1 09, 2016

Dig Deeper into your Data with Advanced Segments

By | 2017-06-16T13:13:56+00:00 September 1st, 2016|Categories: Google Analytics|Tags: , , |

I love Google Analytics. I love that you’re able to easily dig deep into data to discover hidden secrets about your website that might not be obvious with the basic reports in GA. In order to do this deeper analysis, you’ve got to use advanced segments. It can be scary at first for the average GA user, but once you start using them you discover how powerful they can be and the greater insights you can get from your data.

Recently, we performed a deep dive (aka some advanced reporting) for a client to try to uncover some of these hidden secrets about their website. We wanted to find out if certain features available to users was helping or hurting the sites performance. We could see that people were using these features, but needed to dig deeper to see how that usage affected goal completions and behavior.

Let me set the scene:

This client sells B2B (offline) and B2C (online). The goal of the website is to provide information about their products and also generate sales. For our deep dive, we looked at many data points, but for this post I want to focus on only two:

  • If the blog was helping to drive goal completions and qualified traffic

and

  • How the retailer locator affected behavior on the site and goal completions

So to look at both of these, I had to set up advanced segments for visits including blog views and visits with no blog view.

Here’s a look at how those advanced segments looked:

Visits including Blog View

advanced segment set up

Visits with no blog view

advanced segment set up

Notice the only difference is one says “include” and the other “exclude”. Now let’s look at the data.

advanced segment in google analytics

Look at the parts I highlighted. We see from a high level that visits with NO blog view have much better behavior. Sessions have lower bounce rate, more pages per session and higher session duration. Not only that, these visits’ goal conversion rate was 2.5x better.

So now you’re probably asking yourself, “What does this mean?” Well, it means the blog isn’t helping provide value for this site and increase the likelihood of a goal completion. No, they shouldn’t kill the blog and remove it; instead they need to look at their current blog strategy and how it can be tweaked and improved to help increase behavior and goal completions. For our analysis, we stopped at this point due to time constraints but when the client is ready to look at the blog and come up with a new strategy, we’ll dig deeper into this data and look at their top blog posts over the past year and how each of those has affected behavior. Doing that will allow us to get info on which blog posts provide value and which do not. Then we can come up with a strategy to refresh those older posts and create new posts.

Now let’s look at the retailer locator and see how it affects behavior and conversions.

Here is how I set up these advanced segments:

Sessions excluding Retailer Page

advanced segment set up

Sessions including Retailer Page

advanced segment set up

 

Looking at this chart, we can see the retailer locator improves behavior on the site and results in higher session duration, more pages viewed and lower bounce rate. However, it does NOT help ecommerce.

advanced segment in google analytics

So what does this mean? Well it means, the retailer locator is a good feature to help improve session behavior but shouldn’t be as visible since it doesn’t increase online ecommerce conversions. Currently, the retailer locator was highly visible in the main navigation and the utility navigation. After looking at this data along with other data (not shown in this post) we determined it was best to leave this feature on the site but since selling online was the #1 goal of the website, we wanted to make it less visible and remove it from the navigations and move the link to the footer. This way the link is still accessible from all pages.

Something to note, with the retailer locator, we can only go off the data we have. Unfortunately, for this client it’s not possible for us to get offline information that we could then import into GA to get a clearer understanding of whether the retailer locator helps to increase offline sales or not and should be left highly visible.

As with any website change, it’s very important to annotate the change in Google Analytics so you can easily see if your change has caused any fluctuations in your data. Now it’s your turn! Look at your website and see if there are things on it you would like to dig into deeper to see if it’s helping or hurting engagement. I bet you’ll be surprised and excited with the new data you’ll get!

And by the way, if you don’t feel comfortable digging into GA yourself, let Beacon help! :) We offer GA Training which can be customized to teach you how to set up Advanced segments and reporting or we can do the deep dive for you.

1 02, 2016

How to find Bot traffic and segment it out in Google Analytics

By | 2017-07-20T09:23:04+00:00 February 1st, 2016|Categories: Google Analytics|Tags: , |

Recently, I had a client come to me with this question (and mind you, we don’t manage Google Analytics for them. They were consulting with us on this problem):

“My traffic for Q1 has grown 86% YOY but they are not buying on my site. Is there something wrong?” 

My first thought: 86% – Whoa! – that’s some serious growth! My second thought: No way that can be real traffic growth (knowing this client doesn’t do much SEO for their site). So, I wondered if this issue is bot related. I jump into the data and start digging around…

Here are the steps I took to figure out the problem and fix it.

1st – Figure out where the increase in Traffic came from

To do this, I pulled session data by medium for Q1 YOY and right away I see a huge increase in traffic related to one medium….Direct. To be exact it was an increase of 376%, almost 134,000 visits! Now I’m definitely thinking my assumption about it being bot traffic is right.

google analytics

 

2nd – Find the Bot Traffic

Now that we know the increase is related to direct, I start looking at ways to figure out if its bot traffic. I move on to look at Browser traffic. Right away I see Chrome had a significant increase in sessions and new users.

Chrome - Google

So now I know I need to look deeper into Chrome and click to see the browser versions.

browser bot

Low and behold, the very first browser version 39.0.2171.95 shows an increase in session by 2,528% and new users by 3,690%. At this point I was totally getting all giddy and excited. You know that feeling you get on Christmas morning when you’ve just woke up and you can’t wait to see what presents you got but you have to wait just a little while longer on the rest of the family to wake up. Well that was me. I was so excited and anxious, knowing I was so close to getting the answer and fixing the problem but wasn’t there quite yet! (Insert childish grin here.)

Ok – so back on track now. We know the issue is coming from Chrome and specifically version 39.0.2171.95. And we know this is the issue because sessions drastically increase, bounce rate is 99.85%, time on site is 00:00:01 and there is no revenue. (I mean come on, I know the site needs improvements but it’s not that bad!) And remember this is for all traffic, no filter has been applied yet. Now I want to see if any of the traffic coming from this browser is good traffic or not. So I add a secondary dimension for medium. I can see that there is some good traffic tied to other mediums but majority of the bad traffic is direct.

So now I turn on an advanced segment for direct traffic and turn off all sessions. After doing that, I change the secondary dimension from medium to landing page to see if I can narrow down a page that is being hit.

browser bot chrome

As luck would have it (and as I had assumed), the homepage showed a huge increase in sessions. So given all the information, I now had I could safely make the assumption: It was a bot causing the increase in sessions to the site and the problem was coming from Chrome and the homepage was involved. Using all that info, I can now set up an advanced segment to filter out the bot traffic.

 3rd – Set up an Advanced Segment to Filter out Bot Traffic

To set up the advance segment, click the + sign then click on Conditions in the left navigation. Now fill in the field using this information:

advanced segment for bot traffic

But because I’m super nice, here is a direct link to open and save the advanced segment in your Google analytics account: http://bit.ly/1nD00GH (Keep in mind you’ll need to tweak some of the fields based on your sites data such as landing page.)

You’re welcome ;)

 4th – Review the Data

Now that the advance segment has been saved, I turn off the direct traffic advanced segment and add back the all sessions segment. Once that is done loading, I return to the all traffic>source medium report and switch the primary dimension to medium. I now can see that only direct traffic shows a change in sessions and the behavior stats look a lot better. I also double check no other mediums were affected by the advance segment and make sure sessions numbers match for exclude and all sessions…which they do. So we’re good to go.

As a disclaimer – looking at the browser report I could see it looked like some bot traffic might still be coming through by the number was so low that it wouldn’t be a problem so I decided to leave the advanced segment as is instead of adding anything to it.