Google Analytics Changes: Visits and Unique Visitors now Sessions and Users

Google Analytics rolled out some changes in April 2014 rather quietly, changing the naming of some of their most important metrics. The terminology changes were made to better support Google’s new Universal Analytics, which can measure traffic across both web and apps.

SessionsUsers-GoogleAnalytics2

Visits is now Sessions

The first major change is that Google Analytics has changed Visits to be called Sessions. The concept of sessions has always existed in Google Analytics, as a way of measuring actions a visitor takes on your web site within a given timeframe. Google Analytics defaults the session length to 30 minutes, though it can be customized to between 1 minute and 4 hours.

This means that if a user visits different pages on your web site, downloads files etc., and then views more pages several hours later, these are considered separate sessions (and previously would have been labeled as separate visits).

 

Unique Visitors is now Users

Secondly, the previous app metric Active Users has been combined with the web metric Visitors, and both are now just combined under the same name, Users.

In addition to unifying the reporting across web and app reporting for the new Google Analytics Universal Analytics, it also makes things a bit less confusing as Visits and Visitors often caused confusion since the terms are quite similar. This is why Visitors were generally referred to as Unique Visitors — and now they are Users, which makes more sense still.

 

For any users of the CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards, which imports Google Analytics data into Salesforce to be displayed as part of your Salesforce dashboards, we will be updating the labels on the fields and reports in our next release in early June. That release will also include geographical data and improvements on reporting on Users (formerly Unique Visitors).

 

Setting Goals for Your Site: An Intro to Google Analytics Goals

Setting goals for ourselves is one of the best ways to achieve things personally and professionally — so why should your web site be any different? This quick introduction shows you how to use Goals in Google Analytics to measure some target objectives you have for your web site.

Goal-setting in Google Analytics is simpler than many goals we have in life. A Google Analytics goal is just a measure of how often visitors to your web site complete a certain action, such as spending a certain amount of time on a page, visiting one page after starting on another, or events such as form submissions or eCommerce transactions. Each time a user completes one of the Goals you have set up, it is recorded as a conversion in Google Analytics.

GoogleAnalyticsGoals

Setting Up Google Analytics Goals

You can create up to 20 Goals per View (formerly called Google Analytics Profiles). To create a Goal:

  1. Cick Admin, then select an account, property, and a view.
  2. Click Goals, then Create a Goal.
  3. Choose a Template to start with some prebuilt goal examples, or choose Custom to create your own goal from scratch.
  4. There are 4 basic types of goals you can create:
    1. Destination – a specific location loads, or path taken through your site
    2. Duration – how long a visitor session lasts
    3. Pages/Screens per session – how many pages or screens a visitor views
    4. Event – something happens such as a video play, social share
  5. Optionally set a Goal Value, which is the monetary value of a user completing the Goal.
  6. Click Verify to test the setup of your goal
  7. Save the Goal

Once you create a Goal, it starts recording data for all current and future sessions. Goals cannot be deleted, but they can be turned off, or edited to become a different goal.

If you have set the optional monetary Goal Value, you can start evaluating goals by that measure. But even without it, you will start seeing Goal Conversions (a visitor session that completes your goal is considered a Goal conversion in Google Analytics).

Note that Goals related to Ecommerce tracking require additional setup and configuration. Event Goals may also require that you set up Event Tracking in Google Analytics prior (especially as they relate to events such as events such as downloads), which often needs to be done by a developer.

 

Viewing Google Analytics Goal Conversions in Salesforce

If you are using Salesforce in addition to Google Analytics, you can import Google Analytics Goal Conversion data to Salesforce, for web site conversion visibility alongside the conversion metrics that are the mainstay of Salesforce (leads to accounts, and opportunities to closed won deals).

Our CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards application automatically imports a number of metrics daily from Google Analytics and displays it in Salesforce dashboards. All 20 Goal Names and Goal Conversion numbers from each Google Analytics View are imported and displayed in 2 Salesforce dashboards. The Google Analytics Goal data is also stored natively in a Salesforce custom object, so you can also use it in other reports and dashboards if you wish.

CloudAmpGAMetrics-Goals1-10_small

The “goal” of the Analytics Dashboards app is to make it easy to have daily visibility into the conversion Goals you have set up for your website, right inside Salesforce where you work on a daily basis. Getting this visibility before visitors would typically enter Salesforce as leads can help improve your conversions and optimize marketing efforts earlier in the funnel.

Questions? Have some favorite Google Analytics Goals you like to track? Please leave them in the comments below.

 

New Spring ‘14 Release of CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards

Here at CloudAmp we try to release new features for our Salesforce apps three times per year, with some minor updates and bug fixes in between, much in the same way that Salesforce updates their platform.

Today we are pleased to announce a significant upgrade to our CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards app. The new Spring ‘14 release contains two significant enhancements that were requested by our customers: customizable date ranges for the initial import of Google Analytics profile data into Salesforce, and new Google Analytics goal conversion metrics and dashboards in Salesforce.

Customizable Date Ranges

Previously, when you added a new Google Analytics profile to the CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards, it automatically imported the past 30 days of data from Google Analytics. Now, for each of the 5 Google Analytics profiles or web sites that the application supports, when you first add a profile you can select how much historical data to import, up to a maximum of 2 years worth of data. The options are:

  • 30 Days

  • 60 Days

  • 90 Days

  • From January 1st of Current Year (for Jan 1-March 31 it will be previous year)

  • From January 1st of Previous Year (for Jan 1-March 31 it will be 2 years ago)

  • 2 Years or back to when the Google Analytics profile was created (whichever is lesser)

ImportRangePopup2

After the initial large data import from Google Analytics into Salesforce, the automated daily imports are scheduled and will proceed as usual. Each day between 2 and 4 AM local time (as defined in your Salesforce org), the previous day’s metrics will be imported into Salesforce automatically.

Each daily import of metrics from Google Analytics into Salesforce is stored in a custom object called “CloudAmpGA Metrics” and takes up approximately 2k, so storage is generally not an issue – even if you import 2 years of data from all 5 Google Analytics profiles, that will still only take up about 7.12 MB inside Salesforce. Since each Salesforce Enterprise Edition user license gets 20 MB of data storage, with a 1 GB minimum per Salesforce org, it should not be a significant impact on the storage limitations of Salesforce. Note that if you are testing the CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards in a Salesforce Developer account, those are limited to 5 MB of data storage, so you may not want to import the maximum historical data when adding a Google Analytics profile.

New Goals Dashboards

Also new in the Spring ‘14 release of CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards is the addition of Google Analytics Goals to the data import and dashboards. We’ve added the ability to import all the Goal names and Conversion metrics from each Google Analytics profile (up to the maximum of 20 per profile), and have designed two new dashboards for each profile (Salesforce dashboards  for goals 1-10 and 11-20).

Goals in Google Analytics are a way of measuring the effectiveness of your web site, by setting up certain objectives and then measuring the conversion of visitors with those goals. Completing a form would be a common goal, but other goals might measure the visits to a particular product page from the home page, or a certain duration or number of page views per visit that a visitor spends on your site.

CloudAmpGAMetrics-Goals1-10

For this reason, adding Goals to the metrics that we import from Google Analytics into Salesforce was a common request from many customers. With the new release you can now import all 20 Goal Names and Goal Conversion numbers on a daily basis from up to 5 different web sites / Google Analytics profiles, and see it in your Salesforce dashboards and alongside your other Salesforce data.

Now you can get even better visibility into the top of your funnel (visitors) and conversion process (goals) prior to leads coming in to your Salesforce system, and have that visibility right inside Salesforce.

CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards sets up in less than 5 minutes and has a 7 day free trial. Give it a try today and let us know what you think, or add a comment below if you have questions.

Importing Google Analytics Data into Salesforce

This is a tutorial on how to manually import Google Analytics data into Salesforce. It is designed for customers of the CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards, who might want to import historical data beyond the last 30 days that is automatically imported when you first install the application (soon to be customizable for different time periods), but it will also work for any Salesforce setup.

If you are not a CloudAmp customer, keep in mind that you would need to create a custom object and fields to hold your Google Analytics data inside of Salesforce.  You could always try CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards free for 7 days, since it takes just a few minutes to set up. It might be just the thing you are looking for, since it gives you all of the data and dashboards preconfigured, not to mention automatically loading your Google Analytics data nightly into Salesforce. But obviously I am biased here. 😉

Anyway, with that plug out of the way, how can you import Google Analytics data into Salesforce, either as a permanently manual process or to supplement data from an existing integration?

Here is a step by step tutorial. Please note that steps 1-3 are optional. If you like to live on the edge, you can simply export data from Google Analytics and then match up the columns when importing into Salesforce, rather than create an import template first.

Building an Import Template

1. Find the prebuilt report called “CloudAmpGA Metrics Export Report” (or create your own).

Google Analytics Import 1b

2. Export to CSV

Google Analytics Import 2b

3. Prepare the CSV file to become an import template. The main reason we exported was to get the appropriately named header row, and some of the profile data.

Google Analytics Import 3b

  1. Delete all rows of data except for the header and first row

  2. Delete these columns, since they will be auto-generated by Salesforce when new data is imported

    1. CloudAmpGA Metrics: Metrics Number

    2. CloudAmpGA Metrics: ID
      Google Analytics Import 4

  1. Delete all other data from first sample row, except for

    1. Profile_Id

    2. Profile Number

    3. Profile Name
      (you want to save these values to match with the Google Analytics profile(s) that you will be importing).

Exporting data from Google Analytics

Log into Google Analytics, select the profile you want, and set the date range to the periods of data that you wish to  import into Salesforce. Export the relevant data from Google Analytics for the metrics and date ranges you want into a CSV file.

This step can be the most difficult, as different metrics are stored differently of Google Analytics. Google Analytics limits which dimensions can be related to which metrics, so creating exportable reports that will be formatted in a useable way can be a challenge for some of the data. For the CloudAmpGA Metrics custom object in Salesforce, for example, where daily records are stored for the CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards app, not all of the metrics are cleanly exportable as columns in a CSV file.

  1. Go to the “Customize” button and create a Custom Report.
    Google Analytics Import 6

  2. Select “Date” for the dimension

  3. Select the metrics that you wish to export.
    Google Analytics Import 7b

  4. Save the report and export to CSV.
    Google Analytics Import 8b

Important Notes:

  1. Only 500 rows of Analytics data can be exported at a time into CSV format. Google has some tips for exporting larger data sets in the Google Analytics help documentation.

  2. Note that not all metrics are available in custom reports, or at least not in an easy-to-export way. You many need to create additional reports and manually move data around, and/or use some formulas in certain columns of your spreadsheet to calculate some metrics. In the Custom Report example below, for example, adding “Traffic Type” as a second dimension produces some of the data we want (Organic Visits, Referral Visits, Direct Visits) but as multiple rows per date instead of a column.

  1. Google Analytics Import 11Google Analytics Import 10b

Preparing the Google Analytics data CSV file

  1. To prepare the CSV file, make sure column headings are as close to Salesforce field names as possible. Either use the CSV template created in the first part of this tutorial, or manually update the column headings to match the Salesforce field names.
    Google Analytics Import 9

  2. (If importing into the CloudAmpGA Metrics object): Ensure that the Profile Number is populated, and the Metrics Date column is populated by the dates from Google Analytics, so the new records will match up with existing data in Salesforce.

  3. You may need to change the dates into a valid date format for Salesforce:: MM/DD/YYYY since Google sometimes formats the dates as YYYYMMDD, and this can cause an import error.

  4. Double check the rest of the file for accuracy and any remaining cleanup issues.

Importing the Google Analytics data CSV into Salesforce

  1. Open a data loading app. I personally like MuleSoft’s Dataloader.io, though there are others as well. API access to Salesforce is required for all of these tools, but if you are using CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards you need to have Enterprise Edition of Salesforce, so that includes API access.

  2. Log into Dataloader.io using your Salesforce credentials

  3. Click on “New Task” on the top left
    Google Analytics Import 12b

  4. Choose the type of job (most likely “insert” for creating new records) and select the object in Salesforce where your Google Analytics data will be store (“CloudAmpGA Metrics” for CloudAmp customers)
    Google Analytics Import 13

  5. Select the CSV file you wish to import.
    Google Analytics Import 14

  6. Check to see that the column headings in your file were properly matched to the Salesforce fields. Unmapped fields will be indicated and give you a chance to select a mapping, or ignore and they will not be imported.
    Google Analytics Import 15

  7. Proceed to run the import. We recommend importing a small test file of 5-10 records initially, in case there are any issues.
    Google Analytics Import 16

  8. When the import has finished, Dataloader will update you as to the number of successes. If there are any errors, click to see what the issue was. You can always update the CSV and run the job again if records did not import due to a formatting issue or other problem.
    Google Analytics Import 17

  9. Spot check some of the imported records for accuracy and completeness. Refresh the appropriate dashboard(s) to see the changes from the imported data

So that is a lot of steps, but once you import data this way into Salesforce a few times, it will become an easier process. Combine that with a tool like CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards which automatically imports the previous day’s Google Analytics data into Salesforce every night, and you will have the best of both worlds.

Questions, or problems not addressed in the tutorial? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to address them.

Salesforce1: A new mobile experience for Salesforce dashboards and custom data

Dreamforce is over, and boy am I tired. But I wanted to cover the biggest announcement at this week’s Dreamforce conference, while it is fresh in my mind: Salesforce1. Somewhat surprisingly, Salesforce1 really is a revolutionary change for the Salesforce mobile experience.

I say that a bit tongue-in-cheek because even though I am a Salesforce partner and big fan, they are so good at marketing and PR that the hype at Dreamforce often exceeds the reality. Product announcements are sometimes rebrands or announced before the releases are available. The Salesforce1 mobile experience delivers however, and is a huge step forward for Salesforce.

Salesforce1-Header
The part that I am most excited about is the ability to see dashboards and custom object data on the mobile device. You can view and refresh your dashboards in the Salesforce1 mobile app, which really comes in handy if you are dashboard driven like me. Here is the CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards app on the iPhone 4 (my only complaint is that it is “Optimized for the iPhone 5”, so the bottom of the chart is cut off a bit on the shorter screen of my iPhone 4).

A Dashboard on the Salesforce1 app on the iPhone 4.

A Dashboard on the Salesforce1 app on the iPhone 4.

I thought the experience was even better on the Nexus 7, where you have a bit more real estate. Now if you centralize data in Salesforce, like integrating back office systems (or in our case, Google Analytics metrics into Salesforce), that is also available on any smartphone or tablet.

A Dashboard on the Salesforce1 app on the Nexus 7.

A Dashboard on the Salesforce1 app on the Nexus 7.

Finally, from the perspective of someone who makes apps for Salesforce, the ability to see any custom objects in the Salesforce1 mobile app interface is a huge deal as well. For Salesforce apps that store data 100% natively in custom objects (as opposed to data that is iframed or otherwise shown from external sources but not stored in Salesforce), you can now see all the data in Salesforce1.

Here is an example of a record from the “CloudAmpGA Metrics” custom object in Salesforce, which is how we store each daily record import from Salesforce. Talk about access to data.

Google Analytics data in the Salesforce1 app on the Nexus 7.

Google Analytics data in the Salesforce1 app on the Nexus 7.

So there you have it. For those of us who love the analytics capabilities of Salesforce, now those dashboards and custom data are available on your mobile device with Salesforce1, no special configurations or mobile integration necessary. More (most) of Salesforce is now Mobile with Salesforce1.

The Opportunity of ‘(Not Provided)’ Google Keywords

In late 2011, Google began encrypting searches from anyone logged into a Google service (Gmail, Google +, etc.), so site owners could not see many of the keywords from organic searches that were driving visitors to their sites. In October 2013 Google took additional steps to make search “secure”, so the majority of all keyword searches are now coming through as “(Not Provided)”. The trend is expected to continue until effectively all organic keyword data is blocked from your Google Analytics reports.

NotProvidedCount

This blog post isn’t about Google’s motivation for making this change, or about how to try to recover some of this lost data through other means. You can get some data from Google Webmaster Tools, or hope that a portion of your organic traffic comes from Yahoo and Bing, etc. There are plenty of good articles that cover tips for  that in detail, such as the following:

Instead, I’d like to focus on the opportunites this change provides for website owners and online marketers to go back to the basics and do a better job with some of the fundamentals of tracking. Search engine optimization (SEO) may be forever changed by this major change on Google’s part, but there are many best practices that haven’t changed — and in fact, this (Not Provided) trend makes them more important than ever before.

NotProvided

Opportunity 1: Google Adwords

This may seem to be playing into Google’s hands, since their stated motivation for encrypting the search results was to protect user privacy, but few have believed that.. Since paid advertising on Google still gives you the keyword data, most pundits have assumed the move to “(Not Provided)” for organic search was intended to keep the valuable search data for Google’s own use, and drive people toward paid advertising on Google Adwords and Google +.

However, I have long believed that every business should be doing some amount of Google Adwords experimentation. Even if you don’t have an advertising budget, spending $100+ a month on Google Adwords can provide some of the most cost effective research into your target market available anywhere. Get search volume and keyword data, see what types of ad text and headlines draws the most clicks, and more. Build out your keyword lists for your content marketing, see the keyword data you are no longer going to get from organic search, and hopefully get some conversions as a bonus.

utmcodes

Opportunity 2: Step up your Tracking

Since tracking of organic keywords is mostly if not completely going away in the age of ‘(Not Provided)”, time to step up your game in other areas. Be sure you are tracking everything else you can track, and plug up those gaps that have been on your marketing to-do list for months. Add tracking to your ecommerce, signup and contact us forms to get data on as many of your conversions as possible. (I am not objective in recommending my Campaign Tracker app for this, but please check it out  if you are using Salesforce CRM).  In the end, maximizing conversion tracking is more important than focusing on keywords that brought you clicks and traffic.

In addition, use Google Analytics campaign tags (utm_campaign, utm_source, etc.)  on any links to your site that you give out. Not just in your advertising URLs, but in your social media posts, links you give to your partners to publish on their sties, blog posts, directory listings and profiles, etc. Tagging your URLs will eliminate some of the untracked traffic from other sources (social media sharing or referral sites) and give you more consistent, better data for the incoming link data that you can control.

blogging_sucks_mousepad

Opportunity 3: Back to SEO Basics

Finally, for SEO go back to focusing on the basics — good site structure and good content. Without detailed organic keyword data, you won’t be able to do many of the search engine optimization tricks often promoted by some fly-by-night “we will increase your Google rankings” SEO firms — but you shouldn’t have been doing those things in the first place anyway. Tricks never work for long if they do work, and they can backfire badly.

Instead, accept that your site keyword data is going to be lacking, but use aggregate data from elsewhere — Google Webmaster Tools, Google Adwords — and start producing content that your audience would value. Blogging is very difficult to do regularly, but critical to this back-to-basics approach. Though for most busy professionals with multiple work responsibilities it is nearly impossible to find time to write regular blog posts, not only will they generate positive SEO returns, but they have the added benefit to establishing a voice and thought leadership for your particular field (or at least I hope so!)

What do you think of the Google ‘(Not Provided)’ change? Any tips you think I missed? Let us know in the contents below.

New Version of CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards Released

CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards, the AppExchange app which integrates Google Analytics data into Salesforce, has released a major upgrade today. The new version now supports up to 5 different web sites or Google Analytics profiles, automatically importing data for up to 5 profiles into Salesforce daily to be displayed in 5 sets of dashboards.

Simply install the 7 day free trial from the AppExchange, click a button to connect to Google Analytics, log in through your Google Account, and all Google Analytics Profiles available to that Account will be displayed for you to select. In less than 5 minutes you can see your web site traffic and visitor source breakdown, all displayed in Salesforce dashboards.

GADashboard-Installation-10-v2

With this new upgrade to the Analytics Dashboards app, not only can you choose to see data for up to 5 different web sites, but Google Analytics profiles (being renamed to Google Analytics Views) can also be filtered versions of a single web site’s analytics data. Common use cases of Google Analytics profiles / views include:

  • Exclude/include a certain section or directory of a web site

  • Exclude/include visitors from certain geographical areas

  • Exclude/include traffic from certain domain names

  • Any other filters you can apply in Google Analytics

This means that even if you only have one web site which you wish to keep track of in Salesforce, with support for 5 profiles you can now have geographical or content area filtering in some of your Salesforce dashboards.

Marketers wishing to focus on geographically targeted campaigns can now see the top of their funnel (web site visitors) in multiple sets of dashboards, typically an “All Website Data” profile as well as a geographically filtered profile. Salesforce users in larger organizations could select a profile of just the subsection of their corporate web site that they are responsible for.

CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards imports aggregate data for 13 different web analytics metrics daily, and displays it in prebuilt dashboards. It includes 5 sets of 3 different dashboards, with over 100 reports behind them. All data is stored natively in Salesforce, so everything can be modified and used in other reporting and dashboards. Try a free trial today, contact us for more information, or post any questions in the comments below.

Using Google Analytics Profiles to Model Your Funnel in Salesforce

Google Analytics is a great tool for understanding the top of your online marketing funnel (web site visitors). But did you know you can easily highlight different segments of that funnel, by creating multiple Google Analytics Profiles?

Google Analytics Profiles (in the process of being renamed to Views in the documentation, but not in the app yet) are customizable layers between the reporting and the raw data that is collected. By creating multiple profiles for a single property (web site), you can focus on particular areas of your web site analytics, and more closely relate that to particular marketing efforts that affect your funnel, leads in Salesforce, and more.

Before we jump in, a best-practices note: Google Analytics automatically creates a default profile that is an unfiltered view of each property (web site). You should not modify this original profile, but make a copy of it or create additional profiles to add filters to — because filters exclude data, you want to always have at least one profile with all of your raw analytics data.

Some Google Analytics Profiles I created for CloudAmp.com

Some Google Analytics Profiles I created for CloudAmp.com

Use Case 1: A Section of Your Web Site

One of the most common uses of Google Analytics Profiles is to create a filtered version of your web analytics that only shows a section of your web site. You can easily create profiles that only show a particular subdomain or directory of your web site, to get more specific visibility into your marketing efforts.

Maybe you work at a large company, and are only responsible for a particular section of the web site or product line. Creating a profile for that directory of the web site will better reflect your marketing efforts, and insulate the reports you see from other product launches or events that might affect the larger site trends.

In addition, many marketers use landing pages for their Google Adwords and other online advertising destination URLs (and if you don’t, please consider doing this immediately!). By creating a Google Analytics profile filtered to /land/ (or whatever directory on your web site holds the landing pages), you can see just the visitors and analytics for these pages, and get a more accurate understanding of trends and conversion rates into Salesforce leads.

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for the /products/ directory on CloudAmp.com

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for the /products/ directory on CloudAmp.com

Use Case 2: Geographical Focus

In the age of the Internet, many businesses are selling globally, or at least in a number of countries. But if you want to see your web analytics data just for a particular country or set of countries, you can easily create a Google Analytics Profile and filter it for those countries.You can also create a profile that excludes certain countries.

Maybe you are running a new advertising campaign in a particular geography and want to better understand its impact, or you want to exclude traffic from countries where you don’t sell your products in the analysis of conversion from a blog content effort.

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for visitors from Canada on CloudAmp.com

A Profile with a Filter only showing analytics for visitors from Canada on CloudAmp.com

How does this all relate to the funnel in Salesforce? Well, many successful online marketers are using Salesforce as the CRM system to hold their lead data and manage their marketing funnel. As Salesforce becomes the standard for managing your marketing and sales funnels, marketers want to get more visibility into what happens just before the leads get into Salesforce — and Google Analytics, with multiple profiles to segment the funnel, is the key there.

Plus, here at CloudAmp we’ve published an app on the Salesforce AppExchange that automatically integrates and imports Google Analytics data into Salesforce called CloudAmp Analytics Dashboards. And coming soon in our next version, you are going to be able to import multiple Google Analytics profiles into Salesforce, and get a set of dashboards and reports for each individual profile. You can try it free for 7 days, it takes just a minute to install and connects to your Google Analytics data with the click of a button.

So there you have it – try creating some additional profiles with filters on your Google Analytics data today, and get a better understanding of different parts of your marketing funnel tomorrow. Already doing cool things with Google Analytics Profiles? Have questions? Let us know in the comments below.

6 Reasons You Need Web Tracking and Analytics Data in Salesforce

If you are doing online marketing and using Salesforce, chances are there is some important information missing from your Salesforce organization. Hopefully you are tracking your web site lead sources into Salesforce (if not, get on it here or read this now). But what about understanding your web site traffic, visitors, etc. directly inside Salesforce? Here are 6 things that you might be missing out on, or at least need to think about.

 

1. You Need to See the Big Picture

Web site traffic and visitors are the top of your inbound marketing funnel. For many marketers, and especially those of you spending a significant portion of your budget on Google Adwords and other online advertising, this is where most prospects first engage with your brand.

 conversion-funnel2

So how many people are on your web site, and where did they come from? You want to be able to see total web site traffic, and the breakdown of the different types of visitors by Campaign, Referral Source, right where all your other marketing and sales data lives — Salesforce. This is the top of your “funnel”, people on your web site, and understanding this big picture and up / down trends will keep you much more on top of how your marketing is performing. Many of us track our leads, but how many keep on top of the big picture and can see those who did not submit a form as well?

Seeing the top of the funnel in Salesforce not only makes this data more front and center, but also gives you the advantage of being able to compare it to trends in the rest of the funnel — how many leads are generated via web forms, how many of those leads convert, etc.

 

2. Your Conversion Rate Does Not Matter

This isn’t 100% true, it mainly makes a good heading. Target conversion rate matters somewhat, and we can all agree that achieving a 10% conversion rate is better than 5%. But there are some Internet businesses where 0.1% conversion is considered a job well done. Hence the dreaded question from the CEO or other executive, “What should our conversion rate be?”

As marketers, we know we should be measuring conversion rates at multiple points in our funnel. And the main way we are likely to be successful in “moving the needle” of sales and revenue is by making incremental improvements in these conversion rates at multiple places in that funnel (though we may still secretly hope for that one breakout campaign that just buries the Sales department in qualified leads). So the trend in the conversion rate is really more important to understand on a daily basis than the target (though less sexy).

ConversionRateDiagram

By having web analytics data in Salesforce to better model various conversion points (Web site vistor > Lead, Lead > Converted Lead, Converted Lead > Opportunity, Opportunity > Closed Won and all the Sales process stages in between that are specific to your company or industry), you get one more critical conversion point that is typically missing from Salesforce. And since positive or negative trends in conversion rates are generally more important to doing your daily job as a marketer, having trendlines of web site visitors alongside the leads in your dashboards can be very useful to monitor.

 

3. Your Web Site is Broken

And I don’t mean those javascript error alerts that no one understands, or Internet Explorer display issues the web developers refuse to fix out of religious protest. Even on the simplest web sites, downtime caused by hosting problems, issues created by new content, or some cutting edge new templating language that looks cool but won’t load properly for half your visitors can be hard to know about quickly enough.

You can get all of this data by logging into Google Analytics, but how many of us do that daily? If the data is in Salesforce, and nicely displayed in dashboards where trends are easier to see, you can be on top of the really big screwups that much faster and save yourself heartache and lost revenue. Even if your overall visitors don’t change too noticeably, seeing the bounce rate suddenly spike or page views per visitor fall precipitously could alert you to a potential problem.

 JSTrackingError

One side benefit, for those of us engaged in lots of online advertising, is that you can (hopefully) spot problems with tracking much quicker as well. When that new landing page goes live, and somehow the template got changed to not include your tracking code, having real-time visibility in Salesforce should let you catch it early (versus running a report at the end of the month and noticing something amiss then, when it is too late to get that tracking data back). 

 

4. Your Lead Data is Dirty

Really, whose isn’t? But this isn’t so much about duplicate leads and other garbage that has plagued almost every Salesforce instance in history ever (and CRM systems in general for decades before Salesforce.com came into existence, but those were harder to get data into generally). It is more about cleaning up your reporting to more accurately reflect the relationship between the top of your funnel (web site visitors) and leads.

 Salesforce Find Duplicates

Ideally, you want those spikes in web site traffic to parallel spikes in leads, both nicely tracking each other in Salesforce (though they don’t always, as discussed in #5 below). But when there is more divergence than normal, having the complete picture of the top of your funnel can prompt you to dig deeper.

Maybe your inbound lead reporting shouldn’t have those 1500 tradeshow leads that were just imported in the same graph. Or that new Sales Manger hire got clever and somehow imported his “rolodex” via CSV file. Time to set some filters in the reporting and keep the funnel and conversion rates accurately reflecting your online marketing efforts. 

 

5. Your Quantity is Increasing Over Quality

Sometimes you can’t blame that new Sales Manager or scanner-happy tradeshow booth staff for declines in data. As you ramp up online marketing efforts, the quality of your web site visitors (and possibly leads, though hopefully not) is bound to change.

 Salesforce Sales Funnel

Yet another reason why it is better to focus on the trend rather than an absolute number for conversion rates (see #2 above) — your conversion rates are bound to get worse when you pour on the gas with advertising, especially if your previous efforts were more organic such as blog posts and customer referrals. Conversion rates, bounce rates, pages/visitor all get worse when you start bringing in lots more people, since by definition you will need to widen the net.

So this means you need to keep careful track of both data on individual leads, as well as overall trends in traffic and conversion. Having all the top of the funnel data there in Salesforce alongside your lead tracking will help you do that. 

 

6. Your Boss Wants Pretty Reports

Finally, there is showing the boss what you are up to (also known as proving that your efforts are paying off, justifying your job, etc.). If your web site traffic and lead volume are spectacularly up and to the right, having all that data in Salesforce makes it easy to schedule a weekly or monthly email of the dashboard to people in your organization.

Or if an executive simply wants to see your web site traffic, it isn’t possible to have a nicely formatted email with graphs generated by Google Analytics, but if you have all the data in Salesforce that last step is pretty straightforward. Instead of a zipped CSV file from Google, or an Excel spreadsheet that you have to update by hand, they can receive a dashboard emailed from Salesforce, complete with all the graphs and charts, right in their inbox.

CampaignTrackerforGoogleAnalytics-Dashboard1-small

Lead Tracking 101: Understanding Advertising ROI in Salesforce

Most marketers know they need to track their leads, in order to understand which advertising, blogs or social media are sending them the best ones – the leads most likely to convert to customers, to show a positive return on investment (ROI) from advertising, to drive long term revenue.

Aside from all the different technological approaches available, such as building your own tracking mechanism or using a Salesforce application that tracks leads from your web site into Salesforce CRM, the large amounts of data collected can be a somewhat confusing experience.

 This post explores some of the different tracking data available, and more importantly what it all means. It is focused around Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and Salesforce terminology, though many of these definitions will apply to any online advertising.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” — Attributed to John Wanamaker, 1838-1922

 

Google Analytics Campaign Tags

 

Google Analytics Campaign tags are parameters that you add to any URLs pointing to your web site that you have control over. You may be familiar with web addresses (URLs) that have words like utm_campaign= and utm_source= after the main part of the URL and a question mark – these are the campaign tags.

Example:

http://www.MYSITE.com/?utm_campaign=Retarget&utm_medium=Banners&utm_source=Adroll

 When a visitor clicks on one of these tagged URLs, those values are associated with the visitor in Google Analytics, as well as in many lead tracking solutions for Salesforce (such as CloudAmp’s own Campaign Tracker). By capturing the Source, Medium, and Campaigns of traffic being sent your web site like in the example URL above, you can identify the most effective ways to driving more visitors to your website.

Most importantly, by capturing that data not just in your Google Analytics reports, but into Salesforce for each individual lead, you can follow how leads progress through your marketing funnel or sales process.

  • Do leads from that Source, Medium, or Campaign convert from leads into Accounts with Opportunities?

  • What percentage of Opportunities from a particular Source are Closed Won?

  • What is the average and total dollar value of deals, compared across Source, Medium or Campaigns?

  • How many dollars are spent on advertising per dollar of revenue, broken down by Source, Keyword, etc.?

These and many other questions can be answered by tagging your URLs and tracking those visitors all the way  into Salesforce as leads. 

AdwordsGraph

There are the five parameters that make up Google Analytics Campaign tags – utm_source,utm_medium, and utm_campaign should be used in all links, and for tracking additional information utm_term and utm_content can be optionally used.

  • utm_source: Identifies the advertiser, site, publication, etc. that is sending traffic to your property, e.g. google, yelp, newsletter4, billboard. The last place visited before reaching your site.

  • utm_medium: The advertising or marketing medium, e.g.: cpc, banner, email newsletter. The method used to arrive at the source.

  • utm_campaign: The individual campaign name, slogan, promo code, etc. for a product.

  • utm_term: Identify paid search keywords. If you’re manually tagging paid keyword campaigns (and you should be), use utm_term to specify the keyword.

  • utm_content: Used to differentiate similar content, or links within the same ad. For example, if you have two different text ads, you can use utm_content and set different values for each so you can tell which version is more effective.

I recommend getting into the habit of tagging ANY and ALL URLs that you control, not just for destination URLs in your Google Adwords ads and other online advertising, but for every link in your email newsletters, links you give to a partner, sponsorships, blog posts, even social media such as Twitter and Linkedin.

 GoogleAnalyticsCampaigns

Not only will this give you better data in Google Analytics and your Salesforce lead tracking, but as a significant bonus you will cut down on the number of untracked leads — when someone forwards an email, copies and pastes a link from Twitter, or reposts a blog post without changing the URLs, you will be able to track visitors from those newly generated referral sources back to the original campaign links.

 

Other Traffic Types

 

Google Analytics categorizes your web site visitors into 5 main types:

    • Campaign: Visitors who arrived at your site via Campaign tagged URLs.

    • Referral: Visitors who arrived at your site from other sites but who were not campaign tagged.

    • Direct: Visitors who arrived at your site by typing in your web address.

    • Search: Visitors who arrived at your site by searching in a search engine. This category is further broken down into:

  • Paid: Google Adwords, Microsoft Adcenter, or other advertising on a search engine

  • Organic: The visitor clicked on a regular result (not an ad) to get to your site

GoogleAnalyticsTrafficBreakdown

Many lead tracking software applications (including CloudAmp’s own Campaign Tracker) have followed this categorization, due to the widespread use of Google Analytics and the general familiarity of these terms. Still, there are a variety of different ways of categorizing web site visitors and leads, so you may see variations on these occasionally.

Referral vs Referral vs Referrer

Any traffic that isn’t Direct to your site (typed in a browser bar) is known as referral traffic. So most traffic – Campaign, Referral, and Organic / Paid Search – is considered Referral traffic.

However, Google Analytics (and lead tracking software that uses similar definitions) defines Referral traffic as any Referral traffic that is not otherwise tracked as Campaign or Organic traffic. If Campaign tags are used, or data from an organic search at a search engine is received, the traffic will be categorized as Campaign or Organic, rather than referral. This is mainly just for clarity in dividing the sources of traffic, so that there is no overlap in the numbers.

Just in case this isn’t confusing enough, there is also a concept of the Referrer in all web browsers, and this is recorded in Google Analytics and various tracking software. The Referrer is the last page that the visitor was on prior to an event (like submitting the web-to-lead form into Salesforce). So in some cases the Referrer will be the same as the site that sent the visitor to you, but in other cases it will simply be the previous page on your web site (for any visitor who clicks around multiple pages before submitting the form).

 

(not provided)

Beginning in late 2011, Google made a significant change and started encrypting the organic search keywords of any users who were logged into a Google service while searching Google. What does this mean?

It means that instead of sending the keywords from the referral like it did previously, Google started sending a meaningless string of characters for all visitors who were logged into a service like Gmail, Google +, or Google itself while searching and then clicking on an organic result. So what did this result in?

 GoogleNotProvided

Approximately 70% of Organic visitors from Google now show “(not provided)” as the keywords from their search, so you no longer can see what really sent them to your site. This percentage will vary depending on your audience and how much they use other Google services, but it is about the average we have been seeing.

Luckily, Yahoo and Bing have not followed suit, and still send the keyword information from the Organic search visitors they send to your site. And of course, if any of your visitors run a Paid Search on Google (Google Adwords), the keywords from those visits still come through fine whether the visitor was logged in to Google services or not.

 

Untracked

Sometimes visitors come to your web site and submit lead forms and are not tracked properly. It shouldn’t happen often, but it will happen.

On the Internet, nothing is 100%, the numbers never match exactly, and not everything will be tracked completely. While we’d like to track 100% of visitors in an ideal world, really the point of tracking is to make generalized decisions about what online marketing works and what does not, and optimize spend on things like Google Adwords, where sometimes keyword cost per click (CPC) rates can seem nonsensically high, but make perfect sense from an ROI perspective given the revenue generated.

 So what causes a lead to not be tracked? Some users may be using strange old web browsers, or have their browser security levels set so high that they don’t allow cookies or javascript (two things necessary to most tracking technology, as well as required for most web sites to work properly).

For most other situations however, the reliability of cookie-based tracking is pretty good. If there are technical problems, they are more likely due to either the visitors settings or a failure of the tracking mechanisms that read the cookie, rather than the cookie placed at the time of the visitors click.



In conclusion, there is a lot of terminology around tracking and how to break down the types of visitors who come to your site (and hopefully become leads). As you start to build up data from tracked leads inside Salesforce, you will run across many of the values above. So hopefully this has been helpful — feel free to leave questions / comments below, and above all else, start tracking your leads today!

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