Empirical Blog

Spreadsheets import, visualize & share web data

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Measurement is critical to making data-driven decisions, but web analytics and other data must be shared, visualized, and put in context to have the most impact in an organization. Google Analytics, for example, is a powerful tool with good “out of the box” tools to view your website data. But its reporting, charting, and collaboration features are relatively limited, so that your ability to factor in other data, identify findings, and convince others to take action is limited, as well.

Luckily, it’s easier than ever to import web analytics data into a tried-and-true tool for sharing, visualizing, comparing, and performing calculations on data: the spreadsheet. Tools such as Excellent Analytics, GA Data Grabber, and Nick Mihailovski's Google Apps Script automatically access the Google Analytics API to drop data into your Excel or Google spreadsheets, without manual exporting or pasting. Now functionality like the ReportBuilder tool we use with the premium Adobe SiteCatalyst powered by Omniture is available to users of free web analytics.

Once data is in Excel and Google Spreadsheets, all of the usual functionality is available to manipulate data to your heart’s content, compare it to goals and other metrics, and share it with colleagues. This means that all of the spreadsheet’s formulas and functions can be used to slice and dice the data, and pivot tables and charts can be used to customize reports and dashboards to communicate the meaning behind the data.  More customized output translates to more buy-in, better recommendations, and better data-driven decisions.

google analytics excel

Imagine you just launched a campaign to increase engagement on your website. It’s the second campaign in two months, and the third campaign since this month last year. You want some of your reports to specify the exact landing page URLs, but you want other reports to roll up the data.  You also want to update these reports in a heartbeat.

How would you do this with Google Analytics standard reports?  The short answer is – you can’t.  Google Analytics will provide you with trend lines, and you can even compare them to one prior time period.  But you can’t create one report of the data the way you need it.

But with a spreadsheet import tool, all of the analysis you need is possible, if you are willing to do a fair amount of setup.  Some examples:


Split testing boosts conversion rates

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As a marketer, you've probably taken the necessary steps to collect data about your website. Most likely, the web analytics solution you have in place gives you a solid understanding of your online audience, along with some key factors that lead to conversions on your website. That’s a great place to start, but are you leveraging those baseline analytics to test, target and truly optimize the offers, calls to action and processes on your site? Do you know exactly which combination of elements actually converts visitors to take the desired action?

If not, you’re not alone. Most marketers want to do more than simply capture better data; they want to test the content of their landing pages and then optimize it by targeting visitors with messages and options that will convert them to inquire, purchase, or sign up for more information.

Many companies begin by using free options like Google Analytics Content Experiments, then migrate to more robust paid tools like Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer, which feature split testing and more sophisticated targeting functionality at an affordable price. Using these more advanced tools, many marketers have seen remarkable increases in conversion rates, whether they measure success by the number of orders, registrations, and leads, or by content consumption.

Testing in Action at Kapitall

google analytics content experiments case study

We recently helped an online brokerage boost its conversion rates by testing its website content. Kapitall’s gaming-style interface enlists traders to sign up for brokerage accounts, then use the site to trade stocks. Every incremental sign-up is key, so having a truly effective landing page is critical. We took these steps to choose the best:


Webinar to highlight new analytics features

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google analytics new featuresPerformance enhancing drugs have no place in marketing, but performance enhancing measurement can give marketers a legitimate edge on the competition.

That's why our Jim Snyder is presenting a webinar, "Google Analytics on Steroids - New Features: What You Need to Know," with one of our agency partners and clients, Seattle search engine marketing firm Point It.  Wednesday October 10 at 11 am PDT, Jim and Point It Director of Strategy Ian Mackie will teach attendees:

  • Powerful new features in Google Analytics and why that's important to you
  • How to get actionable, impactful, data out of Google Analytics
  • How to integrate data into Salesforce and other CRMs
  • How to use attribution modeling & remarketing in Google Analytics

UPDATE: please see slides and video here.

Interested?  Please register here. Want everyone to know? Join the Facebook Event.

Point It's press release lays out the agenda and why Jim is so qualified to guide viewers through it:


Google selects us to support new Google Tag Manager

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Empirical Path is excited to join the launch of Google's free tag management tool as one of the only Google Tag Manager partner companies.

UPDATE: here's how GTM now automatically tracks Google Analytics events such as exit links, form submissions, and time spent.

Businesses demand more sophisticated levels of tracking on websites and mobile apps, so tag management tools have gained popularity by offering a quicker and easier way to deliver on complex tagging requirements.  Google Tag Manager frees I.T. departments from the burden of managing complex analytics tags and let marketers quickly configure Google Analytics and other tags. Here's a 4-minute video as overview:

As Google Analytics told us during certification:

"Google Tag Manager is a free tool that consolidates your website tags with a single snippet of code and lets you manage everything from a web interface. You can add and update your own tags, with just a few clicks, whenever you want, without bugging the IT folks or rewriting site code. It gives marketers greater flexibility, and lets webmasters focus on other important tasks.

Key Benefits of Google Tag Manager

  • Run campaigns on your schedule, without being gated by I.T.
  • Adopt new marketing tools quickly
  • Have confidence in your data

Feature Highlights

  • Free
  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Supports all Google and 3rd party tracking and marketing tags
  • Accurate and dependable data
  • Reliable and fast"

The certification process consisted of demonstrating an advanced understanding of Google Tag Manager by migrating a currently tagged sample site to being managed by GTM.  During the certification process, Empirical Path consultants found some specific capabilities that we know we'll use for clients:

  • Consolidate all of your tagging in one place
  • Set rules such as having a re-marketing tag fire on an "add to cart" action
  • Enable Google and non-Google marketing and measurement tags
  • Support multiple accounts, so agencies can manage several analytics and marketing campaigns in one place

Contact us today to talk about our flat-fee offer to get started with GTM.

Or read our case study of how GTM helped one media client get the most from GA Premium.

Web analytics audit featured


If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, being linked to comes in a close second.

analysis-exchange-case-studySo we blushed when the Official Blog of the Analysis Exchange -- "the world's only effort to connect nonprofits and web analysts to create free insights for the nonprofit community" -- pointed its clients to our Web Analytics Audit and Google Analytics Audit as best practices for ensuring Analysis Exchange projects are focused on the most leveraged web analytics issues:

"A technical audit is a thorough evaluation of your website’s analytics software implementation that allows you to understand what your software may be missing or reporting inaccurately.  It provides you with knowledge of your reporting limitations, and its ultimate goal is to identify issues that need to be addressed to ensure that key visitor behaviors are captured accurately so that your data-driven recommendations are reliable.  By requesting an audit from the mentor and student in your first Analysis Exchange project, the areas of greatest need will be identified, and you can prioritize your subsequent projects according to your requirements, while obtaining ideas for future projects."

Guest blogger Joan Cole -- who worked with our founder Peter Howley on two Exchange projects -- detailed some of the findings that audits deliver:


Cox renovates its SiteCatalyst


Cox's Kudzu.com helps homeowners fix up their houses. Empirical Path helped Cox fix up its Omniture metrics, as detailed in our new case study:

adobe sitecatalyst pathfinder"The site had deployed Adobe SiteCatalyst, powered by Omniture, to measure success in driving subscriptions and consumer engagement.  However, the legacy SiteCatalyst implementation didn’t distinguish key content and audience segments, such as paid vs. free listings and geography, and didn’t track video.  As a result, management was unable to close the loop between campaigns aimed at merchants and resulting paid listings."

We used every weapon in our arsenal to help this media business get the most from its investment in SiteCatalyst, Discover, and DataWarehouse: audits, dashboards, rich media tracking, SAINT product classifications, CRM integration, and one of our specialties, campaign tracking.  Having grown up in content and advertising businesses like washingtonpost.com, CNN.com, AOL, and Weather.com, consultants Peter Howley and Jim Snyder helped Kudzu answer questions about geographic markets, advertiser visibility, and content promotion.

Read the whole case study here.

Or contact us about our media and campaign tracking expertise.

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