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October 20, 2008

eMetrics: A Morning in Google Analytics University

By Li Evans

eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit - Day 1

Emetricsgoogleuniversityjustin This week SearchMarketingGurus is at eMetrics for a 2nd year.  This year, myself (Li Evans of Key Relevance) and Simon Heseltine will be bringing you all the great highlights of the sessions here at eMetrics being held at the Hilton High Mark here in Alexandria.  I'm actually excited to be here after all of the great things that Mike Grehan & Bryan Eisenberg have told me about this event.

This morning I arrived bright and early, set on finally sitting in on a Google University class.  It's running all day, and I'm stepping in for certain segments of it, while attending to normal "work" things. 

This Google Analytics session is being presented by Justin Cutroni of EpikOne and really opened my eyes on some major things I'm missing out on.  I love data, and you don't realize just how much data there is afforded to you by Google Analytics until you sit down with someone who can show you everything.  I'm a big fan of Avinash Kaushik (like no one didn't know that already) and have read his book, but still, there's something about sitting and having someone present it too you in this type of fashion that opens your eyes even more.

Here are some of my quick take aways:

Are You Using Google Analytics Filters?

Emetricsgoogleuniversityjustin2 I always thought, "Why Would I Need Filters?"  Ah how tunnel visioned I was!  Filters can help you segment your data and better understand a whole host of things when it comes to evaluating what's going on and what isn't.  From upper and lower case filters, to include / exclude filters and even the search and replace filters, there's a lot of power in utilizing them.  From being able to bring together mixed cased url's to blending together data that is alike into on report, using filters can help your reports become more actionable.

Are You Excluding "Nonsense" Type Parameters?

Does your website use parameters in the URL that define the user's experience on your site?  Are you using session id's as a parameter in your URL to track what the user is doing during their time on your website?  It's instances like that, that can generate unique URL's that end up sort of like "noise" when it comes to the big picture of your site analytics.  Google Analytics allows you to exclude parameters!  Excluding sid or sessionid, along with parameters that might change the user's view (colors, etc.) can all be excluded by entering them into the "Exclude URL Query Parameters" input box.

Some quick things that can be overlooked, but can mean an entirely different view of what is actionable data and what isn't.  I'll have more from eMetrics first day both here and on Key Relevance's blog, so keep your eye on both!

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