Monday, March 9, 2009

Google Analytics (GA) Improvement Idea

One of the ultimate questions web analytics is supposed to answer is ‘what do I have to do to earn as much as possible with my site’, or close to that. This is a possible, viable outcome of e-commerce and shop analytics already. I have not seen or read about similar clear results for non-shopping sites.

Cause and Effect

For information, entertainment and brand sites the most important step is to simply (Hah!) connect what happens on the web with what happens on the site in a cause-effect relation.

Combine Calendar with Analytics Reports

So I asked our team to key in major site updates and PR releases into a Google calendar (many freelancers). Then, when checking the reports, we could compare these calendars with what happened on site and were able to connect some movements with a likely cause. Sometimes this was very clear, sometimes more vague. Especially on sites offering high value services or products where a direct connect from campaign to sales is not possible, there are many other things to factor in and from offer to contract can take more than half a year.

Still the calendars were a great way to start thinking about cause and effect. Just knowing, remembering what happened in a 300 project per year environment helped to distinguish between seasonal changes and campaign effects.

Google Analytics (GA) Improvement Idea

Now we just need GA to integrate that calendar into the GA view. As a first step, just a very plain view would be helpful like in the screen.

Later on, it might be great to be able to add some more data like budget or estimated traffic into the calendar, and get some calculations back with analytics. Best would be if GA could find connections between calendar events and site effects by itself!

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