Category Archives: advanced

Actionable Analytics — Part 3

I did it.  I packaged into a video not only the steps from Actionable Analytics — Part 2 but also some insights to help you interpret your Google Analytics (GA) traffic with your crisp new Custom Segment turned on.

You’ll see how focused your GA review time can be with the right goals setup as custom segments.  You’ll know which geographies, referrers, search keywords, content, etc is producing results on your website.  Without delay:

Actionable Analytics – Part 2

It’s time to make your website analytics actionable!  From my last post, Actionable Analytics – Part 1, you should have:

  • Google Analytics installed on your website
  • Created a goal for  Engagement
  • Created a goal for Conversion

If you don’t know what I mean please visit Actionable Analytics – Part 1 to catch up.

The key to knowing what components of your website are producing for you is to look at visits on your website that reach the goals you’ve set.  This is done by creating an Advanced Segment in Google Analytics (GA for brevity) which, when selected, will filter out all the traffic that does NOT reach your goals.

Step 1: Login to your GA account, click “Advanced Segments”, and “New Custom Segment”.  It should resemble:


Clicking “New Custom Segment” leads you to:


Where you will select a previously created goal in the drop down selector right after “Include” and set the threshold — I like “Greater than 0″.  By setting your advanced segment to show visits and visit data where a goal is >0 will show you visits which reached the goal.  Once you “Save Segment” you’ll be able to select this segment of your traffic when viewing your analytics.  Then everything you see, so long as your segment is selected,  will be activity which occurred during visits which reached your goals!

This is BIG.  You can now locate the Top Geographies, Top Content, Top Referrers, Top Keywords, and any other Top “Dimensions” or “Metrics” you care to consider!  Now go look over your data with a new focus: Find out what’s working and DO MORE OF IT!

To make this process easier to follow this post needs either 1) a lot more pictures or 2) a video.  I’ll get right on that.

Look for Actionable Analytics – Part 3 to contain a video overview of this process.

The good, bad, and ugly of increasing CTR – part 1, The Bad

True, increasing your Click Through Ratio (CTR) will:


  • Make Google, Bing, and Yahoo happy
  • Increase your ad’s quality score
  • Decrease your Cost Per Click (CPC)


  • Spend your budget faster
  • Decrease the number of impressions your ad gets
  • Increase the cost to keep your ads running for any given date/time schedule

Just from that list you can see there is a trade-off with increasing CTR.  Sometimes this is good.  Sometimes it is not good.  Here’s an example of each.


You’re running a campaign and it costs $1.41/click (CPC = $1.41).  Your total spend is $10.53/day.  You have another $9.47/day budget to buy more clicks to your website.  You’ve checked to see that you’re getting a respectable engagement and conversion from these visitors… You are.  You’ve also been tuning your keywords for months and you don’t have any to add to the mix.  What are you going to do to get more qualified clicks on your website landing pages?  Increase the CTR by rewriting your ads to be BOTH more engaging AND stay true to the landing page.  There are many sources of wisdom on how to increase the CTR for your ads so I won’t touch that right now.  Go Google-Bing-Yahoo-Ask for them.

I’ll offer an example of  the wrong way to increase CTR in part 2, The Bad.

Graft Your Org Chart

Programming for business reporting is to too often ignored.  You often have programmers who wield their skills from a technical perspective.  Business folks, who need reports which transcend the readily available “canned reports”, who must dig deeper into their data to extract the actionable gems often don’t have those skills.  Sadly, depending on where you work, those two don’t talk to each other enough to get advice from each other.  I believe times are changing.

There has been no other time in history when we needed more collaboration on how to make ends meet within our economy than now.  Wait, it gets sweeter.  There is no time in history when there were so many critical thinkers who can process the raw data of business as there are today.  Programmers with 20 years or more programming, managing, and business experience are not impossible to find.  Any good programmer will do if you are willing to put the time into the relationship.

Business men and women: I recommend you consult with a programmer.

Programmers and engineers: I recommend you consult with business decision makers.

We can use business intelligence to pull ourselves out of this economic mess right where we are right now.  Let’s get to work grafting and fusing that org chart!

PS (another teaser) I’m having a great time using the Python-excel libraries at More later.

Google Analytics Automation Through the API

I write a lot of reports on website performance for businesses.  Most large companies like the report to come in a familiar package like an Excel spreadsheet.  This is tough when your report must showcase only the important information about a site’s activity and online marketing activity.  How do I do it without loosing all my time to downloading different analytics reports as .CSV and doing tons of work in Excel?  Enter the Google Analytics API and Python.

In the next few blog posts I’ll share some how-to steps for the highly technical analytics/digital marketing professional to automate some of the most tedious steps in reporting.