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Getting Your Data Into Shape

Out of the box, Google Analytics will require some modifications in order for you to get what you need.

There are no shortages of really cool things you can do with Google Analytics but the trick to maximizing effectiveness is to approach each new layer of activity, especially those that require an investment of time and money, with clearly defined needs and goals. Here are some of the most important settings and configurations you’ll need in order to maximize efficiency. Each of these links point to articles written especially for arts managers that include step-by-step instructions.

GA Skills Everyone Should Develop:

Transforming Your Data Into What You Need

There Are Two Types Of Data

DIMENSIONS
Characteristics of users such as location and traffic source combined with interaction such as a page URL.

METRICS
Quantitative, numbers-oriented info such as visitors per page or averages. This is what you measure.

Dimensions and Metrics

Your Three Primary Report Dashboards

1) AUDIENCE REPORTS

  • Characteristic data such as user location and devices they use.
  • How often and how much time between visits.
  • Visitor demographics and interests.

2) ACQUISITION REPORTS

  • How users find your website.
  • By default, GA tracks organic, direct, social, referral, and email traffic sources.
  • Helps analyze marketing campaign ROI.

3) BEHAVIOR REPORTS

  • How users interact with your website.
  • Reports on which content users view and how they move from page to page.
  • Includes Site Search and Speed metrics.

Serve Up Useful Experiences

Metrics Driven Pro Tips:
Organize the content on each page of your website with the end user in mind.

Put the most important information at the top of the page (don’t forget to think about how content shifts across devices in responsive design).

Provide multiple clear links/buttons to purchase tickets. (don’t forget to use the URL builder or Tag Manager to help create trackable links).

Utilize short paragraphs separated by headlines to make text more readable.

Can We Talk? There’s something you need to know about your homepage slider…

Homepage sliders (also called carousels) are notoriously ineffective so swap yours out for a large hero image with one to three buttons to quickly guide users as to what to do next such as buying tickets, viewing an event calendar, or making a donation.

Be GA Smart: test the clickthrough value of your sliders by using trackable links via URL builder.

hero
Hero with three nav funnel buttons.

Hero Responsive 2018
Make sure your Hero design works across all devices. and when appropriate, consider filtering out.

Let’s Talk About Navigation

The serial position effect is the tendency of a person to recall the first and last items in a series best. When applied to a horizontal menu navigation, it is a straightforward item inside GA to track and confirm.

serial position

Inside responsive design, a horizontal navigation will stack vertically. You’ll want to confirm the high value left items appear at the top of the vertical stack.

Mobile Tip: you may need to manually relocate any high value items from the horizontal right version as they’ll likely end up at the bottom of the mobile version.

serial in mobile

Resources!

so…many…goodies

ArtsHacker Resources

Google Chrome Browser Resources

We strongly recommend using Google Chrome as your default Analytics browser thanks to a wonderful array of extensions that provide enhanced metrics capability not available when using other browsers.

Although there are hundreds of GA extensions available in the Chrome extension library, here are some that we use and recommend:

  • Tag Assistant (by Google): Allows you to verify you have installed tracking tags correctly on your pages (not just GA). Helps you troubleshoot the Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC), Google Tag Manager (GTM), and Adwords Conversion Tracking.
  • Page Analytics (by Google): The Page Analytics Chrome Extension allows you to see how customers interact with your web pages, including what they click and don’t click. Use these insights to optimize your website layout, improve user experience, and increase conversions.
    When you view a web page for which you have Google Analytics access.

  • Google Analytics Debugger: Inserts analytics_debug.js (or ga_debug.js) for you when you load any page containing a GATC in the Chrome browser. You can then view very useful information in the browser console. Includes error messages and warnings about your tracking code implementation and a detailed breakdown of each tracking beacon/variable sent to Google Analytics.
  • Google Analytics URL Builder: Google already has a useful URL web page for building campaigns, but its a little cumbersome to use. This browser extension adds some very nice user friendly features such as: Loading the current web address automatically; Create and manage pre-configured sets of tags i.e. a template campaign url; Choose a template campaign as your default; great for fast editing of multiple landing page urls.

WordPress Resources

Here are some useful plugins to consider using with your site that provide enhanced GA functionality. One word of caution: when using free plugins, always be sure to test it with your site on a staging environment before going live. Also, be prepared for free plugins to add one or more admin panel nags (a common price for “free”). As always, your mileage may vary when using any of these plugins and you will need to contact the respective authors for product support.

Here are some useful plugins to consider using with your site that provide enhanced GA functionality. One word of caution: when using free plugins, always be sure to test it with your site on a staging environment before going live. Also, be prepared for free plugins to add one or more admin panel nags (a common price for “free”). As always, your mileage may vary when using any of these plugins and you will need to contact the respective authors for product support.

  • Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
    Displays Google Analytics reports in your WordPress Dashboard. Inserts the latest Google Analytics tracking code in your pages.
  • DuracellTomi’s Google Tag Manager for WordPress
    Google Tag Manager (GTM) is Google’s free tool to everyone to be able to manage your analytics, PPC and other code snippets using an intuitive web UI. This plugin can place the necessary container code snippet into your website so that you do not need to edit your theme files. Multiple containers are supported.