> Chapter 15: Making More Sales with Google Analytics

In This Chapter

  • Activating Google Analytics
  • Observing and measuring your visitors’ behaviors
  • Identifying Web site roadblocks and detours
  • Making your Web site friendlier and more effective 

In Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping (Texere Publishing), Paco Underhill share the insights gleaned from twenty years of his study of the science of shopping. Some of these include

  • Putting shopping baskets all over bookstores.
  • Making the women’s clothing aisles wide to avoid the irritation of “butt-brush.” 
  • Putting fitting rooms next to the men’s clothing section since men buy mostly on the basis of fit, while women consider many other factors.

These findings may seem like common sense to you, but I wouldn’t have come up with them in a hundred years. And neither did the giants of retail until they hired Underhill to study shopper behavior and redesign their stores. Underhill’s company Web site, www.envirosell.com, describes the methodology for a typical engagement:

Twelve Staples stores were studied in different markets across the country for two days each.

  • Shoppers were observed throughout their visit by in-store observers.
  • Video, focused in different areas of the store, recorded shopping patterns for eight hours each research day.
  • Shoppers were intercepted and interviewed after they completed their shopping visit.
  • A manager and an associate from each store were interviewed by researchers to gather their insights on the store.

I bring this up to explain how incredibly lucky you are as a Web site proprietor to not to have to go through this to improve the effectiveness of your site. You can observe your customers without hiring armies of consultants, without intercepting them for interviews, and without watching hours of video. All you have to do, in fact, is install Google Analytics tracking code on your site and you’ll be able to evaluate and redesign your online store with greater accuracy, less risk, and greater speed than you could ever manage offline.

You can view – in minute detail the parts of your site that frustrate or detour your visitors. You can compare this month to last month. You can define goals and funnels and watch your visitors convert or bail at every point on the navigation path. You can identify pages that don’t work, and replace them in minutes. And you can automatically connect all this data to your AdWords cost-and-conversion data to segment your traffic by keyword (and other characteristics).

In this chapter, I draw heavily on the expertise generously provided by Timothy Seward of ROI Revolution, online at www.roirevolution.com. (Especially since Google completely overhauled Analytics three weeks before my book deadline thanks, Sergey and Larry!) Including even one-tenth of what Timothy has taught me would have turned this book into a medicine ball, so I’m limiting the information on Analytics in two ways:

I just show you how to track AdWords traffic. You can configure Analytics to tell you cool stuff about all your visitors; in fact, it will tell you all about organic search-engine traffic by default. I’m going to ignore all that and let you explore it on your own. (Once you understand how Analytics deals with AdWords traffic, the rest isn’t hard.)

I don’t get into complicated installations, including integration with e-commerce shopping carts or the tracking of downloads or outbound links. If you are (or know) someone who’s a code jockey or has years of IT experience, feel free to play with these settings. Otherwise, start simply and hire an Analytics expert when you’re ready for advanced tracking.

Instead, I show you how to install and configure Analytics to get clean and actionable data. I introduce you to some very powerful data screens, and show you how to set up experiments and answer interesting questions with these data. Once you have the data, you discover what to do with it to get more leads and sales.

Installing Analytics on Your Web site

The Google Analytics installation process consists of three steps:

                    1.  Creating and configuring an Analytics account.

                    2.  Adding tracking code to your Web pages.

                    3.  Creating filters to keep your data clean and useful.

Creating an Analytics account

Within your AdWords account, click the Analytics tab. Click the Continue button to enter Web site information for your first profile (each Web site requires its own profile), as shown in Figure 15-1. You can create multiple profiles, but for right now let’s keep it simple…

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