Make Friends & Influence People With Google Analytics

Posted in Talks by Sammy Payne

Nicola from Noisy Little Monkey dazzles us with her analytics awesomeness, teaching us how to make friends and influence people using Google Analytics.



Okay you thought… everybody up awake at the back. So you all thought you were going to hear about Pinterest. Pinterest, maybe kind of kittens and weddings and pictures of interior design and it'd be like really cool and image based. And I’m going talk to you about making friends and influencing people with analytics, great. So a bit of a shock to the system, a bit of a shock to my system too because I didn’t expect to do this.


At Noisy Little Monkey, I train people at using analytics, but this is not my natural environment, with having 100 odd pairs of eyes staring at me. So I will get my worms mixed up and it'll be quite funny, so stick with me, because I'm good at big ideas, and good at kind of talking to you about ideas, but somewhere the nuance of the words might get mixed up, and we can pull that together with questions at the end.
So, we're going to look at making friends and influencing people. And what I wanted to do first around analytics was to gauge the level of knowledge in the audience. So hands up those of you who have never heard of Google analytics, no idea what it is. Brilliant, that's good news, good news.
Right, so, who here thinks that you’ve Google analytics on their website - but probably never really looked at it? Oh, okay, that's probably about quarter of people. Good, well, by the end of this I really hope that you are convinced that you should be looking at it. So, which of you have got analytics, and run the odd report but, you know, you can work out visitors, but aren't really sure what else you can get to?
That's most of the people I speak to when I do training. Most people know that they've got it but don't feel like they're making the most of it. And I've got some tips and tricks to help you with that. And who in the room is an analytics guru? Hands up for gurus. Really good news, I've got stickers for the analytics gurus in the room and there aren't any so more stickers for me. But they are the professor traffics, they are the people who really know what they're doing. If you meet somebody who is awesome at analytics pick their brain because they know how it works and they know what you can do with it and you can do amazing things and I will convince you of that by the end.

So, why use google analytics? Well, it's free, and as Dan pointed out, Google doesn't give you anything for free. So it's not entirely free, it's free to use, and you will find that the information will guide you down a route which will probably mean that you spend more on Google, which is why it's so clever. But what it does, is it tracks visitors, so there's a piece of code that sits on your website and tracks visitors. It allows you to examine behaviour. So, it allows you to think about things like; are my AdWords a good value for money? Dan tells me that their good value for money and that they are converting. But, it gives you the chance to look at that and make some decisions about what works and what doesn't work. And it allows you to look at things like why has my E-commerce revenue crashed? And there are at least two clients in the room that I've worked with trying to track down through the data to work out why their revenue has gone downhill, and analytics really helps you to do that.

It helps you to look at things like are you wasting time on Twitter. I mean as the managing director of the business, I say, blooming social media all the time, does it make any difference? And my team can come back to me and say, yes, look at the analytics figures, it's clearly good value for money.

Those of you who spend lots of time lovingly crafting your content, what works, what doesn't work, analytics will tell you that. Also, you know, it tells you really dull things like do pictures of kittens cause more interactions than click-throughs? Apparently they do.

So analytics is really important to me because I like data. I used to work for an organization called the Higher Education Funding Council, and they fund universities. They spend 8 billion a year and it's worked about basically through tricky sums, it's a government organization so it's a lot of spinning of information. So I really like telling stories through data. But when I first started working with analytics it drove me utterly insane. I'd come home and from or John would come home when we were working in the old building, which was a cold, kind of dungeon-like place. And I had my head in my hands, because I would have spent maybe two hours chasing around this information, thinking at some point, it's going be useful. I could never make it make sense, and I like data. The trouble is, it's too much noise and it’s really noisy. There is lots of data there, but not much information. So what really I had to do is evolve my understanding of how it works. And I feel a bit guilty, actually, because I reckon really, I've spoken to you about three years ago about analytics. And, at that point, it was lots of data, and not much information. It's much better now, I understand it better now, It's much better. But what I've done, is basically I've given myself a way of understanding analytics, which has got a purpose, and simplifies it down into what is called a measurement framework.
A measurement framework gives you the information to make friends and to influence people and to influence budgets because it allows you to see what works and what doesn't work. Brilliant, it's brilliant. And it's absolutely a critical tool, to me, it's a critical tool. And I'm not alone in that, Tim you asked me about a universal analytics when we first came in, that's just come out of Beta testing and it's Google’s latest iteration of analytics which is designed to do what Dan talked about earlier, you know that quote, understandable quote about monetization of mobile.

The idea with universal analytics is you'll be able to track, across multiple devices and make decisions about mobile versus desktop. About a year ago, they changed the order in which analytics worked, so it starts to talk about acquisitions, behaviours, and outcomes, which is actually quite a neat way of looking at it. Although it did cause me quite a lot of problems trying to understand where everything was. There's just been some changes now from users to sessions, so they change it, they are constantly evolving the way that analytics works. And the gurus and the bloggers in these areas say that analytics will be completely transformed over the next 12 months, to give people even better data.

Already you're able to see information about the demographics and the interests of people who look at your website based on their browsing history. So if you don't have that enabled, that's a piece of code and it gives you amazing insight into who's looking at your website. One of the things that we have all done in the office is, there's a thing called the Google Analytics Academy. And what that is, it's a series of videos and question and answer multiple choices to take you from the very raw building blocks of how analytics works and build up your understanding of why the reports work as they do it's really good. If you analytics is part of your job, I absolutely recommend that you look at it, if e-commerce is part of your job, they're about to roll out the academy for e-commerce sites and that's going to be really good. Because they're changing the way that they are reporting on e-commerce.

So lots of things are happening and Google is putting money into it, because they are desperate to get over this adage. Half of the money I spent on digital marketing advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don't know which half and Google wants you to know which half, because it wants you to spend more on that half.
It's not for free.

So, where do we start? Measurement framework. The first thing I do when I sit down with a client to train them on analytics is we start to think about a measurement framework that goes from their business objectives, right through to what they actually need to measure. And these are the components; so the first things we look at are what's the business trying to achieve? And for many businesses that's their mission statement, surprisingly sometimes it isn't, there are things in the business plan which don't reflect the mission, but it's what the business is about, what does it exist to do. And then we look at tactics; so what are the actions taken to achieve those business objectives? And for many businesses, that's their marketing plan. I've spent a lot of time speaking to marketing teams and this is really where they start to say, well, this is my job.

Then we look at the websites, we don't start with the website and it's quite surprising, the number of people who have a website because everybody has a website. Well, that's, that's not a reason to have one. It should have a proper role that sits within the whole, kind of, marketing and business objective structure. And we talk in terms of goals which are both tangible and intangible. So a tangible goal are things like revenue, obviously, it's kickable but things like brand awareness should be a goal for your website and there are quite a lot of intangible goals when you start to pick apart, you begin to realize where your website fits and how some things are really important. We also talk about macro and micro goals. So a macro goal is really the big things that you want to achieve. And that's the obvious stuff like revenue and new business leads and all that kind of stuff. But there are lots of micro goals and they're all the things that nudge you or nudge your visitor into becoming a customer or to doing the macro goal. So a micro goal might be something like they download a white paper or they watch a video or they sign up to a newsletter it's all the little bits that nudge a potential customer towards becoming a real customer.

And you need to think about all of those goals as a whole, because that gives you so much more value from your website. If the only think you measure is contact forms, then there's really very little for you to play with and to experiment with. The more options you have, the more you can experiment with your website to make it better. And just process of doing this will improve your website, because it will allow you to see the gaps, and there's lots of ways in which you can nudge your customers, so what are the barriers to sale, what are the things that they know that they need to sell an idea to their boss, for example. There are lots of things, which when you stop to think about what are we really trying to achieve, that you can add to your website. It's a really critical step, and once you've got the goals, you can then look at KPI. So how do you then measure the goal?

And that's really where analytics fits in. We don't look at analytics until you've got a really good idea of why you're bothering to look at it in the first place. How you measure the goal, and then choosing measures that makes sense, and being really selective, which takes you beyond you know, how many Facebook likes do I have, how many Twitter followers? And say, if I've got Twitter followers and they come to my website, what do they do, is there any point to having them? And that's really what you're trying to answer and what analytics gives you. So really what we're trying to do is distil it down to 20 measures.
And I'm going to give you an example 'cause it's kind of esoteric. This is a company that we worked with when they set up. They want to become the number one kids, online I should say, clothes brand, combining style and ethical sourcing. Well their first tactic obviously is to sell a shed load of kid's clothes. So what they're going to do for the website is their e-commerce side of things, quite obviously. And they’re going to measure that through revenue, e-commerce conversion rate, and basket abandonment rate, and they have a target for sales. Fairly straight forward, but the other tactic was they wanted to build a strong ethical community, which was around brand and brand building. So they wanted to online build a likeminded community of parents. So people buy from people like us and that's what they wanted to get to. So their KPIs for that were newsletter signups, how do we get people to engage? Time on site, we want them to engage with our content. So, how do we measure that? And visitors from social media, their aim was to double the level of interactions. And they also wanted to, drive new visitors, because that's part of the deal, isn't it. Because you have to have people at the top of the funnel.

So their website goal was to capture and to captivate new visitors. And then there was some very clear KPIs around that they were running adwords. So what was their click-through rates, and what was their quality scores? How did adwords convert - was that good use of money? What percentage of new visitors did they have? And from a Google organic perspective, what percentages are not provided? I'm not going to explain what not provided is but I can later. Because what they wanted to do was reduce their cost by a pound for a new customer acquisition. Okay, for an e-commerce site you can quite easily sort of make those generalizations about revenue, but it doesn't have to be that complicated.

For us, we want to be a top search and social media agency. Listen to those s's in the mic. And our tactic is events like these, so demonstrating expertise through advice and training so we measure that through page views of the blog pretty much that's what we do, we blog and want people to read the blog and come back to the blog so we look at page views, time on site, repeat visitors and we track visitors through social media.
And what that does, that allows me, as the managing director to have a conversation with everybody that says, brilliant four of the top seven of our landing pages are blogs. Awesome. But the time sites, the average session duration is less than a minute. I want people to stay longer on site. How do I do that? How do you do that, how do you make the content more engaging. So it allows us to ask really good questions. I take no credit for the framework at all I use it with everybody. It comes from a blog by a guy called Avinash Kaushik who is a google evangelist and he has worked very closely with google analytics team and has been influential in a way that that's now structured and the way it’s changing. And I've given you the link to the blog that this is taken from. And it's just a really brilliant piece of work if you can unpick some of the Americanization in there which is a bit, bit weird. It's a great blog. So that's what we do, but to make it sing you have to do a few other things.

The first thing you have to do is to link your adwords to your analytics and if you haven't done that already it's a one off thing that you do at the beginning of the process or you do it to start with and what it does it allows the two google properties to share data so it pulls your analytics information into adwords and vice versa.
That's great for adwords because you can start to see on the key word level what bounces and what doesn't bounce and what time on site is on a really granular level. But it also is brilliant in pulling it through to analytics because you can do a fairly easy custom report that pulls in your impressions, your clicks, your click-through rate, your costs and pulls it all the way down to well, actually, what was the outcome to that, what was the revenue? So on an adgroup and even on a key word basis you can see what's going on and what drives. And as Dan said, targeting and being really picky about what works is the key to adwords and this is what allows you to do it.

This is a client we worked with where they've been experimenting but the outcome of the experiment was more transactions, lower cost with a higher revenue per click so an absolute win for them do more of it, do more of it. So custom reports are brilliant. And you can get that information, but you have to link the two together, that's a onetime change. You also need to tag your links which is pretty much the point that Dan made earlier with the GCLID that's one way of doing it.

We think it was so important, that we created a tool. It's called professor traffic and it's available from the Chrome store. And what it does is it allows you to create a piece of custom code, which then shortens, that means that you can track, whenever you link back to your website from any medium, you can see where that's from. Google gives you some of that information already, but not a granular enough level. And the custom URL tracker just gives you a whole other level of data. And this is what it does, so if you use it, and it does take a bit of faffing around, I have to say.

Jon: Does it heck, it’s awesome!

I know it's awesome but it's getting the structure sorted out right so you can really see. But what we can do then is to say okay, we've got 708 visits that have come through from a Facebook ad. How much did we pay for that? So how much was each of those visits costing? And actually they've got a 79% bounce rate, how do I improve the engagement. In fact if I've got 708 visitors and 80% of them disappear immediately was that good, how can we improve that? You know spends lots of time doing newsletters and you have the open rates of your newsletter but how many of those people who open it then go onto do something with your website. You can track that you know, is my newsletter working? And in this case, we did an experiment, and we wanted to know what that did and we can, we can track that quite easily. And you can track it over time as well, so if you look at two time dates, you can see whether the activity you did one month, was as good as the activity that you did another month, and you can start to ask what works and what doesn't work.
And that's the point really, you have to ask questions, you have to channel your inner Columbo and you have to really start to detect the impact of what you do because building a website is kind of part one. And you can do search and social media and all of those sorts of things, but you have to innovate, and you have to invest, and the best way to do that is to make decisions which are based on data. Because unlike Columbo who can do everything on hunches, fabulous, most of us have to actually make friends and influence budgets, and that requires good data. I think that’s what I have.

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