DAA SF Presents ‘Getting Data Right: Optimizing Performance Using Quantitative & Qualitative Practices’

Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:59 AM

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This year the annual Digital Analytics Association (DAA) San Francisco Symposium is taking place on Thursday November 13th  and will be hosted at University of San Francisco. The theme is "optimizing performance using quantitative and qualitative practices". The DAA SF chapter has lined up industry leaders who will be sharing their thoughts and experiences. We are expecting a great afternoon of discussion followed by a networking reception. Following are the event details:


Our lineup of wonderful speakers is focused on presenting real-world solutions to the optimization challenges we all face everyday. They will be discussing the principles of qualitative data collection, optimization and the relation to quantitative data they've put into practice. This year we are piloting a new, more interactive format: 15 minutes of content from speakers followed by 10 min of Q&A from the audience, so come ready to participate in a day of analytics sharing and learning, and leave with ideas to put into practice. Our lineup includes:
  • Sarah Cho, Survey Monkey
  • Jason Conrad, Foresee
  • Joe Megibow, Chief Digital Officer, American Eagle
  • Krista Seiden, Analytics Advocate, Google
  • Jim Sterne, Founder, eMetrics
  • Rahul Todkar, Intuit
  • Jimmy Wong, LinkedIn
  • Ryan Zander, Sport Vision
By attending you will:
  • Learn how industry leaders use quantitative AND qualitative data to improve their businesses
  • Discover how your analytics can drive savvy optimization across multiple channels
  • Uncover how marketing attribution's data output leads to more informed marketing decisions
  • Learn the latest on optimization best practices from practitioners and vendors 
Theme: Optimizing performance using Quantitative AND Qualitative practices
When: November 13th, registration starts at 12:30, program 1:00pm to to 5:30pm, followed by a networking reception
Where: University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
Cost: $25 for DAA members/$75 for non-members
Event website and registration: register here.

Space is limited so register early!

This Symposium is organized by local DAA members and volunteers. We encourage you to become a member of the DAA and join our local efforts. Become a member and reach out to one of the local chapter leaders, Krista, Charles or Feras.

Online Retailers: The Secret to Seasonal Success in 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014 | 7:00 AM

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Plan ahead.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the holiday rush begin earlier and earlier. And we’ve also noticed that the shopping frenzy is extending beyond the traditional season, with transaction rates in 2013 boasting lifts even after Christmas. These trends make for a lot of opportunity for online retailers, but you need to play your cards right. The most important thing you can do to ensure seasonal success is to plan your digital strategy now.  We’ve analyzed transaction behavior from a portion of our Google Analytics accounts over the 2013 holiday season to develop a guide for seasonal success. 

Which days drive the most transactions?
In order to develop a successful holiday retail strategy, it’s important to first understand the days that drive the most sales for your business. Once you understand this, you can craft a strategy that optimizes your media and promotion not only for these days, but for the entire holiday season.

As digital retailers are well aware, Cyber Monday is THE digital shopping day of the year.  It generates the most transactions of any single day and, in 2013, saw a transaction rate lift of 170% over average.  In second place is Black Friday, a day that has increased in digital importance over the last three years. By 2013, the transaction rate on Black Friday was 114% higher than average.  Beyond these two stars, the table below shows you the top days in 2013 by transaction volume and the lift in transactions rates on each day.


In general, beyond Cyber Monday and Black Friday, the Mondays and Tuesdays before Christmas in December tend to generate the highest volume of transactions.  Interestingly, the highest transaction days are not correlated to the days with the most sessions (traffic to your site), so avoid using the top session days as a proxy for the top transaction days.


How can I drive sales on the top transaction days?
The holiday season generates some of the highest transaction rate spikes and the lowest dips for the entire year. In order to drive digital sales successfully, it’s important that you adjust your bids for auction-based media, such as search ads, appropriately to account for higher transaction rates on key dates and throughout the season.  As you navigate the holiday season, use the lift in transaction rates over the average transaction rate as your bid multiplier for auction-based media (learn more about bid adjustments). This adjustment schedule reflects the increased value of clicks that are more likely to convert, and helps ensure that you stay ahead of competitors and  get in front of the right consumers. The transaction rate lift for the top days are shown in the table above, while the chart below gives you an idea of the lift for the weeks surrounding the holiday season.


As you can see, the top days generate some of the biggest transaction rate lifts, but there’s also plenty of upside in the weeks preceding Thanksgiving as well as right before Christmas.  A smart retailer will generate a bid schedule for the entire season, starting 4-5 weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Marketing to consumers is notoriously tricky and often trend-driven, making the holiday season a difficult and uncertain time for retailers. However, with proper pre-season preparation, digital retailers can set themselves up for seasonal success in 2014.  If you’re a Google Analytics user, you can tailor this analysis and approach to your business, using your own data and the data available in our benchmarking tool.  For more strategies for the holiday season, check out our holiday tips blog post and best practices checklist.


About the Data
In order to perform this analysis, we looked at billions of sessions across millions of Google Analytics accounts. We used session and transaction trends; and we looked at the percentage of sessions that included a transaction to calculate transaction rates. The data includes only accounts that have authorized Google to share website data in an anonymous way (read more). For questions, comments, or praise please contact us at gaqi@google.com 


Posted by Daniel Waisberg and Jocelyn Whittenburg from the Google Analytics team.

Making tag management more accessible and powerful

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | 9:31 AM

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Today we are happy to introduce improvements to Google Tag Manager that will make both marketing and IT teams happy
  • New APIs that tailor the power of Google Tag Manager to your unique needs
  • A new intuitive interface to help you launch and edit tags even faster
  • More 3rd-party templates to make tagging easier
Many large enterprises use Google Tag Manager to streamline and simplify website and mobile app tagging. It helps marketers control the end-to-end process of adding website tags, while IT departments save time they can spend on more strategic projects. InsureandGo has been using Google Tag Manager for all their tagging needs:

Before, we missed opportunities because tag changes required a website release. Since we’ve enabled Google Tag Manager on the site, it’s enabled the marketing team to measure more on-site actions. For example, using Google Tag Manager to track on-page events such as specific clicks and form submissions helps us understand more granular customer actions, how to market and what to sell. We can make decisions much quicker and see within a few weeks whether the strategy has worked, whereas before it would have taken six to nine months. Simon Everett, Head of Marketing

Let's look at the new features.


Introducing Google Tag Manager API

Sometimes you just want things your own way. We understand! The new full-featured Google Tag Manager API lets you customize the infrastructure to suit your needs, whether that means building your own tools or better integrations with your existing workflow. From creating and managing users to previewing and publishing containers and tags, the API provides all the power of the web interface.

For example, the new API makes it easy to manage user access in bulk. It's easy to set permissions for many users at once, or set up your own role-based permissions and let the API give the right level of access to the right people in your organization.

Agencies can use the API to easily manage large tagging setups for their clients: create a master container template, specify variations (such as the domain, or the ad campaign ID) in a Google Sheets doc, and use the API to automatically deploy to multiple containers and keep those containers in sync. 

Our partner Novartis has been able to scale more easily by using Google Tag Manager APIs:

We have a strong data-driven culture at Novartis and thus in the digital space we’re naturally interested in using data and insights to improve the usability and experience of our websites. With many brands and websites across the globe, collecting web analytics data can become time consuming. Two challenges we have faced are data consistency and tagging implementation across many sites. We developed a process where we use the Google Tag Manager API to eliminate a manual, error-prone, process and thus were able to shift our attention from several low-value tasks to determining how to create a great digital experience for our customers.
Angela Grammatas - Digital Analytics Manager for Novartis


More coverage for 3rd-party tags

Starting in the next few weeks, you'll see more 3rd-party templates in the tag creation flow. We've made it easier for marketers to add tags and minimize errors while doing so. When adding a new tag of your own, you'll select from a list of 3rd-party providers and be underway in just a few clicks. We now offer support for tags from AdRoll, Marin, Comscore, Bizo, Clicktale, Neustar, Distillery, Turn, Mediaplex, VisualDNA, quantcast, Criteo and many more to come soon. Don't see the tag you need? No problem: you can add it immediately as a custom HTML tag. You can also ask to have a new tag template included in future releases, as Tag Manager will continue to add new tag templates. You'll find the full list of tag templates in our help center.

Creating a new tag (click image for full-size).


A more intuitive interface

We think tag management should be easy even for non-technical users. Even if you're new to Google Tag Manager, you'll be using the improved interface within minutes. Tasks are intuitive and structured much the same way as in AdWords and Google Analytics. Our new updates include:
  • A default workflow that's simpler and clearer
  • Instant search and autocomplete that can help you find anything in your Google Tag Manager containers
  • New keyboard shortcuts to simplify life for power users
The goal: enable marketing managers to easily add and update tags.

The new container overview page (click image for full-size).

We are confident you'll find the new Google Tag Manager easier to use and a more powerful solution for your web and app tagging needs. If you are already using Google Tag Manager, you can try out the new user interface today by logging in your accounts and following the instructions. New to Google Tag Manager? Get started today!

Posted by Lukas Bergstrom, Product Manager Google Tag Manager

Dynamic remarketing now available to advertisers across all verticals

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 | 9:56 AM

This post originally appeared on the Inside AdWords Blog.

Over the next few weeks we are rolling out dynamic remarketing to all verticals including hotels, flights, real estate, classifieds, jobs, auto, finance and education. Since we launched dynamic remarketing for retailers, many advertisers like Bebe Stores, Netshoes, and Build Direct have been driving better results and more profits from their remarketing campaigns.



Highlighting what matters most to your customers

Dynamic remarketing shows site visitors tailored ads that feature the products they viewed on your website, and related products they might be interested in. Let’s say you sell cars and offer hundreds of makes and models in multiple cities. With dynamic remarketing, you can build one ad that will dynamically show tailored messaging to your site visitors, like the cars they engaged with on your site, and similar cars in that city and price range. Beta clients across multiple verticals reported a 2x increase in conversion rates and 60% reduction in CPA, on average, when they added dynamic ads to their remarketing campaigns.*

Display ads built for mobile, optimized for conversion value 

  • When advertisers add mobile targeting to their remarketing campaigns, we’ve seen conversion volume increase by 15% on average at the same price. That's why all our dynamic remarketing templates are mobile-optimized to deliver ads seamlessly across screens. Learn more
  • Dynamic remarketing with automated bidding can boost performance by calculating optimal bids for each impression in real-time. This means if you sell an $800 camera and a $20 flashlight, AdWords will automatically prioritize winning more of the $800 conversions than the $20 conversions. This helps to maximize the total value of your conversions, not just the number of conversions.  Learn more

Customers driving success with dynamic remarketing  

In travel, Hotel Urbano built a single dynamic ad that showed each prospective traveler the package, hotel or cruise most relevant to them. Dynamic ads improved their return on ad spend by 38%, and drove 415% more revenue compared to standard remarketing. Mariana Filippo, senior marketing analyst at Hotel Urbano, says it made business more efficient “since we don’t have to change creatives every day across over 4,000 packages across 183 different countries. It keeps up with our frequency so we can deliver the right ad with the right user.

In flights, Jet Airways customized ads based on where and when people were looking to fly, so someone browsing flights from New York to London could see a special offer on business class tickets on the exact day they’re looking to fly. They doubled conversions at a 65% lower CPA by adding dynamic ads to their remarketing strategy.




In local deals
, India's largest online B2B marketplace IndiaMART used dynamic remarketing to recommend new suppliers to existing customers, increasing lead volume by 400% at a 60% lower CPA. Saugata Halder, product marketing manager at IndiaMART offers this advice: "For marketplaces like us, it’s imperative to showcase the wide range of products available to our buyers. Dynamic remarketing allowed us to reach a larger segment of our customers with personalized ads and to maximize the impact of our marketing efforts.


Join us for a Hangout on Air

Learn how you can get started with Dynamic Remarketing. Join us for a live Hangout on Air with Google product managers and experts on Thursday, October 9th at 9:00am PT/ RSVP here.

For more information visit the AdWords Help Center. If you’re a Google Analytics user, you can visit the Google Analytics Help Center to learn how to use your existing tags to get started with dynamic remarketing.

Posted by Jyoti Vaidee, Product Manager Dynamic Display Ads

*Campaign results may vary across advertisers 

The Top 3 Google Analytics Configuration Issues Impacting your Data (and How to Fix Them)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | 9:40 AM

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Good data is important.  How important?  Studies show that inaccurate data has a direct impact on the bottom line of 88% of companies.  In fact, the average company loses 12% of its revenue due to bad data.  As you know, Google Analytics is a powerful product with a wealth of features to help you optimize your results online. However, to unleash the power of Google Analytics’ marketing tools, you must ensure the data collected is complete and of the highest quality. The insights that fuel action in Analytics depend on good data, especially for some of our advanced algorithmic marketing functionalities like data driven attribution.

Since its release two months ago, our popular new diagnostics tool is working hard to ensure you’re getting the best results. Today, we’d like to share insights into some of the most common account errors along with likely causes and suggested solutions. In particular, we’ll look at some solutions for when our diagnostics tool is telling you the following:  “Bad Default URL,” “Clicks and Sessions Discrepancy,” and “No Goal Conversions.”  Read on to understand the impact of these issues as well as their common causes.


Bad Default URL
“Data without quality is useless.”
João Correia, Analytics Strategist at Blast Analytics & Marketing

When you create a Google Analytics account for website tracking, one of the first questions we ask is for a default URL. This is generally the homepage of your website. Diagnostics ensures that you have tagged your default URL correctly for this property, and warns you if this is not the case. Having a properly tagged website is an essential step towards being able to understand consumer behavior.

This warning is generally caused by either missing or malformed tracking code installed on your default URL, or more simply a typo in the URL that was input. If the default URL is incorrect, simply login to your Google Analytics account, click the “Admin” button in the header, and click “Property Settings” to adjust your default URL. If the tracking code is flawed, you’ll want to talk to your webmaster and ask to have the tracking code correctly installed

Beyond the default URL, we also check for tracking code health across your site. We look for pages that have missing or malformed tags. And we continually run these checks, ensuring new pages you launch in the future also are properly tagged. 

Clicks / Session Discrepancies
"Diagnostics helped me identify and fix an AdWords data discrepancy in my account.  Without the tool, I may have never even realized that my data was inconsistent.  This is a great tool!"
Monika Rut-Koroglu, Digital Analytics and Optimization at FXCM

Google Analytics offers rich capabilities that help users share data with linked AdWords accounts and gain unique and powerful marketing insights. It’s common to expect the number of clicks you see in AdWords to match the number of sessions you see in Analytics; but this is not always the case. This discrepancy can slow down meaningful analysis, and is a situation that can and should be rectified.

The most common causes of this issue have to do with your configuration settings. For example, when you send ad clicks through a third party that redirects to your site; the third party will often times drop vital tagging parameters which are mandatory for Analytics and AdWords to associate clicks and sessions. Other examples are having AdWords auto-tagging disabled, and redirecting users to mobile sites while unintentionally dropping tagging parameters.

Fixes for these issues can vary; we have a detailed guide to walk users through this or you can follow prompts in Google Analytics when we identify specific actions for you to take. If you have a third party who uses redirects and drops parameters, talk to them to resolve the issue. If auto-tagging is disabled on your AdWords accounts, consider enabling it

No Goal Conversions
“[Google Analytics Diagnostics] is a great idea... Just discovered it the other day on my iPad. Helpful to let me redefine my goals better and find out what's not working.”
Sherri Matthew, Harpist and Small Business Owner

Google Analytics goals offer valuable ways to identify, track, and help you drive more valuable outcomes. Sometimes goals can break, and stop this critical stream of insights from reaching you. We run diagnostic checks to ensure your goals continually identify a steady flow of high value customers, and we warn you if this flow breaks.

The most common cause for goal breakage is when a goal is based on a URL that changes. If your webmaster updates the URLs on your site, and the URLs in the goal settings aren’t updated accordingly, this will cause your goal to stop tracking. The second most common cause for goals breaking is if the event tracking on your site changes and the events listed in the goal aren’t updated accordingly.

If you’ve had a goal break for these reasons, visit the “Admin” section via a link in the header of your Google Analytics account, and click “Goals” to correct your goal configurations.

More About Diagnostics
Google Analytics Diagnostics scans for problems every day (with some exceptions). It inspects your site tagging, account configuration, and reporting data for potential data-quality issues.  Only users with Edit permission can see and respond to diagnostics messages. Diagnostics honors the first response to a message; for example, when a user ignores a message, it is ignored for all users.

The tool currently scans for dozens of issues, and dozens more are planned. Just keep an eye on your account over time - it will notify you if and when new issues or opportunities are detected.


- Frank Kieviet and Matt Matyas, Google Analytics Team

Enhanced Google Analytics Audience Capabilities Come to Apps

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 12:00 PM

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Good news for mobile app developers: Audience Demographics and Interests Reporting and Remarketing are now available for apps in Google Analytics.  Just one of the improvements for audience segmentation and remarketing we're announcing today, these changes should make it even easier for all our advertisers to reach their high-value customer segments. 

In-App Audience Demographics Reporting and Remarketing

Good analytics are especially important to app developers. At Google I/O, Hovhannes Avoyan, the CEO and Founder of PicsArt , had this to say: 

“We need analytics to help us understand who our users are, how they interact with our application, how our application performs. With all that knowledge, we want to apply different monetization strategies to different kinds of users.” 

Now developers can see just how different user segments engage and monetize with In-App Audience Demographics Reporting

And it's more than just data. Analysts and developers can blend audience demographic and behavior data into detailed audience lists to be targeted with in app remarketing campaigns. In short, all the great remarketing capabilities for Google Analytics users on the web are now available for apps as well.

New In-App Audience Demographics Reporting

Segmentation and remarketing lists get an upgrade
Creating remarketing lists for apps and web is now even easier with recent upgrades to both segmentation and audience building. A streamlined creation flow for creating audiences allows users to go from segment to audience within clicks (plus a few bonus admin features like list renaming and automatic list sizing).

New Audience Builder Experience, now supporting App lists
If you prefer to stand on the shoulders of remarketing giants, Analytics power users have developed and shared audience definitions that import via template links or from the solutions gallery. This simplifies things dramatically for new users. A process that could be complicated and time-consuming can now be done with 6 clicks in under 1 minute. Give it a try: import our Engagement Pack of Core Remarketing Lists.

On the segmentation side, users have told us they wanted segments to be more discoverable, easier to manage, and more intuitive to build. We've been listening, and have made interface improvements, adding a simple “Add Segment” button within reports, a new segment-selection interface, hover-over segment definitions, and a 1-click action dialogue to Share, Edit, Copy, Remove, or Remarket to a segment. 

New Segmentation Experience: fewer errors for better analysis

Measure remarketing performance with the new Display Targeting report
Once you’ve found a segment, created an audience, and activated your remarketing campaign, close the loop by measuring the performance of those audiences across all remarketing campaigns . Enter the new Adwords Display Targeting report in the Acquisition section to see all your active remarketing lists, along with impressions, spend, behavior, and conversion rates under the “Interests and Remarketing” tab.

New Remarketing List Performance in Display Targeting Report
You can learn how to update your SDK to enable these features in our Help Center or get started now by creating some remarketing lists. We hope that these improvements make your audience segmentation and remarketing-- in apps and on the web-- more intuitive and more effective. We’d love to hear from you! Please leave questions or feedback in the comments, and stay tuned for more audience-related improvements. 


Posted by Dan Stone, Product Manager, and Kanu Singhal, Technical Lead from the Google Analytics Audience Team

New Benchmarking Reports Help Twiddy Boost Email Open Rates by 500%

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | 12:00 PM

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If you’ve ever wondered how your website is performing compared to the competition, our new Benchmarking reports in Google Analytics will help you find out.

Analytics users can now compare their results to peers in their industry, choosing from 1600 industry categories, 1250 markets and 7 size buckets. Benchmarking leverages the footprint of Google Analytics and can help you set meaningful targets, spot trends occurring across industries and answer a whole array of questions: Which channels should you be investing more in? How does your mobile engagement compare to your peers? How unique is your audience?

The new Benchmarking reports display acquisition and engagement metrics — like sessions and bounce rate — by Channel, Location, or Device Category dimensions. To ensure total data transparency, the number of properties contributing to the benchmark is displayed once you choose the industry, market and size. A helpful heat map feature makes it easy to see areas of strength and opportunity, and where to devote more resources.

Benchmarking in Action: Twiddy Finds a New Email Marketing Opportunity

Twiddy.com, a vacation rentals company in the Outer Banks-- a popular summer getaway destination-- has been using Benchmarking reports to help focus its marketing resources. A look at their peer benchmarks by channel showed that Twiddy was doing many things well during its peak summer booking season. Still, “it was clear we were missing a huge opportunity in email marketing,” reports CMO Ross Twiddy. His team used Google Analytics data to revamp their email marketing and improve the flow and process.

Email opportunity: Visitors from email spend nearly twice as long on site as the average, but user sessions generated from email are 82% below average and new users from the channel fall 91% below similar sites.

Twiddy even used Google Analytics to choose the best-selling messages for their email campaigns. Their analysis helped them zero in on the factors that were most consistent in repeat bookings: the price range, location, rental type, and even vacation week that would be most likely to convert with for each customer. "We launched an email last week based on our findings, and it shattered our email marketing records: a 48% average open rate and a 40% clickthrough rate,” says Ross.

Twiddy is happy with the new visibility they’ve gained: “The Benchmarking reports were powerful enough for us to reallocate time, budget and resources towards running down the deficiency. We can’t wait to start testing the reports out more broadly during the next peak booking season.”

Get Started with Benchmarking

Benchmarking reports can be found in the “Audience” section of the reporting interface and are rolling out over the next few weeks to all Google Analytics users who have opted in to share their data anonymously. If you want to join in, simply check the “Share anonymously with Google and others” box in the Account Settings tab of your account admin page. This is only the beginning for benchmarking within Google Analytics. We’ll be expanding these capabilities in the coming months, both incorporating conversion metrics and adding support for mobile apps. For more information on Benchmarking reports, check out our Help Center.

Posted by: Nikhil Roy, Product Manager, Google Analytics