Monthly Archives: August 2013

Updates on Analytics Access Controls

We want to share an exciting update to the earlier post about the new Analytics access controls. 

As we mentioned in that earlier post, we have built a more powerful access-control system to help you better manage who on your team can access … Continue reading

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Choose AdSense: Make Money from Your Content

Not using AdSense yet?


In the last ten years, AdSense has helped over 2 million partners grow their businesses. Be sure to tune in on Wednesday September 11, at 11:00AM, when we’ll be hosting a special 10th Anniversary Hangout on Air  for prospective publishers. If you haven’t yet signed up for Google AdSense or would like to learn more, you should join us. We’ll demonstrate how AdSense helps you earn money from your website, allowing you focus on creating great content. Learn how AdSense: 
  • Earns you extra revenue 
  • Shows your users relevant and useful ads
  • Lets you control which ads show up on your site
  • Helps you understand what’s working and what’s not with robust reporting tools
Several publishers will also be joining us to share their AdSense experiences. Hear why they chose AdSense and how it’s helped them grow. 
Join this event page to live stream the Hangout on Air on September 11 from 11:00am – 12:00pm PDT.
Posted by Bola Akinsanya – AdSense Strategic Partnerships Team

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Google Analytics on Google Developers Live

Ever wanted to learn more about Google Analytics APIs? Maybe even have someone talking to you about how to use them? Well, if you haven’t gotten a chance to tune in, we’re excited to present Google Analytics on Google Developers Live. Our Developer Relations team has been hard at work putting these together; we’ve done a few already, and also have some coming up that we’re excited about!


We’ll be doing these a few times a month, on Thursdays at 10AM PDT (full schedule here). Each show is about a half hour.



The show will either take you “Behind the Code” or “Off the Charts.” Off the Charts is a series about getting into the deep features of Google Analytics, understanding how it works, things you can do with it and how to use the feature itself. “Behind the Code” will not only showcase new GA features and technology, but also take us behind the scenes and give you a chance to hear directly from some of the engineers, product managers, and others who work behind the scenes to design, build, and deliver these new features.



Here’s some of our favorites from the past:


Off the Charts: Google Analytics superProxy



Google Analytics superProxy is an open source project developed by the Google Analytics Developer Relations team. Join Developer Advocate Pete Frisella to learn how to use this application to publicly share your Google Analytics reporting data and power your own custom dashboards and widgets.


Behind the Code: Analytics Mobile SDK



The new Google Analytics Mobile SDK empowers Android and iOS developers to effectively collect user engagement data from their applications to measure active user counts, user geography, new feature adoption and many other useful metrics. Join Analytics Developer Program Engineer Andrew Wales and Analytics Software Engineer Jim Cotugno for an unprecedented look behind the code at the goals, design, and architecture of the new SDK to learn more about what it takes to build world-class technology.



Don’t forget to check out next week’s show (8/29, 10AM PDT) on the recently launched Metadata API, which contains all the dimensions and metrics that you can query with in Google Analytics Reporting APIs. We’ll be discussing how you can use this API to to simplify data discovery. Tune in here!



Posted by Aditi Rajaram, Google Analytics Developer Relations team

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Introducing The New Google Analytics Metadata API

Google Analytics users can use the Core Reporting API to save time by building dashboards and automating complex reporting tasks. This API exposes over 250 data points (dimensions and metrics), and new data is added every few months. For many developers, it can be difficult to keep their applications up to date with all the latest data.

To make things easier, today we are launching the new Google Analytics Metadata API to simplify data discovery. The Metadata API contains all the queryable dimensions and metrics included in the Core Reporting API. We’ve also added attributes for each dimension and metric, such as the web or app name, full text description, grouping, metric calculations, deprecation status, and whether the data is queryable in segments. You can check out at a live Metadata API response here.

You now have programmatic access to generate the same list of dimensions and metrics we use to generate our public documentation.


You can now create this list using the Metadata API.

Saving Developers Time

When you create tools to query the Core Reporting API, you can use the Metadata API to automatically update your user interfaces. For example, Analytics Canvas, a popular 3rd party Google Analytics data extraction tool, uses the Metadata API to keep its query building interface up to date.


Analytics Canvas uses the Metadata API to power its query builder.

According to James Standen, founder of Analytics Canvas, “In the past, keeping Analytics Canvas up to date with the Google Analytics API dimensions and metrics required a lot of manual updating to our application. The new Metadata API automates this process, saving us time, and giving our users direct access to all the great new data the instant it’s available. Users love it!”

New Deprecation Policy

To increase data transparency, we’ve also published a new data deprecation policy for dimensions and metrics. New data we release will be announced on our changelogs and automatically added to the Metadata API. Data we decide to remove will be marked as deprecated in the Metadata API, allowing developers to gracefully remove these values from their tools.

Get Started Today

Our goal was to make this API super easy to use. To get started, take a look at our list of resources below:

Questions? Comments? Simply want to share in the excitement? Join the analytics developer community in our Reporting API Developer forum.

Posted by Nick Mihailovski & Srinivasan Kannan, Google Analytics API team

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rel=”author” frequently asked (advanced) questions

Webmaster Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Using authorship helps searchers discover great information by highlighting content from authors who they might find interesting. If you’re an author, signing up for authorship will help users recognize content that you’ve written. Additionally, searchers can click the byline to see more articles you’ve authored or to follow you on Google+. It’s that simple! Well, except for several advanced questions that we’d like to help answer…


Authorship featured in search results from one of my favorite authors, John Mueller


Clicking the author’s byline in search results can reveal more articles and a Google+ profile

Recent authorship questions

1. What kind of pages can be used with authorship?

Good question! You can increase the likelihood that we show authorship for your site by only using authorship markup on pages that meet these criteria:
  • The URL/page contains a single article (or subsequent versions of the article) or single piece of content, by the same author. This means that the page isn’t a list of articles or an updating feed. If the author frequently switches on the page, then the annotation is no longer helpful to searchers and is less likely to be featured.
  • The URL/page consists primarily of content written by the author.
  • Showing a clear byline on the page, stating the author wrote the article and using the same name as used on their Google+ profile.

2. Can I use a company mascot as an author and have authorship annotation in search results? For my pest control business, I’d like to write as the “Pied Piper.”

You’re free to write articles in the manner you prefer — your users may really like the Pied Piper idea. However, for authorship annotation in search results, Google prefers to feature a human who wrote the content. By doing so, authorship annotation better indicates that a search result is the perspective of a person, and this helps add credibility for searchers.

Again, because currently we want to feature people, link authorship markup to an individual’s profile rather than linking to a company’s Google+ Page.

3. If I use authorship on articles available in different languages, such as
example.com/en/article1.html for English and
example.com/fr/article1.html for the French translation,
should I link to two separate author/Google+ profiles written in each language?

In your scenario, both articles:
example.com/en/article1.html
and
example.com/fr/article1.html
should link to the same Google+ profile in the author’s language of choice.

4. Is it possible to add two authors for one article?

In the current search user interface, we only support one author per article, blog post, etc. We’re still experimenting to find the optimal outcome for searchers when more than one author is specified.

5. How can I prevent Google from showing authorship?

The fastest way to prevent authorship annotation is to make the author’s Google+ profile not discoverable in search results. Otherwise, if you still want to keep your profile in search results, then you can remove any profile or contributor links to the website, or remove the markup so that it no longer connects with your profile.

6. What’s the difference between rel=author vs rel=publisher?

rel=publisher helps a business create a shared identity by linking the business’ website (often from the homepage) to the business’ Google+ Page. rel=author helps individuals (authors!) associate their individual articles from a URL or website to their Google+ profile. While rel=author and rel=publisher are both link relationships, they’re actually completely independent of one another.

7. Can I use authorship on my site’s property listings or product pages since one of my employees has customized the description?

Authorship annotation is useful to searchers because it signals that a page conveys a real person’s perspective or analysis on a topic. Since property listings and product pages are less perspective/analysis oriented, we discourage using authorship in these cases. However, an article about products that provides helpful commentary, such as, “Camera X vs. Camera Y: Faceoff in the Arizona Desert” could have authorship.

If you have additional questions, don’t forget to check out (and even post your question if you don’t see it covered :) in the Webmaster Forum.

Written by Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead

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Data-Driven Attribution: better investment decisions, better marketing outcomes

We’ve long known that the power of digital marketing is in its measurability. But measurability is only half the battle.  The other half is attribution — understanding how to allocate credit to your various marketing programs and appropriately recognize their impact on the customer journey.
Over the past two years, we’ve built a strong foundation in attribution with Multi-Channel Funnels and the Attribution Model Comparison Tool in Google Analytics (as well as additional tools for AdWords and Google Display Network). Today, we’re expanding our attribution capabilities with Data-Driven Attribution in Google Analytics Premium, with algorithmic models and a new set of reports designed to take the guesswork out of attribution. It’s available globally to all Google Analytics Premium customers.


Data-Driven Attribution analyzes the customer journey, whether that journey ends in a purchase (or conversion) or not. Our modeling methodology, grounded in statistics and economic principles, automatically assigns values to your marketing touchpoints. You’ll see a more complete and actionable view of which digital channels and keywords are performing best, so you can achieve a better return on your marketing and advertising investments.
Recently, a large telecommunications company used Data-Driven Attribution to help optimize media spend and placements to help capture small business leads. After using Data-Driven Attribution, they gained newfound confidence in making decisions about Display. They saw leads from Display increased 10% while cost per lead remained flat, and saw that some media placements had been undervalued by 58%. 
Why use Data-Driven Attribution:
  • Algorithmic: The model automatically distributes credit across marketing channels. You define your own success metrics, like e-commerce transactions or other goals, and the model adapts and regularly refreshes using the most recent conversion path data.
  • Transparent: With our unique Model Explorer, you’ll have full insight into model behavior and understand how marketing touch points are valued — no “black box” methodology.
  • Actionable: Detailed insights into the individual contribution of a marketing channel (in both converting and non-converting paths) provide clear guidance, so you can make better data-driven marketing decisions
  • Support: Google Analytics Premium customers can take advantage of their relationship with a dedicated services and support team.
  • Cross-platform Integrations: In addition to our deep integrations with Google products such as AdWords, the Google Display Network, and YouTube, you can pull in data from virtually any digital channel.
Click image for full-size
Applying Data-Driven Attribution to improve your results:
Google Analytics Premium customers can use the Data-Driven Attribution model to select and analyze marketing techniques, such as Display advertising or email campaigns. Easy analysis tools in the attribution reports let you compare values from the Data-Driven Attribution model to your default model, then sort and filter your data to discover where campaign changes could have the greatest impact. After identifying which channels (or campaigns, or keywords) have the greatest potential, adjust your programs and test the results. Once you’ve learned how the Data-Driven Attribution model compares to your prior model (and viewed the Model Explorer to see how the data-driven values were calculated), you can go straight to the ROI Analysis report, which lets you focus on optimization insights.




How it works:
The Data-Driven Attribution model is enabled through comparing conversion path structures and the associated likelihood of conversion given a certain order of events. The difference in path structure, and the associated difference in conversion probability, are the foundation for the algorithm which computes the channel weights. The more impact the presence of a certain marketing channel has on the conversion probability, the higher the weight of this channel in the attribution model. The underlying probability model has been shown to predict conversion significantly better than a last-click methodology. Data-Driven Attribution seeks to best represent the actual behavior of customers in the real world, but is an estimate that should be validated as much as possible using controlled experimentation.
To learn more about Google Analytics Premium, contact your Google Account Manager, or visit google.com/analytics/premium.
Posted by Bill Kee, Product Manager for Attribution, and Jody Shapiro, Product Manager for Google Analytics Premium

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Introducing Google Tag Manager for Mobile Apps & New Google Analytics Services SDK

Mobile Apps pose a unique set of challenges for marketers and developers. On the web, you can iterate on content and features in near-real-time and deploy conversion tracking, Remarketing, analytics and other tags to measure the effects on your users. Apps, on the other hand, are effectively frozen at the point of user install. Making even the slightest change means waiting until your next update makes its way through the various app stores and even then, you can’t be sure that all of your users will update quickly, if at all.
The surprisingly static nature of Mobile Apps creates significant problems. Forget to add an event to a key button press? Tough! Need to add conversion tracking for a last minute campaign? Too bad! Realize you need to change an important configuration setting? Sorry, not possible… that is, until now! Previewed at Google I/O earlier this year, today we’re launching Google Tag Manager for Mobile Apps.


With Google Tag Manager for Mobile Apps, you instrument your app once and from then on, you can change configurations and add analytics, remarketing and conversion tracking later – without updating your app. 
Just like on the web, Google Tag Manager continues to be a free product, streamlining the process of adding “tags” to your native iOS and Android apps, making it both easy and accountable. Measuring key events is now as simple as 1-2-3:
  1. Include the new Google Analytics Services SDK (Android, iOS) in your app. This new unified SDK includes both Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics functionality while sharing a common framework.
  2. Push interesting and important events to the Data Layer. Once events are registered on the data layer, they can be used to trigger Google Tag Manager Tags and Macros. 
  3. Use Google Tag Manager’s web-based interface to write Rules and determine when various Tags should fire.
If you’re already a Google Tag Manager user, then there’s really nothing new for you to learn. The same style Tag Templates, Rules and Macros that you already know are now available for the new Mobile App Container Type. New users can get up to speed quickly, thanks to the easy-to-use web-based interface.  
Google Tag Manager for Mobile Apps natively supports AdWords Conversion Tracking, AdWords Remarketing and Google Analytics for Mobile Apps (Universal Analytics) tags. It also supports custom and 3rd party tracking events using the custom tag. For Mobile Apps, Google Tag Manager also takes things one step further using the Value Collection Macro. As we previewed at I/O 2013, developers can now create server-side configurations and use them to build highly configurable Apps. Collectively, these new features make Google Tag Manager a powerful tool for marketers and App Developers alike.  
Sign-up for your free Google Tag Manager account now and learn more about Mobile App tagging.  
Posted by Russell Ketchum, Product Manager, Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager

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Posted in Announcements, Developer, mobile | Comments Off

BEST Practices: Google Analytics Conference

The following is a guest post contributed by Caleb Whitmore, founder of GACP Analytics Pros and the BEST Practices Conference, Google Analytics enthusiast and aspiring mountaineer.

BEST Practices: Google Analytics Conference
Boston, September 19
Seattle, November 14


As a digital analytics firm, we obviously love the constant connectedness of social media, mobile devices and the web. But we are also the first to admit that the never-ending noise leaves little room for the brilliance that come from letting your mind wander.
BEST Practices for Google Analytics is designed to give you the best of both worlds. 
We combine strategic inspiration, practical instruction and a wide-open location to create a Google Analytics conference like no other. In six short weeks, BEST Practices will land in Boston and we invite you to join us.


Top 7.2 Reasons to Attend A BEST Practices for Google Analytics Conference this Fall:
  1. Networking: You will be surrounded by innovators in the digital analytics industry – previous attendees include Starbucks, Yelp, Priceline, GoPro and more. Talk to both experts and peers who are using analytics to creatively solve problems.
  2. Speakers: Our speakers are actively practicing what they preach every day. Members of my AP team will cover specific best practices, I will review some of the tricks I have learned from a decade in this business, Ian Myszenski from Wildfire will be showcasing the measurement of social media . . . and the list goes on.
  3. After-Party: Mix and mingle following the event. Past after-parties have provided a great place to keep the brainstorming and inspiration flowing as you chat with people from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds.
  4. Topics: Receive practical instruction on the latest Google Analytics features, including advanced segmentation, multi-channel funnels, attribution modeling, Google Tag Manager, Universal Analytics, social and more.
  5. Interaction: Hands-on interaction is key when learning to apply new knowledge. We will give you a chance to apply tricks directly to your profiles as you listen and chat about your challenges with like-minded people during lunch.
  6. Venue: The Boston BEST Practices conference will be at New England Aquarium and in Seattle at the Seattle Art Museum – venues specifically chosen because they give you open spaces to think creatively. We have intentionally scheduled space into the agenda to allow you to wander, enjoy and dream.
  7. Training: If you’re looking to make it official, the Google Analytics Individual Qualification test is an important milestone when building your GA resume. Our preparatory course is a full day of in-person training time following the conference, led by me.
 7.2.    Discount: And last, but definitely not least, we have a discount just for you! Use discount code BESTAnalyticsBlog for a 20% discount off the conference pass at either our Boston or Seattle conferences this fall.
And don’t forget to check out other BEST Practices conferences as we storm the country. We’re headed back to San Francisco in the spring of 2014 – don’t miss out!
To keep up to date on what’s coming, follow our team at @analyticspros and @BEST_con to hear about the latest speakers, locations and events.
We hope to see you in Boston and Seattle!
Posted by Caleb Whitmore, Google Analytics Certified Partner

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Making smartphone sites load fast

Webmaster level: Intermediate

Users tell us they use smartphones to search online because it’s quick and convenient, but today’s average mobile page typically takes more than 7 seconds to load. Wouldn’t it be great if mobile pages loaded in under one second? Today we’re announcing new guidelines and an updated PageSpeed Insights tool to help webmasters optimize their mobile pages for best rendering performance.

Prioritizing above-the-fold content

Research shows that users’ flow is interrupted if pages take longer than one second to load. To deliver the best experience and keep the visitor engaged, our guidelines focus on rendering some content, known as the above-the-fold content, to users in one second (or less!) while the rest of the page continues to load and render in the background. The above-the-fold HTML, CSS, and JS is known as the critical rendering path.

We can achieve sub-second rendering of the above-the-fold content on mobile networks by applying the following best practices:

  • Server must render the response (< 200 ms)
  • Number of redirects should be minimized
  • Number of roundtrips to first render should be minimized
  • Avoid external blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content
  • Reserve time for browser layout and rendering (200 ms)
  • Optimize JavaScript execution and rendering time

These are explained in more details in the mobile-specific help pages, and, when you’re ready, you can test your pages and the improvements you make using the PageSpeed Insights
tool.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please post in our discussion group.

Posted by Bryan McQuade, Software Engineer, and Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst

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View manual webspam actions in Webmaster Tools

Webmaster level: All

We strive to keep spam out of our users’ search results. This includes both improving our webspam algorithms as well as taking manual action for violations of our quality guidelines. Many webmasters want to see if their sites are affected by a manual webspam action, so today we’re introducing a new feature that should help. The manual action viewer in Webmaster Tools shows information about actions taken by the manual webspam team that directly affect that site’s ranking in Google’s web search results. To try it out, go to Webmaster Tools and click on the “Manual Actions” link under “Search Traffic.”

You’ll probably see a message that says, “No manual webspam actions found.” A recent analysis of our index showed that well under 2% of domains we’ve seen are manually removed for webspam. If you see this message, then your site doesn’t have a manual removal or direct demotion for webspam reasons.

If your site is in the very small fraction that do have a manual spam action, chances are we’ve already notified you in Webmaster Tools. We’ll keep sending those notifications, but now you can also do a live check against our internal webspam systems. Here’s what it would look like if Google had taken manual action on a specific section of a site for “User-generated spam”:

Partial match. User-generated spam affects mattcutts.com/forum/

In this hypothetical example, there isn’t a site-wide match, but there is a “partial match.” A partial match means the action applies only to a specific section of a site. In this case, the webmaster has a problem with other people leaving spam on mattcutts.com/forum/. By fixing this common issue, the webmaster can not only help restore his forum’s rankings on Google, but also improve the experience for his users. Clicking the “Learn more” link will offer new resources for troubleshooting.

Once you’ve corrected any violations of Google’s quality guidelines, the next step is to request reconsideration. With this new feature, you’ll find a simpler and more streamlined reconsideration request process. Now, when you visit the reconsideration request page, you’ll be able to check your site for manual actions, and then request reconsideration only if there’s a manual action applied to your site. If you do have a webspam issue to address, you can do so directly from the Manual Actions page by clicking “Request a review.”

The manual action viewer delivers on a popular feature request. We hope it reassures the vast majority of webmasters who have nothing to worry about. For the small number of people who have real webspam issues to address, we hope this new information helps speed up the troubleshooting. If you have questions, come find us in the Webmaster Help Forum or stop by our Office Hours.

Update (12:50pm PT, August 9th): Unfortunately we’ve hit a snag during our feature deployment, so it will be another couple days before the feature is available to everyone. We will post another update once the feature is fully rolled out.

Update (10:30am PT, August 12th): The feature is now fully rolled out.

Posted by , Distinguished Engineer

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Posted in advanced, beginner, intermediate, webmaster guidelines, webmaster tools | Comments Off