There are a lot of GA users. As a matter of fact, in Google’s Q1 2012 earnings call it was revealed that GA is being used on 10MM sites. That’s a lot of data and and a lot users!
Those users generate a lot of questions. Earlier this week I solicited questions on Google+. I hope you find the answer useful in your daily use of Google Analytics.
Please note, if I did not get to your question it was for one of two reasons:
1. It was posted after I started writing the post
2. It may have been a bit too specific. I contacted a few people directly about those questions.
On to the answers!
Danae Shell asks:
I’d love to use the multi-channel report in GA, but the 30-day cookie doesn’t work for websites who offer a 30-day trial and want to track all of a customer’s touch points through free trial and subscription. What suggestion do you have for recording campaign touch points outside of the 30-day window?
This is a great question, and we hear that request a lot. The Multi-Channel funnel reports, and the attribution modeling tool, both use a 30-day lookback window. In reality this has nothing to do with a cookie, it’s how Google Analytics processes the data on the back end.
If you’re looking to identify activity that happened 30-plus days prior to conversion you need to work outside the bounds of Multi-Channel funnels and create something that stores activity and date. You have a couple of options: custom variables or events.
Another option is to use an event, If you already have some way to identify your visitors across sessions consider storing the referral information in your system. Then push out some events that list all of the touch points when the final conversion happens. This technique requires a lot more server side code.
Russell McAthy asks:
I have data coming from a number of different sources so i’m trying to tape together the best possible picture I can of a multi-touch universe. I have a number for the total interactions via a campaign (including some content campaigns which an interaction is an impression) and I want to create an influencer metric using a combination of last touch point / total interactions and first touch point. I am working on a number of full attribution models, but in the meantime. Using the 3 numbers I have (first touch point conversion / Last touch point conversions / total interaction conversion) how would you come to a ‘nice’ metric that gave an indication of the ‘importance’ of a given campaign.
I have something in mind – but wanted to pick the brain of some bright things :)
What a fantastic question.
I think I would do it the same way you are: using ratios. If you’re looking for one number to represent the importance of a campaign, based on the number of first/last/total interactions, I would use a ratio.
First Touch Influence = First Touch Conversions / Total Conversions
Last Touch Influence = Last Touch Conversions / Total Conversions
You’ve probably noticed that this is almos the same way that Google Analytics calculates it’s assisted/last ratio. But it’s simple and easy to understand. Plus, depending on the data you have available, you could also segment these metrics.
You can also create a benchmarks internally using un-segmented data or historical campaign performance. I usually don’t use a lot of compound, custom metrics, but this is fairly easy for anyone to understand.
Deli Norbert asks:
Is it possible to get back city-state-country e-commerce data without the usage of API? Because we want to use these to track different type of buyers.
Unfortunately no. These dimensions do not exist in the UI. Also, a quick note, that Google will be deprecating the Data Export API on July 10, 2012. The Core Export does NOT contain the ecommerce geo-dimensions. Perhaps you use custom variables to collect the information that you need.
Ponch Pertierra asks:
Setting up many goals is supported, even encouraged. What would you say is a good practice to divide the less important goals (clicking on something, a certain time on site) from the core business ones? (sales, lead generation), so the data doesn’t get polluted. Thanks in advance!!
I’m a neat-freak! I like things organized. So I would say yes. If you can group your macro conversions into one goal set, and your micro conversions into another goal set, it would make using GA easier.
HOWEVER: you do have the option to create custom reports. And when you make a custom report the goal sets don’t matter! So if your micro and macro conversions are a complete mess try using a custom report to organize things.
Allen Firstenberg asks:
I am trying to see how many hits I’m getting against my pages. The catch is that many of my pages are passed a query part in the URL, and I am completely uninterested in this query value. The way things appear to be working is that for each different query parameter, the page is counted as a different page. So the following are all currently reported as different, but I want them reported as the same page:
Even more than the answer, however, I want to know where in the documentation I should have been able to figure this out.
ACK! Don’t say HITS! You’re looking for pageviews, which is a very different thing.
Query string parameters are such a pain! I hate it when they magically start showing up in a report. Use the Exclude Query Parameter setting in Google Analytics. Simply enter a comma-separated list of query parameters and GA will strip them out of your data. You only need to enter the name of the parameter, not the value.
If you don’t know the names of the parameters, or if they are constantly changing, you might consider an advanced filter. This is the nuclear option :) An advanced filter will strip off all the parameters, all the time, no matter what they’re named.
Rocío Díaz asks:
Hi. I use Google Analytics, and for some reason I get different results when I access in my office and in my home. What explains this discrepancy?
That’ a tough one. I really can’t explain why you would see different data. Once the data has been collected and processed it does not change. My only suggestion is to make sure you are looking at the exact same profile. You might be looking at different profiles, thus seeing different data.
Shari Wright Pilo asks:
Do you have a post with a list of the different dashboards that you can “plug and play” ?
You’re in luck! Here’s a list of a few dashboards you can add to Google Analytics
- Basic blog dashboard: URL: http://goo.gl/wWy9j
- Social media dashboard: URL: http://goo.gl/gafiH
- Mobile ecommerce dashboard: URL: http://goo.gl/I322w
- Site Performance dashboard: URL: http://goo.gl/eZfV5
- Engaged Traffic advanced segment: URL: http://goo.gl/4HFoo
- Daily Ecommerce report: URL: http://goo.gl/e0Ksy
Sean Riordan asks:
How does cross-domain tracking work in Google Analytics? Specifically, after putting the correct additions (trackDomain) to the Google Analytics tracking code, what does cross-domain tracking look like in the GA reports? We have clients that want this working for their sub-domain and their top-level domain (example.test.com & test.com).
Sub-domain and cross domain tracking are two very different things! Check out this article to read about the finer points of cross domain tracking and sub-domain tracking.
As for how the data looks in Google Analytics, there’s really no difference. You’ll notice the sub domain or the secondary domain in the Audience > Technology > Network > Hostname report. And you should see all of the pages from both domains in the Content reports.
I usually add an advanced filter to add the domain name to the content reports. This makes it easier for me to identify pages on different sites. If you need to separate the data you can create different profiles based on the hostname or used Advanced Segments.
Jon Darch asks:
This might be a stupid question, but when setting up a custom dashboard, how do I create widgets which show a metric (i.e visitors for the last 30 days) with the previous month’s figure as a % up or down? I’m sure I’ve seen others doing this, but can’t seem to figure it out!
If you are able to offer any advice, that would be much appreciated :)
Unfortunately you cannot add a “sticky” date to the dashboard. But I wish you could! You can manually do a date comparison, then you’ll see a % change in some of the widgets, like the tabular widget.
But stay tuned, we might have a better solution for that.
Carl D’souza asks:
When comparing 2 date ranges in the adwords reports, the calculation for ‘change in ROI’ is misleading/incorrect if the ROI value for either the first or second date range is Negative.
(for eg, week 1 has -10% ROI, week 2 has +30% ROI; in this case, the calculated ‘% difference’ is -400%, however, I just turned a loss into a profit)
In this scenario, what alternative solution/calculation do you think is more apt? Also, does the GA team have any plans to use a more accurate calculation or even put a warning note against a scenario like this?
Thanks for the heads up! I completely agree that this is not correct. We’re working to fix it. Stay tuned for an update.
Abiodun Thorpe asks:
Nice one. I created a goal with funnel visualization and few days later. I realized is was a wrong goal. I created a new goal so how do I delete the old goal and it’s visualization?
Unfortunately you can not delete data from Google Analytics. Once the data has been collected and processed by our system it’s static forever. I would suggest de-activating the goal for a few weeks to ‘clear’ the data. Then add an annotation to remind everyone that there is some bad goal data in the reports.
Emma Smith asks
When creating goals (taget URL), how to account for different routes through to the same target?
Different paths to the goal are handled using a Funnel. When you create your goal you can also create a funnel to see how many people follow the defined path and how many people take other paths. The Goal Flow report will help you see people moving in and out of each step.
If you have multiple paths to conversion, and you want to get a sense of how people move through each pathing, you may consider creating a goal, with a different funnel, for each path. It’s easier to separate the data for analysis.
If your goal does not have a defined path you can use the Reverse Goal Path report to view the 3 steps prior to every conversion. Or try using the Flow Visualization report to explore other paths to conversion.
Gabriel Rinaldi asks
Why should I use GA for iOS/Android instead of Flurry? Isn’t Flurry a Google product too?
Thanks in advance,
Flurry is not a Google product. From Flurry’s website:
“Flurry Analytics helps mobile application developers make better apps, deepen consumer engagement and improve monetization of their applications. The service is free, cross-platform, easy to integrate, able to handle data loads of any size application and frequently updated with new, advanced features.”
Google Analytics app tracking consists of SDKs for iOS and Android. You can use almost every Google Analytics feature (pageviews, events, custom variables) when tracking an app with Google Analytics.
Before you choose which tracking tool to you, you should clearly define what you need to track. What data do you need to measure success? Which tool will generate that data? If it’s Google Analytics, then use Google Analytics. If it’s Flurry, then use Flurry. I support the best tool for the job.
I will say this: app tracking with Google Analytics forces you to put app-centric data into GA, which is web-centric. Sometimes this is really crappy. If you’re doing in-depth app tracking you may want to look at Flurry.
James Melly asks
How would you go about investigating (or have any previous examples of) why a site appears to double count visits. Almost exactly 50% of visits have no landing page set and no pageview information and I am sure they are not real visits but something to do with how the site is set up.
This is normally due to events or other hit types. The visit metric is incremented on the first hit of a visit. If the first hit is an event, and there are no other hits, then you would see lots of visits with no landing page or pageviews. So go check for some rogue events.
Amy Sample asks:
What do you think is the best practice for adding a mobile web site to the collection of sites/apps we track in GA? Should a m.xyz.com site have its own UA-code, be a new property under www.xyz.com UA-code, or just be rolled into www.xyz.com? Right now we track mobile apps separately from the website, but adding an m. site is not as straightforward.
Before I get to the answer, a quick note on terminology. We use the term ‘web property’ to represent a unique Google Analytics tracking code. This is analogous to a UA number. So UA-1 and UA-2 are web property IDs.
Each web property can have multiple profiles. A profile is a combination of data from a web property and settings applied to the profile. So UA-1-1 and UA-1-2 are both profiles for web property UA-1.
Now the answer!
I think yes, you should separate your mobile site into a new web property. The user experience for a mobile-optimized site is usually very different than a www site or a mobile app. As a result I would separate that data into a new web property so it’s easier to understand the behavior. If you need to combine the data from the mobile site with other data then you might consider using the API.
Shailendra Dubey asks
We have developed a mobile website & implement tracking code for mobile website
Now we are checking referral sources & found that our mobile website is showing as self referral.
We have verified the same using Firebug & value of UTMR is showing that referral is our own mobile website.
Any help from the community is very helpful for us.
Referral information for the server side code (ie the WAP tracking code) uses server information to include the referral. For example, if you are using the PHP code then the GA uses
$_SERVER["HTTP_REFERER"] to identify where the visitor came from. My guess is that there is some issue with that server variable and that’s why you’re not getting valid data send to Google Analytics.
Shailendra Dubey asks:
I came across an issue about real time data of Google Analytics.
I am browsing some mobile websites using iPhone, iPad, Blackberry phones & at the same time when i am checking their real time data in Google Analytics Location is showing as United States, where as i am browsing from India.
I’ve seen this too, and I’ve always assumed it’s an artifact of where the mobile network connects to the public internet. I would say that, for some reason, the routing of your connection is changing the geo-location to the US, rather than India.
Michel Bertrand asks
I’d really like to know why it seems that I still can’t create a profile that only includes traffic and transactions from a particular sub-domain (www vs www2).
Transactions include those from all domains, and the hostname is always still (not set).
Using a profile that filters according to transaction affiliation half works, since it shows $ numbers for that affiliate (each sub-domain has its own affiliate), but it also shows 0$ transactions for the other sub-domain – and it only shows traffic for visitors who convert. Annoying.
Other question – might as well abuse of your offer :)
Ever since I showed people how to use campaign tracking, they have been using it to track clicks from banners on the homepage to other pages on the same site. Now I’ve always been convinced that the best use for this is tracking outside referrers (emails, banners, etc). Would there be a better way for them to track the clicks on these internal pages (this works reasonnably well because they are able to modify the URLs themselves in the CMS)?
You’re correct re: filtering transactions. The hostname dimension is NOT attached to transactional data. That’s why you can not filter transaction based on hostname. For a better solution, try adding an identifier to the transaction ID and filter based on the transaction ID, which is part of the transaction and product data. But we’re in the process of fixing this. I know it’s a huge hassle, sorry.
As to your other question, there are a couple of ways to track internal campaigns. You could use event tracking, but I like to re-purpose Site Search to track internal campaigns. Check out the article, it’s pretty easy to implement.
Robert Speer asks
When are service accounts coming to the Google Analytics API? It’s still way to hard to do something simple like have a web server pull a top 10 most viewed content list in JSON.
While I can’t comment on what we’re working on, that sounds like a great idea. Let me see what we can do. And thanks for the awesome suggestion!
Fernando Veloso asks
Hi Justin and thanks so much for the initiative. I just want to know when will GA share more tutorials on goal analysis.
I love that you’re so focused on conversion analysis! Google’s definitely focused on launching more and more educational materials. You can start with our Introduction to Google Analytics webinar, the Goals configuration webinar, as well as the multi-channel analysis webinar (watch the official Google Analytics blog for the YouTube video). There’s a lot of stuff on our YouTube channel. And we’re working on new ways to create a better learning experience for users.
Justin Urich asks
How can I see a full report of the most popular time of day (hours with the most visits) on my websites?
Use an Overview report. Then, look for the Hourly graphing option under the Date Selector. Here’s a screenshot.
Thanks everyone! Those were great. What a variety of questions.
That’s the first installment of Analytics Q & A. Stay tuned, we’ll do this again next month.
Adrian Cordiner says
To answer Justin Urich’s query in a bit more detail (about showing visitors by hour of the day), you can create a custom report for this:
Metric Group: (Up to you, but something like Visits or Unique Visitors)
Dimension Drill-downs: Hour (Hour of the Day will show the actual date as well, so it’s not as useful for showing trends).
This will show the total visits (or whatever metric group you’ve chosen) for whatever time period you choose, broken down by the hour. To view in bar graph (and percentage) form, click on the “Performance” tab above the Visits column (“Performance” tab looks like a bar graph).
Expand rows from 10 to 25 in order to see all the hours of the day.
Hope this helps!
Justin Cutroni says
@Adrian: Thanks for the contribution! I was thinking about using a custom report as well. I personally like the visualization of the Hourly graph. But a custom report works great especially if you want to add a filter to the report and view 24 hour data for a segment of traffic.
Vojtech Mikula says
Justin, adding to Rocío Díaz question about discrepances in numbers, it could be caused by sampling – couldn’t it? When particular report meets conditions to be sampled it likely couses different numbers while being logged from different browsers. But there can be something else what causes inaccuracy.
Michel Bertrand says
Thank you Justin for the great post.
I know you may not be able to answer this, but when you say you’re fixing the hostname not being attached to transaction data, are we talking about this being available within days, weeks, months or quarters? :)
This has been bugging me for the last 4 years… surprised it hasn’t been fixed yet.
Have a great day.
Justin Cutroni says
@Michael: Thanks for being so patient. I know that this bug is a complete pain and have been troubling users for a long, long time. While it won’t take 7 years to get this fixed, it may be a few months.
Samantha Noble says
Have you got any further with the Hostname filtering with Ecommerce data yet? I have a couple of clients who are waiting for this to happen.
If it won’t be done soon can you recommend the best way to see the transactions for a sub domain and main domain?
Justin Cutroni says
@Sam: I would wait if I was you. Implementing an alternate solution, using a modified transaction ID and filters, can take some IT resources and time. Which means a looong time. This is something that is a high priority.
Samantha Noble says
Thanks. I will feed this back to our clients and hold fire making any modifications. Great news.
Paul Johnson says
I need to have more data than my one GA account generates to help my learning process. I cannot find any “dummy data” that will let me play with the GA tools. Any ideas?
Justin Cutroni says
@Paul: Unfortunately there are no dummy accounts out there. You could try some learning videos in the Conversion University site. They use screen shots with data that might be more helpful.
Thanks for the informative article. I did review all the comments. But there was a specific case that I couldn’t find answers for. Appreciate your help.
– Multiple (dynamic urls) product pages xyz.php?id=45 etc.
– Each product page has different price.
– Conversion is an online inquiry form.
– single Thankyou.php
To setup Goals, do I:
– Create Single goal page with each ID page as Funnel step?
– OR One Goal page for each ID page?
I have tried both ways and feel that the results are wrong in both cases.
Appreciate your help.
Ed Talbot says
Appreciate all the great info, it’s really helpful.
Question – is there a listing somewhere of the different functions that you can call with gaq.push? I know the basic ones but was wondering if there is an authorized full listing available? Thanks!
Justin Cutroni says
@Ed: Here’s a complete list of the Google Analytics methods you can use with the _gaq object. Have fun!
We are at a complete loss as to how to use this new Google Analytics site, which we used to be able to use successfully on a daily basis. When we first logged in, we kept clicking on the link that contained our tracking code, but nothing ever appeared. We just gave up. Logging in a few days later brought us to the new dashboard which appears to have extremely limited information and capacity compared to the old dashboard; there doesn’t appear to be any drill-down capactiy. Moreover, almost every single thing available to click on describes all this great data you’ll be able to access with just “a few clicks”, but nothing you click on results in anything except more descriptions of what you’ll be able to access with just “a few clicks”. We are completely confused, and also wondering if it’s possible for us to just access our old dashboard to use. We’re just losing too much information trying without any success to use this thing. Also, how do you log off the site?
Justin Cutroni says
@LKHEADS: I’m sorry you’re having trouble with Google Analytics.
1. When you log into GA you should see a list of Profiles.
2. Choose the profile that you use for your report.
3. Then you should be right into the data. Specifically you’ll be looking at the Audience > Overview reports, which is information about your site visitors.
Unfortunately the old version of Google Analytics has been permanently turned off. All the data is still there (unless there was a change to your installation).
I hope this gets you started in finding the data.
thank you for taking my question..
adwords exact match campaign.. drill into campaign, drill into adgroup..looking at exact match keywords..
how come, let’s say example water tanks is the keyword…i see
all three listed with different stats in the same adgroup…. why? why is google breaking it up like this in my analytics?? are they different sources? all in the same adwords adgroup…
hope this makes sense, thx for your time
jean jack says
Is there a way for you to put back the day a person goes onto my site. You did that in the past with a graph but can’t find that on the new site. Jean
Justin Cutroni says
@Jean Jack: I’m not really sure I know what you’re asking. If you’re looking to segment the data by day of week, you could use a Custom Report with the Day of Week dimension. Would that help?
Bhagawat Jadhav says
Thank you so much sharing more on GA. I am following you from 2007.
Suppose I have created special dashboards and I would like to share those with GA users through my blog http://advanced-web-metrics.blogspot.com/
What do I need to do for preparing the ready Dashboard link that you have created above?
Justin Cutroni says
@Bhagawat: There is a Share button at the top of your dashboard. Click that button and you’ll get a link that you can share with other people.
By the way, your blog URL looks a lot like my friend Brian Clifton’s…
Petar Krnić says
I need a suggestion. I would like to make some goals for our GA account. I would like to make goals for booking requests, newsletter signup and booking (sale). The problem is that we have 6 langugues. Do I need to make 1 goal for each goal and language (they have different URLs), for example: booking request in Croatian http://www.camps-cres-losinj.com/hr/zahtjev-za-rezervaciju.aspx, and in english http://www.camps-cres-losinj.com/booking-request.aspx. Or can I make just one goal for that type of goal that will count the goals on all languages?? Thank you
Justin Cutroni says
@Petar: Well, if you want to track all of the goals together, then you can create one goal and use a regular expression to match all of the thank-you pages. Or, if you want to track each individual thank-you page you can create a goal for each. It’s up to you and depends on how you report data.
any news/progress on being able to filter transactions based on hostname so we only see transactions that belong to a certain sub-domain defined in a profile? When will we have the hostname attached to the transactional data?
Justin Cutroni says
@Michael: This should now be possible. You should be able to fileter transactions based on hostname.
Amit Thakur says
Few week ago I have removed Google analytics code from my websites and now I am surprised that still why google analytics tracking my data. its showing Visits, avg time , new/ returning visitors on daily basis , etc but page views is zero.
Please help me and provide answer if anyone know .
Justin Cutroni says
Amit: It’s probably due to a plugin using Google Analytics. If you have 0 pageviews, but all the other metrics, then there is probably a plugin using event tracking to track how people use the plugin.
I’ve been running server side (WAP) GA on my mobile site for the past week and the no1 visitor country is “(none)” at approx. 37%. Is there any way of getting more of the visitors locations rather than it coming up as “(none)”? The vast majority of the traffic is coming from mobile browsers that don’t support JS.
I’ve heard that this may have something to do with Opera browsers but I’m not sure how accurate that information is.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Justin Cutroni says
@Cill: Location is determined using an IP lookup. And, unfortunately with mobile, that can be quite challenging. Especially with the server side code. You may want to considder switching to the new Universal Analytics. You will need to re-implement, but you can collect more data, Perhaps you can grab another piece of information, like domain name, etc. and create your own geo-data.
Hope that helps.
Cheers for the response Justin. I’ll have a look at implementing Universal Analytics.
I asked this question on StackOverflow too and partially answered my own question here:
Well from my research, the Opera Mini browser appears to have a significant impact on the figures.