Google Analytics Summit 2015: No Spoilers Ahead

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I spent the last couple of days floating through a Googly haze at the 2015 Google Analytics Summit in San Francisco, eating the vegan gluten-free box lunch, catering and listening to the wait staff complain about the water rationing (but seriously, San Francisco needs some rain). Oh and learning stuff too, I guess.

In all seriousness, there were a massive amount of exciting things announced for the future of Google Analytics, pretty much all of which I’m sworn to secrecy on. Even though I can’t share any specifics, I wanted to offer the curious some tips for the future. No spoilers ahead.

If you haven’t started thinking about the user, do it now. Which of your users are the most valuable? Stop asking yourself what percent of your sessions have converted, and ask what percent of your users have converted. How did you aquire those users? Convert those users?

Micro-moments is a trend in marketing that isn’t going away for a while. It’s the idea that when a user is ready to find you, you need to be there. Think about a hotel that is ready to serve up ads when a nearby airport has several cancelled flights. Real-time and programmatic approaches to this solution are what developers and marketers are thinking about. In reality this has existed for quite some time now, but it’s the buzz at the water cooler, and you need to be ready to answer when your client asks about it.

Build out and use great audience segmentation. Some questions to ponder:

  • Who are your gold, silver and bronze users?
  • What are your target markets?
  • What might happen in the lifetime of your user that would make them valuable or interesting? (And no, this isn’t a hint about lookback windows in GA.)

Get your data set clean. This is always a good tip, like eating your greens — and as with eating your greens, with the passage of time, it becomes even more important. Here are some specifics to consider:

  • Set a standard naming convention, and enforce commitment to it across your channels.
  • Re-evaluate your standard channel definitions in Google Analytics. Are you segmenting enough? Too much?
  • Do you have unique “keys” in your data? Such as a common user ID, channel, etc.?
  • Use data expansion where applicable. Do you have all the data about your channels? Is there any other way you’d segment your users?

Use smart tag management. If your wheelhouse is Google products (AdWords, DoubleClick, Google Analytics, etc.) then use Google Tag Manager. Even if you aren’t using Google products, consider switching to Google Tag Manager, or at least ask your developers to familiarize themselves with it. The very bottom line is – get your tags in order, however you do it. The lines between web design, user behavior, and data are getting continuously blurred. At some point there won’t be a line, and tag management will play a vital role in bringing it all together. If you still have tags manually placed on pages in 2016, shame on you.

Make some time in your life for mobile, if you aren’t a mobile developer. If you are a mobile developer, hug yourself. Mobile as an industry has been growing and growing, and from a marketing standpoint, remains dominated by mobile app developers. Ad networks see this lack of diversity on mobile and are declaring mobile the manifest destiny for marketers — and for good reason. Going back to micro-moments, users have more reasons to interact on mobile than ever.

 

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