Rock Google Analytics like a pro, yo
Still buzzing from the record-breaking State of Search in 2016, DFWSEM roared back into action at the first meeting of the year with a new board and a newly inspired crowd full of new faces.
Were they all there to see Jenny Halasz? You bet your asz. But before the new presentation, some new business.
Taking care of business
New DFWSEM President Jeff Rudluff started things off at NOAH’s Event Center by thanking outgoing President Scott Vann and ever-helpful sponsors Advice Interactive Group, and introduced the new board members (some of whom are back for another round of unpaid labor and late nights): Kevin Adams, Jason Channell, Damon Gochneaur, Timothy Huneycutt, Beth Kahlich, James Loomstein, Bart Peters, and Scott Vann.
There was a special shiny for the above-mentioned James in the form of the DFWSEM President’s Award. He was rightfully praised for going above and beyond — and gifted with a gorgeous trophy that could be used as a melee weapon in a pinch — especially in the case of State of Search.
And speaking of State of Search, it was the next topic of conversation. Moving from November, this year’s conference will be October 9-10, once more at Gilley’s on the south side of the Big D. And those Super Early Bird tickets are on sale now at the frankly ridiculous price of $400. There are limited quantities in this price range, so act before you miss out. Two days of world-class speakers, an exciting setting unlike the beige big-box hotels, and the best networking in the industry with Texas flair, all for $500? Why on earth would you want to miss out on that?
Getting down to brass tacks — and traffic
Then it was time to let Jenny do that voodoo that she do so well. And did she ever. Starting off, as is only right and proper, with a quote from the great Dolly Parton:
Find out who you are and do it on purpose.
But Jenny wasn’t just shouting out an awesome female rocker (as she did throughout). She was pointing out that all the content marketing and SEO in the world won’t matter, can’t matter, if you don’t have a plan.
Jenny advocates breaking down your biz wants into two categories: Goals and Events. What’s the difference? Well, Goals are what you want. Site visitors. Conversions. Etc. And Events? Those are what you track. You can see how long someone stayed on your page and what they did while there, and use the flexible, robust mojo of Google Analytics to glean insight from their behavior.
But you can’t just do this willy-nilly. And if you want to really get into the meat of things, you can’t just trust Google to do your tagging for you. Default tagging lets Google sort your information into buckets, like paid or organic or so forth. But if you want the real skinny, campaign tagging and medium tagging are you friends.
Like Beyoncé, who guided the presentation to the next subject, custom channel grouping can do it all. Need to circle up, say, all your affiliate links? See if your paid is on fleek? This is the Google Analytics section for you. By this point, Jenny’s mad skills were making the data nerds in the audience twitterpated.
Google has also added some new features, one of which is vastly overdue. First up? Templates. Launched in December, they are both sexy and free. Double Click Campaign Managers have also been added as a source. And finally, only a decade too late, property moving is available!
Drawing from the data
Jenny made a final and excellent point after unfolding all the grooviness Google Analytics can do, and it boiled down to this: information is important, but only in that it tells a story. How did people get to your site? What did they do while they were there? Why did they leave? This information builds your data narrative so you can extrapolate meaning. As she put it,
“Data is just data. Analysis leads to insight.”
Secret analytics weapons
Of course, one can’t attend an epic event and not be provided with ultimate secret weapons for analytics success. To this end, Jenny shared a wicked cool Custom Google Analytics Dashboard that asks (and answers) a lot of valuable questions about your site. Check it out here:
And if you’re wanting to learn more about setting up snazzy segments with Regular Expressions (regex), Jenny shared another secret weapon in the form of this awesome blog post (which you should totally check out):
Check out Jenny’s slide deck for details on how she makes Analytics jump through hoops.
Don’t forget to check out DFWSEM’s meeting next month! CopyPress’ Dave Snyder will be talking about the hidden art and science of kick-ass content. We’re talking mind games, y’all. You won’t want to miss it.
Stephanie Studer is a writer, editor, cook, and massive nerd who calls Dallas home. A social and content marketer, she’s deeply in love with all that language can do. She blogs at storytellingforsuccess.wordpress.com, tweets at @Editrix_Steph, and posts entirely too many pictures of dishes she’s made on Instagram. Don’t ask her about ukuleles or comic books unless you have nothing to do for the next several hours.