On the heels of the very successful webinar, Google and Web Analytics for Marketers: Which Website Metrics REALLY Matter? We are still seeing an influx of questions from our participants. I sat down with eMagine’s own VP of Digital Services and webinar presenter Alicia Hale to get the answers to some of your burning analytics questions!
How accurate is the customer demographic data in analytics? Is the visitor information based on IP address?
It is not as accurate as I think it maybe could be because it is only measuring a segment of the population. The demographic data is populated by people who are logged into Google and their search history is being tracked based on their login account. If you do not have a Google account or are not logged in, you are not included either.
How are bookmarks and traffic coming from a link sent via email categorized by Google Analytics?
That’s a good question. It is all dependent on how the link is encoded in the email and how the link is accessed. Is it accessed by a cell phone application, an online application, or a desktop application? Long story short, email tracking is faulty by nature. If you want to make sure your email tracking is accurate, you want to be sure to encode all the links featured in your email campaigns with the Google URL Builder so you can clearly see which visits to your site originated from your emails.
What does semalt.semalt mean?
Semalt is an analytics tool. It is a company trying to take away some market share from Google Analytics. If it is appearing in your referral traffic that means that you are on their seed list. Sites on their seed list are being crawled and data is being gathered so Semalt can present that data to its users on website usage. So basically it’s a crawler that is gathering data across the internet so that it can populate its tool as an analytics platform. With that said, even though it is not a malicious site it could be skewing your traffic results. There is a pretty easy way to remove yourself from Semalt, all you have to do is paste your link into a little box and request removal. One thing to note is when you request removal from your main domain that does not automatically include any subdomains. If you are using a Marketo installation for your landing pages for example, those will continue or can continue to be crawled by Semalt. If you are going to remove yourself, be sure to remove your main domain and any other subdomains as well.
Is there a target percentage for referral visits?
I think for referral visits, probably the more traffic you can get the better! Referral traffic visits are derived from an offsite marketing strategy and a social media strategy. Those two things both require effort by your marketing department and the more effort you put in the more referral traffic you will get back. I like for my clients to be above the 6-10% referral traffic mark but that tends to be a lot to ask of the size of marketing departments I work with. But the takeaway is the more effort you put in the more referral traffic you will get back.
How do you know if your visitor came from a non-branded search?
Within Google Analytics, you don’t. You don’t know where your non-branded traffic came from because of secure search. Unfortunately we can’t get a good look at exactly what keywords are typed into search engines. The best thing we have at our disposal is the queries report from Google Webmaster Tools or if you’ve linked your Webmaster tools account to your Google Analytics account it can be accessed there as well. The queries report shows you generally what terms are used in search engines in order to drive traffic to your website you can sort that report based on branded or non-branded search. If you are working with an SEO firm they are probably using some kind of tool that can better gauge where it’s coming from, whether it’s non-branded or branded terms, however as an individual you cannot get that data other than the queries report.
How do you deal with Google Analytics “not provided” keywords?
I look at the landing page report / the entrance page report sorted by organic traffic because that shows the first page somebody found when they went to your website after typing something into the search engines. If your working with a good SEO firm they will track the pages that have been optimized on your website and track the optimized URL’s so you can tell if the URL’s you have optimized are generating organic traffic to your website. The other thing I look at again is the queries report, it isn’t always the most accurate so I like to use it to gauge trends or general relevance of your website for a series of terms. I wouldn’t consider it to be the end all be all of keyword tracking but since it is all we have available to us with free Google tools it’s a good thing to look at to get a good overall look at where you are generally ranking for those particular terms. At eMagine we track the keywords for our clients with a variety of different tools including Moz.
How do you link email software to GA/ Campaigns?
Good email software like your Act-On, Marketo, Eloqua or Pardot will automatically encode your links to be shown in the campaigns section of Google Analytics, there is nothing special you have to do what so ever to have your visits from email appear there. If you are using one of the lesser known marketing automation tools or if you are doing a little bit of manual email work you want to make sure you are encoding all the links in your email campaign with the Google URL Builder and tagging the source as email to keep what you are doing straight. If you do that, all of the data will show up in the campaigns section so you will be able to track your email visits accurately.
What is the best percentage breakdown for organic/referral/direct/email traffic?
It is different for every client. The only thing I can point to, to give a benchmark would be organic traffic. The sites that we work with that are optimized by our team get at least 50% of their traffic from organic search. The rest of the traffic sources are really dictated by a variety of different factors. Your amount of direct traffic could be dictated by any type of brand outreach campaign whether it’s through traditional marketing tactics like magazine ads or billboards or whether it’s through a PPC campaign, if you have a brand recognition campaign or you have an easy to remember URL your direct traffic will be pretty high compared to most. Your referral traffic is deduced by the amount of referral outreach your marketing department might do, the quality of your social media strategy, the quality of your off site SEO strategy can all play a role in your referral traffic numbers and email as well. If you are not running any kind of email campaign or you don’t have an email strategy your email traffic numbers will be understandably low.
If you have an older site that is built on a .asp or html, do you need to insert the Google Analytics Code into each page?
In order to see statistics for the entirety of your website each page should have a Google Analytics code on it. On an older site this may require you to manually enter this analytics code on every singe page. On newer sites that are on WordPress, Joomla, or Percussion CMS there is a relatively simple spot to enter the UA code from your analytics so that it will be automatically encoded on every page.
Is there a way to overcome secure browsing? Will it limit us from gathering data as more people begin to browse privately?
Unfortunately, you can’t overcome it. There has been a lot of news around this in recent years. The EU has implemented the “Cookie Law” this law requires there to be a notification that cookies are being installed. This requires the user to accept that cookies are being installed in order to track user activity on that site. If you do not accept cookies or browse for example in incognito mode in chrome your user activity will not be tracked.
What is the difference between a session and a page view?
Google Analytics has a way of changing naming conventions every once in a while. I can only assume it is to confuse marketers! The answer is sessions are just visits. They used to appear as visits within Google Analytics but have recently been changed to sessions. It is the amount of times someone hits or a person visits your website in total for a given time range. Your page views are the amount of page views your site has received in a given time range. Example: If your site has 2,000 visits in a month and has 6,000 page views, that means on average people are viewing around three pages per visit or session to your website.
If you would like to learn more you can access the entire deck from the webinar, watch the presentation, or get in touch with eMagine to learn more about how our digital marketing team can help you reach your goals.