The big buzz last Tuesday in the Analytics world was Google Analytics announcing a bunch of powerful new features.
Now that several of them are live, I thought it was time to start looking at them in depth. The one that’s received the greatest buzz is the expansion of Google Goals, which was nicely summarized by Joseph Cutroni of Epikone.
Google has released their own take, but I wanted to write about how this changes how SMBs and B2B services companies should change the way they’re tracking things in Google Analytics.
You already should have goals defined. If you’re in B2B, generally that means trying to monetize things like email newsletter signups or contact forms by calculating a value based on conversions… i.e. if you close 10% of leads through your website, and a typical sale is $5,000, that little form on your site is now worth $500.
Google’s new engagement metrics allow you to track things that indicate people are interested in your content, even if they don’t reach out to you during their visit. You can feel free to have fun here, because you can now have 20 goals per profile in Google Analytics: 5 goals per group, 4 groups per profile.
So for instance, we might recommend a small B2B site have its primary site profile be configured like this:
- Goal Set 1 – Conversion Metrics (sign up forms, contacts, etc)
- Goal Set 2 – More Conversion Metrics (ppc, special landing pages)
- Goal Set 3 – Progressive Time Based Goals (time on site above 1 minute, above 5 minutes, above 15 minutes, etc.)
- Goal Set 4 – Progressive Page View Goals (pages per visit above 2, above 5, above 10, etc.)
Adding the engagement metrics will almost guarantee that your sheer # of goals increases – cool! It’ll also allow you to get some interesting screens of “Visitors who completed goals” when you’re looking at more data.
Our recommendation is to NOT assign $$ value to engagement goals, because of the value inflation you’ll see (i.e. you don’t want to see $$ value accrue because someone left your website open in another tab).
It’s great to track more “goals” in general because you see a broader picture, but keep your ROI narrowly focused.
Focus on the Negative… Then Kill It
Of course, it’s sometimes better to know where we fail than where we succeed, so it’s useful to be able to define negative goals in the new Google Analytics. This will give nice segmented data on the people who bounce, close, scream, and howl when they see your site.
Create a new profile to track negative goals. That way, you’re not gumming up your POSITIVE goals with the not-so-good stuff. Once that new profile is created, you can set up goals like:
- Time on site less than 1 minute
- Page views less than 1
And then use the Advanced Segment “Visits with Conversions” to get the scoop on how people are leaving your site… so you can fix it!
Other Cool Stuff
Of course, this is just touching the surface. Google Analytics is an incredible powerful piece of software and we join thousands of others of analytics lovers in patting Google on the back for all the new features.
I’m especially excited about Analytics Intelligence and Custom Alerts and will post up here again as soon as those features are active and I’ve been able to play with them.