Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Data Divining

Data “mining” metaphors may be cliché these days but I still find them more directionally meaningful than “the tip of the iceberg” ones that are also commonly used. All the iceberg metaphor says is that there is a lot more data hidden beneath the immediately visible surface. At least the data mining references imply there are nuggets of value in “them thar hills” if you look hard enough. Of course, the key question is - where to start digging?

Using my mouse as a divining rod, here are some places in Google Analytics where I have found some paydirt:
  • Advanced Segments: Google provides a number of default advanced segments that let you filter and look at your data in a more comparative way. What’s even better is that you can create your own Custom Advanced Segments to filter and drill down on metrics that are unique to your own brand.
  • In-Page Analytics: Want to get a sense of how people are navigating your web pages? Check out In-Page Analytics to generate a heat map overlay on your page that can show you clicks, conversions, revenues and/or other goal performance data. Then just click to see the data for another page. Note that the data can be presented by advanced segments so you can again see differences in performance based on referral source, device type, etc.
  • Conversions: This whole section of Google Analytics is well worth exploring. Sub-sections I find particularly worth digging into include Assisted Conversions and Top Conversion Paths. These acknowledge and help understand the relative value of your integrated, multi-channel digital tactics. Google has also added Attribution modeling to this section which may help you further e-value-ate your tactics based on first-click vs. last click actions. (Personally, I’m a first-click believer but that’s a blog for another day.)

Remember to set Shortcuts once you’ve found the data sets/reports you consider to be revealing so you can easily dive right back in and continue your mining efforts. You can also create customized Dashboards to share your findings with others.

That’s enough for now. Stay tuned because, unlike the melting iceberg, the nice thing about mining analytics is the well/vein will never run dry. Happy divining!

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