Having used Google Analytics for 4+ years, from E-commence to lead generation sites, I feel pretty comfortable in their functionality and reporting. At least as comfortable as everyone can feel. Then I took an advanced Google Analytics practices training class and realized that it turns out mom was right: there’s always a new tip to learn. Now that I have them, I’m sharing them so we can all learn together. Here are 3 advanced tips for using Google Analytics and how each is applicable to lead generation sites, particularly in the world of B2B.
Tip #1: Custom Dimensions and Metrics: Not all data is collected equally. But it can be.
For further reading on the setup of custom dimensions check out this great LunaMetrics blog: LunaMetrics Blog: Defining Audience with Google Analytics Custom Dimensions
Segmenting your audience into leads versus non-leads can clue you in on how leads use your site. While a Goal Flow or Behavioral Flow report can provide similar data, I often find this data to be too general and to provide insights on what most do, most of the time. To really get the most from analytics I want to know to where leads came from – source-wise and geographically, devices they used, what pages they viewed, which pages they engaged with, videos they watched, etc. This is information I can learn from, then turn it into next steps need to be taken to replicate the actions of those that become leads.
For example, if most users download a white paper or watch a specific video prior to converting, then perhaps do an A/B test of making that asset prominent on the homepage. Test if providing content that most leads engage with prior to converting increases total conversions over time.
In addition to segmenting out your audience using custom definitions, if you’re using a call tracking technology, you could integrate that data with GA. While this depends on the software you use, you can import data provided by the tracking technology into GA and analyze users who make calls in GA. For example “Callers,” a custom dimension, can be analyzed as a second dimension in standard GA reports and as a primary dimension in custom GA reports – such as website behavior – then test elements of your site to increase opportunity for more phone calls.
Tip #2: Regular Expression: De-clutter GA reports with basic use cases.
Regular expression, regex for short, is special text/characters that describe a search pattern. Chances are if you’re using GTM or have received a GA certificate, you’ve come across regular expression. I use regex for a whole variety of things, but here’s where it really has some value.
1. Normalizing URLs
If your homepage URL can be resolved via www.homepage.com/ as well as www.compage.com/index.html then GA will report these as two different pages. To associate one data set for the homepage regardless of URL structure, write a regular expression using filters in GA (Admin>View>Filters). In the example below, a site’s homepage resolves after the “/” but also after “/en.” For GA to see that as one page, the regular expression in the “search string” box matches all characters before the carat
, and no characters after the dollar sign – it’s looking for the homepage with just the “/” after the doc com. Then it replaces the string website.com/ with website.com/en.
2. Tracking goal URLs
One of our sites use destination pages which we use to count goal conversion in GA. However, rather than having a rule that captures all URLs that start with /thank-you as a conversion, our URLs have an order ID number in the middle of the URL which changes with each submission. To account for this, I wrote a regular expression that captures all URLs that start with en/checkout/anynumber/complete – see below.
Tip 3: Measurement Protocol: Capture user behavior and information. Even when they’re offline.
Linking your lead management software to GA will paint a full picture of ROI insights – much more valuable than simply providing your clients with website lead counts. The common scenario of using the measurement protocol applies to sending data from a point-of-service system to GA, but since we’re focused on B2B, our use cases are a tab bit different. The measurement protocol is used to pass data to GA from either offline or non-website activity.
An Example. If you’re using a call tracking tool, you can send offline data from the tool to GA. To do this, you need to create custom definitions to track dimensions and metrics associated with a user and the call tracking data. GA assigns users a unique ID which the tracking tool grabs and assigns to the user making the call. When implementing the measurement protocol, you will receive a POST and GET code where you fill in your profile tracking ID and name your event category, label, action and value. You add this code to your call tracking software and watch the data populate.
So obviously there’s a lot here – each of these tips could easily branch out into multiple blogs of their own. These tips are just the beginning for what more you can do with GA: bring more value for your clients, provide a deeper dive into user behavior on your site and clean up your data and increase the integrity of your reporting. Tie your online and offline efforts and show your clients what they value most – ROI.
Want to capture behavioral information your GA reports don’t provide? Contact us today! firstname.lastname@example.org.