BEST Practices: Google Analytics Conference

The following is a guest post contributed by Caleb Whitmore, founder of GACP Analytics Pros and the BEST Practices Conference, Google Analytics enthusiast and aspiring mountaineer.

BEST Practices: Google Analytics Conference
Boston, September 19
Seattle, November 14

As a digital analytics firm, we obviously love the constant connectedness of social media, mobile devices and the web. But we are also the first to admit that the never-ending noise leaves little room for the brilliance that come from letting your mind wander.

BEST Practices for Google Analytics is designed to give you the best of both worlds. 

We combine strategic inspiration, practical instruction and a wide-open location to create a Google Analytics conference like no other. In six short weeks, BEST Practices will land in Boston and we invite you to join us.

Top 7.2 Reasons to Attend A BEST Practices for Google Analytics Conference this Fall:
  1. Networking: You will be surrounded by innovators in the digital analytics industry - previous attendees include Starbucks, Yelp, Priceline, GoPro and more. Talk to both experts and peers who are using analytics to creatively solve problems.
  2. Speakers: Our speakers are actively practicing what they preach every day. Members of my AP team will cover specific best practices, I will review some of the tricks I have learned from a decade in this business, Ian Myszenski from Wildfire will be showcasing the measurement of social media . . . and the list goes on.
  3. After-Party: Mix and mingle following the event. Past after-parties have provided a great place to keep the brainstorming and inspiration flowing as you chat with people from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds.
  4. Topics: Receive practical instruction on the latest Google Analytics features, including advanced segmentation, multi-channel funnels, attribution modeling, Google Tag Manager, Universal Analytics, social and more.
  5. Interaction: Hands-on interaction is key when learning to apply new knowledge. We will give you a chance to apply tricks directly to your profiles as you listen and chat about your challenges with like-minded people during lunch.
  6. Venue: The Boston BEST Practices conference will be at New England Aquarium and in Seattle at the Seattle Art Museum - venues specifically chosen because they give you open spaces to think creatively. We have intentionally scheduled space into the agenda to allow you to wander, enjoy and dream.
  7. Training: If you’re looking to make it official, the Google Analytics Individual Qualification test is an important milestone when building your GA resume. Our preparatory course is a full day of in-person training time following the conference, led by me.
 7.2.    Discount: And last, but definitely not least, we have a discount just for you! Use discount code BESTAnalyticsBlog for a 20% discount off the conference pass at either our Boston or Seattle conferences this fall.

And don’t forget to check out other BEST Practices conferences as we storm the country. We’re headed back to San Francisco in the spring of 2014 - don’t miss out!

To keep up to date on what’s coming, follow our team at @analyticspros and @BEST_con to hear about the latest speakers, locations and events.

We hope to see you in Boston and Seattle!

Posted by Caleb Whitmore, Google Analytics Certified Partner

The Periodic Table of Google Analytics

The following is a guest post from Jeff Sauer, Vice President at Three Deep Marketing, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. Jeff writes often about Digital Marketing at his Jeffalytics Blog and he writes about Travel on his Free World Traveler blog. 

I have long compared Google Analytics to the slogan for board game Othello: "A Minute to Learn, a Lifetime to Master" because it is so easy to get started, yet there are so many customization options and continuous product improvements that it takes years to master all aspects contained within GA.

The Google Analytics team has done such an amazing job at making the product easy to use that a significant portion of the web measures their website performance with Google Analytics. With that said, I've found that because it is so easy to use, not all marketers are aware of the advanced features contained within GA.

While conducting in-person Google Analytics training the past several years, I have been looking for the best way to show my students just how much they can do with Google Analytics. While a comprehensive classroom session goes a long way, a more elegant way of simplifying the complex is also valuable in the long run.

After much brainstorming with colleagues, we came up with the idea of creating the Periodic Table of Google Analytics, inspired by similar periodic table pieces that have ran in the past by well known marketing focused websites. Since the concept works so well for displaying many elements in one place, it worked perfectly for defining the 60+ elements that were included in the Periodic Table of Google Analytics. We hope you enjoy the results!

We created the table to be consumed in many different ways. On, you will find an interactive version of the table which gives an explanation of each element as you hover over. You can also find a printable PDF version of the document for printing at home. Last, we have created an embeddable graphic that you can share on your site.

Posted by Jeff Sauer, Google Analytics Certified Partner

Google Analytics Conference in Stockholm, Sweden

Join the Google Analytics Certified Partners for Google Analytics Conference Nordic in Sweden. 

The event takes place on May 23rd in Stockholm. You can expect to hear expert tips on how to get maximum value out of Google Analytics, and learn from other organizations, such as VisitSweden and Resurs Bank, using the tool. 

Started in Stockholm 2011, based on an initiative by Outfox who gathered the other Google Analytics Certified Partners, the conference sold out the first two years. Now that the conference is returning for the third consecutive year, it will be visited by Paul Muret, Google Analytics Engineering Director and founder and CEO of Urchin Software acquired by Google in 2005. Urchin technology became what you know as Google Analytics today. Paul will hold the keynote presentation.

Learn about Universal Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Attribution Modeling, Cost Data Upload, Data Visualization, and much more. 

Erik Modig from Stockholm School of Economics will also share his insights into human behavior and modern advertising strategy and you'll also meet Mike Kwong, a software engineer working on Google Analytics backend. 

Our Stockholm conference includes:

• Clinics/huddles led by top Google Analytics experts
• Case studies from businesses and other organizations
• A live demo of how to add new sources of data to Google Analytics
• Opportunities to interact with peers and experts
• A more creative venue, The Rival movie theatre
• Fun and games during breaks
• ...much more!

To join us in Stockholm on May 23rd, visit the conference site and secure your ticket before it's sold out again.

Readers of this blog get the price of  2490 SEK if signing up before May 15th, and by entering the discount code "VIP Google" as a note before submitting the form.

If you want to be the first to know about other upcoming analytics events in Sweden, follow Outfox on Google+.

Posted by Lars Johansson, Google Analytics Certified Partner

Optimize Your Website with SiteApps and GA

Google Analytics excels at collecting an incredible amount of information about how visitors interact with the web and mobile properties of its users. This data provides marketers and analysts who know what they’re looking for with with an incredibly powerful platform to understand what’s working and what’s not. To those who aren’t sure what they’re looking for though, all of this information can be overwhelming and make it easy to take no action at all.

SiteApps enables businesses to get instantaneous, free recommendations on how to optimize their website based on their Google Analytics data. SiteApps’ technology runs hundreds of automated analyses on its customers’ web data to identify opportunities for improvement. Based on these tailored recommendations, SiteApps then enables businesses to install apps from their marketplace to help solve these problems.

One of SiteApps’ customers is a family-owned home furnishings designer that was having difficulty maintaining their eCommerce presence while still focusing on the day-to-day operations of their brick and mortar retail store.  Within minutes of signing up for SiteApps, they were able to identify dozens of opportunities for site optimization. By installing the apps that were recommended to them, they were able to create a compelling web presence that increased their conversion rate by 108% and led to 65% more time spent on site by its visitors.  This led to a substantial increase in revenue for the business simply by unlocking the power of their web analytics data.

Our business is completely based on data. It’s incredibly important to us that customers know - or learn - just how valuable their data is,” says Phillip Klien, co-founder of SiteApps. “We consider Google Analytics the foundation for our platform and use the results to help customers make the most of the data their website produces.”

SiteApps is free to try and takes a matter of minutes to set-up.  Give it a try today to see what you can uncover from your web analytics.

Posted by the Google Analytics team

Kapitall Uses Content Experiments To Drive A 44% Conversion Increase

Video game entrepreneur Gaspard de Dreuzy and financial technologist Serge Kreiker had a thought: why not use the gaming experience to break the traditional online investing mold? Their idea took hold and Wall Street firm Kapitall, Inc. was born in 2008. Based in New York, Kapitall now has 15 full-time employees providing a unique online investing platform and brokerage.

Kapitall has used Google Analytics Certified Partner Empirical Path since 2011 for analytics services on its JavaScript website. The complex implementation required custom JavaScript to allow for Google Analytics tracking within the trading interface as well as on landing pages. Empirical Path implemented Google Analytics tracking directly within the Kapitall interface so that decision makers could understand pivotal actions, such as how often brokerage accounts were being funded or where in the sign-up process potential investors were dropping out.

Challenge: Refining the landing page for maximum response 

Kapitall wanted to do more than simply capture data however; they also wanted to test the content of their landing page and then optimize it by targeting visitors with messages and options that would lead to conversions. Why was creating a truly effective landing page seen to be so critical? Kapitall’s gaming-style interface enlists traders to sign up for brokerage accounts and use the site to trade stocks or create practice portfolios. Every incremental sign-up is key to the company’s success.

Approach: Split testing to identify a winning landing page 

Kapitall understood that there was little point in making one-off ad hoc responses to analytics insights, or doing before-and-after comparisons that would inevitably be confounded by differences in the before and after audiences. Empirical Path recommended taking their analytics efforts to the next level with a closed-loop solution to eliminate complications and identify the best page version. 

The team proposed automated experiments to compare different versions of the landing page to see which performed best among a random sample of visitors. To accomplish this, Empirical Path first set Google Analytics’ Event Tracking and Custom Variables on brokerage accounts to distinguish current customers from traders. The team then designed Content Experiments in Google Analytics to understand which version of the landing page drove the greatest number of sign-ups.

Results: A new landing page with proven success

The outcomes from the test were illuminating, clearly identifying that the Angry Birds landing page was most effective. The winning version showed a dramatic increase in sign-ups of 44 percent and a 98 percent probability that this version would continue to beat the original. “Kapitall was impressed by how quickly Content Experiments was able to zero in on the Angry Birds version,” says Jim Snyder, principal at Empirical Path Consulting. “Having the ability  to quickly surface the best performing version directly resulted in attracting more investors at a faster rate, and that was a huge value-add to Kapitall.” Thanks to the split testing approach, Kapitall possesses valuable insights into the perfect blend of messaging and creative elements to optimize the page. With the strongest version now implemented, Kapitall is able to realize the true power of its online real estate. 

View the entire case study as a PDF here.

Posted by the Google Analytics Team

10 Google Analytics Resolutions for 2013

The following is a guest post from Michael Loban, CMO of InfoTrust a Google Analytics Certified Partner and Google Analytics Premium Reseller based in Cincinnati, OH.

New Year’s is the ideal time for making resolutions (that we keep until the second week of January). To avoid this cliché, I decided to actually wait until the second week of January to put together my resolutions/ideas/tactics for taking Google Analytics in 2013 to the next level.
1. Address your data phobia. Maybe it is a little bit extreme to say that a lot of digital marketers have an extreme fear of web analytics data, but it is safe to assume that data is what often causes migraines. Staring at pie charts, graphs and percentages until you know what you are looking for is the wrong way to start. The remedy for data phobia is simple – ignore the data you do not need to make a marketing decision. And always remember to align your Google Analytics configuration with your business goals.
2. Assign a monetary value to your goals even if you do not sell anything on your website. Each submitted form, played video, downloaded PDF is worth something. Otherwise, why did you put it on a site? It is not enough to say that you need to decrease your bounce rate by 5%. Equate the decrease in your bounce rate by 5% to the amount of money that you can make when those visitors submit completed “contact us” forms or other micro conversions. For example, work with the email marketing team to determine the value of each new email subscriber. If you get more people to join your email list then you will be able to sell more products via email marketing.

3. Not all marketing strategies are created equal. In order to turn a prospect into a customer you might have to engage in remarketing, email marketing and social media marketing. Use attribution modeling inside Google Analytics to examine how each marketing tactic contributes to a sale/conversion. Here is a blog post from the Google Analytics team on how to get started with attribution modeling. In 2012, Attribution Modeling was only available for Google Analytics Premium customers; in 2013 it will be available across all Google Analytics.

4. For some reason, social media measurement is something companies are still unsure about. It is difficult and complex, but you have to start somewhere. Why not start with Google Analytics Social Reports? This will help you track visitors that social media channels brought to your website, measure the value of those channels by tracking conversions and examine how your content is being shared across social networks. It feels good to say that last month, 10 people from Facebook who came to your website became your customers. Learn more about Social Reports
5. Tools are great, but great analysts are awesome. The true value of analytics is fully unlocked when you get to work on your data and turn it into something actionable. Make sure that you have a team (even if it is a team of 1) that knows how to analyze data to help you reach your marketing goals. 
6. If you begin to analyze your data, and realize that you do not have enough context to make a decision, get more data. Now, you can do a cost data import and Google Analytics will display how non-Google paid search campaigns perform and compare to your other marketing campaigns. Here is a how-to article from Google Analytics on Measuring Performance of Paid Campaigns.  
7. While we are on the subject of trying new things, Remarketing is something that I have promised myself to do more of. Remarketing is now available right inside Google Analytics. Here is a PDF document and a Webinar about Remarketing with Google Analytics. 

8. Mobile optimization is the most exciting digital opportunity for marketers in the coming year, according to new Econsultancy report. Since this is the case, mobile analytics will become more important than ever. Segmenting and understanding your mobile visitors will help you create a winning mobile experience that will lead to conversions and sales. In October, Google Analytics announced a public beta launch for mobile app analytics.

9. Begin measuring your analytics ROI. Time that you spend on collecting, reporting and analyzing data is not free – there is an opportunity cost. In order to prove the value of analytics inside your organization, begin measuring your Return on Analytics. When you accurately collect data, and properly analyze it, you are able to make accurate marketing decisions. Measure the impact of your analytics.

10. ACTION! This is a common phrase on any movie set. This should become a common phrase for everyone who uses Google Analytics. Turn your data into actionable marketing reports and smart dashboards that will help with the analysis. When you see true data analysis, you will want to scream ACTION! This means that the data and data analysis are so clear and crisp that you know exactly what needs to be done to reach your marketing objectives. Don’t settle for anything less. DATA, ANALYSIS, ACTION!
Happy New Year!

Extract Insights Across Datasets with SumAll

Businesses collect and rely on data that exists in silos across the web - from site analytics to inventory numbers, social media to sales data, there’s more important data available today than most are able to aggregate and analyze themselves.

SumAll is a connected data platform that enables business operators from companies of all sizes to visualize their mission-critical data through one centralized location.  Users of SumAll can extract insights across datasets by combining and analyzing the metrics that matter most to them.  “Put simply, our vision is to democratize information by making it beautiful, affordable and accessible to all.  In doing so, the visibility and insights that SumAll brings enables business operators to turn data into dollars,” says Catherine Gluckstein, President of SumAll.

One of SumAll’s customers was having a very difficult time making sense of his eCommerce, Google Analytics and social media data.  He knew there was a story to be told about how each was influencing the other, but being a small business owner, he lacked the resources to dive too far into them himself.  He decided to give SumAll a try and within a few minutes and even fewer clicks, was able to integrate all of his key data and view it in one uniform dashboard without having to work with his developers.

For the first time, he was able to see what was happening across his business and understand the relationship between his social media posts, web traffic and transactions.  This made him more comfortable continuing to invest his limited resources in social media because, for the first time, he could see that it was working.

SumAll integrates with all major components of the eCommerce ecosystem including payment processors, social platforms, shopping carts, online marketplaces and, of course, Google Analytics.  “It only took us about 6 weeks to complete our integration with Google Analytics, from concept to go live,” according to Catherine.  “After our customer completes the authentication and authorization process, we ingest their data into SumAll and normalize it to make it available to all SumAll applications across web, mobile and email.”

SumAll is free to try and is incredibly intuitive and straightforward to set-up.  Sign-Up today to break down the silos around your data and empower your business’ data-driven decisions today.

Posted by John Milinovich

John is a Developer Program Manager working to build the ecosystem around the Google Analytics APIs. In his spare time he likes to explore San Francisco and cheer loudly during UCLA games.

Segment Your GA Data by Demographics with UserReport

One of the most complex challenges that marketers face is managing the effective segmentation of their user base. Each of their target audiences has a different set of preferences and the process of creating campaigns based on intuition just isn't effective.

UserReport is an on-site survey tool that integrates with Google Analytics and tackles this problem head-on. The product providing the ability to use demographic information and traditional research data to optimize acquisition, content and conversions when working with websites.

UserReport helps its users collect information about their website’s visitors with a free online survey tool that measures usability and key demographics of the site’s users. The product integrates harmoniously with Google Analytics to turn the survey data they collect into actionable insights by merging it with the behavioral data already stored in Google Analytics. is one of the largest online book stores in Denmark and utilizes UserReport to identify their highest value demographic segments, create more targeted advertising material and to better understand which online advertising networks they should use for targeting specific groups of customers. By using UserReport, was able to uncover some surprising insights about their customers, including:
  • Men and women have about the same conversion rate, but the average basket size for women is almost $20 higher than it is for men. This made feel more comfortable in supporting a higher CPM/CPC to advertise to niche female audiences. 
  •’s older book buyers have a higher conversion rate than their younger counterparts but the younger buyers’ average basket size is about $40 more than the older users’. A closer investigation revealed that most of these young customers were students purchasing books for classes. This led to focus on targeting the university student market to bring more young buyers into the mix.
The findings made by through integrating their Google Analytics data with their UserReport survey data has enabled them to create online campaigns focused on bundling unique, focused products and target them at the right customers on the right channels to drive conversions.

UserReport is free to use and takes minutes to set up. Give it a try to see what you can uncover about your own online audience!

Posted by John Milinovich

John is a Developer Program Manager working to build the ecosystem around the Google Analytics APIs. In his spare time he likes to explore San Francisco and cheer loudly during UCLA games.

5 Ways To Ensure Google Analytics Is Running Perfectly

The following is a guest post contributed by Daniel Waisberg, Owner of Conversion Journey, a Google Analytics Certified Partner, and Founder of Online Behavior, a Marketing Measurement and Optimization portal.

Abraham Lincoln once said: "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my axe." The same is true for measurement: it is of extreme importance to spend the necessary time thinking through which data should be collected and whether the collection works as planned (once implemented). Very often, the implementation model and quality assurance do not receive the proper attention.

I recently wrote a short eBook named Google Analytics Implementation Best Practices that covers some of the most important configurations you should setup. But in this post I will go through some techniques that will help you to make sure your Google Analytics implementation is working as you expect.

1. Create a "Raw Data" profile

The best way to check configuration errors is to have a profile that does not use any filters, this way you will be able to quickly learn if you have a misplaced or problematic filter. Here is a quick guide explaining how to create profiles.
Once you create this profile, I do recommend you create the same goals you have in your main profile, this will make the data more relevant in case you need to use it. For example, if you find out that your main profile have a filter that affected your past data, you might want to use the Raw Data profile for a while. To copy and paste a goal between profiles you can use the Chrome extension GA Copy and Paste.

2. Use Real Time Reports

In October 2012 Real Time reports started supporting profile filters. This means that "the data you see in real time is profile specific and obeys the filtering you set up for that profile. And this means any user with access to a profile can view the associated real time reports." This enables many interesting analysis opportunities like seeing real traffic for only small pre-defined segments.

In order to use Real Time to check your Google Analytics implementation, you should first create a new profile (see link above). Then, add a filter that includes the IP address of your company; learn how to do it in this help article, but make sure to change the filter from "exclude" to "include". Now you will be able to look at the Real Time reports of this profile and see what you are doing in real time, which makes code checks much easier and faster.

3. Keep Track Of Configuration Changes

One of the common configuration problems is a lack of communication, especially for large companies. From a few people to a few dozen people will have Admin access to Google Analytics, which means they can change the settings of any profile. This can lead to unwanted or misunderstood changes in the account.
By "changes" I mean goal refinements, filter improvements, new features, and so forth. Every change may impact data in several ways, and for this reason it is essential to have a system in place to keep track of code and profile changes. In order to facilitate/centralize the collection and sharing of the changes made to a Google Analytics account, I propose two different methods: using a Google Docs form & taking advantage of the Annotations feature. Please note that each company should find the optimal mix between these methods.
Using a Google Docs Form
The big advantage of Google Docs is that it can be shared with as many people as needed and everyone has access to the most updated version of the document. I recommend creating a Google Form (learn how) that will output its data into a spreadsheet. The form should be created so that all interested parties can be aware of all changes. These will then be aggregated for historical knowledge that can be used by the whole team (and future teams members). See one sample form that can be used by Analytics teams in this article.
Google Analytics Annotations
This feature allows website managers, marketers and developers to provide context directly from inside the graphs on the interface, allowing for richer analyses. Here are some important occasions when you should use this feature:
  • Offline marketing campaigns (e.g. radio, TV, billboards.)
  • Major changes to the website (e.g. design, structure, content.)
  • Changes to tracking (e.g. changing the tracking code, adding events.)
  • Changes to goals or filters.
While annotations can (and should) be used for technical changes in the website, it is important to keep them at a high level. You shouldn't add detailed information about your changes or annotate relatively minor changes; otherwise the annotations will become too crowded to convey meaningful information to readers.

4. Know What Your Site Sends To Google Analytics

The Google Analytics team built a Chrome extension that is intended to help you debug your implementation. Here is what you will be able to do using the extension and a screenshot of how you will see the data:
This extension loads the debug version of the Google Analytics Javascript for all sites you browse using Google Chrome. It prints useful information to the Javascript console. These messages include error messages and warnings which can tell you when your analytics tracking code is set up incorrectly. In addition, it provides a detailed breakdown of each tracking beacon sent to Google Analytics.

Important tip: this extension can also be used for competitive analysis. If you use it while browsing your competitors' websites you will learn how they are tracking their customers.

5. [E-commerce sites] Compare Google Analytics to Database

The most important feature on Google Analytics for Ecommerce websites is the Ecommerce Tracking. It allows the marketer and website owner to understand what and who is driving online sales. But it is essential that the numbers on Google Analytics approximately match the database of the company, otherwise they won't be trusted.
In order to make sure the numbers match, ask from your Database administrator to retrieve the daily Ecommerce revenue for a month, and extract the same information from Google Analytics. Plot the numbers on your preferred spreadsheet tool and check if the numbers and the trends match. If they do not match, here is a quick list of things to check:
  • When 2 or more of the same item are purchased, does Google Analytics trigger _addItem more than once? (it should)
  • How does Google Analytics record transactions that use promotional coupons and how the database reports it?
  • Be careful with apostrophes! If you use apostrophes in your product names you should be careful not to pass them to Google Analytics on the _addItem, they can break your code.
Closing Thoughts
As we saw above, there are several tools that can help you understand why the data you are getting might not be what you expected. But if you still can't find a solution to your issue, try asking a question at the User Forum. I also highly recommend you read this code website article: Troubleshooting the Tracking Code.
Happy analyzing!
Posted by Daniel Waisberg 

Getting The Most Out Of Google Analytics For Lead Generation

The following is a guest post from Jeff Sauer, Vice President at Three Deep Marketing, a Google Analytics Certified Partner. Jeff recently started a website dedicated to advancing digital marketing knowledge called Jeffalytics

Lead generators know that the combination of Google AdWords + Google Analytics is a winning combination for generating an inflow of high quality leads. They are like peanut butter and jelly, Forrest Gump and Jennay, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. 
What many users may not realize is that there are many features that they can unlock in Google Analytics to make their lead generation campaigns perform better while becoming more transparent and accountable. What follows is a series of tips, trips and hacks that you can use to make your lead generation campaigns work even better. I have broken this down into three sections: ConfigurationIntegration, Analysis.

Configuring Analytics for Lead Generation Websites

Set Up Goals in Google Analytics
Yes, this is a very elementary step in your Google Analytics evolution. You surely configured goals on your site years ago, right? Well, let's make sure you didn't miss anything: 
  1. Navigate to the URL of your 'thank you' page shown after a lead is generated. Make note of the URL of this page.
  2. Make your best guess as to the value of each lead that you generate (note: you can have multiple lead values, and multiple goals).
  3. Configure your goals in Google Analytics, assigning the proper goal value for each lead you generate.
  4. Unlock a new world of reports in Google Analytics and see the real value of your lead generation efforts.

Bonus tip: There's absolutely nothing wrong with measuring micro conversions on your lead generation site. Have a PDF that someone can download freely? Set a goal and assign it a modest value (even if it's $5, the impact can be huge). Have a 2 minute video? Give it a value as well, even if it's just a dollar or two. Both PDF downloads and video plays can be tracked using GA event tracking - and you can configure goals around events.  
Track Visitors Across Domains
Many lead generation sites use third party forms and services to capture leads, whether as part of an affiliate program or a third party CRM site. While this acts as an excellent conduit to lead delivery, it can often result in missing data in Google Analytics reports. Depending on the services used, there is still a way to retain this data in Google Analytics by tracking your visitors across domains. Here's how this is done: 
  1. On your primary website, add the _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'PRIMARY DOMAIN']); and _gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]); methods.
  2. When linking to your external domain, add an onclick element as follows: onclick="_gaq.push(['_link', 'THE LINK']); where THE LINK is your external page
  3. Add the GA Tracking Code to your third party hosted page, being sure to use the _gaq.push(['_setDomainName', 'PRIMARY DOMAIN']); and _gaq.push(['_setAllowLinker', true]); methods on this page as well. It is important to make sure you are setting your primary domain here as well. 
  4. Configure your goals to match the thank you page URL on the third party domain (or on your own site if you can redirect visitors back to your domain)
By linking visits across domains, your reports will accurately attribute visitors and goals to their proper source and medium instead of treating them as direct visitors.  
Integrate with Google AdWords Both Ways
Most of us know to share data between AdWords and Analytics and enable the Google AdWords report in Analytics, but many times this is not done properly. In addition, not enough marketers seem to take advantage of Google Analytics' ability to push conversion data back into AdWords. You really have nothing to lose when you integrate these two Google products both ways, but you have many insights to gain. Start off by making sure you configure these integrations properly: 
  1. Share Google AdWords data with Google Analytics. This may seem easy, but is often incomplete when implemented. Make sure that you 1) Turn on Auto Tagging in AdWords, 2) Enable Data Sharing and 3) Apply Cost Data into Google Analytics
  2. Configure your goals in Google Analytics as outlined above
  3. As soon as data starts to collect for these goals, you will see the option in AdWords to import your goals from Google Analytics
  4. Enjoy consistent conversion data between both products and ensure that leads are being properly attributed
Using your goals in Google Analytics for your Google AdWords campaigns can come in handy when you don't have the ability to add a traditional JavaScript based conversion code onto your thank you page. In addition, importing goals from Google Analytics allows you to track some of the advanced conversions mentioned below in Google AdWords. The result? Better analysis capabilities, more advanced conversion rate optimization strategy and more credit for the leads you generate! 

Integrating Analytics into Lead Generation Efforts

Phone Call Tracking
One thing that marketers may not realize is that for many industries, the majority of leads will come in through the phone instead of through a web form. Google AdWords understands this and now offers a robust system for tracking phone leads generated by AdWords. But how do you properly track and attribute phone calls generated from your site to a particular traffic source? You integrate Google Analytics with your call tracking provider.

This sounds complicated, but it really is not too bad. In fact, many phone tracking vendors offer a Google Analytics integration option as part of their service. For example, this works well with products like Marchex Voicestar and Mongoose Metrics among others.  
Here are the basics of how this process works: 
  1. Sign up with a phone call tracking service, create tracking numbers and appropriate campaigns
  2. Place tracking phone numbers on your website
  3. Specify a post-back URL to be visited when a successful phone call occurs
  4. Your phone tracking system will send a visit to the post back URL, complete with all Google Analytics cookie values for the visitor who saw that exact tracking number on your lead generation site

Please note that if you drive a lot of traffic to your website, it can take a lot of phone numbers and extensions to fully attribute phone calls to users. As such, you may want to start implementing this method for a small segment of your traffic and then building up to all visitors when this data proves useful. 

Also note that even if you don't link calls back to Google Analytics, phone call tracking is still an imperative part of any lead generation campaign, because it's common for 30-70% of the leads you generate to come from the phone in certain industries. 
Offline Marketing
Believe it or not, in many industries leads are still generated offline. Examples include trade shows, neighborhood canvassing (going door to door promoting a product or service), print and television advertising. These are activities that companies have been doing for years, but the problem that they run into when using these mediums to drive traffic to their website is that they don't register the traffic source properly in Google Analytics. The result: many direct visitors without proper attribution. 

How do we fix this? By following this simple process: 
  1. Create a vanity URL that is unique to your campaign (can be a sub folder or new domain)
  2. Create a tracking URL for your website using the Google Analytics URL Builder 
  3. 301 redirect your vanity URL to the tracking URL (this preserves your campaign attributes)
  4. Learn about how each traffic source performed by viewing your favorite reports in Google Analytics and paying attention to the source/medium/campaign 
Now you can put your offline and online leads on a level playing field and compare the effectiveness of both side by side. 
CRM Integration
For companies that are generating several leads a day, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system becomes imperative for keeping up with the leads coming in the door. Unfortunately, most CRM implementations are not integrated fully with the website and useful data is not shared between the two systems. This can create friction between sales and marketing, while making it nearly impossible to close the loop on what lead generation efforts are working the best.

Fortunately, people smarter than myself have found a way to solve this problem, and this solution for CRM integration by Justin Cutroni has become my gold standard for how to pull information out of Google Analytics cookies and attach to the lead record you enter into your CRM system. 

While Justin's post goes into great detail, the basic premise is this: 
  1. A visitor comes to your website and has source/medium/campaign/keyword information assigned to them in their Google Analytics cookie
  2. This information is accessible to your website by pulling cookie values out of Google Analytics using JavaScript
  3. Once this information is pulled out, you enter the values into hidden form fields underneath where your lead enters their contact information
  4. The vital information (source/medium/campaign/keyword term) is passed into your CRM system alongside the lead record
  5. Your sales team can now have deeper understanding of what type of traffic generates the best leads, all the way down to a keyword level
  6. You can use this information to refine your marketing efforts and campaigns to focus on your top performers
Sharing information between your website and your CRM system is an imperative step for making your marketing data actionable to the rest of the business. Without integrating, decisions are made based on faith and HIPPOs, instead of actionable data. As a note, with the advent of Universal Analytics this is likely to get even easier.  

Analyze the Results and Make Your Site Even Better

How you analyze your site is a very personal thing, and your mileage may vary, so there isn't a magic bullet to ongoing success with your lead generation programs.

With that said, there are several reports that can be extremely useful in Google Analytics for lead generation campaigns. I would start by paying attention to the following: 
  • Use an advanced segment of paid search traffic and then navigate to the Conversions > Goals report. Compare the goal values you created recently with a similar time period in the past. Are your results improving? 
  • Navigate to the Multi Channel Funnels report and either use standard or custom channels. What is the most common first click channel? Are you giving it enough credit in your reporting?
  • Compare direct traffic before and after implementing the integrations suggested above. Do you start to see more activity with proper attribution? Are you more confident analyzing with less of a grey area?
  • Have you been receiving all of the credit you deserve for leads you generate over the phone?
  • When a salesperson tells you that the leads you generate "suck" are you able to match their lead close rate to the source/medium/keyword that generated the lead?
  • Instead of presenting raw lead numbers in a vacuum are you starting to factor in appointments issued, quotes given and sales made? Can you calculate the true cost of sale from keyword to purchase?
When configured properly, you can use Google Analytics and residual data from GA to perform some in depth closed loop analysis on how your lead generation campaigns are performing. Savvy lead generation experts have figured out how to deliver maximum value to their clients and constituents using the capabilities built into Google Analytics. Now it's your turn. 
There you have it, the three pillars to getting the most out of Google Analytics for your lead generation website. Have any cool integrations yourself? Let's talk in the comments below.
Jeff Sauer