Post by Andrea Tuttle

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I adore Google. Seriously. They are brilliant. Recently, they released a databoard.

“What’s a databoard?”

I’m so glad you asked. It’s a new tool that allows users to create infographics using data points that Google has gathered through studies on a number of digital media related topics. Topics range from mobile to YouTube to HTML5.

I used the tool to compile a series of facts illustrating the impact of digital marketing on donor behavior. Check out my full infographic.

If you didn’t catch my last post, I discussed the Six Areas of Performance to monitor when measuring your content marketing performance. For those who missed it, here they are:

  1. Conversions
  2. Site Engagement
  3. Shareability
  4. Retention
  5. Traffic Sources
  6. Visits

Conversion tracking is the first area of performance I want to discuss. In my opinion, it is best to start by measuring metrics related to your main objective, and in marketing, conversions are the main objective.

Ms. Jackson if You're NastyI am admittedly a HUGE Janet Jackson fan. When interviewing for my first job, the potential employer asked, “What job would you have if you could have any job?” I answered, “Back up dancer for Janet Jackson.” I think they hired me with the hope that I would endlessly entertain them with random fits of dancing. Their hopes were satisfied.

While I’m not sure how much Ms. Jackson cares about content marketing, she does inspire the question, “what have you done for me lately?” This is a question you should constantly demand of your content marketing efforts. Answering that question requires setting expectations, monitoring performance, and refining efforts to get closer to achieving goals. Like many marketers, I monitor performance by referring to the areas I think are most important and looking at the key performance indicators (KPIs) within those areas to find out what is working and what could use more attention.

Frequently, I encounter confusion when I walk someone through building custom reports in Google Analytics (GA) for the first time. I’ve noticed that many times, the problem is confusion caused by dimensions and metrics. The lack of understanding makes it difficult to define a report clearly.

Without the understanding of these two fundamental pieces of analytics, it is difficult to get any real value out of your analytics tool.

As I mentioned in my last post, over the next month, I will be illustrating ways to use the updated segments tool in Google Analytics (GA). My first example focuses on studying a very specific target market to inform and improve your online marketing efforts.

For every business, there are ideal customers. These are the people who fall within your target market, have great brand loyalty, who are likely to make repeat purchases. Your business likely wants to acquire and keep as many of these as possible.

To do that, it’s important to ensure that their experience on your website is a simple and enjoyable one.  Thanks to GA’s new segments tool, we can examine the site behaviors of this segment and their sources.

In my latest post, I explored Google Analytics’ new custom segment tool and provided details on ways to compare segments and access libraries of pre-built segments. While important, these recommendations barely scratched the surface of the capabilities of the tool. There are a number of other ways to segment your data, using the new segments.

Two additional uses for the tool include creating your own custom segment based on standard dimensions and creating a custom segment using unique conditions or happy holidayssequences. These methods can be somewhat complex. Below, I walk through both, using a holiday themed campaign example. It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all.

Let’s get started!

If you have had the chance to dig into the Google Analytics updates, you’ve likely noticed quite a few changes. The structure of Standard Reports has changed, and several new reports and dimensions were added.

This recent change in the GA dashboard appears to target marketers and bring conversions to the forefront. Reports are now organized with a focus on business goals — Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. This is a huge improvement that replaces a number of custom reports I was using.

Google’s plans to encrypt all organic search has marketers and SEOs in quite a tizzy. This includes me. When I initially heard the news, I had a small panic attack. After regaining my composure, I took a look at how this was really going to impact my SEO efforts. What I discovered is that this is not the end of the keyword optimization world.

Here’s something sneaky that many people using Google Analytics (GA) might not think about — visits made by internal sources, (e.g., staff, consultants, designers, management) should not be reported. Obviously, a site manager will make hundreds of visits to their website in a week. Including this behavior in your reporting degrades the quality of the data.

To ensure that visits to your site from internal sources are not included in the Google Analytics reports, you must filter them out.

Multi-channel marketing requires thoughtful tracking and measurement. For a single campaign, a marketer will use social media, email, display advertising, search advertising, media buys, and more to drive interest and conversions. All of these online channels result in varying levels of performance. To determine which channel is the most effective, there needs to be a clean and clear way to track results in order to make informed choices on where to spend time and money.

While there are several analytics tools out there, for many, Google Analytics is the go-to tool for tracking and measuring online performance. When using Google Analytics, incorporate UTM parameters into your strategy. The term UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module and is the format that Google uses to track unique URLs.

Here, I discuss the basics, benefits, and best practices for using UTM parameters in organic search marketing efforts.