Wednesday, June 14, 2017

5 Ways to Create a Data-Driven Culture with Web Analytics

5 Ways to Create a Data-Driven Culture with Web Analytics

 Analyze a campaign? No problem. Optimize a conversion funnel? Sure thing. Sell the value of search and analytics to the CEO? 


Let’s face it
: getting buy-in from key stakeholders can be difficult at best, downright daunting at worst. But more and more, it’s becoming a task marketers need to be adept at, especially in an economy that demands accountability from every dollar. 

Moreover, stakeholder buy-in is a critical factor for success – organizational support and resources often play a key role in determining the effectiveness of a campaign or engagement – and therefore needs to be an integral part of the marketing toolbox.

With that in mind, here are 5 ways you can start creating a data-driven culture today:
    1. Tie Data to Revenue. It’s much easier to get stakeholders’ attention and buy-in when they understand how changes in a particular variable can affect their bottom line. Web analytics – like any other marketing channel – must consistently prove its worth, so be sure to present data in a way that clearly demonstrates its contribution to ROI.
    2. Paint the Big Picture. A caution: don’t place too much emphasis on single session data in isolation. Instead, show how an analytics view that ties together multiple sessions and a more holistic perspective can provide the most accurate insights. After all, while isolated sets of data can seem as different as apples and oranges (when compared to one another), they may in fact be telling the same story if they’re both rolling down the hill, so to speak.
    3. Avoid Analysis Paralysis. Build custom reporting dashboards so that stakeholders see only the metrics important to them and can make decisions accordingly. Too much data can equal information overload, clouding key trends and preventing decisive action.
    4. Unearth the Holy Grail. Discover that “one thing” stakeholders have been unable to successfully measure for years…and find a way to track it. Once you’ve helped them with their Holy Grail, they’ll be much more willing to look at other data you have to offer.
    5. Share Your Successes. Promote instances where analytics was used intelligently to drive ROI and smarter business decisions. Be sure to also spotlight big wins – a little publicity can pay huge dividends.
As digital marketers, we’re in a unique position to help create and grow a data-driven culture. In many cases, the numbers speak for themselves; it’s more a matter of communicating these successes and bottom-line benefits in a way that resonates with decision-makers. 

So don’t be shy. 

Search and analytics flourishes the most when stakeholders are all on the same page, and with a little persistence – and a clear voice – you’ll be well on your way towards getting the buy-in you need to succeed!

If you need any help or have any questions, contact me directly at or complete the contact form at

Monday, June 5, 2017

The 3 Adobe Analytics You Must Have: Omniture SiteCatalyst Reports Every Online Marketer Needs

The 3 Adobe Analytics Omniture SiteCatalyst Reports Every Online Marketer Needs

In an earlier post, we discussed how important it is to set up your analytics tool correctly. But smart analytics doesn’t just end with implementation. You also need to make sure you’re pulling the right data – data that can lead to useful insights and actionable recommendations.
This is especially important with a powerful tool like Omniture-powered Adobe SiteCatalyst. After all, the ways to track your site performance and customer behavior are practically limitless, and it can be intimidating trying to figure out what metrics to focus on.
So, where do you begin? Start with the fundamentals – reports that deliver essential information on customer interaction with your site.
The following three reports are analytics must-haves. Configure them correctly, and the resulting data and insights will enable you to make smarter optimization – and business – decisions:

The Entry Page Bounce Rate Report

By definition, bounce rate is pretty straightforward; it measures the percentage of users who leave your site after only seeing one page. What it reveals, however, goes much, much deeper.
Bounce rates essentially communicate the quality of traffic coming to your site, as well as how successful you are at engaging users. By measuring how often visitors quickly abandon certain pages, you can better understand how relevant those pages are to the end user – a good way to determine which sections of your site need immediate improvement.
However, SiteCatalyst doesn’t include a default metric for bounce rate, meaning you have to manually create one. Here’s how:
1. Navigate to “Pages Report.”
2. Click on “Add Metrics.”

3. Select “Standard Metrics,” and choose “Entries” from the menu below.

4. Change “Metric Type” to “Calculated,” and then click “Define New Metric.”

5. Choose “Percentage” as type, select metrics from the standard metric box, then hit save.
    [Note: Bounce Rate = Single Access/Entries]

Also, consider customizing your report by keywords – doing so can help reveal the intent of your customers. After all, visitors came to your site looking for something, but then left because they couldn’t find it. Maybe your entry pages weren’t optimized for the keywords they were searching for, or perhaps your messaging and calls-to-action failed to resonate. In any case, dive deep into the words and phrases visitors are using to get an even more thorough understanding of what drives action and response.

The Conversion Funnel Report

The ultimate goal of a website is to make sure visitors perform a desired action – whether it’s making a purchase, downloading collateral, completing a form or any other number of conversion points. That being said, I’m constantly surprised at the number of companies who fail to track – and optimize – their entire conversion funnel.
Optimization starts with analyzing how effective each step of your funnel truly is; fortunately, SiteCatalyst allows you to track conversions from each step. To configure this report:
1. If you have a shopping cart, navigate to “Cart Conversion Funnel.”
      (Site Metrics > Shopping Cart > Cart Conversion Funnel).

2. If you don’t have a shopping cart, customize your Custom Events Funnel.
    (Site Metrics > Custom Events > Custom Events Funnel; see maroon box). Click the link next “Selected Events” to choose the events to track in the funnel.

The Referring Domains Report

They say you can’t figure out where to go unless you know where you’ve been. In online marketing speak, that means you can’t identify potential opportunities unless you know where your visitors are coming from in the first place.
That’s precisely why you need the referring domains report, as it delivers a useful breakdown of your various traffic sources. Subsequently analyzing your top referrers – i.e. honing in on the keywords that compel users to click on a link – can uncover new business opportunities, including traffic-driving linking partners and content/messaging themes that resonate with users.
To set up a referring domains report:
1. Select “Traffic Source,” and then “Referrer Type Report.”
2. Click on the “Other Websites” breakdown.

3. Break down by “Referring Domains.”

4. Add useful metrics as you see fit.
The right reports can be the difference between simply collecting data and turning data into actionable insights. The entry page bounce rate, conversion funnel and referring domains reports in particular are essential to the online marketer’s arsenal and can play a pivotal role in enabling timely, data-driven optimization decisions that positively impact a company’s bottom line. In an industry that is built on mountains of data, the ability to extract relevant, difference-making insights and intelligence is invaluable, so take the time to properly configure these key reports – they could be the big boost you need in the new year!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SiteSpect, Performable grow with Web analytics

Boston Business Journal - by Galen Moore

Date: Friday, February 25, 2011, 6:00am EST
Related: Technology
Enlarge Image

Related News

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Firms tap open source model in a Red Hat fashion
A handful of big M&A deals has two small Boston technology firms seeing an opportunity in an unsexy corner of the Internet business.

Web analytics, which lets companies test and track user behavior, is drawing new customers in media and other industries, as businesses look to watch online visitors like an old-school department store manager watching customers browse around the retail floor.

SiteSpect Inc., a bootstrapped Boston high-tech company founded in 2004, hit an inflection point in 2010, nearly doubling its head count to 35 employees. But newer, smaller companies like Performable Inc. are growing faster, fueled by venture capital ..

Web Analytics Consulting Firm Semphonic Approved for GSA Federal Supply Schedule

NOVATO, CA--(Marketwire - March 1, 2011) -   Semphonic, the world's largest independent Web analytics consultancy, announced today that it had been awarded a Schedule 70 - Information Technology (IT) services supply contract by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the procurement arm of the federal government.
The five year GSA contract allows US federal government agencies worldwide to contract more easily with Semphonic for Web analytics and professional services. GSA is the federal government agency that sets policy for procurement by federal agencies and screens applicants for GSA listing through a rigorous and lengthy review process.
Federal agencies and state and local agencies that participate in the GSA program may now contract for Semphonic's Web analytics services through Information Technology Schedule 70. Semphonic is listed in 132-51, Information Technology Professional Services, and is GSA contract number GS-35F-0243X.
"The government has some of the most complex websites in the world," said Semphonic VP of Strategic Analytics Phil Kemelor, who heads the company's government and non-profit business and is a frequent speaker at the Potomac Forum, a leading educational and training organization serving the US Federal government community. "It's critical that these organizations manage their data and measurement objectives strategically and efficiently."
 As the world's leading Web analytics consultancy, Semphonic provides large scale enterprises with the strategies and metrics that allow them to maximize the performance of their websites.
"Semphonic is the first and only GSA-certified dedicated Web Analytics consultancy," said Gary Angel, President of Semphonic. "We've built up a unique set of methods and processes to make rich measurement and optimization of public sector sites possible. Going through the GSA process is evidence of how committed we are to this market and how important we think measurement is to the public sector."
Semphonic has long been an advocate and educator about Web analytics for the Federal government community, having conducted research for the Web Analytics Association on the state of Web analytics in the public sector.
About Semphonic:
Semphonic is the world's largest independent Web analytics consultancy, with headquarters in San Francisco and offices in Boston, New York, Washington, DC and Portland, OR. Founded in 1997, the company has helped leading corporations, government agencies and non-profits achieve measurable improvement in the performance of their web channel. Clients include the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, American Express, Genentech, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Geographic, and Turner Broadcasting. Semphonic is also the driving force behind the premier web analytics conference, X Change. For more information about Semphonic, please visit:

Web Analytics: Congress Wades into 'Do Not Track' Issue

On Friday, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced H.R.654, which is intended "to direct the Federal Trade Commission to prescribe regulations regarding the collection and use of information obtained by tracking the Internet activity of an individual."

Uh oh. The government is here to help you.

Multiple Bills on Deck

Rep. Speier's bill is not alone. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) also introduced H.R.611, which is essentially the same as the "Best Practices" bill he announced last year. There are several differences between the two bills, but according to Joe Mullin at, a journal on the economics of digital content, the big advantage Speier's bill has over Rush's is her use of the "Do Not Track" phrase, which is catchy, easy to understand and echoes the successful "Do Not Call" list that the Federal Trade Commission set up in 2003.

While there has been concern in other areas that Congressional deadlock could halt various kinds of legislation — such as Net Neutrality — the "Do Not Track" legislation could manage to make it through, Mullin said. First, privacy is one of those issues that everyone can agree on. Second, passing privacy legislation could be an easy win for Congress — and with the deficit, it doesn't have a lot of those that cost relatively little money.

All of this is striking terror into the heartsof the web development community. In fact, in December the House held a hearing examining whether Congress should enact legislation requiring a do-not-track function in Web browsers, which led to some Congressmen expressing concern that such legislation could damage the Internet economy and slow down the economic recovery.

Bill 'Not a Panacea'

Speier's bill doesn't cover everything. For example, tracking would be opt-out — meaning that consumers would need to know about Internet tracking, and know how to stop it — to stop tracking. In addition, it leaves it up to the FTC to decide what constitutes "tracking" and what is simply a necessary Internet function, which makes some online marketers nervous.

Meanwhile, the major browser companies are working on implementing "Do Not Track"features into their products, in response to a report from the FTC in December suggesting that they do so — with varying degrees of success. It remains to be seen whether Congress will decide that the industry can police itself — or needs help.

Without Website Analytics, You’re Throwing Darts in the Dark!

Does your company have web analytics software in place? If not, then let this be a wake-up call. You are not just missing an important component of your e-marketing campaign; you are neglecting an imperative piece of the digital marketing puzzle! Lets take a look at what web analytics is and what it can do for you.

Basically, web analytics is the data collected behind-the-scenes by your website. How many visits are you getting? Where are visitors coming from? What search words are they using to get there? What states or cities are they in? Is your traffic higher on certain days, weeks or months? How long do visitors spend on each page? Do they tend to exit on a particular page? Where are they going? Are they coming back?

This information can be compiled, reviewed and used to make decisions which could improve your website’s effectiveness. For example, if a large number of visitors are exiting on the registration page, maybe you are asking for too much information. Trim it down and see if you get more people filling it out. Maybe you have some great content, but viewers are not getting to it. Change its location on the site. Are you starting to see the power?

Google Analytics is one of the most popular web analytic services. This is no surprise, as it is very powerful and it is free. That’s correct: one of the most important components of your digital advertising and website success is free of charge. (And there’s a pretty good tutorial on how to set up Google Analytics here.)

Insurance Journal also provides analytics data (impressions and clicks) to all its clients withbanner campaigns. (How great is that?! We give you the data to figure an ROI from your advertising with us.) Personally, I use Google Analytics almost daily to help clients and prospects put together effective geo-targeted campaigns by determine how much traffic our site is getting from particular states and cities. We can also help you run multiple banner test campaigns (i.e., simultaneously running two ads with different copy and/or positioning to see which performs best for you). Valuable info when deciding where and how to advertise in the future.

I hope this post has pointed out the importance of web analytics in advertising and website success. Let me know if you have any questions. Also, I would love to hear in the comments how you’ve used web analytics to monitor and improve your advertising and company website.

About Howard Simkin

Howard Simkin is the Southeast Sales Manager for Insurance Journal and the National Sales Manager for Claims Journal. Howard grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ and went on to receive a bachelors degree from the University of Delaware in Business Administration / Marketing. He has proudly been helping others develop and improve marketing and advertising campaigns for 20 years. Howard can be reached at 800-897-9965 x162 or More from Howard Simkin

Monday, March 7, 2011

Google Analytics Blog: Evolution of Analytics Benchmarking Report

Friday, March 04, 2011 | 3:39 PM

This week, we are beginning a new way of providing benchmarking data to Google Analytics users. For almost three years, Google Analytics has provided a Benchmarking report for users who opt in for anonymous data sharing. In a few days, however, we will be removing the Benchmarking report from the Google Analytics interface, and replacing it with an expanded report that will be emailed directly to you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting More than Just Numbers from Your Web Analytics

Getting More than Just Numbers from Your Web Analytics

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16


Click through for 14 ways you can make your Web analytics more actionable from Kishore Babu Nandanamudi, a lead business consultant at Virtusa.

Topics: Business Intelligence, Business Performance Management, Data Analysis, Web Traffic Analysis

Web analytics has established itself as a major topic for discussion when planning for a Web application and building a business case. Before, Web analytics was often something added onto applications as an afterthought. Today, it is regarded with much higher priority and considered to be a powerful tool that can provide a number of business benefits. Businesses looking to better understand user behavior and application usage can utilize Web analytic tools to collect, analyze, measure and report on Internet data. However, it is important that businesses have planned for and understand Web analytics in order to take full advantage of the benefits it provides.

Based on his experience with business development, business analysis, requirement management and of course Web analytics, Kishore Babu Nandanamudi, the lead business consultant at Virtusa outlines 14 ways to make Web analytics more actionable and achieve the associated business benefits.

Three Roadblocks to Strategy Alignment in Web Analytics

by Brent Dykes

While presenting at an online marketing conference, I was reflecting on the importance ofstrategy for analytics and optimization. At a high-level, strategy can be defined as a plan of action or initiatives to achieve a set of business goals or objectives. Well-known strategy guru Michael Porter stated “a strategy delineates a territory in which a company seeks to be unique.” It’s the secret sauce. It’s what sets your company apart from its competitors.

As such, strategy should always influence the implementation or set-up of your analytics and testing tools. I know of very few “vanilla” or “cookie-cutter” companies that need generic implementations. In order to collect the right data that is relevant and complete (let’s not forget accurate), your metrics need to be based on the unique business goals of your organization.

As I’ve worked with several different global leaders, I’ve discovered outwardly similar companies needing different configurations in their implementations based on their unique strategies. Although one retailer may share many of same KPIs as other e-commerce sites (e.g., revenue, AOV, conversion rate, etc.), there are often unique requirements specific to each retailer. Differentiation can and should spill into the data.

Winston Churchill said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Having a web measurement strategy in place ensures your company is able to monitor the success or failure of its online initiatives. It aligns differentdata dimensions, KPIs, and reports to your business objectives so that your company can effectively measure its online business performance. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to align your implementation to an unknown strategy. And yet I still find our consultants working with large, well-known companies that seemingly cannot clearly articulate what their current online strategy or business goals are.

Why is the strategy part so challenging for companies?

Both web analytics consultants and practitioners alike would probably agree aligning an implementation to a company’s business goals as one of the most important steps - but also one of the most difficult to accomplish. Why can it be so difficult? I’ve identified three roadblocks that can create problems.

1. Tactical focus

Web teams are really busy handling the onslaught of daily tasks — launching new paid search campaigns, managing site updates, planning the next site redesign, creating new online surveys, building ad hoc reports, testing new landing pages, etc. Workforce reductions in the last couple of years may have burdened these teams with more responsibilities and less resources to complete them (let’s not forget the smaller trainingbudgets). They are essentially struggling to keep the online boat afloat - bailing water while trying to keep the sails up. However, I frequently find that not enough people have stopped to check if the boat is heading in the right direction.

They might be meandering in a generally safe direction, about to hit the rocks, or already shipwrecked - and nobody even noticed. Even when an individual or team isn’t clear on the company’s online strategy or business goals, they will continue to diligently focus on accomplishing their day-to-day, tactical responsibilities. The default setting in most of us is to keep busy, keep our heads down, and get things done — not wait around for an online strategy to be provided or clarified. Good tactical execution is important, but strategy ensures that efforts are not wasted on the wrong activities or goals. As Sun Tzu stated,Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

2. Organizational dynamics

Too often the online part of the business is treated more like common land, which in feudal times was land shared by the community for grazing herds and gathering firewood. In large organizations, multiple divisions or teams share parts of the company’s online presence, but nobody oversees the overall online business. As a result, there is frequently no overarching online strategy or shared business goals that unify each group’s focus.

In some cases, the online parts of a business can turn into a political battleground with different groups wrestling for control. You don’t need 14 different business divisions and worldwide operations to experience politics because even small companies have run into the same conflicts. With each team interpreting the organizational goals independently, it becomes very difficult to prioritize and align a web analytics implementation to vague or conflicting business objectives. Whether or not your company’s decision making is centralized or decentralized, having a clear online strategy is always a best practice and essential for creating a global view of a company’s online performance.

3. Inadequate discovery process

One of the most important steps is to involve all of the key stakeholders in the discovery of the organization’s business requirements and clarification of the online strategy. Sometimes a single person or group may feel they can represent the needs of the entire company to save time, and not all of the stakeholders need to be bothered with the discovery process. Despite the best of intentions of these individuals, I’ve seen this approach fail on multiple occasions.

In one example, an internal, two-person task force at a travel company brokered and controlled the entire discovery process despite repeated requests from our consulting team to involve additional stakeholders within their organization. When the final web reports failed to meet the needs of several senior executives and teams, access to other stakeholder groups suddenly opened up but the company was still forced to re-implement significant parts of its SiteCatalyst solution.

Different parts of the business (e.g., marketing vs. support) may have dissimilar goals, priorities, agendas, requirements, and KPIs. Each group may also have varying degrees of analytics experience. Throw into the mix the fact that online business needs and priorities are not static, and the Internet seems to be constantly reinventing itself every 6-12 months. Hopefully, you see why it’s important to be inclusive in the discovery process in order to properly gather, refine, and align the implementation to the key business goals and requirements. Two familiar proverbs come to mind: “Measure twice, cut once” and “Haste makes waste”.

Leadership is the answer

The strategy part becomes much easier when a sometimes missing ingredient is added — leadership. Michael Porter defined the role of leaders as “more than just stewardship of individual functions” and at “its core is strategy: defining and communicating the company’s unique position, making trade-offs, and forging fit among activities.” I would also add holding individuals and groups accountable for achieving the business goals outlined in the online strategy.

When leaders clearly articulate the online strategy to employees and teams, those individuals are empowered to be more strategic with their tactical responsibilities. I still recall the time when I was interviewing a large group of product marketing managers, and they asked me to let them know what the web strategy was when I got it from their senior management team. Sun Tzu wouldn’t have been impressed.

Despite a company’s complex organizational structure, the right level of leadership can align different individuals or groups around a unified online strategy and minimize the politics. When I was helping a media company to define its web measurement strategy, I was noticing very diverse interpretations of organization’s online strategy and KPIs from its different teams. However, as soon as a senior executive clarified the online strategy and priorities, everyone’s business requirements quickly fell into step with his direction or vision.

Leadership can play a key role in ensuring that the right people are participating in the discovery process. Typically, you want to go “high and wide” in terms of the groups and individuals that are involved in the discovery process. Leaders can make sure that all the right people are not only involved but also committed to the requirements gathering process, which can save time as scheduling and advance preparation can be challenging. For example, a C-level executive at a multinational retailer was able to involve EVPs from its offline advertising and purchasing/merchandising groups, who wouldn’t normally have participated in online strategy discussions. However, he was able to convince them that the value of web data extended beyond just the online channel in a multichannel retail world.

As the famous business professor John P. Kotter stated, “Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there.” Effective leadership plays an integral role in not only establishing the strategy but also ensuring that business performance can be measured against the defined strategy. When the right measurement is in place, individuals and teams can be held accountable by leaders for reaching the desired goals. Good leadership can help your organization overcome the three challenges mentioned above and is critical to achieving data-driven success.

3 Awesome, Downloadable, Custom Web Analytics Reports


SustenanceIn a world where we are overwhelmed with data and metrics and key performance indicators and reports and dashboards and. . . sometimes all it takes to make some sense of all this "mess" is someone stepping up to share a tiny slice of wisdom from their experience.

That's my plan for this blog post. To share with you three custom reports that I find to be super valuable when I am doing web data analysis. Not only will I tell you about them, I'll give you downloadable links so you can get going right away!

I must forewarn you that my hidden agenda is also to expose to you metrics you might not be using, views of data that you might be ignoring, best practices that are of value and teach you how to fish. Consider yourself fully forewarned!

I love custom reports. They allow us to step away from the oppression of standard reports (/data pukes) and bring an increased amount of relevancy, calm and focus to our day-to-day work and to our beloved data consumers.

If your daily practice of web analysis does not hugely rely on custom reports (andadvanced segments) then I am afraid you might be a lot more in the Reporting Squirrel mold and a lot less in the Analysis Ninja mold. Sorry.

With that motivational speech, :), below are three custom reports that are of incredible value. You can use them as is, or, better still, you can download and adapt them to your unique business needs. Either way I promise you'll deliver actionable insights faster!

[While I am using Google Analytics here, you can do custom reporting in pretty much any tool you have access to, be it Yahoo! Web Analytics or Site Catalyst or WebTrends.]

#1: Page Efficiency Analysis Report.

I am often irritated by how fractured page level reporting is. Four or six or ten reports that all tell you how your website pages are doing, except that you don't know which report to use and what the heck to do. So you, and I, do nothing. Faith rules.

My goal was to create one single report for you that would serve as a valuable starting point for page analysis for any type of website, especially a content rich non-ecommerce website. Here it is. . .


Optimally, to judge a page you'll look at three different pieces which are often not on the same report or not in any standard report. We fix that above.

First, what we want to know is: How often does this page act as our home page (Entrances) and how well is it doing its job (Bounces)?

I like reporting by Page Title (hopefully you are good at SEO and have taken care of this). I can quickly see which pages have high/horrible bounce rates. In an instant I know which pages need emergency surgery.

[For the minority of you who believe high bounce rates are ok, I encourage you to see this post: I especially recommend reading comments #153, #157 & #164. Thanks.]

Second, we worry about content consumption: How many Unique Visitors came, how many page views were generated and what content was more consumed more / less?

A lot of focus is on measuring Visits, which in this case I don't find to be of any value. I want to know how many People (approximated by Unique Visitors, plus or minus a few) saw a piece of content. Pageviews gives me a great proxy for knowing how often they might have seen it (not surprisingly more than once for my looooooong blog posts!).

The final metric in this bucket – and this is lovely – focuses on which pieces of content are really consumed. I write really long posts; it is gratifying that people spend 14 minutes reading one, but I can also easily see posts/topics people just skip (not good!).

Super awesome right?

Third, (the part almost everyone ignores), "show me the money!!!!": What value was created by the content for our business? And by business I also mean non-profit, university, newspaper, government websites and chicken farmers!

I don't care about page views if I am not making money / adding value to my non-profit or university. The data in the last two columns shows-pay attention please-differences in value created (for you!) when that piece of content was consumed.

Per visit goal value column shows ultimately how much a page might have influenced impact on your business during a visit where someone viewed that page. So People who see Page 2 end up creating 0.82 value for you, and People who see Page 3 end up creating $1.15 worth of value. Hence content on Page #3 was more valuable to your users and your business during this time period.

I like having Total Goal Completions because sometimes raw $ value hides insights. For example see pages #3 and #4. See what I mean?

Initial job greatness, consumption / "engagement", and value delivered to your business. Do you know this about your content?

Here's how you can get this report:

  1. Log into Google Analytics.
  2. Come back here.
  3. Now click on this link Page Efficiency Analysis Report. It will open in Google Analytics.
  4. Click on the Create Report button and it will save it in your account.

If you want to share this report with others (say via Twitter / email) you can use this url:

Bonus Items:

You'll note that I have pre-built two drill downs into this report. If you click on the Page Title you'll see Visitor Type (New vs. Returning). I like to see for my great / awful pages if the behavior and data differs for those two segments. Then I like to drill down by City, again to see deltas. But you can change this to anything you want.

Remember you can apply segmentation (oh yesss!) to this report. Scroll all the way to the top of the report. Click the drop down next to Advanced Segments. Click on Mobile Traffic (or whatever) and. . . Boom! Mobile page efficiency analysis! Sweetness.

If you have an Ecommerce website you can replace Per Visit Goal Value with Per Visit Value and Total Goal Completions with Transactions.

If seven metrics seem to be too much to analyze click on the Comparison icon on top of the table (in Google Analytics) and you'll magically get this:


An easy peasy fast way to compare two metrics of most value to you and quickly identify the winners and losers. In this case I am answering a common question: Which content is consumed the most by People on my site and of that content which is most "engaging," i.e. cause them to read all of it?

Play with this feature; it is to die for. Change the pairings. Faster insights, guaranteed.

#2: Visitor Acquisition Efficiency Analysis Report.

We tend to be far too obsessed about Search Engines and Twitter and the Next Shiny Object.

Or we are organized by silos. Daniel's responsible for email and Gemma's responsible for Bing and Harun's responsible for display. They never talk (there is no incentive to). There are a ton of reports of course. But everyone's optimizing for their local maxima rather than for the global maxima.

Hate that.

My goal was to create one report where I can review the efficiency and performance across all streams of traffic to the site. Paid media (PPC, Display etc), Earned media(Social Media), and Free media (SEO, Referring Sites etc). I don't want the Next Shiny Object nor the Current HiPPO Obsession to drive our acquisition strategy.

Here's the report that is a fabulous starting point. . .


Let's break down a report you are soon not going to want to live without. :)

First, it shows all traffic sources. This is key. Organic and paid search, direct traffic, Twitter and Facebook, Facebook display ads, email marketing, top referring sites etc etc. No more silos! One place to judge how all streams perform. No egos.

Second, we focus on input metrics: How many sessions (Visits) by how many Unique Visitors and how many existing vs. new?

Senior folks seem to love Visits; I find them harmless. I really care about People. So one column for each of us. Are your marketing dollars chasing visits from people who have already visited your site, rather than prospects? New Visits to the rescue. For example notice the delta between Facebook ads vs. Facebook referrals. Ouch. Cute to know this key performance metric, right?

Third, this one's really important: How many people engage in behavior we value?

Typically you would look at metrics like Average Time on Site or Page Views per Visit. In this context why not use something significantly more insightful? I have created a Goal for the site where anyone who spends more than x amount of time or sees more than y number of pages is really giving me a precious gift: their attention. Regardless of whether they buy or submit a lead or do anything else of value, for me it's success.

Looking at this Goal, rather than Avg Time on Page, is significantly more insightful in judging the initial blush of success. You see even if these people don't buy on the website they might buy offline. Or even if they don't donate or download, they'll at least be much better aware of my brand. Or even if my acquisition campaign (Paid, Earned or Free) did not result in conversion in this visit, maybe they'll come back later.

Use this type of clever behavioral goal measurement rather than Avg Time / Pages.

[Important: When you download this report, below, this column might have a zero or show something incorrect - if you have Goal 6 defined. To use the smart strategy I am recommending you'll have to 1. work with your business leaders to identify what "engaged" behavior is in your case is, 2. create a goal for it and then 3. add that to the report you'll download here, then 4. celebrate.]

Fourth, outcomes baby! How much business value was added.

I don't have to teach you the value of using Conversion Rates and Goal Values. The whole point of this report is to prioritize our focus.

A vein should have popped in your head when you saw the conversion rates between google/cpc and google/organic. Good lord!

You can quantify that your Twitter earned media efforts yield 21 cents of extra value for every visit when compared to Facebook earned media efforts, and a shocking 62 centsmore than your efforts with Facebook display ads! OMG.

Will that help you prioritize your efforts better? As Sarah would say: You betcha!

Fifth, this is very important: What did it cost you to get this traffic to your site?

This column in the report will often be zero. If your AdWords account is linked to Google Analytics perhaps you'll see Cost here. But most of the time it will be zero.

I still want you to have it.

Just to remind yourself, and your decision makers, that not all these rows have the same cost to bring that traffic to your site, to get it to engage and finally deliver the value you see in the Outcomes column.

Often we de-prioritize Earned Media and Free Media in favor of Paid Media (it seems sexy). That column is to encourage you to get cost numbers, even rough ones, and then, you'll do this in Excel, add something like Cost Per Conversion or Cost Per Visitor to the report (in Excel). Then and only then will your company be making the smartest possible decisions.

Remember no acquisition is free. Even "Free Media", it just costs less. It is your job to identify that and make your company smarter.

Are you providing this view of Acquisition Efficiency to your HiPPO's?

Here's how you can get this report:

  1. Log into Google Analytics.
  2. Come back here.
  3. Now click on this link Acquisition Efficiency Analysis Report. It will open in GA.
  4. Click on the Create Report button and it will save it in your account.

If you want to share this report with others (say via Twitter / email) you can use this url:

Bonus Items:

You'll note that I have pre-built two drill downs into this report.


If you click on the Source/Medium you'll drill down to Medium. For your email / search / display / social media / video / whatever else campaigns you'll now see the next level of detail (banner ad or rich media ad or. . .).

If you click on Medium you'll drill down to Campaign Name (certain size, duration, destination, promo code, whatever you have coded).

So you can hold all your $$$ accountable.

If you have an Ecommerce website replace the Goal Conversion Rate metric with Conversion Rate and Per Visit Goal Value with my favorite Average Value.

As with the above report you can apply segmentation to this report (please do!) and you can also use the Comparison view and, another love of mine, Advanced Table Filtering.

Faster insights, and massive increase in hugs and kisses, guaranteed!

#3: Paid Search Performance Analysis Micro-Ecosystem!

Allow me to kvetch for a second.  I pull my hair out, and a small part of my soul dies, every time I log into someone's Omniture or Google Analytics or Unica NetInsight account. For the thing that greets me is a massive data puke. Tons and tons of reports created for God knows what reason.

They are the bubonic plague of our existence.

It is as if our lives were not miserable enough with the 80 or 100 standard reports we have no idea what to do with. Now those not savvy in the first place about Visits and Visitors have to wade through even more irrelevant nonsense.

I have championed the elimination of standard reports (who the heck is "standard" anyway? you?) and instead advanced the creation of focused custom "micro-ecosystems" that 1. reduce the number of reports 2. provide a one-stop destination for most answers on one topic, and finally, most importantly, 3. are hyper relevant.

Here are the three steps to creating a self contained micro-ecosystem of relevant data:

    STEP 1: Identify & understand who will consume the data.

    STEP 2: You are not going to believe this. . ., talk to them (!) to understand their needs and success criteria.

    STEP 3: Insert two ounces of your raw brain power. What do they need, beyond what they want?

That's it. I know it sounds simple. Trust me everything below is easy (actually I am going to give you the report for free!), the steps above are really hard.

The micro-ecosystem I have created for you is to analyze the performance of a Paid Search Marketing program. The above examples have been non-ecommerce; this one is focused on ecommerce.

There are three key parties I need to satisfy (as might be the case in your company). The SEM team, who actually spend all the paid search marketing budget day-to-day. The second party is the person who owns the website (Director). Finally the VP of Digital who is responsible for all the spend, across multiple efforts.

Following my three step process above I have noted what each party wants, and, this is important, I have, from my experience, identified what they need.

Here is the micro-ecosystem. . . piece number one. . .searchmarketingdataanalysiPPCteam.png

Everyone in the company goes to just one report to analyze the performance of the paid search campaigns. When they log in they choose their relevant tab. It's that simple.

The first tab is focused on the SEM team. Four metrics on this page are what they directly asked for, things they watch every day, things their bonus depends on. I have added two more from my experience to prompt good behavior (Bounce Rate) and tie them to the bottom-line (Average Value).

First, we look at the "input." How many ad impressions were served? How did our ad perform in terms of Click-thru Rate? The team obsesses about this. Match types. Ad Copy. Quality Score. Ad Position. Campaign Structure. Search query. So many things in play, this is where you find out where to start looking for problems.

Second, we look at activity. It is exceedingly rare that the SEM team (or, even worse, the Search Agency) is responsible for Bounce Rate. I think this is criminal. They can't just be responsible for spending money and dumping traffic on the site. However painful, they have to work with the site owner to ensure landing page relevancy, ad message consistency from Bing/Google to website and quality of their ad targeting. This humble metric is to force them to do that.

Third, I am sure you see a theme in all my work, outcomes! The team cares about Cost Per Click and total Cost. Give 'em that. But you'll be shocked that most of the time they don't care about conversions. So I add Average Value (essentially Average Order Size) so they can see which keywords to focus on more or less (see the range above from 82 to 211!) and not just clickthru rate, etc.

The SEM team / Agency will do lots of other reporting and segmentation and deep dive analysis. But they now have a simple and effective starting point.

Next up. . . the person who owns the process after the traffic shows up. This might be different in each company, but typically the website is owned by one person. Here is their tab. . . on the exact same report!


We shift our focus quite a bit as we move to the Director / Site Owner. They don't care about all the upfront stuff. They care about what's happening under their responsibility.

First, we focus on how many Visits occurred and what kind of Visitors they were? Specifically are we attracting just the same old visitors we have always seen or is our money being spent optimally to attract new people to our site? Percentage of New Visits is here as a conversation starter between the Director & the SEM Team / Agency.

Second, what's happening on the website? Are the entry home pages great? Bounce rate is a joint responsibility. Then it is important to realize that sadly not everyone will convert (boo!). I have chosen Pages per Visit as a proxy for an activity of value completed by the Visitor to the site. We know what the Average Pageview per Visit is; this column tells us if by keyword the difference, and if people don't bounce do they connect with our content? If not then why not? As a Director that is my job to figure out.

Third, surely my neck is on the line for ensuring that money (lots of it) is being produced. Hence the Revenue column. It takes less than ten seconds of eyeballing to figure out where there is a mismatch between crowds of visits and a mass of revenue (or not), and between non-bounce content consumption and revenue production.

Sweetness. One report. We are all on the same page!

The SEM team is probably logging into the system all day long; the Director perhaps a few times a week; the VP of Digital probably just a few times a month. But when She/He does they'll go to the exact same report and click on Her/His tab.

Here's what they'll see. . .


[Note: Here are things good Analysis Ninja's worry about. You'll notice Impressions in all three personalized tabs. The Director and VP don't really care about this metric. It is there as an "anchor." Whichever tab you go to the data will always be sorted the same! Tiny detail, but it matters so much.]

The VP is greeted with a lot fewer metrics (remember: always fewer relevant metrics!).

First, they might pay a cursory glance at the summary view provided in the scorecard(which will be on top of the above report but I have cropped for clarity). They do care about traffic. Just seeing the sorting of the Visits, in context of the Impressions, will give them pause. Note the questions that might pop up, even to a VP, as you compare the queries "accuracy vs. precision" and "kaushik".  Or "customer service questions." What is up with that?

Second, VPs care about cost and they care about productivity. These are two columns they use to praise you and get you and themselves a bonus. What is the Cost per Click and, for that expense, what is the Revenue per Click? I don't have to tell you what to do with these two columns. Love them a lot.

Third, VPs care about their bonus. Sorry, I mean they care about company revenue. :) Knowing RPC is important, having Revenue right there is fantastic context about overall achievement. You could have stuffed number of transactions or orders or conversion rate or all that other junk. You don't need to. Remember: fewer relevant metrics!

Your effort into the three STEP process above pays off rich dividends by killing data pukes, focusing on what's important, and creating one destination for everyone to go to and for everyone to point to.

It is so amazing when this works.

Here's how you can get this report:

  1. Log into Google Analytics.
  2. Come back here.
  3. Now click on this link Paid Search Analysis Micro-Ecosystem. It will open in GA.
  4. Click on the Create Report button and it will save it in your account.

If you want to share this report with others (say via Twitter / email) you can use this url:

Bonus Items:

If you click on the Keyword you'll drill down to Campaign. This is important because your campaign structure has so much influence on your ultimate performance. If you click on Campaign you'll drill down to Ad Group level (which needs constant love and caring).

You can easily create a micro ecosystem for your Email campaigns. For your Social Media efforts. For your. . . any place your company is spending money.

This report is for Ecommerce. It will work just fine if you're a non-profit or a government entity using AdWords or adCenter. Just swap the outcome metrics with ones mentioned in the first two reports.

You can do segmentation, advanced table filtering and all other good stuff here. Do it.

Extra Special Bonus Items:

Except for the last report, you can create all the above reports in five minutes in any web analytics tool you are using. You will not need to touch the JavaScript tag or go on a date with the IT team or update the contract with your Paid Vendor. If you are using Omniture or CoreMetrics etc you can still create the third report in Excel. Please do.

If you are using Google Analytics check out the delightful quick start guide to Custom Reporting. It covers designing, building and viewing a custom report. Tip: Check out the super useful graphic under Building Your Custom Report.

You will fail at all the above reports if you have not identified your Goals and Goal Values. If you are starting from scratch use the Web Analytics Measurement Model to identify your Goals. If you need more tactical examples from different types of websites please refer to my blog post on Macro & Micro Conversions.

Gentle reminder: No Goals, No Glory.

I had a lot of fun creating these special reports for you. I hope you'll have just as much fun adapting them to your own companies and their unique needs. But most of all I hope you'll release your data customers from the tyranny of data pukes and irrelevant standard web analytics reports!

Ok it's your turn now.

Do you have a favorite custom report? Care to share a downloadable version with the super smart audience of Occam's Razor? Do you have some version of one of my reports above that is even better? Care to share that one?

Incentive: The person who shares the best report will get a personalized signed copy ofWeb Analytics 2.0!  Please share the report via comments, I know we all would love to benefit from your wisdom and experience.

There were some wonderful reports submitted, please see the comments, but the one I loved the most was by Peter van Klinken [comment #41]. It was a very clever report and the use of pivot tables in GA was particularly cool. I'll be sending Peter a signed copy of W A 2.0.

Thanks to all of you for the wonderful submissions.

3 Awesome, Downloadable, Custom Web Analytics Reports