Don't Get Lost in Google Analytics: How to Organize Your Metrics with the Right Views

It's easy to get overwhelmed by Google Analytics. Even the first page gives you a lot of data at a glance. Once you start clicking deeper and deeper into the various categories and elements, it's hard to dig yourself back out. More data is almost always better than not enough data. But if you always leave Google Analytics feeling frustrating, confused, or you didn't get the answer you were looking for, you're not getting what you need to run your business.

The best way to use any analytics tool is to step back and make a plan. Before your next visit to the portal, think about what answers you're looking for and how the information will help your business grow. Give yourself a solid foundation and make sure all of your reports, searches, and glances are starting off with data that makes sense. Then you can start searching for specific, detailed answers that drive your future campaigns. When it comes to Google Analytics, a solid foundation starts with the right views.

Create a basic collection of different views.

Once you have your analytics ID added to every webpage, data will start rushing into your portal. You'll start seeing visitor stats, the number of different interactions, and everywhere your traffic is coming from. But that torrential flood of information isn't always helpful, and you need to know which metrics matter. Instead of going straight to reports and spreadsheets, make sure you filter the data through the right view first.

What are views?

Views give you data through different filters, or lenses. Rather than seeing all of your data all the time, a view gives you a specific subsection of the data. Views can be inclusive, such as if you want to only see information about Chrome users, or exclusive, such as when you want to ignore internal employees' visits.

However, views don't just act like filters. The type of data in every view you create is permanently limited, and the excluded data isn't saved. This helps keep your standard stats and analytics easy to read. It also helps reduce the amount of manual clicking and filtering you have to do to find answers in your data. But because that data is gone once you remove it from your collection of views, it's important to build the right ones from the beginning. Here are four views your account needs to have:

Keep a raw view of your data.

You probably won't use raw data very often. But having a comprehensive, completely unfiltered pool of data is a great resource. Not only can you use the view for archival data, but you can also compare the other views against it as you start to experiment.

Create a view without confounding data.

Not all traffic is traffic that you want to measure. If your web designer is repeatedly refreshing a page to test out new designs, that can skew your statistics. If your IT department set your business's website as everyone's homepage, that can inflate your daily numbers. Even bots and web-crawling algorithms can interfere with your analysis. 

So create a second view that excludes the visitors and interactions none of your marketing and sales departments need to measure.

Give yourself a sandbox view for testing new ideas.

Once you become more familiar with Google Analytics, you are going to have more and more complex analyses. That means your views will also become more complicated as you investigate specific areas of the data. But, like any settings change or online edit, you want to test it first.

Create a third view that's identical to the view without confounding data. But label it as your test view instead. Then you can test and modify this view until you get what you're looking for. Once it's just right, rename it to describe the view settings. Then create a new copy of the view without confounding data and label it as a test view. That way, you're all set up for the next time inspiration or a new market strikes.

Start building views for different teams.

Your marketing and sales directors will need a holistic glance into all of your external traffic. It will help them reallocate focus and see the big picture. But if your departments are split into smaller teams that handle different regions, you can give them specific views that help them understand their region without any unwanted "noise" from the rest of the data.

One of the best ways to create views is through geographic markers. Make a view for your North American, EMEA, and other teams. Depending on your business, interactions from consumers in the United States of America might drown out activity from visitors in other countries. 

If you have separate marketing teams for mobile and desktop users, you can also create views for their use. Even customers that fall under the same customer persona can start to interact with your site very differently depending on the device they're using at the moment. Using separate views from the start helps you get to the bottom of skewed or unexpected patterns.

You can also create reciprocal views that answer the other side of the equation. For example, you can build views that filter out different ages, regions, and sources to focus on a core group. Then you can build a reciprocal view that either brings them back in or focuses on the excluded groups. This improves focus on the bigger picture. It's also a great way to make sure your first view doesn't accidentally exclude too much information.

Once you're comfortable creating views, make them part of your active strategies, too. If your company plans on expanding outside of your tri-state area or you have campaigns designed to reach a new market in a specific, create a view so a dedicated employee can focus solely on the new development. The number of views you can have per account has a cap, but temporary views for new projects are a great tool to use until the expansion stabilizes and you can cut back to a more generalized regional view.


But data is only the start. You also need great marketing materials and digital strategies to get the stats you're looking for. Go to the BOLD Worldwide for content tips, omnichannel marketing ideas, and social media campaign strategies that can drive new leads to your website.

2019 Marketing Assessment Tool

Topics: marketing analytics data & analytics in marketing google analytics

How Data Tiers Can Help You Prioritize Your Marketing Analytics

Even advanced marketers can get confused by the complex world of marketing analytics. In today's big data environment, it's easy to gather data - but difficult to prioritize that information in a way that makes effective analysis possible. Before you know it, you suffer from data overload, effectively rendering the concept useless for your business.

That hypothetical is the worst-case scenario. Analytics are absolutely crucial to your marketing success; without them, you simply don't know what works and what doesn't, and cannot effectively build your strategy. As a result, you move away from the goal of results marketing. At best, you're guessing at potentially successful tactics and messages. At worst, you lose budget because what you're doing is not working, and you cannot prove that allocating funds to marketing is actually money well spent for your business.

Of course, neither is a scenario any business of any size wants to be in. Fortunately, you don't have to be. In fact, simple prioritization can do wonders in helping you turn your analytics from confusing to actionable. To get to that point, it pays to understand a simple concept: data tiers.

The Core Concept of Data Tiers in Marketing Analytics

First things first: none of the below makes sense if you don't understand what we mean by data tiers. The concept is based on a simple fact: not all data is created equal. Some, in fact, has little to do with your actual marketing success.

Organizing your data helps you prioritize your efforts. All of the below metrics have a purpose within a larger context; however, some of them matter more than others. Would you rather know how many people a given social media post reached, or how much it actually contributed to your ROI?

If you know the answer to that question, you understand the core concept of and need for marketing tiers.

Tier 1: Reach and Awareness Metrics

The first tier of marketing metrics also doubles as its more basic. These analytics can help you determine the success of goals related to your brand awareness, but little more. They also happen to be the most visual; from Google Analytics to Facebook Insights, you can easily find reach and impression as a success metric.

How much of a metric is it though, in reality? That's the core question you have to answer for yourself. Sure, you can measure your brand awareness, and in the most basic sense, how much your marketing dollars got you. But that's where it ends; this first tier tells you little about user intent, action, or other metrics more relevant to actual brand success. 

Tier 2: Action and Conversion Metrics

The next tier is more closely related to your actual goal. This is the one that goes beyond the mere fact of your ad showing up, and it's also where digital marketing starts to show its advantage over non-digital alternatives. Measuring the actions users take helps you determine how convincing your ad actually was in driving your audience into and down the sales funnel.

The most basic metric in this tier is link clicks, which every type of digital platform measures. But it doesn't end there. In this tier, you will also find metrics related to conversions on your website and elsewhere. Some of these numbers may be found on your ad platform's internal analytics suite. For others, you may have to use a third-party platform, such as Google Analytics.

Tier 3: Cost Metrics

Of course, conversion metrics matter little if you don't consider the cost of getting there. Digital ads tend to be pay per click (PPC), which means you only get charged when a member of your target audience actually takes an action. That, in turn, means you have to pay special attention of how much you actually spend per click, and whether that spend is paying off.

A variety of metrics fit into this grouping. We already mentioned cost per click, but it's not the only option. Cost per conversion is calculated similar, but can differ depending on how you define a conversion. Put simply: every number that is directly related to your budget is a part of this tier.

Tier 4: Return on Investment Metrics

Most marketers stop at the first three tiers. In fact, if you do so, you might already consider yourself pretty successful. But you're also missing a major opportunity. That's because in the fourth tier, they all come together.

In a way, ROI metrics are not metrics at all. Instead, they're a combination of metrics. If, for example, you're tracking your conversions, and know the approximate value of each conversion, you can compare that number to your cost to get an accurate ROI measure. This article walks you through calculating your digital ROI.

Are You Ready to Maximize Your Analytics Potential?

Build these tiers, and you can begin to make sense of your analytics efforts. All of them, of course, matter to some degree. But generally speaking, the lower tiers should receive more attention than their counterparts higher up the food chain. They're more closely connected to actual business investment and success, and thus can bring your marketing measurement beyond its bubble.

The goal of results marketing is to prioritize channels and messages that actually help your business grow and advance. But that's impossible to do if you don't know what metrics to focus on. A tiered approach like the above helps you solve that quandary, increasing your chances of successful marketing.

Of course, the end result can still be complex. You need to know how to connect individual metrics with your larger marketing and business goals, how to measure these metrics, and how to leverage them effectively to improve and build your marketing strategy. Only getting to that point can truly maximize your analytics potential.

We want to help you get there. In fact, marketing analytics, especially in the digital realm, are among our greatest strength. If you struggle with the concept, and with proving the actual success of your marketing efforts, let's work together. Contact us today to get started.

2019 Marketing Strategy Assessment

Topics: marketing analytics data & analytics in marketing