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

Page Value in Google Analytics

  • August 3, 2012
  • Michael Whitaker
I am really happy that $ Index is back in Google Analytics as Page Value. I had written about $ Index before but I think it’s worth taking a quick refresher. 1) The topline page value is not that useful – at least not to me. According to the tooltip, The way I read this is that you should be able to multiply Page Value by Unique Pageviews to get the overall Revenue, but that’s not the case. Read More

Inferring the general from the particular

  • March 14, 2012
  • Michael Whitaker
I typically don’t veer too far from web analytics on this blog, but a couple of news stories have caught my eye this week. One has the headline Ex-Google employee says Google+ has ruined the company (Source: CNN) and Goldman exec quits, calling firm ‘toxic’ (Source: CNN). What is remarkable about these stories is that they are the opinions of two single individuals, yet somehow they were able to make national headlines. Read More

Visits to Transaction and Purchase Path Length in Google Analytics

  • January 9, 2012
  • Michael Whitaker
I just wanted to provide a visual equivalent to Avinash’s excellent explanation about the difference between Visits to Transaction and Path Length. Visits to Transaction is in the E-commerce > Time to Purchase report section, whereas Path Length is part of Multi-Channel Funnels. Here is an actual example of Visits to Transaction: Looks like 30 out of 33 transactions were completed in one visit. Maybe I don’t have to “worry” about attribution at all? Read More

Goal tracking and more on (not provided) keywords

  • December 7, 2011
  • Michael Whitaker
I have always been a big believer in tracking mini goals. Abandonment occurs earlier than you may think: you are not going to convert someone if she is not able to get to the product detail page first. Or maybe a visitor is not ready to pull out his credit card, but gives you permission to continue the dialog by subscribing to your newsletter. That is a worthy goal to track. Read More

Using Median in Site Speed performance report

  • November 21, 2011
  • Michael Whitaker
The site speed report in Google Analytics got a nice upgrade recently with the introduction of the performance report and the ability to track virtual pageviews. The performance report shows us how the page load times are distributed and you can see that the average page load time may not the best statistic to describe that distribution. The trouble is that you can have outliers with extremely high/non-sensical values: Read More

Stats calculator for Google Analytics

  • November 2, 2011
  • Michael Whitaker
[Update 03/05/2012: Added support for the new Google Analytics UI] [Update 11/03/2011: We have since added goal conversion rates as well. However, please note that it uses the overall goal conversion rate, which is the sum of all goals. Use appropriately] Can you be sure that a conversion rate of 5.56% is better than 4.87% if you only have a few data points? It’s important to think statistically when working with this kind of data. Read More

Analysis of (not provided) keywords

  • November 1, 2011
  • Michael Whitaker
The impact of the SSL Google Organic change can be nicely visualized using Motion Charts since we can use up to 5 dimensions at the same time. For example, are the (not provided) keywords more like branded navigational terms or more like longtail? What’s the bounce rate? What’s the percentage of new visits or the impact on revenue? And since this is a gradual rollout it’s interesting to see it unfolding over time…even if you don’t like what you are seeing Read More

SSL Google search, historical goals and event tracking

  • October 25, 2011
  • Michael Whitaker
Lots of stuff happening. 1) HTTPS default search for logged in Google users. ****I personally don’t think it will change analysis all that much, but it might be too early to tell as I don’t know how far along the rollout is. You may recall that this is not first referrer change for Google Organic. With the introduction of Ajax-powered search results came a new referrer. I tracked the rollout over time and the last time I checked in September 2010 the rollout was around 50%. Read More

Realtime web analytics

  • October 4, 2011
  • Michael Whitaker
Lots happening in the world of Google Analytics in the past few days: Realtime, Premium, Webmaster Tools integration and yet another design update coming soon. I actually experienced an emotional response when I first saw the numbers and charts updating live. It feels very personal to see a certain number of people from different parts of the world right now on my site, giving me a little bit of their valuable time. Read More