As we mentioned a while back, our VP, Dane Downer, just visited the Google Campus for an invitation-only Google Analytics Summit. Of course, he was there for very thinky/business-related reasons. After all, going to the Google Campus to learn about analytics is like going to the Jersey shore to learn how to be an orange douchebag. It’s nerd Mecca. Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete nerd Mecca without toys – specifically, exclusive designer toys.
Behold the very cool and possibly kinda rare Google Analytics Android Collectible Mini Figure! Dane brought this little treasure back from his trip (along with a proper boost in his already formidable interweb skills). We subsequently destroyed any value it may have had by opening it so we could properly document it just for you.
We’re still die-hard iPhone users over here (mostly) but you must never look a gift toy in the mouth.
UPDATED: It turns out that Dead Zebra, the company that designed this figure for Google, is owned by Andrew Bell, who was in The 3D Art Book with our very own Kevin Skinner… and the circle of nerdiness is once again complete.
Enjoy the mini-gallery after the jump…
For e-commerce websites, it is absolutely critical to have a proper implementation of Google Analytics that includes e-commerce tracking abilities. With this added code, you can see what sales you got from what sources and the associated revenue, allowing you as the business owner to make data-driven decisions about where best to spend your marketing money.
One thing that may be overlooked in this process is the “goal”. Commonly used to track micro conversions or macro conversions that don’t result in direct revenue, goals can also be applied to e-commerce websites to give you more data about your sales process.
By defining your receipt page as a “goal” in Analytics, you can then leverage the funnel visualization tool to set up a series of steps you’d like to see customers take on your site, and track how they perform. For example, let’s say you have a simple website that sells one product: Michigan State-themed Snuggies. You then would define your receipt page as a “goal” and then you’d associate the following funnel to it: first, you’d want to look at customers who start at your homepage, then who proceed to the product detail page, then to the shopping cart page, then to the payment details page, then who finally end up at your goal of the receipt page. This way, you have set up your funnel to see how people react to every aspect of your web design: from your home page’s call to action, to your product details page’s product descriptions, to your cart design and checkout process.
The value comes in using this to see which part of the process is broken. Maybe there is a very high fall off from people who view the cart page to those who actually enter their payment information. This could mean that the call-to-action and design of your shopping cart page needs tweaking. At Brand Labs, we saw this happen with one of our clients, which led us to create a modified version of the Volusion shopping cart page that has less distractions and a clearer call to action.
There’s no limit to the insight you can get from this funnel. From home page redesign, to merchandising issues, to navigation issues, the combination of goals and funnel visualizations can help any e-commerce site owner improve their site and drive more conversions.
An all-too-often overlooked feature of Analytics is the Map Overlay, located under the Visitors section. To the untrained observer, this tool simply shows you the regional breakdown of where your traffic to your site comes from around the globe, but with a little bit of refinement, you can use it to visually compare how users in different cities, states, and countries interact with your web marketing efforts, and understand how it impacts your bottom line.
While working with one of our clients from our home state of Michigan, we made great use of the Map Overlay to demonstrate a better way to target their PPC efforts. Their brand is strong, drawing customers and users from all over the world to their locations. Through the power of the Map Overlay, we were able to visualize where the site’s international traffic was coming from, and then combined it with their e-commerce reporting to see which countries converted the best.
Now, you don’t have to be a geography whiz to see that the Midwest made the strongest showing, with the Mitten State leading the pack, but this begs the question: if we’re getting most of our sales at home, how can we best reach out to our hometown crowd? We then segmented the e-commerce data for Michigan to see which traffic sources produced what revenue at what conversion rate. Our findings: Michigan residents were much more likely to convert from offline marketing efforts and organic searches; the company’s PPC efforts in the state were not drawing in the desired high-potential visitors they were in states like Illinois and Wisconsin.
Because of this analysis, we were able to re-target the client’s PPC efforts (and budget) away from Michigan to other more valuable states, and focus more of their SEO efforts on keywords that Michigan residents were converting on. Of course, this is just a single, isolated example of the depth of Map View’s utility and it bears noting that there are little gems just like this scattered throughout Google Analytics. We’ll offer tips and tricks as time goes on, but here’s one you can take with you right now: get Google Analytics on your darn site immediately. (We understand that this is more of an imperative than either a tip or trick, but you should listen and obey. You’ll thank us later)
Brand Labs is now an official Google AdWords Qualified Company! Let the bells ring out and the banners fly!
… but what exactly does that mean?
Well, it basically boils down to two things. First, we’ve exceeded the required minimum AdWords spend within programs that we manage. As a matter of fact, we overshot the minimum by 50% (because we’re a bunch of brown-nosing Google-lovers). Second, we had to have three staffers take and pass the AdWords certification test. We’ve got five, meaning that we overshot that target by 66.6%.
Now, we’re not math scientists or anything, but we’re pretty sure that those two facts make us 116% more qualified than we need to be in order to be totally awesome by Google’s standards. That’s a pretty high percentage of awesomeness, so you may want to check into our Pay Per Click management program… unless you hate awesomeness and high ROI.
Welcome to a little something we like to call Technical Term Tuesday. Like most fields of endeavor, eCommerce is stuffed full of technical terms that we throw around as if they are so common that surely everyone must know what they mean. Well, nothing could be further from the truth, so in an effort to assist newcomers to our little online fraternity of Internet merchants, we’ve implemented this regular feature as a sort of ongoing primer and proof positive that there are no stupid questions.
So what is PPC? Find out after the jump…
PPC is an acronym for Pay Per Click, which is a system by which online merchants may pay for advertising on a variety of search engines. For instance, when you search for a product on Google, you’ll notice that often there is a separate block of results at the top of the page and in a sidebar on the right. These are advertisements. Merchants bid on a variety of keywords related to their product or service. The highest bidder will receive the most favorable placement.
So let’s say that you sell socks and you’ve made the highest bid for the word “argyle”… let’s say that you bid $.65. If someone goes to Google and searches “argyle”, your advertisement will be at the top of the page and if someone clicks on that ad you will automatically owe Google AdSense (Google’s advertising division) 65 cents.
Immediately, you’ll notice two things about this process. First, it can be an extremely effective way to drive traffic to your site – especially if you’re new to the scene and your organic ranking (your natural search engine placement without advertising) isn’t as high as you’d like it to be. You can simply buy your way to the top of the page. Which brings up the second thing that’s probably immediately apparent to you: PPC can become a very expensive if you’re competing for popular words (car, clothes, food, etc.) or if your program is mismanaged. After all, even after you’ve paid for the click through, you’re still gambling that the potential customer will become an actual customer, so the page they land on had better be pretty compelling and you had better ensure that you’re not overbidding for your keywords.
So, PPC can sound a bit scary when it’s broken down to its simplest elements, but rest assured that there are ways to use it to your advantage. As a matter of fact, we recommend a PPC program to most of our new online merchants. When the keywords are well-chosen and the bids are managed properly, Pay Per Click can not only put you on top of the search engine page, it can put you ahead of your competition in the race for new consumers.
Obviously, there are intricacies within the Pay Per Click system that could fill a book, but our goal with this feature is to cover the basics in an easy-to-understand fashion. If you have any further questions about PPC or how it can help your business, please feel free to contact us.