Saturday, April 26, 2008

Webanalytics 1 - Back Story

I'm getting geared up to install Google Analytics on our site: Time4Learning. I'm trying to learn enough so that we do it right the first time. Have I got some history? Oh, yea.

Adwords Conversion Measuring
I've long been haunted by a mistake that we made when we set up Google adwords. Adwords lets you set up several types of conversions to measure. In our case, we wanted to measure how many people signed up for our free newsletter and how many people joined (ie paid for) our educational learning service. BUT, all types of conversions are not equally supported by Adwords tool chain. We made our most important conversion, the payment, to equal the variable "sales count". It seemed logical at the time. But, as we worked with adwords, they have all sorts of automated tool support for one type of conversion, unfortunately, the one that we set up as signing up for our newsletter. Over time, we've stopped even tracking newsletter sign-ups and we continue to invest all sorts of time in optimizing our "sales count" conversions by keyword, by bid, by landing page, by type of demo shown. For instance, should we bid more for the term learning games or educational games? Which one converts at a higher rate? And can we change it by having landing pages optimized for those terms.

Sadly, the conversion that we care about requires us to download reports from Adwords, not to use their convenient tools. This problem chews about about 15 extra minutes everytime we have the slightest question on adwords and keywords. After three years, that's alot of time and more importantly, it's alot of research that we didn't bother to do since we tend to be in a hurry.

Other Time4Learning history to consider in setting up analytics.

We have adwords under one google account, webmaster tools under another. Which one should we put analytics in? Answer: Adwords. there's more synergy of tools.

We have more than just one site that we care about. For instance, many visitors (we think) visit our parents forum which is hosted on as part of the process of checking us out. How would we track this?

We sign alot of people for our newsletter and we hope, that it is step towards signing up with us eventually, We 'd like to track that.

Lastly, we have several types of pages: .htm, .shtml, .html, .aspx, and some secure ones (https). We use includes. How does this affect the implementation process?

So stick with us as we work through these problems. A real live case study. More reality blogging. And of course, if any of you have great advice on these questions, I'm interested. I have hired a SEO guru to come visit us periodically at "lawerly" rates per hour. After session one, I'm pleased.


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