The December 2013 Google Analytics Recap

Happy New Year, and we wish you a fun, successful year of happy analyzing!

Here’s your summary of what happened over at Google Analytics in December, and why it should matter to you.

Google Analytics Dashboards for Quick Insights

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The gist: Guest poster and GACP Benjamin Mangold (from Loves Data) shared this article on the many benefits of using Dashboard reports. Dashboards are highly customizable, widget-based reports that show data at-a-glance, and can be sent (via email) to relevant parties – saving inbox bloat and time. They can also be shared with other users within GA.

Why it matters: If you’re not using Dashboards now, SEER recommends creating a few basic ones to give your team members quick access to your website performance. At the bare minimum, dashboards can be scheduled on weekly or monthly basis, to at least provide website health insights to those who don’t regularly login to GA.

Fairmount Gets Deeper Understanding of Social Interactions for Real Results

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The gist: An internationally-based luxury hotel chain wasn’t getting enough insight out of Facebook Likes and Retweets – those metrics are nice, but they don’t provide any real stories about customer behavior on-site, which social sites resonate best with visitors, and which social platforms work best for attracting visitors in different countries. The Google Analytics Social Interactions reports provided a richer, more robust reporting experience than likes and tweets alone.

Why it matters: How are you currently measuring social ROI? If you’re mashing numbers together from different platforms, or even celebrating 10 new Facebook Likes, are you really seeing the full picture of how your site performs socially? Google Analytics not only can be configured to report on what platforms your visitors arrive from most often, but can even tell you who shared your links:

And what social networks convert most often, and what role they play in the conversion process:

That’s just an overview of what the Social reports can tell you in Google Analytics, so we encourage you to learn more about this report and find out what you may need to gain access to this data.

How Attribution Modeling Increases Profit for Baby Supermall

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The gist: Joe Meier of Baby Supermall discussed his company’s unusually long buying cycle (after all, women having babies have 9 months to make a decision!), and wanted to efficiently measure the impact of their marketing activities without using their tried-and-true 80 megabyte marketing spreadsheets. Thanks to Attribution Modeling, they cut down the time spent analyzing, realized they could invest $5,000 into ad spend, and saw a return of tens of thousands of dollars from sales.

Why it matters: Although we didn’t need another reminder that attribution modeling is insanely valuable, remember that establishing which attribution model is best for your organization is step one to getting the most out of these reports. We’d recommend doing an in-depth dive into your multichannel analysis reports first, to see the values your marketing channels provide at different touchpoints, and then seeing which touchpoint (last click, first click, etc.) is the most valuable model for your business.

Using Universal Analytics to Measure Movement

Friday, December 13, 2013

The gist: Once again, Benjamin Mangold from Loves Data is back to share their experience with Universal Analytics. His post showed that Universal Analytics could measure just about anything, including movements based on his team members’ dance moves! Each dancer was put in front of an Xbox Kinect, and their movements tracked in Real-Time in GA. If the Measurement Protocol in Universal Analytics is this powerful, imagine the business applications.

Why it matters: Universal Analytics is the wave of the future, and this fun test is a serious look at how powerful offline measurement will be for your business. For example, I imagine taking a look at dancers who only moved their arms, segmenting them out, and seeing how often they went online to make a purchase, versus kickers who only purchase in-store. Do people with the slickest moves spend more money? With Universal Analytics, you’ll never have to wonder again.

Wrangle Your Site Categories and Product Types with Content Grouping

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The gist: By modifying your tracking code, using regex and/or rule creation, you can create content groups on your site to easily categorize your site’s content into a logical structure for analysis. Data for your various groupings will be aggregated, letting you then drill down into individual pages for a deeper analysis. To get in on the fun, check out the technical requirements.

Why it matters: As a former librarian, I love this feature! This is like a card catalogue for your website, but amped up with data. Instead of using regex or a custom report to track performance of different pages and subdirectories, this method of tracking will give you the up-front view of how your site content is performing, quickly and without needing to filter through individual low-trafficked pages all the time. This is also easier than using the Content Drilldown reports, since you may be mentally grouping items/pages that live in different subdirectories differently than how Google does.

If you’re as palpably excited about Content Groups as I am, take a look at GA’s Best Practices for Content Groups before you start implementation. Have fun!

Klarna Tracks Third-Party iFrame with Universal Analytics’ Cookieless Approach

Friday, December 27, 2013

The gist: Classic analytics tracking requires cookies to send data to your reporting platforms, but Klarna (an online provider of payment solutions) was able to implement Universal Analytics in order to gain valuable checkout data in their iFrame-hosted checkout screen. Instead of using cookies, Klarna was able to use the client ID as the session identifier, rendering cookie-preventing browsers no longer a problem. Read the full case study.

Why it matters: As mentioned previously, Universal Analytics is the wave of the future, and it’s no coincidence that Google Analytics keeps sharing successful use-cases. Once you make the migration, you’ll be able to use Universal’s new Google Analytics features to create powerful reports for your business.

Google Analytics Developer Updates

Nico Miceli contributed to this section of the post.

Cookie and Cross Domain Configuration

Google Analytics has a new addition for how you can cookie a site. In Universal Analytics, an ‘auto’ parameter is used to simplify cross domain and subdomain tracking. Previously you needed to add the website you are using.

For example, this the old way of doing it:
ga(‘create’, ‘UA-43230569-1’, ‘’);

This is the new way of doing it:
ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXX-Y’, ‘auto’);

This parameter tries to write the cookie at the highest domain possible, which means it will write it to and can track all the subdomains like This has been around for a while, but has recently been made public and added the documentation and all code examples.

Google has also launched the Cross Domain Auto Linker for Forms in Universal Analytics. The standard cross domain tracking has been out for a while but Google just fixed the more advanced version to be able to work with forms. All you have to do is append the true argument to the end of the linker ga code which will add the necessary parameters to the end of the form actions.

ga(‘linker:autoLinker’,[‘’,’’],false, true)

The true argument enables cross domain auto linking for both GET and POST forms.
Note: According to Google, this might not work if you have any complicated JS in the works with it. Test it first on your dev site before it goes live.

New API Goodies!

New data for the multi channel Funnels API! GA has added new support for adwords conversion paths and interactions. The new update allows you to query for specific ids that are associated with the specific ad group and campaigns.

Here are the examples:

Conversion Paths


For the core reporting API, we now have MINUTE LEVEL DATA!!! Woo! You can now pull data by the minute and nthMinute which is over a time period that you specify.

If you like the demographics reports you can now pull all the audience data from the new demographics reports via the API.

Here are some examples:



New Data Allowed in Segments
Not all data is allowed in segments but google just added two more dimensions to the pool. You can now pull a hybrid of source and medium as well as local item revenue that will show the revenue in the local currency. To see which dimensions and metrics are allowed check out the Dimensions & Metrics Reference.


Traffic Sources


The API in data table for easy visualization.

You can query the core reporting API with an output parameter and if you set it as a dataTable
You get an output with a new dataTable object that will contain a columns list and a rows list. This makes it a lot easier to feed the API data right into Google charts for quick and great visualizations.
Note: Regarding the image below, the rows are in the same data table as the cols, despite what it might look like.

Deprecated Data

Google Analytics removed a couple API calls that you might have been using, but do not fear here is how to get that same data.

ga:isMobile instead use ga:deviceCategory == mobile
ga:isTablet instead use ga:deviceCategory == tablet
ga:entranceBounceRate instead use ga:visitBounceRate

What do you think about the exciting new services that Google Analytics is rolling out? Have you implemented any of the changes?