Google Analytics does a lot for us, and it does so much that we can’t always find some of the cooler functionality.
I recently discovered some VERY useful information regarding social media linking in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics will let you review the social media discussions and events (+1, Like, Bookmaarks, etc) and do the usual stuff with it.
To find your Social Media actions in Google Analytics:
- Log into Google Analytics and get to your Standard Reporting dashboard
- In the left nav, navigate to: Traffic Sources -> Social -> Pages
- Here you can see your most “Liked” content, but it gets better… (and the activity incoming from social networks)
- Click on any of the “Pages” in the list, I clicked the first link
- You can now see various Social Media networks that drive your traffic (“Social Referral”)
- Click on “Activity Steam”
- Here you land on the “Conversations” section, you can also click on the “Events” section (next to “Viewing” above the actual data)
- Great — but there’s more…
- Click on “ALL” under the “Pages” title (top left corner) — this can be done under events and conversations
Using this you can see all social media conversations sending links to your site, as well as all actions (and sometimes which user) that saved/liked/plussed your site.
As of this morning, Google Analytics has been updated to provide FREE real time analytics. This is the biggest thing that has happened to Google Analytics since it was released.
To access the new feature, you must be using the “New Version”:
- Click “New Version” in the top right corner (if it says “Old Version” as a link, you are using the new version)
Then, once you log out, and log back in to the New Version:
- Access your profile
- Click on “Home” in the top nav
- Click “Real-Time (BETA)” in the top left nav
- Real time reporting!
This got past me last month, and wanted to make sure all my “loyal” (hah, no offense but most of you are from India just looking for a fix to something) readers saw this.
As of August 11, 2011 Google changed the way Sessions are defined.
The old model ended a session when one of the following occurred:
- More than 30 minutes between pageviews
- At the end of a day (local time midnight)
- When a visitor closes their browser
In the newer version, Google ends a session when:
- More than 30 minutes between pageviews (same)
- At the end of a day (local time midnight, same)
- When any traffic source value for the user changes. This includes: utm_source, utm_medium, utm_term, utm_content, utm_id, utm_campaign, and gclid.
Google Analytics is what most people use nowadays for web traffic reports. It is flexible, powerful and simple.
When a user clicks on a PDF from your site, you will never see that PDF in Google Analytics.
How to track File downloads with Google Analytics
It’s very easy. As is most things with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics provides a method for tracking anything you want. It’s called “_trackPageview”.
How does this help us track file downloads? Simply modify the link to the file asset to have an “onClick”:
Link to the file here:
See how easy that was?
Hopefully you have a function used to print out those links, then you can modify it in one place (that’s what I did).
You should see results in Google Analytics under Top Content shortly.
I’ve posted a few times on my experiment to see how much Twitter boosts my overall traffic. In doing so I’ve noticed a lot of my traffic now comes from strange sources. With the use of TinyURL, and some of the interfaces people use for twitter, traffic is difficult to watch.
According to Tweetstats.com, only 50% of twitter traffic comes from the web. The other 50% comes from all sorts of various applications.
How do we track it?
One great way, suggested in the aforementione article, is to tag twitter posts with campaign tags. Just like large companies do, tagging traffic as a campaign will let you analyze traffic coming form all Twitter sources.
Check out the original post, The analytics issue with Twitter. He deserves credit on this, I’m just pointing you to his article.
I never knew I could take some of my unused domains, and hand them over to Google (why do I even link “Google”? Who doesn’t know where Google is?) to try and monetize some of the wasted traffic.
I’m not an advocate of parking domain names. If you happen to have some extra domains sitting around it’s a great idea.
The steps are simple:
- Create an Adsense account - https://www.google.com/adsense
- Purchase Domains (if you don’t already have them)
- Setup the Domain for use with Adsense for Domains (there’s a guide at https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=100301&sourceid=aso&subid=ww-ww-et-asui&medium=link)
- Add Unused Domains to Adsense
- Modify domain registrar settings (setup a blank A record to the IP 188.8.131.52, and setup a CNAME “www” record pointing to pub-xxxxxxxxxxx.afd.ghs.google.com, where “xxxxxxxxxxx” is your provisioned Adsense ID)
- Request Approval of the domain from Google (they are very helpful)
- Configure some basic options (color, channel names, keywords if you want to hint the ads in a specific direction)
It is important to note that you can only do this with a domain that you don’t use for any other google hosting services (such as Sites, Apps, etc).
For me it’s been worth it. I made $0.32 today that I wouldn’t have otherwise made.
The best part is just to see how many people visit your defunct domains. I love knowing how many people are just typing in a domain, or linking to it on accident.
I haven’t figured out how to run both this service, and Google Analytics.