Firing a Google Analytics Virtual Pageview with Google Tag Manager is easy, and far more powerful than ever before.
When our clients or training attendees upgrade from classic Google Analytics to Universal Analytics implemented through Google Tag Manager, we often get questions about how to transition these Virtual Pageviews from inline code to being implemented through GTM.
There are a number of different ways you can implement Virtual Pageviews, and hopefully this will provide one solution to help ease the transition to a GTM implementation of Google Analytics.
On July 30th, 2014, Google Analytics announced a new feature to automatically exclude bots and spiders from your data. In the view level of the admin area, you now have the option to check a box labeled “Exclude traffic from known bots and spiders”.
Most of the posts I’ve read on the topic are simply mirroring the announcement, and not really talking about why you want to check the box. Maybe a more interesting question would be why would you NOT want to? Still, for most people you’re going to want to ultimately check this box. I’ll tell you why, but also how to test it beforehand. (more…)
Did you ever want micro-level geographic information inside Google Analytics? What if you really need “street level” knowledge about your users; like where are they, what neighborhood are they in? Often, when we talk and write about Google Analytics we’re thinking about the big guys. National or even International traffic, filtering by country, comparing one region to another. We’re thinking macro, not micro.
I wrote previously comparing DMA areas to gain insight, but that’s really only helpful if you have a true national or bigger presence. What if you’re just a local Seattle business, and don’t really have much call for looking at traffic outside the Seattle-Tacoma metro area?
Well, first thing you should do is think about taking our Seattle Google Analytics, AdWords, and Tag Manager Training (shameless plug). Second, read on…
Seattle is actually ahead of the game when it comes to data, which is the real reason I’m using them as an example. The city has a Chief Technology Officer, and data.seattle.gov was started in 2010 as a central hub for all local Seattle data. In fact, a number of businesses claimed that the use of this local data helped them with their businesses.
How so? Well, if you’re a local business then the traffic from, and information about, the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle might be more important to you than Downtown or Riverview.
But how can you use Google Analytics to help you on this sort of granular level? Also what if you DO care about national level data, but you care about it on a very granular local level as well, maybe looking for interest in your brand to help place billboards, or expand your franchising? The truth is that you can’t, at least not right out of the box. But with a few very easy additions, you can start getting some great local data that can let you make street level decisions about your business in Google Analytics. (more…)
Want to segment your users by whether they live in a cool neighborhood in GA? We’ve got an API for that.
How Much Does Scrap Metal Cost?
About a year ago we were working with a client who wanted to bring some very specific data into their Google Analytics account. They wanted to compare their site traffic with the current price of scrap metal, by adding it as a Custom Variable on the visit. While scrap metal prices aren’t exactly something that would help many other clients, we started thinking more about different kinds of ways we could pull other information from APIs around the web, into Google Analytics, in ways that would increase our insight. (more…)
Let’s Go Pens!
By setting up some simple Macros, Rules and Tags in Google Tag Manager you can track anything you want on your site as an Event or Virtual Pageview by simply adding Custom Data Attributes to the on-page HTML elements, rather than adding additional Google Analytics tracking code to your website. This has several benefits:
- You keep all your tracking code in a single location, Google Tag Manager. Rather than have tracking code all over various pages and templates, now all your actual tracking is in one location.
- Your analytics become fuller with more insight. No other method lets you as easily track external links, downloads, or events on your site. Documents which before were untracked, now can be quickly tracked with various specific dimensions for much greater insight.
- Your site tracking becomes less prone to technical errors. Rather than 100 lines of tracking code all over the place, or even on specific links, now your actual tracking code is in one place and less likely to do something horrible like break your entire visitor session.
- You can easily add additional tracking in the future. By following the rules below you can almost immediately and easily track anything on your website that is clicked.
We write about Universal Analytics all the time in this blog. In fact we’ve been talking about it since October 2012, which seems like an eternity ago. That’s when Google Analytics first announced that it existed. Now, close to a year and a half later, that twinkle in the eyes of several dashingly handsome Google Analytics engineers, has become a full, non-beta, reality. April 2nd, waiting to be sure to be clear of the horrendous world that is announcing things on April 1st, Google announced that Universal Analytics was officially, truly, no holds barred, out of beta.
“We don’t do ecommerce, we just have a lead generation form.”
Google Analytics last fall shot some video talking about Universal Analytics that featured Dan Wilkerson and myself here at LunaMetrics. At one part of the video I talk briefly about Georges Seurat’s painting ‘Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’.
“Oh, it’s alive…. IT’S ALIVE! IT’S ALIVE!…IT’S ALIVE!”
-Henry Frankenstein, Frankenstein (1931)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… A man walks into a marketing department and says “Our website is so old! It’s like it was made in the 1990’s! Let’s update the design, and make it responsive! Mobile users are the future! Our competitors all have flashier newer websites, we’re getting left behind! We can make a new website! A better website!” Then they start cackling really evil like, and get twitchy eyed.
The department all nods in agreement, ignoring the obvious creepiness of the guy, because they’ve read stories about mobile users and those “kids today” with their newfangled “smart phones”. So they design a gorgeous new site, sleek, great uses of whitespace, a real pro job. Responsive too! Loads of new functionality. Looks great on their phones, their pads, their pods, their droids, and of course their laptops. So they launch it to great fanfare!
And their conversion gets cut in half. (more…)
Here’s a trick to capture additional information from transactions using Google Tag Manager. Let’s say you have several product categories on your site, and you want to easily see how different combinations sell on the site.
1: Create a Custom Dimension named “Transaction Categories”
Image courtesy of Ovation Images, a Pittsburgh Wedding Photographer who uses Google Analytics.
According to the U.S. Census about 3/4 of all businesses in the country have no payroll. Most of those are self-employed people operating unincorporated businesses. 61% of the firms that DO have payroll have 4 or fewer employees. 79% have 9 employees or fewer.
When you operate a small business with only a handful of employees, everyone is busy (hopefully). As the owner you end up wearing a million hats, and one of them usually is your marketing strategy, or lack thereof. But the vast majority of the time, your experience is in the product or service you are selling, and that is probably not websites, and almost certainly isn’t Google Analytics. You simply don’t have the time to spend on your digital analytics, much less the knowledge of what to do, and you just don’t make enough money to hire a company like LunaMetrics to help you out. You’re stuck. (more…)