Real-Time Analytics: Top Use Cases for Quality Assurance

When real-time analytics first came out in Google Analytics, there were a lot of questions on the usefulness of this report. Yes, it looks cool to put it up on a big screen in the office for people to watch how much traffic is currently on your site… but that may not be super actionable (depending, of course, on your business). Thankfully I’ve found a couple of very useful ways to use real-time analytics for QA to help make me a better marketer: 1. Ensure campaign tracking is setup correctly: Real-time analytics allows me to see that the UTMs I’ve attached to my blog post URLs are working correctly and attributing traffic to the right sources. It’s a nice assurance to quickly check this after posting a new blog post
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How to setup Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager on WordPress

In this post I’ll walk you through setting up Google Tag Manger and installing Google Analytics on your WordPress blog in 5 easy steps. Step 1: Go to http://www.google.com/tagmanager/ to create a GTM account.  You’ll get a GTM account ID, in the format GTM-XXXXXX. Copy this ID, you’ll need it in the next step. Step 2: Install a GTM wordpress plugin. I chose Thomas Geiger’s Duracelltomi Google Tag Manager plugin for WordPress because it has great reviews on WordPress and a dedicated site full of ‘how to’ resources. Once installed, enter your GTM account ID. Step 3: Configure your tags, rules, & macros in GTM. The first thing I installed was a Universal Analytics tag to fire GA on all pages of my site. For basic tracking, it’s pretty easy. Just choose the tag
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I’m Joining the Google Analytics Team to Advocate for Digital Analytics Best Practices

After working as a practitioner of analytics and optimization for the past six years (at Adobe, the Apollo Group, and most recently Google), I’m excited to announce that I’m ‘officially’ making the move to the vendor side of the house! I’m joining the Google Analytics team as a ‘Best Practice Advocate’ for analytics and optimization. Five years ago, I would have said this role was my dream job. Two years ago, when I joined Google, I still would have said that this role was my dream job. And today, now 5 days in, I’m happy to say I’ve actually landed my dream job! 🙂 I say ‘officially’ with quotes for two main reasons: 1. I’ve already been at Google for two years, many might think that I’ve been on the
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Your Optimization Program’s First Hire

Just starting out in web optimization? I recently spoke on a panel at Optimizely’s Opticon and one of the questions that came up was ‘who would be your first hire’ for a new optimization program. There were a few different opinions on the panel, ranging from someone who gets stuff done, to an analytics rockstar, to that rare unicorn who can do it all. While all of these are good places to start, I tend to take the viewpoint of optimization through a solid analytics background as the best place to start. (Of course there are many optimization all-stars who didn’t come from an analytics background.) Why? Here are a few of the reasons why I’d look at hiring an analytics rockstar as your optimization lead: 1. They know data
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Human Analytics – The Quantification of Myself

I recently gave a talk about one of my passions, the quantification of self, to my team. Given the great feedback, I’m turning that preso into a blog post to share with everyone! I’d like to note that this preso and subsequent blog post was inspired by an awesome presentation that Michele Kiss gave at the Digital Analytics Association SF Chapter Symposium last fall in San Francisco. You can see her preso on her blog. The market today is full of tools, apps & wearables and the idea of self-quantification is steadily moving towards the mainstream. A lot of my friends have some type of an activity or fitness tracker (though my groups of friends are divided between the Fuelband, Fitbit, and my favorite, the Jawbone UP – each group
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Building a Culture of Optimization, Part 5: So You’ve Found a Big Win… Now What?

In part 5 of this 5-part blog series about ‘Building a Culture of Optimization’ I’m going to talk about the importance of sharing your wins and bringing your organization along with you. You can see part 1, part 2, part 3 & part 4 here. Part 5: So you’ve found a big win. Now what? Ensure you’ve double triple checked your results! Are they statistically confident? Did you control for external variables? Why is this important? A personal example… I ran a test where we found significant uplift over our control from a couple of test variations, but one version stood out as the clear winner. After closing the test, reviewing and analyzing the data, I communicated the results and recommendation to launch the winner to the rest of my organization. Most people
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Building a Culture of Optimization, Part 4: Evangelize the Process

In part 4 of this 5-part blog series about ‘Building a Culture of Optimization’ I’m going to talk about evangelizing your process within your organization. You can see part 1, part 2, & part 3 here. Part 4: Evangelize the process Process is important. Process leads to consistency, repeatability, and authority in a testing program. Sharing that process and getting others in your organization bought in and supportive is even more important. One source of truth One of the best ways to make your optimization program better known within your organization is to evangelize it via a widely accessible & visible roadmap. Here’s an example roadmap that I use within my organization: I host this roadmap in a Google doc that is accessible to everyone in my organization, from analysts
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Building a Culture of Optimization, Part 3: Know the Math

In part 3 of this 5-part blog series about ‘Building a Culture of Optimization’ I’m going to talk about the importance of bringing your organization up to speed on the math behind the tests. You can look back and see part 1 on the basics and part 2 on good test design. Part 3: Know the Math! Give your peers a short stats lesson (but keep it light)! What does someone running an A/B or MVT test need to know about math? How detailed should they be? Here is what I tell all of my coworkers: Statistical Confidence = confidence in a repeated result The confidence level, or statistical significance indicate how likely it is that a test experience’s success was not due to chance. A higher confidence indicates that: – the
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Building a Culture of Optimization, Part 2: Good Test Designs

In part 2 of this 5-part blog series about ‘Building a Culture of Optimization’ I’m going to talk about the importance of teaching good test designs. You can see part 1 about educating the basics here. Part 2: Good Test Designs You can’t have a good test without a good test design. One of the first things I do when a new test idea surfaces is sit down with the key stakeholders & test proposers to understand the details of what they’d like to test. We’ll talk through the variables that are going to be tested, how best to setup & design the test, and ensure we are on the same page in terms of potential test outcomes and how to ensure we are testing in a clean and consistent manner.
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