A Fool with a Tool is Still a Fool. Don’t be a Fool.

Tool OverkillA new year always spawns lots of “top tools” articles and blog posts.  Being human, we like shiny new objects.

We should be on the lookout for ways to be more effective and efficient, but just because a tool is new and shiny with new features that leverage the latest doesn’t mean it’s better for you.

Don’t be a fool or be fooled by claims that sound too good to be true.  Don’t pay for new capability you don’t need.

More might mean more complex.  Often, less is more, because you can start using a simpler tool faster, and benefit quickly from the tool.

Strive for the right fit.  Ask yourself how it will be better for you and your organization – the structure, process and learning that has been built up around an existing tool to make things work is typically undervalued.

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Resurrecting the AdWords Keyword Position & Ad Slot Report: 4-Dimension Custom Report

A question arose today on the Google Partner Community about the AdWords Keyword Position report, which is no longer available as a Google Analytics Standard Report.  A community member responded that you can use Keyword plus Ad Slot position in a secondary dimension.

4DBut why stop with 2 dimensions?  Using Custom Reports, you can create a report with up to 5 dimensions, so how about these 4 dimensions:

  • Keyword (i.e. bid keyword)
  • Search Query (i.e. Typed or “Matched Search Query”)
  • Ad Slot – Top, Side or not set
  • Ad Slot Position – 1 to 8

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Avoid Segment Definition Errors: Helpful Tool to Get Your Regex Right

The Good, The Bad, The UglyStandard analytics reports provide lots of data but usually scarce useful information that can be acted upon.  Standard reports typically lead to more questions. To get answers, and uncover useful insight to tackle the good, bad and ugly of your operations, you need to filter and segment, such as in the following situations:

  • A visitor locations report will tell you where visitors are located and how engaged they are, but you are probably not interested in the behaviour of people around the world.  Most likely you’re interested in a select few focused geographies where your best prospects or most loyal visitors are located.
  • A report showing all channels of traffic might be interesting, but you’re probably most interested in those channels that you have spent money driving traffic through, or can make changes to, thereby influencing future visitor behaviour.
  • In evaluating response to a new microsite, you want to exclude internal traffic because there’s been significant internal corporate promotion.

RegexIn some analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, the language of regular expressions, or “regex” are needed to restrict the data to be analyzed.  If you don’t use the right regex, your analysis will be incorrect.

There are many Regex testers but one of the simplest is regexpal.com.

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Build a Strong Data Quality Governance Foundation to Avoid Death by a Thousand Cuts

Unstable foundationPicture a house built on the side of a cliff.  As the cliff weathers over the years, if no action is taken to shore up the foundation, eventually the house will fall off the cliff.  The lesson?  Do a  little maintenance.  Ward off a catastrophe.

What’s this got to do with data?

Without attention, data quality can erode.  What erodes data quality are deteriorating processes.  If left unattended, your digital analytics data quality (and your organization’s faith in analytics) might suffer a slow death by a thousand cuts.  The catastrophe?  Possibly getting fired.

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5 Things Digital Analysts Can Learn from the NHL

Hockey Game ArenaA new season in underway in the National Hockey League, and the word “analytics” has garnered a considerable amount of hype. So far, it seems that no game passes without some mention of the NHL’s new data-driven paradigm. However, analytics in hockey is not a new concept at all.

Analytics is much more than some fancy new metrics. It’s a mindset that has been ingrained in the sport of hockey for decades. In fact, the methods of analysis and decision-making already used by players, coaches, and general managers are transferable to any analytics discipline, digital analytics in particular.

Here are 5 things that digital analysts can learn from the NHL: Continue reading “5 Things Digital Analysts Can Learn from the NHL” »