Friday, May 01, 2009

Quick wins from Google Analytics

MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 06:  In this photo...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Comparing Date Ranges

GA new feature includes new capabilities that allow you to compare two different time periods and chart them immediately. Except when you are looking for specific data for a particular period, always run a trended view when you run a GA report. Looking at loads of data can be tedious at times but when you see a comparison of different date range, the numbers come alive and that’s when you begin to ask some questions, e.g. why did the keywords ‘primary framework’ and ‘app’ referred 568.22% and 4,461.54% more visits in April than March respectively? (Did we make changes to the site, are some campaigns going on etc)

Tools for developers

Even though the implementation of Google Analytics can be pretty easy, there are times when we notice the reports aren’t just what they should be. The first thing to do is to ensure the page / functionality is tagged properly and there are a few tools out there that can be useful (I’m sure a lot of the guys here know most them but I think its worth the mention as it can be useful for some of us that are not eating and drinking code everyday!) Some anomalies we see in Google Analytics report can be caused by JavaScript errors, cookie problems, client-side page load time issues (very different from slow connections).

So these are the tools to you can make use of:

1. Firefox browser – this is my default browser  You can still get some tools to work with Internet Explorer but Firefox has got loads of add-ons that makes browsing and debugging a pleasure. You can get it here -

2. For Cookie Issues (Web Developer Toolbar in Firefox) -

3. JavaScript – Firebug for Firefox. Can help detect JavaScript errors, line of code where the problem is etc. I will say its one of the most important tool for debugging GA implementation. Download from here -

4. Page Execution Speed: Chrome JavaScript Console – This is very useful for sites that have many other JavaScript within it. Sometimes this can prevent the GA script to load quickly so this tool available with Google’s Chrome browser can help to identify how long it’s taking for the GA JavaScript to run. If it takes so long for the script to be fired, even 5 secs extra can mean we don’t have a view of anyone who has come to the site and left immediately (Can this be why the bounce rate for the site is so low?? – let’s investigate this!) Download Chrome here -

Now some tools for my IE friends:

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