How-to use Analytics

March 29, 2010

Ten steps to low cost low effort way of evaluating and proving how effective your marketing is

Google stores your web site traffic. And it’s available to you, for free.

The best tool to use that data is Excel.

The only challenge is getting that web site data into Excel in a format you can work with.

Fortunately, Nextanalytics for Excel can be gotten on a 30 day free trial, and if it helps you out, can be purchased for only $199.

For the next few blog entries, I’m going to walk through practical ways of using Google Analytics and Excel and Nextanalytics, together.

Overall, if you want to save money in your advertising budget, increase revenue and brand recognition, then this is a very easy and low cost way of doing it.

Let’s walk through an example: Lead generation, analyzing first time visitors and what they’re looking at on your site.

You can use your web site traffic to monitor any marketing campaign, anything drives traffic to your web site.

Google logs some very useful web site visit data, and you can use Nextanalytics for Excel to fetch it from Google into Excel.

For this example, we’ll focus on first time visitors and which landing pages they are going to, by doing so, we can tell which marketing campaigns are driving traffic and what content you can improve to maximize your marketing budget.

10 easy steps – and you can skip some of them

Step 1: ensure that the web site data is filtered to just first-time visitors.

Step 2: convert technical names to meaningful and easier to read names otherwise it is too clumsy read and to work with.

Step 3: eliminate the visits to web pages you don’t care about, if any.

Step 4: if you have several pages that are similar, you can combine them into a single group name.

Step 5:  Show the data so that individual time periods have their own results.  Business intelligence products call this crosstab, Excel refersto it as pivoting the data.   With this, you can see the trend of the number of visits a web page has as they occurred in each of several time periods. You’ll need this before you can use Excel chart.  It’s important to note:  Reports should adjust themselves to show only recent data automatically on time periods rolling forward. You also want just monthly or weekly subtotals.

Step 6: Detailed individual dates should be summarized into upper level time units such as weeks or months.

Step 7: You might want to automatically remove incomplete time periods so their reduced values don’t skew the results you are reporting.

Step 8: Sort by most recent month (automatically, not knowing it’s name, just knowing it’s in the last column).

Step 9: Read the data. See which are the most popular pages and tie that back to the marketing activities.

Step 10: Make smart decisions. Use your budget more wisely, measure your activities, make adjustments, and drive revenue.

web log data, pivoted in Excel

Web log data, pivoted in Excel, Most Popular Pages for First-Time Visitors

You now have a trended view of the most popular web site pages,  First Time visitors only.  These are the ones they go to most often (over the most recent rolling six months, with the in-complete current month removed)

Looking left to right, you can see the trends.  Why not put them in an Excel chart or add your own subtotals — it’s Excel!

Knowing which pages are being visited by first timers will help you measure and report your marketing activities.  Ideally, you’ll see a correlation between your marketing and the landing pages they are directing people to.

If there are un-expected pages, you can change your plans. You can improve the content of the surprise pages and consider adjusting your marketing based on the content of what’s driving people to your site.

What should you say to First Time visitors?

Your content and digital strategy should be to get attention and connect with their needs and wants.

You must initiate brand awareness, and get attention for your products and services.

You want to  increase their awareness and familiarity.

You want to influence their opinions, especially as they move into the evaluation phase of their relationship with you.

Improve the content, aim it at getting their attention, connect with their needs, influence them, guide their opinions; above all, inspire and inform them to bring their relationship further.

Don’t forget to examine the pages that don’t appear on this report.  Although these are less popular pages, they might not be un-important to you.  For example, these could be your conversion pages or FAQ’s.  Now you know these other pages are not popular with First-Timers, so you can  eliminate, re-focus, or adjust their content.

There will be cases where people came to your site all on their own, where didn’t drive them there with your marketing.  Knowing these pages allows you to adjust the content of those web  pages to be suited to first time visitors.  You can also consider new marketing initiatives based on the content of the existing page.

In all these situations, knowing the pages first time visitors are seeing most often allows you to optimize your marketing efforts and improve the content of the pages they’re seeing.


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