Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Must Read Book – Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics – Second Edition

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

This post is long overdue. I wanted to do a review of Brian Clifton’s book Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics (second edition) last month when it came out. For those of us in higher education, this book is essential reading. Period.

When it comes to web analytics and, specifically Google Analytics, Brian Clifton is at the top. The book is the second edition, but it is so much more than just an update of the first book – it’s almost a complete re-write. So much has happened since the first book came out. You can read all about it over on Brian’s blog.

Full disclosure: I was lucky enough to read the book before it was published and offer feedback and comments. I’ve never done that before, but what an excellent learning experience!

So, let’s get down to the book. The name of it says “advanced” but you don’t need to be an advanced user of Google Analytics to get a lot out of it. It takes you from the very basics of what web analytics is, how to get started with both web analytics and Google Analytics all the way to advanced topics and techniques.
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Help! We have major issues with our analytics!

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

On Monday, Joshua Ellis (a co-worker and Google Analytics guru — and someone I’m hoping to get to guest blog here soon!) and I presented at the Penn State Web Conference. Our presentation was called Actionable Web Anaytics for Higher Education.

As attendees started asking question during and after the session, a theme developed – a theme that we are all familar with and is consistently brought up (especially in higher education).

Common Theme - I/we have issues with our analytics set up/implementation/limitations – what do we do? Help!
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Beyond the Click-through

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Whether you run an admissions, alumni, athletics, or any other university Web site, chances are you’ve run *some* type of marketing campaign.

The medium doesn’t matter – emails, newspaper ads, banner ads, search engine paid keywords, TV ads, the list goes on and on.

Let’s take email, for example. Do you send emails to students, applicants, or prospects? Alumni? Faculty? Staff? Do your emails have links back to your Web site? It could be reminders to register for classes, pay a bill, buy football tickets, whatever. If there is a link back to your Web site, that is an email that can be tracked and later, using the data, optimized (improved!).

Ok, so you’ve created a fantastic email (or series of emails) and are ready to send it (them) out.
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Google Changes Mean Major Implications for Analytics Tools

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Google has started testing using Ajax to power their search. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is for those who care about web analytics. Why? It completely breaks the way web analytics tools tracks keywords from Google.

How?

If someone searched for this blog on Google in the past, the search string would look like this:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=trending+upward&btnG=Search

Today, it looks like this:

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=trending+upward&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=trending+upward&fp=3WTwdsC3GPc

Notice the difference? The second one uses a hashtag (#) instead of the more familiar “search?.” The problem lies in the fact that nothing after the hashtag is passed through to the analytics tool, so your referrals look like they’re from http://www.google.com instead of the actual search string. This also means that there are no search keywords associated with it. Not good. How do we know how users are searching on Google to find us?

From what I’ve read, this is just a test, but who knows how long it will go on?

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