is happening, but say I am receiving around 200 visitors per day, Analytics catches 20 of them!

    I haven’t set up any filters or anything! So be aware of that guys! I’ve searched around, there seem to be other people having this problem as well

  20. What do you think about awstats? I’m currently using it.

  21. I’ve been using Google Analytics for a while now on my dumpster rental site and still don’t quite understand what I’m looking at. Thanks for the tips. OOHRAH!

  22. Google Analytics is a great data source for those who knows what to look at. At the minimum if you track your user flow, you can figure out where the drop offs are and improve on those areas.

  23. o look at. At the minimum if you track your user flow, you can figubeen using Google Analytics for a while now on my dumpster rental site and still don’t quite understand what I’m looking at. Th

  24. Thank you very much for your information. I am experienced difficulties in setting up Google Analytics

  25. They have been “burned” before meaning they worked with another company, yet when ask about square 1, they aren’t sure about their site analytics? Amazing. No wonder they weren’t happy with their other company.

  26. They want a lot of results and info but find it hard to dig deep and really spend time understanding this extremely powerful and in depth software.

  27. Google analytics is a great tool, I look at my results each day.

  28. Analyzing the user/visitor data has become so very important and it’ll become the most important part of an online mmarketing campaign as the competition grows more.

  29. I find that #2. “Make sure that it is tracking the metrics that influence your conversion.” is the most difficult step for me. Visitors sometimes visit the site multiple times before they purchase, making it hard to know which ones are return clicks and which never came back.

  30. they aren’t sure about their site analytics. Google Analytics is my best friend and any successful webmaster’s, I would assume. The most important thing is to keep all analytics accounts organized

  31. I’ve used a bunch of paid analytics programs but none of them are anywhere close to as user friendly and useful as google analytics.

  32. Helal olsun valla ne güzel yazmış yaaa tebrikler

    10.Sınıf Coğrafya Kitabı Cevapları

    10.Sınıf Coğrafya Kitabı Cevapları

  33. yeah..
    some data may be unimportant for me and that’s time to clean it..
    btw, nice post brother :)

  34. You really should be using Google analytics. It’s a great tool if you know what you’re doing.

  35. Google Analytics not only provides you with great raw data, but it also gives you data from the eyes of the largest search engine. This data is very useful if you know how to use it.

  36. Google Analytics can sometimes give you information overload. Plus, I hate how you have to click at least 3 or 4 times just to get to any useful data. You should try out Clicky. It provides a much more user friendly and simple interface.

  37. Oh so true. The internet marketing business is such a baby in the sense that we are all just beginning to really understand what is good practice and what is not. I read earlier today where a number of so call SEO and Internet marketing companies, were in fact, and no surprise, just a facade and that the service was weak, as it was a one man band who was a skilled computer user and nothing more. In time these backyard businesses will fail and the new media for marketing will really become valuable and meaningful.

  38. GA is a professional grade tool that when properly installed offers a complete and vital footprint of your website’s performance. Analytical tracking of your website’s performance is vital; if you do not understand GA then it would behoove you to hire a company, or individual, that does.

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Natalie is a Persuasion Analyst with FutureNow.

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