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2015 Design Predictions TL;DR

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Each year it seems every website comes out with their own list of design trends they expect to see in the coming year. 75% of the articles contain the same bullet points, then the author throws in several opinions that will hopefully spark someone’s need to share the article.

Most articles tend to be checklist articles of elements that designers will be adding to websites this year. Where is the objective strategy articles or honest trends?

Instead, I wanted to distill this trend-mash and use those bullet list items to support some actual trends in 2015. After reading listicles by Designmondo, The Next Web, Hubspot, Site Point, and Creative Bloq I came to the conclusion that the only “trend” is to remove the flash (both technically and figuratively) and focus on the message. Read More…

Site Search in Google Analytics – With or Without Query Parameters

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Google Analytics comes with a lot of features “out-of-the-box”, but one of the reports that you will need to configure is the site search report. If you haven’t used this feature yet and you have a search box on your site, keep reading!

The site search reports provide data on what type of content people are looking for on your site. Having site search data is like reading the minds of a subset of your audience. You can easily see what they’re looking for, the words and terminology they are using and how quickly they found what they were looking for (or if they did at all).

For most websites, you can set up the site search reports entirely within Google Analytics, without needing to modify anything on your website. Read More…

5 Reasons Your Clients Need The Google Analytics App

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Google Analytics Logo for Mobile AppAfter 5 long happy years with my iPhone 4, I finally upgraded to an iPhone 6 last month. Getting my old phone to send a text message was hard enough, so I didn’t even bother to download the Google Analytics (GA) app when it was released in 2014.

Well, it’s a new year with a new device and I’ve finally downloaded the mind-blowing GA app.

The mobile app has only had 1.3 million lifetime downloads at the time of writing, despite the fact that there are over 10 million websites using Google Analytics. To put that into perspective, Candy Crush Saga has 97 million downloads, according to xyo.net.

I’m out to roundup all the stragglers who haven’t downloaded the free app yet, and to get their clients using it too! Read More…

4 Key Mobile AdWords Strategies for 2015

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It seems that marketers ignored mobile users for the longest time but are finally rethinking this strategy. Today’s devices are no less than tiny laptops offering incredible specs, brilliant displays and pretty awesome features.

Plus, data about mobile users tells us they research, they look for local stores, and they buy on their devices. How could marketers ignore this?

Some still question why we would want to go after this traffic and point to Google Analytics data that shows mobile users spend less time on our sites, have a higher bounce rate, and are often less engaged.

The valuable part of mobile traffic is how users are using it. Mobile users look for local businesses with an intent to visit, have a higher local purchase intent, and also do valuable product & service research that will lead to desktop conversions later on.

In fact, Radio Shack pushed mobile users to a Store Locator tool through their Adwords ads and measured 40-60% of those clickers actually visiting a store.

This means advertisers have to use specific targeting and campaign intent when chasing mobile users. Fortunately, it’s very easy to target mobile users in Google AdWords. Let’s look at some different models that will make the best use of mobile behaviors: Read More…

Extending the Functionality of Google Tag Manager Variables

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When you create a Custom JavaScript Variable, Google Tag Manager forces you to use an interesting pattern:


    function() {
      return ... // return something
    }
  

In your Variable, you can add whatever JavaScript you wish, but you must return something. Typically this is a string or number, or sometimes an array or object.

However, Custom JS Variables can return anything, even functions, and you can pass arguments into those functions to get different results. Read More…

Using the New Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics

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The cohort was the basic tactical unit of Roman Legions following the reforms of Gaius Marius in 107 BC. Initially a Roman legion consisted of ten cohorts, each consisting of 480 men. Today we use the term cohort to distinguish between groups of consumers to help us make them spend more money on things they probably don’t need.

Progress? I guess I’d rather live in a world where we try and get people to spend more money on shoes, than die violently by taking a spear to my chest while fighting Carthaginians; but it’s close.

And now Google Analytics has a fancy new Cohort Analysis Report that lets us analyze the death rates from the Second Punic War… Er… no… it helps us analyze the consumer/shoe thing. Read More…

Stay On Schedule with AdWords Management Calendar

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Optimizing and managing an AdWords account takes a lot of time. There are a lot of moving pieces in the AdWords puzzle and getting them to work together as a well-oiled machine takes regular maintenance.

In fact, one of the most common questions we get in a LunaMetrics AdWords training is, “how often should I perform certain tasks in my account?” Which is always quickly followed with, “what should those tasks be?”

Don’t fret! We’re going to help you prioritize your day-to-day management and get you on the right track fast by breaking down the bare necessities and providing you with an AdWords management calendar. Read More…

How to Roll-Up your Data in Google Analytics

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One of the best Google Analytics updates last year (way back in 2014) was the Roll-up Reporting feature. Roll-up reporting may sound like it’s only about taking all of your sites and adding the metrics, but it should completely change the way you think of enterprise reporting in Google Analytics.

The main features of these properties include executive dashboards for all sites and apps, de-duplicating users, and only counting as 1/2 of a hit. Roll-up reports and features are currently exclusive to Google Analytics Premium properties, however there’s a way to mimic the aggregate metrics in the standard version, which I’ll mention later in this post.

But before we get into the excitement of Roll-up properties, it’s useful to take a step back. In fact, we’re going to take a big step back- before signing into Google Analytics and even before installing the tracking code. Read More…

AdWords Training: Are Online or Offline Courses Better?

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Let’s start by clarifying that neither option is better than the other. It’s all about which is better for you and your learning style. I am simply here to help you make that decision by outlining the advantages of each.

Admittedly, I will confess my personal preference early and often so you know where I stand, as both an AdWords trainer and attendee, but you may disagree. For some, note-taking in a bath robe trumps face-to-face Q&A. I totally understand that, especially if you have one of those plush terry cloth robes that feels like being hugged by a cloud on a sunny day.

Both online AdWords training and offline courses have clear advantages. Let’s discover which ones are best for you. Read More…

Visualizing Organic Rankings With Google Maps Engine

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Google Maps Engine is a great way to visualize spreadsheet data. If you have an idea and can link it to some location data, the engine will map it.

Recently Google has been retooling this product to cater more toward small businesses. Companies like Pure Fix Cycles are using Google Maps Engine to visualize distribution locations and which helps their customer service direct customers to the store nearest them with the products they’re seeking,

I’ve used it to overlay organic search rankings over top of the service areas my client deems most valuable. What I ended up with is a color coded map which shows where rankings do not match geographical market value.

This implementation accomplished three things. First, it allowed me to see where my client operates, something that can be hard to visualize when you’re not from their area. Second, it gave me direction as to where we should be focusing our efforts, allowing me to budget our time for the coming months. Third, the additional Google Analytics data included in the map allows for interactive analysis of problem areas.

Here is the setup. Read More…