Search & Analytics provides readers with tips and techniques for utilizing web search analytics and measurement tools to define and manage success metrics from (organic and paid) search driven traffic. Columnists write about the basics of implementing analytics software, covering tagging and tracking search traffic to more advanced issues and topics such as ROI and conversion tracking, as well as how to gain greater insight and develop actionable strategies from your search analytics data.

Understanding Your Analytics Versus Campaign Management Tools

More and more, I have been interacting with executives using campaign management tools as their internal reporting systems. In most cases, these companies have an analytics package but prefer to use ad server data rather than analytics for internal tracking. Campaign management tools and analytics provide fundamentally different information, and while directionally similar in many cases, choosing the wrong data source can lead to inconsistent perception of success metrics between the executive level and those tasked with execution. Understanding the difference between analytics and ad se [...]


Conversion Rate Optimization In Paid Search: Why Click Through Rate Matters

One might find it strange to talk about click-through rate (CTR) optimization when talking about conversion rate optimization, since these indicators do not initially seem related. Yet, while these metrics are not always correlated, they sometimes – and actually often - are. However, a high click-through rate does not assure a high conversion rate. The two can even have an inverse relationship: an ad copy geared towards curiosity clicks will result in fewer conversions, percentage-wise, than an ad copy geared towards qualified clicks. Keeping An Eye On CTR Helps Maintain Conversion Volum [...]


Using Data To Better Understand Tablet Consumer Behavior

The emergence of the tablet PC as a legitimate device for online activities beyond media consumption has turned the eyes of marketers and analysts towards understanding how tablet user behavior differs from that of traditional desktop and mobile. There are certain things which simply cannot be done on a mobile device - but the gap is quickly closing and tablets are at the center of attention as consumers are embracing mobile tablet PCs as their primary computing devices. With "more normal" sized screens, tablets don't have the same issues with site formatting that high-end mobile devices [...]


Are You In Danger Of An Online Traffic Crisis?

As relative newcomers to the world of analytics and site and revenue improvements through analytics, many clients ask me about the traffic sources chart in their Google dashboard:   Why is this important? I give one explanation of this as a measure of "Are my eggs all in one basket?" and "What happens if they are?" For example, the client above has 66.57% of their traffic from search engines. This is a combination of organic and paid traffic. Of that 66.57%, when we drill further into that segment of data, we see that 84.5% of that is from Google alone with a breakdown of 45% [...]


Dear Google: Take Me To Dinner First Before You Try To Score

In the ongoing wake of Search Plus Your World, there has been a lot of piling on the ‘beat down Google’ bandwagon. Much that has been written has been fair criticism of the search giant, but more than a small portion has been a gratuitous ‘piling on’ frenzy. I myself admittedly took part in some of it in the aftermath of the SPYW announcement. Given more time to reflect, I want to offer up what I hope will be a constructive line of thinking around SPYW and the appearance of social results in the SERPs (snarky title of this article aside). Google Introduces Us To Contextual Marketin [...]


Work Smart, Not Hard – An Introduction To Google Analytics Dashboards

I love my Google Analytics dashboard and I'm not ashamed to admit it. It saves me time, helps me look like I'm 100% on top of things when a client calls, and helps me add hours back into days that were previously spent hunting and pecking for information. Right now, my client load consists of about 19 different domains that all have their own analytics installs. Each week that's a lot of information to check, verify, monitor, and create an action plan from. Without my dashboards, and most importantly, my consistently formatted dashboards, I would spend hours finding information - now I have [...]


Google Analytics Now Data Sampling: What’s The Catch?

Google made a significant event out of Leap Day 2012 by releasing a new version of Google Analytics featuring Data Sampling. The idea behind data sampling is commonplace in any statistical analysis: in order to get results faster, you analyze a sub-set of data to identify trends and extrapolate aggregate results based on the percentage of overall traffic represented in the sub-set. While I’m not a huge fan of sampling data when not necessary, larger data sets put a significant load on servers and sampling becomes a necessary evil when trying to deliver quick high on high volume data sets. [...]


How The Era Of ‘Big-Data’ Is Changing The Practice Of Online Marketing

In the early days of ‘Mad Men’ marketing, half of all Marketing spend was famously wasted - the Marketer just didn’t know which half. Many a Marketer’s sleepless night was spent wondering what levers of their Marketing spend to push forward and which to dial back. Then, along came the Internet, and with it a new kind of marketing. Marketing online brought with it ‘cause-and-effect marketing’ and a greater ability to measure the effectiveness of marketing effort. New metrics such as click-through rates, bounce rates and page views made its way into our lexicon and marketing gr [...]


Google Analytics Update To Organic Reports

google analytics icon As many of you know, organic traffic is auto-populated in Google Analytics reports using a default search engine list curated by Google. It is also possible to add smaller search engines manually into the tracking code snippet, using the _addOrganic method; but it's nicer when Google does it for us. Every once in a while, the Google Analytics team updates the list to reflect new or more popular search engines. We have confirmed that, starting from February 1st, a few search engines have been added to the list mentioned above. Below is the list of new search engines that are now part of the [...]


5 Common Tracking Problems: How To Troubleshoot & Fix Them

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with some clients’ analytics installs. Unlike types or broken code, or misspelled words – issues with tracking scripts don’t always raise their hands and scream, "Hey dummy, you deleted the </script> tag!" I thought it would be handy for the beginners out there to have a few tips for finding issues with your tracking and some tricks to resolving those issues without tearing your hair out. I’m Referring To Myself… This is probably the most common error I find, your own domain is showing as a referrer to your s [...]


Report Affirms Strong Q4 Search Growth In 2011, Offers Additional Insights

Marketers have had a couple weeks to digest their fourth quarter numbers and assess their successes and failures from a period that can be a whirlwind, particularly in the retail sector. Now, with Google's Q4 earnings report and Yahoo's out, we're getting a chance to compare our own performance to data put out by some of the major agencies and technology platforms. Earlier this month, we released the RKG Digital Marketing Report with this in mind. Our goal is that it serves as a credible benchmark for advertisers who don't enjoy the luxury of viewing results across multiple sites with multi [...]


How America’s Search Trends From 2011 Makes Google+ Stand Out

More than 300 Billion searches were made in the US in 2011, according to ComScore. In December each year, the Big Three search engines publish the most popular searches of the year. In 2011, the top ten searches from the three search engines added up to more than 250 million searches alone. We thought it would be fun to take a look at what America sees in the search results for the most popular searches of the year. First, the top ten US Searches in 2011 by search engine: Google Yahoo Bing Rebecca Black iPhone Person: Justin Bieber Google + Casey Anthon [...]


Justified – Beginning Steps To Proving Your Internet Marketing Point

If you’re working in online marketing in some function, you’ve battled this – the need to justify your marketing budget to the bean counters in the office 10 floors up, or even next door. Those not "in the know" about the truly trackable benefits of online marketing are generally skeptical at best when told "I can show you where every penny went, and what we got back in return." The inability to track return on radio, tv or even print ad buys without extensive (and frankly pretty difficult) work and integration between multiple departments makes these less than desireable mediums i [...]


How Much Is A Click Really Worth?

All forms of paid advertising use the max bid - it’s the most basic concept yet calculating the theoretical maximum value to pay for a click is surprisingly difficult. It’s not that the math is tough; it just takes stepping back from the granularity of channel specific optimization to get a more holistic look at how marketing channels interact with each other. Looking at one marketing channel at a time provides incomplete insight into performance yet, ironically, many businesses split management of channels across multiple teams and incentivize marketing mangers on performance leading t [...]


How To Track Emerging Search Engine Blekko In Web Analytics Systems

More than a year has passed since search engine upstart blekko launched, yet Web marketing analysts using digital media measurement tools like Google Analytics won't have seen any traffic attributed to blekko in organic search marketing reports. Instead, traffic supplied by blekko will show up in a referring websites report. It is possible to properly attribute blekko search traffic referrals by implementing advanced Web analytics configuration techniques. Is the extra effort worth the trouble? Certainly investors are betting on blekko. In late September, blekko received an addition $30 [...]


It’s All About Data: Our Most Popular Analytics Posts In 2011

You know how some people always tend to put 'analytical thinking' skills down on a resume, even if it's not 100% accurate? Luckily, that's not the case with our analytics experts at Search Engine Land. Over the course of 2011, our contributors shared everything and anything they know about measuring the value of website traffic, social media influence, direct ROI and looking critically at campaign data to squeeze out any insights and create efficiency. Here's a look at the top analytics-related posts, organized by their respective categories from the last year. Big Picture Analytical T [...]


A Beginners Guide To Finding Ad Placements & Fine Tune Conversions With Analytics Data

Many new webmasters and website marketers are under the mistaken impression that online marketing is a "Field of Dreams" and "if you build it, they will come." Unfortunately, you can build it, but if you don’t market it, and place it in front of the audience that buys your products, nobody will come, and neither will their credit cards. Using data from your website, you can find and fine tune advertising placements that increase your foot and online traffic; today, we’re going to show you how. First, have a realistic idea of who your audience is. If you’re a travel or tourism busin [...]


The Search Marketer’s Dilemma: Reporting Vs. Optimizing

Cross-channel revenue attribution - arguably the most widely agreed upon concept in the analytics space – is ironically the source of the search marketer’s dilemma. The dilemma is simple conceptually but digging into it brings up some fundamental flaws in conversion modeling and highlights the underlying catch-22 that marketers face. It all starts with a simple question: Should you optimize a specific marketing channel based off analytics data or proprietary channel data? To answer the dilemma, let’s set the stage of why the dilemma exists in the first place: it’s impossible to a [...]


Search Campaign Optimization Through Touchpoint Analysis

A vitally important first step to the attribution management process is to gather all the data associated with the "touches" that have been experienced by your target audience both as a result of being exposed to all your marketing efforts and direct traffic. Each "touchpoint" associated with each individual has numerous attributes or characteristics associated with it. For example, each search impression or click has attributes such as keyword, engine, placement/ranking, ad creative, offer, landing page, day-part, and more. Each display ad impression or click has a different set of c [...]


A Beginner’s Guide To Setting Goals In Google Analytics

When I first started using Google Analytics, my "goal" was to not run away screaming. The intense amount of information, seemingly disconnected, made understanding what I needed so overwhelming. In my last article,we talked about the basic reports you should watch as a beginner. This week, we’re going to work on how to make Google Analytics work for you via Goal setup and configuration. The first thing you need to do after login is find where to setup goals, which is not where you see the goal results. In reality, most of the setup in Google Analytics happens behind the sprocket in th [...]


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