Google Analytics is a Combination of an Online Tool and a Shared Service

This post concludes our current series on Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Google Analytics is a combination of a highly configurable online tool and a shared service. Using this web site traffic measurement tool successfully amounts to keeping both points in mind at all times. Some features will be immediately available while others will require a day, or more to work. Google Adwords advertisers can use Adwords customer service to help if features take too long to load.

Most views and custom reports for Google Analytics can be added immediately with a web browser, preferably Google Chrome. Be prepared for a difficult task finding documentation to add reports. We like the Google Analytics Visitor Flow View, but have not been able to successfully configure it to expose information about specific pages on a web site.

Linking Analytics to an Adwords account takes between 24 and 48 hours. If a problem arises, don’t expect an alert. We recently linked Analytics to an Adwords account for one of our clients. An incorrectly configured Analytics filter broke the linking procedure. The problem cost our client 5 days of traffic data, which cannot be retrieved. We found out about the problem by notifying Adwords customer service. A couple of days after notifying them we received an email from the Analytics support team identifying the filter as the problem with a recommendation that we remove it. Once we removed the filter traffic measurement returned to normal very quickly.

If it makes sense to expose an Adwords campaign to Google’s display network, then Analytics can be used to manage the display network domains. We recommend keeping a running list of “excluded domains” for display network sites that produce clicks with high bounce rates. Why pay $5.00 or $6.00 for a click that produces just a bounce off of a landing page?

Google doesn’t provide data about specific keywords for the display network. But the “content targeting” information that is provided, along with a review of specific ads can be used to fine tune campaigns for these sites. Curiously, opting to expose our client’s Adwords campaign to the display network provided us with some unexpected competitive information for our client. It turned out that several sites in the display network were either vendor sites for complementary products in our client’s market, or owned by industry partners.

Mastering Analytics and Adwords is certainly something worth doing for marketing teams supporting Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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