Analyze this: Tips for setting up analytics on your website

This post first appeared on Ueno’s blog here.

Making things pretty is not enough. The things we make also have to work well for their intended purpose — telling a story, selling a product, sharing content. One of the ways we use to tell if what we build achieves its purpose is through analytics. Information is power!

Gathering useful information from a website is more than slapping on some code. Before adding any code snippets, you must first identify what you want to track, and why. Then work with your developers to implement the analytics code, check that all is firing as expected, and BOOM! You’re ready to go. Simple, right? Sort of.

We recently did an analytics audit of the Ueno website to establish objectives and make sure we’re getting the information necessary to make the best decisions. Website changes take time and money, so we needed to prioritize, and data would allow us to do just that. We chose Google Analytics (GA) because it’s a powerful tool, generally easy to use, and one of the most commonly used platforms across industries.

Our first step was to define our objectives. What’s the purpose of Ueno’s website? This is what we came up with:

  1. Attract new business
  2. Attract new talent
  3. Showcase our work

Once we established those objectives, we brainstormed a list questions that would help us measure them.

  • How many people are visiting the site? How many of those are completing the new business inquiry form?
  • How much content are people consuming? How many pages to they visit and how far do they scroll?
  • Where are visitors coming from? Which channels are most likely to result in a new business inquiry or job application?

When we had a broad sense of the information we needed, and it was time to set up the GA account. Here are three key components to the setup:

1. Conversion Goals

Based on the primary objectives, we defined two Conversion Goals to measure how often users complete specific actions.

A conversion goal might seem more obvious on an e-commerce site (a purchase, for example) but depending on your objectives you can always find some action to measure success. Here are ours:

  • Conversion Goal 1 — New business form submission: Fires every time someone completes our new business inquiry form
  • Conversion Goal 2 — Careers application submission: Fires every time someone submits an application

These are the two main actions we want people to take on the site, so at a high-level they can tell us how effective our website is and which traffic channels are performing best.

2. Events

Next, we defined several GA Events to help measure how well the website is achieving its objectives.

  1. New business events
  • New business form form: Number of visits, submits and successes
  • Track what page(s) are driving the most new biz submissions / what content influences people to submit
  • What channels (e.g. social, newsletter, referring sites) drive submissions

2. Career events

  • Job application form: number of visits, submits and successes
  • What channels (e.g. social, newsletter)/websites are driving applications

3. Engagement events

  • Clicks: all clicks to outbound links
  • Expands: expansion of content
  • Scroll tracking: what percent of visitors scroll to 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of the page

3. Audience Segments

We wanted to view website data through the lense of different audiences to hone in on behaviors — who is doing what and why. Here’s a list of audience segments we set up:

  • Engagers: Users who clicked an outbound link or expanded content
  • Non-Engagers: Users who did not click a link or expand content
  • Converters: Users with at least one goal completion
  • Non-Converters: Users with less than one goal completion
  • Organic Traffic: Users who were referred from a search engine (Google, Bing, etc.)
  • Social Traffic: Users who were referred from a social media channel
  • Email Traffic: Users who were referred by email (our newsletter)
  • Blog traffic: Users who were referred by Ueno blog

Segmenting the audience lets us filter information such as:

  • How does traffic from email channel behave differently from traffic from the blog?
  • What actions from converters are contributing to conversion?

Are you thinking about setting up analytics for your own company or agency? Here are a few tips based on our experience.

  • Start simple. It might be appealing to gather ALL the information, but it can also be overwhelming. Establish two or three goals to start, and focus on learning as much as you can about what contributes to those goals. Build from there.
  • Enlist help. Even though I had a good sense of what we wanted to achieve, we hired an expert GA consultant to help. It was great to have someone confirm or challenge my ideas, share his experience from working on GA setup for other clients, and help with technical implementation.
  • Keep iterating. Setting up your analytics isn’t a one-and-done process. The first phase will establish a baseline, but you may quickly discover that there’s more you want to know. And as your website grows, make sure new pages are tagged.
  • Don’t forget to block your IP address. You can blacklist visits from your company’s IP address so internal traffic data doesn’t muddy your data.

We’re using the data from GA to establish a performance baseline, so we can measure the impact of any changes to the site.

We’ll keep you posted.

-Posted by Elizabeth Donovan-


Big Changes Coming with iOS 9, and What it Means for Marketers

apple_wwdc_news_thumbnailEarlier this month at its annual developer conference, Apple announced some big changes coming with the next operating system. Now that we’ve had some time to digest, here are the some of the new features that will impact marketers:

  1. Apple’s “News” app
    Apple introduced a new magazine-like news experience with its news app, simply called “News.” News content from third party publishes will be curated based on a user’s preferences, allowing readers to choose topics, similarly to the popular news curation app, Flipboard. This is a big opportunity for publishers to get content in front of more readers and monetize via ads: publishers will get 100% of revenue from ads they sell and 70% from ads sold by Apple’s iAd. For marketers, it’s another channel to reach engaged audience on their iOS devices.
  2. New & improved search features
    Apple announced a number of updates related to search, including upgrades to Siri and in-app deep-linking. Siri will be enhanced with better voice-recognition technology, which Apple claims will improve by 40%. Users will swipe right to access to new Search tool offering personalized suggestions from Siri, who will learn a user’s preferences over time. Suggestions will be based on the time, location and user’s previous behavior. With deep-linking to third party apps, users will be able to search for content inside their apps – which is a great feature for app publishers and marketers looking to improve discoverability and engagement for their in-app content.
  3. Ability to block adds on Safari
    iOS 9 will give developers an easy way to develop mobile ad blockers, which could spell trouble for ad networks like Google. According to, “When users download an app with an ad blocker extension, it shows up in Settings. Users can keep the app installed and disable the content blocker independently by using the toggle switches.” Only time well tell when and how developers will utilize this feature in their apps, and what impact it will have on ad networks.
  4. iOS Apps Won’t See User’s other Installed Apps
    In an effort to beef up its privacy promise, Apple will prevent apps from getting data on what other apps users have installed in iOS 9. Twitter and Facebook have typically accessed this data to help with ad targeting. We’ll be seeing more like this from Apple, who is not going to monetize its users’ personal data, per Tim Cook’s recent comments: “Some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

The battle between the largest tech players, Facebook, Google and Apple, is as interesting as ever. Some of Apple’s updates and new features are obvious digs at their competitors. But ultimately, Apple’s direction simply makes sense. Consumers today expect a personalized, simple experience where their privacy is not compromised. Apple is smart to develop features and products that enhance the experience without compromising personal data. As users become more savvy, sketchy data practices will become more scrutinized and even made illegal, so business models that support customer privacy will come out on top (not that Apple isn’t on top, already!).

Further reading:


-Posted by Elizabeth Pace-

The Rise of Social TV (and what it means for marketers)

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We all know television is in a state of flux. Between the popularity of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and a growing number of millennials cutting the cord to avoid rising cable bills, it’s no wonder TV execs are scrambling for the “next big thing.”

Well, the next big thing may be here already. Social TV, the integration of social elements with TV to create a dual-screen experience, is on the rise and proving quite popular. According to Mobile Marketer, brands like ABC who have integrated hashtags into their TV experience have seen immense participation across the Twittersphere. Another example is Discovery Channel’s Shark Week—the channel’s iPad app featured content intended to be consumed while users watched Shark Week on TV. SproutSocial reported that this campaign led to more than 13 million people having 21 million interactions with Shark Week on Facebook.

It’s no surprise that this trend is most prominent amongst millennials. Deloitte’s Digital Democracy survey (released in Spring 2014) found that 48% of millennials say they use a social network while watching TV. 86% of all US consumers say they are multitasking while watching TV, up from 72% two years prior.

So what does this mean for marketers? We should be thinking about an integrated approach when engaging consumers through TV. If we want our audience’s full attention, we need to take over their TVs and the device in their hands. But, heed this good advice from Clickz: “Before deciding whether you should spend your marketing budget on a social TV campaign, take a close look at your brand. If you think your brand does not have a lot to say in the space, look for other channels to engage your audience.”

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

NYC Removes Mobile Beacons after BuzzFeed Article Blasts Privacy Issues

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An NYC agency approved hundreds of beacons—devices that can push ads and track mobile devices—to be installed in phone booths around Manhattan. But after BuzzFeed published an article about the beacons yesterday, City Hall promptly requested that they be removed.

As BuzzFeed reported, the beacons were installed without any public notice. This is problematic because of the potential privacy issues. BuzzFeed wrote, “The spread of beacon technology to public spaces could turn any city into a giant matrix of hidden commercialization.” Because the beacons can track the location of the public’s personal mobile devices, privacy advocates are concerned about the lack of transparency.

Hours after BuzzFeed published its article, City Hall requested that the beacons be removed. According to the Wall Street Journal, transparency is critical when using new technologies such as beacons: “It shows that while marketers tend to get jazzed about new advertising technologies, it is important not to creep consumers out or try to dupe them.”

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Will Programmatic Advertising Stifle Creativity?

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Programmatic advertising was a hot topic at Advertising Week in NYC this year. The 5-day event, which draws to a close tomorrow October 3rd, features more than 200 events including seminars and workshops that focus on key business drivers in advertising and marketing. (For a further dive into what exactly “programmatic” means, read this Aspiring CMO post from July.)

On Wednesday, Havas Chief Executive Yannick Bollore spoke about programmatic advertising and whether it threatens to stifle creative output from execs. “Algorithm will never replace the creative director; I’m not worried at all for the future of creativity,” said Mr. Bollore.

Despite Mr. Bollore’s confidence that human creativity will always remain at the heart of advertising, Business Insider’s Programmatic Advertising Report claims “Programmatic platforms are on pace to fundamentally reshape the entire digital advertising landscape.” The report found that real-time-bidding (RTB), one of the key components to programmatic buying, will account for over $18.2 billion in U.S. digital ad revenues in 2018, up from $3.1 billion in 2013.

There is no doubt programmatic advertising will garner an increasingly large investment from marketers in the coming years, but creativity remains crucial for the success of any campaign. While programmatic may cut out some of the middle men/women who plan, buy and optimize campaigns, it doesn’t replace the human ideas that fuel ad concepts.

I whole-heartedly agree with Mr. Bollore that art and science can, and must, coexist in the new advertising age. According to Mr. Bollore, “It is nonsense to oppose data with creative, and to oppose emotion with rationality. A combination of the two can completely work.”

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Measuring Mobile Performance: Don’t Rely on CTRs

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A recent study from xAd and Nielson found that Click-Through-Rate is a poor indicator of ad performance on mobile. In fact, Lower CTRs were often associated with the highest offline in-store visitation rates.

The study ran on xAd’s platform and measured 80 campaigns from 12 brands during Q1 and Q2 of 2014. Placed, a local analytics provider, measured in-store visits as a response to ads.

CTR is commonly used as a measurement of engagement for ads on the web. The assumption is that if a viewer clicks on an ad, he or she is probably interested in the product or service advertised. However, the likelihood that a viewer might accidentally click on an ad is much higher in a mobile environment. In its report, xAd said as many as 40% of clicks on mobile devices are accidental.

So how should marketers be measuring ROI in mobile? xAd suggests they should be looking at the full picture, which includes CTR along with SAR (secondary action rate) and SVL (store visitation lift). Because the vast amount of commercial activity still occurs at a physical store location, xAd recommends SVL as the best measurement for mobile ad effectiveness.

The question of how to best measure mobile effectiveness has plagued marketers for years. A recent study by Forrester shows that only 13% of marketers feel very confident in their ability to measure cross-channel, and only 18% are confident in their ability to measure the ROI of mobile efforts.

With over 10 million iPhone 6 phones sold by Apple in one weekend, there’s no question that mobile is a channel to be reckoned with. But marketers will shy away from spending on mobile advertising until the technology can catch up.

Further reading:

-Posted by Elizabeth Pace

Yahoo is Acquiring Flurry, a Mobile Analytics Company

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The race to capture marketers’ mobile dollars is in high gear as Yahoo allegedly purchased mobile analytics firm Flurry today, according to TechCrunch and MarketWatch. As written on Flurry’s website, “Flurry Analytics is the industry standard in mobile, and provides more than 170,000 developers the business data they need to understand their audience, usage and performance.

Yahoo’s latest purchase is one in a string of mobile acquisitions made by tech giants Google, Twitter and Facebook in recent months. In October 2013, Facebook acquired mobile analytics firm Onavo. Twitter acquired native mobile ad platform Namo Media and mobile commerce firm TapCommerce in June. Google acquired mobile analytics company Adometry in May. Amazon developed its own mobile analytics platform. (You get the picture.)

These recent moves are part of each company’s effort to increase offerings in the mobile advertising space. An estimated 1.75 billion people will use Smartphones in 2014, with usage growing every day. Mobile ad market spend will hit $18 billion this year. Everybody wants a piece of that pie, and a majority slice to boot.

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