Are 3rd party apps affecting your Google Analytics data?

  • October 24, 2016
  • Michael Whitaker
One of the features of our Analytics Buddy app for Shopify is an automated audit of your Google Analytics implementation. We look for potential issues in the settings and traffic data. Many issues can be fixed quickly, such as setting the right referral exclusions, but others are much harder to spot. Here is a recent case. We all know that Bounce Rate = Bounces/Entrances, right? Hit the back button right away on the landing page and you get a bounce, but if you visit other pages on your site it’s not a bounce. Read More

You can't fix what you don't track

  • October 14, 2016
  • Michael Whitaker
If you have a technical glitch in your checkout that prevents your customers from placing an order, would they tell you? Perhaps if you are lucky some visitors will tell you, but most likely they will just give up and leave your site, a classic case of “unknown unknowns”: You don’t even know that you have a problem so you can’t fix it. This is what happened to one of our clients recently where a glitchy implementation of a third-party script prevented some shoppers from placing orders, resulting in significant lost revenue. Read More

Checking out the Google Analytics Demo account

  • July 9, 2016
  • Michael Whitaker
A big thanks to the Google Analytics and Google Merchandise Store teams for opening up the kimono and giving folks access to the analytics data of a real e-commerce store. As a token of my appreciation I thought it would be fun to pretend that I am the new analyst in charge of coming up with some actionable insights and recommendations. I have no info about how the store is built and what the goals are. Read More

Multi Channel Funnels with D3 and the Embed API

  • February 2, 2016
  • Michael Whitaker
Don’t know why I am so attached to sunburst visualizations, but decided to revisit something I did a while ago. The difference between now and then is that we have the Multi-Channel Funnels API and the Embed API. The result is that you can visualize data without having to first create a csv file. It’s all running in your browser and no data is sent to me or any other server. Read More

Force-directed graph of website visitors from multiple regions

  • January 26, 2015
  • Michael Whitaker
A perhaps overlooked aspect of the increasingly large percentage of mobile traffic to your site is the fact that those users are mobile in the true sense of the word, i.e. visiting your site from multiple locations. The wonderful Google Analytics API now allows you to ask some powerful questions of your data on a user basis. You can segment your data based on multiple conditions and sequences, so that questions such as this one are possible: Select users who visited my site in December from North Carolina, but who then had a subsequent visit from a different state. Read More

Visualizing Multi Channel Funnels with D3

  • March 19, 2014
  • Michael Whitaker
I thought it would be fun to amend this very cool D3 sunburst sequence demo for Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics. This visualization shows the value (by number or value) of all conversion paths. The innermost ring is the first interaction and as you move out you can see the value of the path updating. The number of paths is capped at 5 to make it easier to see and the neat thing is that you can use the export csv file from the Top Conversion Paths report as is. Read More

Z-test calculator for Google Analytics

  • December 17, 2013
  • Michael Whitaker
Just a quick note that due to popular demand (ok, just Brian C.) we have updated the z-test bookmarklet for Google Analytics. Obviously, if the GA UI gets updated the bookmarklet will probably not work anymore. Just drag the button to your browser bar. Z-Test The cool thing is that the bookmarklet now works in the new summary page, which shows Acquisition, Behavior and Conversion sections. You can now just select individual goals, which wasn’t possible before. Read More

Tactical event tracking

  • May 2, 2013
  • Michael Whitaker
After all these years Event Tracking is still the coolest Google Analytics feature. Unlike custom variables you don’t have to tell GA what you’ll be sending, or worry about running out of slots. The only real skill lies in terms of capturing interactions, but frameworks like jQuery make even tracking complex interactions feasible. Take this example of tracking error messages people see during checkout: [][3] 1) Why make the recipient’s shipping phone number required? Read More

AB Testing case studies are biased

  • January 18, 2013
  • Michael Whitaker
Anyone else see the irony concerning AB testing case studies? On the one hand you believe in taking lots of unbiased random samples, objectively count conversions and you even use a little bit of stats to account for sampling errors, but on the other hand you only choose to report the few successful outcomes in your case study? That’s neither random or unbiased. If I were a skeptical person I’d hypothesize that there were 999 unsuccessful experiments before the first successful one that gets written up in the case study. Read More

Universal Analytics and visitor tracking

  • November 6, 2012
  • Michael Whitaker
Lots of cool announcements and great people at the Google Analytics Summit. It’s at times like these that I wish I was part of the GA network. Going from visit to visitor-based tracking in Google Analytics is a fundamental shift and one that I had not anticipated. The lack of true visitor tracking is one of the few reasons why some organizations might have chosen other analytics tools, but once this rolls out in Google Analytics you’ll be able to get true (visitor) conversion rates and do visitor segmentation and cohort analysis. Read More