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6 Connectors to Spice Up Your Reporting: Introducing Google Data Studio Connectors for STAT

This may be of some interest.

Posted by brian.ho

Data visualization platforms have become a vital tool to help illustrate the success of a body of work. Painting a clear picture of your SEO efforts is as important as ever, whether you’re reporting out to clients or to internal stakeholders at your own company. More and more SEOs are turning to data visualization tools to do so — pulling in data from across multiple SEO tools, blending that data in unique ways, and helping to pull back the curtain on the mystery of SEO.

Platforms like Tableau and Google Data Studio are becoming more commonplace in the SEO community as we seek better ways to communicate with our teams. We’ve heard from a number of folks in the Moz community that having a central dashboard to present data has streamlined their own reporting processes. It’s also made information more digestible for colleagues and clients, as they can see everything they need in one place.

Thanks to the helpful feedback of many, many STAT customers, we’ve been hard at work building six Google Data Studio Community Connectors to help pull STAT data into Data Studio. Fortified by beta testing and your thoughtful input, we’re excited to launch the six connectors today: Historical Keyword Rankings (site and tag level), Share of Voice (site and tag level), and Ranking Distributions (site and tag level).

If you’re already using STAT, dive into our documentation in the Knowledge Base to get all the nitty-gritty details on the connectors. If you’re not yet a STAT customer, why not chat with a friendly Mozzer to learn more?

See STAT in Action

Want to hear a bit more about the connectors and how to implement them? Let’s go!

Historical Keyword Rankings

Tracking daily keyword positions over time is a central part of STAT and the long-term success of your site. The Historical Keyword Rankings connectors send historical highest rank data to Data Studio for every keyword you’re currently tracking in a site or a tag.

You can start out with a simple table: perhaps if you have a group of keywords in a dynamic tag, you might want to create a table of your top keywords ranking on page one, or your top keywords ranking in positions 1-3.

Turn that table into a line graph to understand average rank for the whole site or tag and spot trends:

Find the Site Level Historical Keyword Rankings connector here and the Tag Level Historical Keyword Rankings connector here.

Share of Voice

In STAT, share of voice measures the visibility of a group of keywords on Google. This keyword set can be keywords that are grouped together into a tag, a data view, or a site. Share of voice is calculated by assigning each ranking a click-through rate (CTR) and then multiplying that by the keyword’s search volume.

It’s important to remember that share of voice is based on the concept that higher ranks and higher search volume give you more share of voice.

The default chart type will display a doughnut chart for current share of voice, and a line graph will show share of voice over time:

Find the Site Level Share of Voice connector here and the Tag Level Share of Voice connector here.

Ranking Distribution

Ranking Distribution, available in the Daily Snapshot and Ranking Trends views in the STAT app, shows how your keyword rankings are distributed across the top 119 Google results.

View your top ranking positions as a bar chart to easily eyeball how your rankings are distributed, where shifts are taking place, and where there is clear opportunity for improvement.

Find the Site Level Ranking Distributions connector here and the Tag Level Ranking Distributions connector here.

Getting started with the connectors

Whether you’re a Google Data Studio pro or a bit newer to the tool, setting up the connectors shouldn’t be too arduous. Get started by visiting the page for the connector of your choice. Authorize the connector by clicking the Authorize button. (Tip: Each connector must be authorized separately.)

Once you authorize the connector, you’ll see a parameters table like this one:

Complete the fields using the proper information tied to your STAT account:

  • STAT Subdomain: Fill in this field with the subdomain of your STAT login URL. This field ensures that the GDS connector directs its request to the correct STAT subdomain.
  • STAT API Key: Find your API key in STAT by visiting Options > Account Management > Account Settings > API Key.
  • STAT Site/Tag ID: Retrieve IDs through the API. Visit our documentation to ensure you use the proper API calls.
  • Allow “STAT Site/Tag ID” to be modified in reports: Tick this box to be able to edit the site or tag ID from within the report, without reconfiguring the connector.
  • Include Keyword Tags: Tick this box to add a column to your report populated with the tags the keyword is a member of (only applicable to site and tag historical keyword rankings connectors).
  • Allow “Include Keyword Tags?” to be modified in reports: Tick this box to be able to turn the inclusion of the Keyword Tags column on or off from within the report, without reconfiguring the connector (only applicable to site and tag historical keyword rankings connectors).

Once you’ve filled in the table, click Connect in the top right.

Confirm which columns you’d like to include in the report. Review the columns, and click Create Report.

Once you’ve created a report, the exciting part begins! Whether you’re pulling in your STAT data for a fresh report, adding it into a report with other pieces of data, or using Data Studio’s data blending feature to create compelling views of your search presence — there are so many ways to slice and dice.

Ready to put the connectors into production? We can’t wait to hear how your Google Data Studio reports are strengthened by adding in your STAT data. Let us know how it goes in the comments.

Not yet a STAT user but curious how it might fit into your SEO toolkit? Take a tour of the product from your friendly neighborhood Mozzer:

Learn More About STAT


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The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO in 2020

This may be of some interest.

So, you’ve read dozens — if not hundreds — of SEO articles online. You’ve digested countless tips and tricks for improving your website’s SEO. You’ve even (over)paid that self-proclaimed “expert” to help you develop an SEO strategy that aligns with your business goals.

But after all of the reading and learning and strategizing, it dawns on you: You haven’t actually done anything yet. Perhaps you’re intimidated. Maybe you’re crunched for time.

Regardless, when it comes to on-page SEO, there’s no excuse for dragging your feet. On-page SEO has the power to bring countless new visitors — and customers — right to your website.

On-page SEO is also completely up to you: You get to establish what the topic and/or goal of each page will be. You get to decide on the target audience for that page. And you get to choose the target keywords and phrases you want to focus on.

All you have to do is get started, and we built this guide to help you.

Google’s algorithm ranks your website on three main factors: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO:

Note: This SEO “trilogy” isn’t always divided into three clean sections; some of these SEO elements will overlap. You’ll see how and why throughout this piece.

Why is on-page SEO important?

On-page SEO is important because it tells Google all about your website and how you provide value to visitors and customers. It helps your site be optimized for both human eyes and search engine bots.

Merely creating and publishing your website isn’t enough — you must optimize it for Google and other search engines in order to rank and attract new traffic.

On-page SEO is called “on-page” because the tweaks and changes you make to optimize your website can be seen by visitors on your page (whereas off-page and technical SEO elements aren’t always visible).

Every part of on-page SEO is completely up to you; that’s why it’s critical that you do it correctly. Now, let’s discuss the elements of on-page SEO.

All on-page SEO elements fall into three main categories:

You’ll see these elements divided into sections below.

Content Elements

Content elements refer to the elements within your site copy and content. In this section, we’ll focus mostly on crafting high-quality page content that benefits your visitors and tells Google that your website provides value.

High-Quality Page Content

Page content is the heart of on-page SEO. It tells both search engines and readers what your website and business are all about.

The first step to creating high-quality content is choosing relevant keywords and topics. Conduct keyword research by searching Google for terms and seeing what surfaces for competitors and other websites. You can also use tools like Ahrefs, AnswerthePublic, and UberSuggest.

Also, read our Beginner’s Guide on How to Do Keyword Research for SEO.

Next, consider how your page content falls into the buyer’s journey and visitors’ search intent. These will impact how you will use your keywords and what types of content you will create:

Stage in the Buyer’s Journey Suggested Content/Website Pages
Awareness

Blog posts, videos
homepage

Consideration

Buyer’s guides, case studies
about page

Decision

Product demos, comparison tools
product or pricing pages, contact page

Now, it’s time to write your page content or clean it up if you’re currently auditing your on-page SEO.

Here are a few best practices for writing high-quality page content (we’ll touch on some of these in more detail below, in our Checklist):

  • Incorporate short and long-tail keywords naturally.
  • Add engaging and relevant visual content.
  • Write for your specific buyer persona(s).
  • Actively solve your audience’s problem.
  • Develop content people will share and want to link to.
  • Optimize for conversions with CTAs to offers and product pages.

Page content is your opportunity to communicate value to Google and your site visitors; it’s the heart of the on-page SEO process. All other on-page SEO elements stem from high-quality page content, so invest ample resources to develop and optimize it.

HTML Elements

HTML elements refer to the elements in your source code.

Note: To see the source code for any page in your browser, click View > Developer > View Source in the top menu.

Page Titles

Your website page titles (also known as title tags) are one of the most important SEO elements.

on page seo page title tag

Titles tell both visitors and search engines what they can find on the corresponding pages.

To ensure your site pages rank for the proper intent, be sure to include the focus keyword for each page in the title. Incorporate your keyword as naturally as possible.

Here are some best practices for when developing a page title:

  • Keep it under 70 characters (per Google’s update) … any longer and your title will be cut off in search results. Mobile search results show up to 78 characters.
  • Don’t stuff the title with keywords. Not only does keyword-stuffing present a spammy and tacky reading experience, but modern search engines are smarter than ever — they’ve been designed to specifically monitor for (and penalize!) content that’s unnaturally stuffed with keywords.
  • Make it relevant to the page.
  • Don’t use all caps.
  • Include your brand in the title, i.e. “The Ultimate Guide to On-Page SEO in 2019 — HubSpot Blog“.

Check out our free data-driven guide to writing effective page titles.

Headers

Headers, also known as body tags, refer to the HTML element <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, and so on.

on page seo headers

These tags help organize your content for readers and help search engines distinguish what part of your content is most important and relevant, depending on search intent.

Incorporate important keywords in your
headers, but choose different ones than what’s in your page title. Put your most important keywords in your <h1> and <h2> headers.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are the short page descriptions that appear under the title in search results. Although it’s not an official ranking factor for search engines, it can influence whether or not your page is clicked on — therefore, it’s just as important when doing on-page SEO.

on page seo meta descriptions

Meta descriptions can also be copied over to social media when your content is shared (by using structured markup, which we talk about below), so it can encourage click-throughs from there, too.

Here’s what makes for a good meta description:

  • Keep it under 160 characters, although Google has been known to allow longer meta descriptions — up to 220 characters. (Note: Mobile devices cut off meta descriptions at 120 characters.)
  • Include your entire keyword or keyword phrase.
  • Use a complete, compelling sentence (or two).
  • Avoid alphanumeric characters like —, &, or +.

Image Alt-text

Image alt-text is like SEO for your images. It tells Google and other search engines what your images are about … which is important because Google now delivers almost as many image-based results as they do text-based results.

That means consumers may be discovering your site through your images. In order for them to do this, though, you have to add alt-text to your images.

Here’s what to keep in mind when adding image alt-text:

  • Make it descriptive and specific.
  • Make it contextually relevant to the broader page content.
  • Keep it shorter than 125 characters.
  • Use keywords sparingly, and don’t keyword stuff.

Structured Markup

Structured markup, or structured data, is the process of “marking up” your website source code to make it easier for Google to find and understand different elements of your content.

Structured markup is the key behind those featured snippets, knowledge panels, and other content features you see when you search for something on Google. It’s also how your specific page information shows up so neatly when someone shares your content on social media.

Note: Structured data is considered technical SEO, but I’m including it here because optimizing it creates a better on-page experience for visitors.

on page seo structured markup

Site Architecture Elements

Site architecture elements refer to the elements that make up your website and site pages. How you structure your website can help Google and other search engines easily crawl the pages and page content.

Page URLs

Your page URLs should be simple to digest for both readers and search engines. They are also important when keeping your site hierarchy consistent as you create subpages, blog posts, and other types of internal pages.

on page seo page url

For example, in the above URL, “blog” is the sub-domain, “hubspot.com” is the domain, “sales” is the directory for the HubSpot Sales Blog, and “startups” indicates the specific path to that blog post.

Here are a few tips on how to write SEO-friendly URLs:

  • Remove the extra, unnecessary words.
  • Use only one or two keywords.
  • Use HTTPS if possible, as Google now uses that as a positive ranking factor.

Internal Linking

Internal linking is the process of hyperlinking to other helpful pages on your website. (See how the words “internal linking” are linked to another HubSpot blog post in the sentence above? That’s an example.)

Internal linking is important for on-page SEO because internal links send readers to other pages on your website, keeping them around longer and thus telling Google your site is valuable and helpful.

Also, the longer visitors are on your website, the more time Google has to crawl and index your site pages. This ultimately helps Google absorb more information about your website and potentially rank it higher on the search engine results pages.

Download our free guide to Internal Linking for SEO.

Mobile Responsiveness

Google started favoring sites that are optimized for faster mobile speeds — even for desktop searches.

Mobile responsiveness matters.

It’s critical to choose a website hosting service, site design and theme, and content layout that’s readable and navigable on mobile devices. If you’re not sure about your own site’s mobile readiness, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

on page seo mobile responsiveness

Site Speed

Whether being viewed on a mobile device or desktop, your site must be able to load quickly. When it comes to on-page SEO, page speed counts big-time.

Google cares about user experience first and foremost. If your site loads slowly or haphazardly, it’s likely your visitors aren’t going to stick around — and Google knows that. Moreover, site speed can impact conversions and ROI.

Check your website’s speed anytime using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. If your website is movin’ slow, check out 5 Easy Ways to Help Reduce Your Website’s Page Loading Speed.

Note: Mobile responsiveness and site speed are considered technical SEO, but I’m including them here because optimizing them creates a better on-page experience for visitors.

on page seo site speed

Now that you understand the different on-page SEO elements, let’s talk through the steps of auditing and improving your on-page SEO.

If you’ve been in search of a solution for organizing and tracking the various on-page SEO elements, you’re in luck. The HubSpot marketing team released an updated version of our On-Page SEO Template, an Excel document that allows you to coordinate pages and keywords — and track changes — all in one place.

In this section, we’ll be using this template as a guide as we walk you through a checklist for your on-page SEO management, step by step. Download the template now and follow along.

Note: The fictional website “http://www.quantify.ly” will be used as an example throughout this post. It’s simply meant to help you imagine how your own website will fit into the template.

1. Crawl your website.

Get an overview of all of your website pages that search engines have indexed. For HubSpot customers, our Page Performance tool (under Reports) will allow you to do this. If you’re not using HubSpot, you can try using a free tool like Xenu’s link crawler.

After crawling your site and exporting the results into an Excel (or .csv) file, there will be three key columns of data that you should focus on:

  1. The web address (a.k.a. URL)
  2. The page title
  3. The page meta description

Copy and paste these three columns into your template.

The URL should be pasted into column B, the page title into column C, and the description into column E.

on-page seo checklist crawl your website

2. Conduct an SEO audit and define your site architecture.

Now that you have a basic index of your site in the template, you’ll want to organize and prioritize your web pages. Start by defining where within your site architecture your existing pages currently sit.

Do this in column A. Note whether a page is your homepage (ideally you’ll only have one of those), a page in your primary (or secondary) navigation menu, an internal page, and so on.

on-page seo checklist conduct an seo audit

3. Update URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions.

Review your current URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions to see if they need updating.

(This is the beauty of using a template to organize your SEO: You get a broad overview of the type of content you have on your website.)

on page seo checklist meta descriptions

Notice how column D and column F automatically calculate the length of each element. The recommended length for page titles is anything under 60 characters. (And, actually, a quick and easy optimization project is to update all page titles that are longer than 60 characters.)

The recommended length for page meta descriptions is 155-160 characters. This is the perfect length to ensure none of the description is cut off by the ellipses. Make sure you’re not too repetitive with keywords in this space. Writing a good meta description isn’t tough, but it deserves just as much consideration as the page content itself.

(Note: For some sites, you may also have to update the URLs, but that’s not always the case and thus was not included as part of this optimization template.)

4. Make sure your keyword is in your URL.

As we mentioned above, add your keyword to your URL. For example, image you own a hot yoga studio called ADYoga. You have a web page that includes videos of your classes. The keyword for this page is “hot yoga online classes” — so, you’d want to include that keyword in your URL. The URL for this web page may look like this: www.ADyoga.com/hot-yoga-online-classes.

5. Include your keyword throughout your web page.

In addition to your URL, you’ll want to add your keyword throughout your web page(s). This includes your title and headers. Sprinkle your keyword throughout your content as well where it fits naturally.

6. Track keywords and topics for each page.

Think of your target keyword as the designated topic for a particular page. If you’re using the HubSpot template, In column O, define just one topic per page.

on-page seo checklist track keywords and topics for your web pages

By doing this, you’ll be able to go more in-depth and provide more detailed information about that topic. This also means that you are only optimizing for one keyword per page, meaning you have a greater chance to rank for that keyword.

There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule. Your homepage is a classic example. The goal of your homepage is to explain what your entire website is about, and thus you’ll need a few keywords to do that. Another exception is overview pages like services and product pages, which outline what all of your products and services may be.

7. Don’t keyword stuff.

We just covered many examples in which keywords are both helpful and necessary for SEO purposes. However, one mistake many first-timers make when improving their on-page SEO is “keyword stuff”.

Keyword stuffing can be detrimental to your website and web page’s SEO and it can feel spammy to readers/ visitors.

8. Establish value propositions for each page.

A very important next step, which is often overlooked, is establishing a value proposition for each page of your website. Each page should have a goal aside from just ranking for a particular term.

If you’re using the template, you’ll do this in column G.

on-page seo checklist establish value propositions

9. Define your target audience.

Define your target audience — do you have a single buyer persona or multiple personas? Keep this persona in mind as you optimize your site’s pages. (Remember, you are optimizing for humans, too — not just search engine robots.)

In column H of our template, you’ll have the opportunity to define your page’s target audience.

on-page seo checklist define your target audience

10. Plan new page titles.

Now that you’ve documented your existing page titles and have established value propositions and target audiences for each of your pages, write new page titles (if necessary) to reflect your findings.

You can do this in column K of the template — and double check each title length in column L.

on-page seo checklist plan new page titles

People usually follow the formula of “Keyword Phrase | Context.” The goal of the page title is to lay out the purpose of the page without being redundant. You should also keep the additional recommendations we made above related to titles.

11. Add new meta descriptions.

As we covered above, meta descriptions should be a short, declarative sentence that incorporates the same keyword as your page’s title.

It should not reflect the content verbatim as it appears on the page. Get as close as you can to the 150-character limit to maximize space and tell visitors as much as possible about your page.

If you need to create new meta descriptions, do so in column M of the template.

on-page seo checklist add meta descriptions

12. Review and edit page content as needed.

Good copy needs to be thorough, clear, and provide solutions … so, be compelling! Write for your target audience and about how you can help them. Compelling content is also error-free, so double check your spelling and grammar.

Aim to have at least 500 words per page, and format content to make it easier to read and digest with the use of headers and subheaders.

Columns P through R can be used to keep track of changes that you’ve made to your content or to note where changes need to be implemented.

on-page seo checklist review and edit content on your web page

13. Incorporate visual content.

Content can be more than just text, so consider what kind of visual content you can incorporate into each page (if it adds value and serves a purpose, of course). Columns S and T allow you to note which visual elements need to be added. When adding an image to a page, be sure to include a descriptive file name and image alt-text.

on-page seo checklist incorporate visual content

14. Optimize your visual content.

We talked earlier about image alt text. You’ll want to optimize your visual content this way — and be sure to include your keyword in your image alt text. It’ll help with the page’s SEO as well as offer the potential to rank in image search (e.g. on a search engine image results page or image carousel).

15. Add internal links.

As stated earlier, incorporating links throughout your pages is a must, but it’s often something that’s easily overlooked.

Make sure that your anchor text includes more than just your keywords. The goal isn’t to stuff in as many keywords as possible, but to make it easy for people to navigate your site.

Use columns U through W to plan for these elements if you don’t already have them, or to document how you’ll improve them.

on-page seo checklist add internal links

16. Include external links.

It may seem counterintuitive to include external links throughout your page considering we just covered multiple reasons why internal linking is so important for on-page SEO. However, external links are also important.

By externally linking, to credible and trustworthy sites, Google will know your page is also credible and trustworthy. Not only does Google want to know your site is well-referenced, but your visitors do, too.

17. Optimize for conversions.

If you’re also not optimizing your site to increase the number of leads, subscribers, and/or customers you’re attracting … you’re doing it wrong.

Remember that each page of your website presents a conversion opportunity. That means every page of your website should include at least one call-to-action (CTA), though many pages may have multiple CTAs.

Columns X through AF allow you to plan for conversions.

Be sure that your site has a mix of CTAs for different stages of the flywheel.

(Note: The On-Page SEO Template refers to the stages of the buying funnel — top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel. If you are a HubSpot customer, you can even use Smart Content to display these specific CTAs only to people in a specific part of the funnel.)

Also, as you add, edit, or update CTAs, be sure to note conversion rate changes in columns Z, AC, and AF.

on-page seo checklist optimize your page for conversions

Put Your On-Page SEO to Work

Once you finalize your SEO plans, implement these changes on your website or pass them along to someone to implement for you. This will take time to complete, so aim to work on 5 to 10 pages per week.

Remember: SEO is not a one-and-done deal. It’s something you should continually improve upon. You should treat this On-Page SEO Template as a living, breathing document that will help guide your SEO strategy for months (or years) to come.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2012 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Thank you for reading.

11 Lead Generation Mistakes Marketers Need to Avoid in 2020

This may be of some interest.

For many businesses, the key to making sales is to first generate leads.

Leads are valuable because they’re the people who have indicated organic interest in your content and your business by giving you their information in some way, whether it’s by filling out a form to download an ebook, completing an online survey, or something else.

But leads don’t grow on trees. Some marketers have trouble generating enough leads to feed their sales team. Others generate plenty of leads, but they’re not good leads, and your sales team is having trouble closing them into customers. Others just have no idea where their leads are coming from.

These are all common problems marketers have with lead generation. In this post, we’ll go over many of these problems and talk about how to fix them. We’ll also highlight a few tips directly from HubSpot acquisition experts.

11 Lead Generation Mistakes Marketers Should Avoid

1. You’re buying leads, not generating them organically.

If you’re having trouble generating leads, it can be tempting to buy email lists so you can feed your sales organization with something — anything. But buying or renting contacts out of desperation will cause you more long-term (and short-term) harm than good.

There are a lot of reasons buying email lists is never a good idea. Not only will sending emails to purchased lists harm your email deliverability and IP reputation, but there’s a good chance the people on your purchased list have never heard of your company — making them far more likely to mark you as spam. They’ll also think you’re super annoying. And you’re not annoying, are you?

Bottom line here is that quality email addresses simply aren’t for sale. The whole point of generating leads is to eventually nurture those leads into customers. In order for your leads to become customers, the leads you generate need to actually want to hear from you.

How to Fix It

Your leads need to opt in, plain and simple. This means your contacts chose to give you their information in exchange for something valuable, like a content offer, webinar, event, and so on. Focus on creating offers that are valuable in some way for your target audience, and then package that value and put it behind a lead capture form.

Growing a healthy, opt-in email list takes time, but it’s worth its weight in gold down the line. And once you have people to email, be sure you’re creating remarkable email content that makes people want to actually open your emails and stay subscribed.

2. You don’t offer lead-gen content for people in different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Not everyone who visits your website is going to be in the same stage of their buyer’s journey. Think about the folks who are landing on your website for the very first time. Do you think they’re ready to see a demo of your product? Or do you think they’d be more likely to want to download a helpful piece of content, like a step-by-step guide?

Some of your site visitors might be ready to buy, but most won’t — and you need to give them the opportunities to learn more about your business and what you’re selling before asking them take any sort of purchase action.

Creating valuable content to teach and nurture your leads down the funnel is time-consuming, which is why so often you’ll browse a business’ website and see nothing but “Buy Now!” and “Click Here for a Free Demo!” all over the place.

How to Fix It

There is no one-size-fits-all CTA for everyone who visits your website. To maximize clickthrough rates, you’ll want to cater to visitors who are at all different stages of the buyer’s journey using CTAs.

So, yes — you’ll need to spend time creating a variety of offers you can put behind landing page forms that cater to people at different stages. Folks who are just starting to get to know you might be interested in offers like checklists, contests, and templates. Visitors who are a little further down the funnel might be interested in email courses, kits, and whitepapers. Folks even further down might be ready for a demo.

Make sure you’re creating content that cover the whole funnel, and that you’re offering this content on your website so there’s something for everyone. (Need ideas for lead gen content? Here are 23 ideas for you.)

If you want to take personalization a step further, use smart CTAs. Smart CTAs are CTAs that change depending on the person viewing the page — his or her interests, location, pages viewed already, items or services bought before, and so on. Unsurprisingly, personalized CTAS actually convert 42% more visitors than basic calls-to-action. They make for a better user experience for your user, and higher conversion rates for you: a win-win! You can learn more about smart CTAs here.

3. You aren’t using your blog to generate leads.

HubSpot’s blog is responsible for a significant percentage of our marketing team’s incoming leads.

In fact, at one point, we found that 76% of our monthly blog views come from “old” posts (in other words, posts published prior to that month). We always joke that if the entire blogging team went on vacation for a month, we’d still hit a good portion of our leads goal.

“At HubSpot, we have an entire team dedicated to continuously optimizing our blog conversion strategy,” says Carly Stec, HubSpot’s Team Manager of content acquisition. “This group works in lockstep with our SEO team and writers to provide insight into the topics that are converting well to ensure a well-rounded editorial mix.”

“This level of alignment allows us to provide blog readers with helpful next steps based on their intent,” Stec adds.

Despite blogging’s many lead generation benefits, we find that marketers aren’t fully taking advantage of this tactic as a lead generation powerhouse. Either folks aren’t blogging at all, or they’re not putting lead capture forms or CTAs on their blog — sometimes because they don’t have any valuable content offers to put behind a form.

But, still one of the biggest benefits of business blogging is converting the traffic it brings you into leads. Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. Here’s what that looks like in numbers: If each one of your blog posts gets about 100 views per month, and your visitor-to-lead conversion rate on the blog is about 2%, then you’d get two leads from a single blog post each month. If you write 30 blog posts per month, you’d get 60 leads in a month — two from each blog post.

Keep blogging consistently like that for a year, and thanks to each blog post’s compounding value over time, each post you write will drive value for you in the form of traffic and leads. By the end of 12 months, you’ll end up getting 4,680 opt-in contacts per month, not just 720 opt-in contacts (60 leads*12 months).

blogging_compounding_returns-5.jpg

How to Fix It

Generating leads from your blog posts is simple: Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post. Most of the time, these CTAs will lead to landing pages offering free content like ebooks, whitepapers, checklists, webinars, free trials, and so on. Promote your content offers by blogging about subject matters related to them, and then put CTAs that lead to the asset’s landing page on every one of those blog posts.

What that CTA looks like on your blog posts is up to you. On HubSpot’s blog, we use three main types of CTAs on our blog: end-of-post banner CTAs on every single post, and slide-in CTAs and anchor text CTAs on select posts. Read this post to learn when it’s appropriate to use end-of-post banner CTAs, anchor text CTAs, or both.

end-of-post-cta-banner-1-1.png

anchor-text-cta (1).png

As for slide-in CTAs, we’ve found these to perform better than end-of-post CTAs — which makes sense because visitors see them sooner since they slide in at about 25%-50% of the way down the post. Learn how to add slide-in CTAs to your blog posts here.

slide-in-cta-example-1.png

4. You aren’t using the best lead generation tools.

You know that people are coming to your website, but do you know who they are? How about what they’re doing once they get there, or what they’re doing before and after taking certain actions? If you’re unable to answer these questions, then you’re going to have a hard time connecting with the people who are visiting your site or learning what’s resonating with them and what’s not.

But these are questions you can and should answer — but you need the right tools to do it. There are some great tools out there that can help you learn about your website visitors and convert them into leads.

How to Fix It

The trick is finding the best combination of tools that’ll give you the most insight and the best bang for your buck. There are a few different tools and templates out there that’ll help you create different lead gen assets you can put on your site.

At the simplest level, these 50+ free, customizable CTA Templates will help you create clickable buttons you can put on your blog, your landing pages, and elsewhere on your site. Use them to create CTAs that lead to a landing page form.

Speaking of forms, a form embedding tool will come in handy when it comes to actually collecting information from your site visitors and converting them into leads. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can create and embed forms using HubSpot. Non-HubSpot customers can use a tool like Contact Form 7, JetPack, or Google Forms, and then use Leadin’s free Collected Forms tool to automatically capture these form submissions on your website.

Finally, a lead capture and contact insights tool like Lead Flows by HubSpot (which is free) will help you capture leads using pop-ups, dropdown banners, or slide-ins. It’ll also scrape any pre-existing forms you have on your website and add those contacts to your existing contact database.

Here’s an example of a slide-in CTA created with Lead Flows, HubSpot’s free conversion tool:

slide-in-lead-flow.gif

5. You have a “right vs. wrong” testing mindset.

Knowing that you should test your website and constantly work on improving it is one thing. What most marketers have trouble with is seeing testing and experimenting not as a way to prove your ideas, but as a way to find something better.

I like the way Andrew Anderson put it in his post on ConversionXL: “The real challenge is in getting yourself and your organization ready to accept one really simple truth: Being wrong is far more valuable than being right.”

Often, this will manifest itself in someone having an idea for how to improve a part of their website. Perhaps they think removing distractions from a landing page will increase conversion rates on that page, for instance. What happens here is that most marketers will limit what they test in a way that skews the data to help them reach that conclusion, often without meaning it. After all, it feels bad — and might look bad — to have an idea or make an assumption and have it proven totally wrong.

How to Fix It

“The first and most vital step to dealing with this is to focus all discussions on the comparing of actions and not on validating opinions,” writes Anderson. “It isn’t about if Tactic A or B works, it is how well does Tactic A or B or C or D and so on compare to each other.”

In other words, treat every idea that’s brought to the table the same, whether or not you think it’ll “win.” This makes the testing program less personal and encourages a more holistic approach. Remember: by nature, a program that tests your website is meant to prove yourself and others wrong, and that’s a good thing.

You and your teammates need to check your egos and adopt this mindset to avoid finger-pointing. Instead of rewarding people for being right, which reinforces that toxic mindset, focus on the system and the outcomes more holistically.

6. You aren’t optimizing your top pages for lead generation.

Not all webpages should be treated the same. In fact, if you look at traffic numbers to specific pages on your website, you’ll probably find that the vast majority of your traffic is coming in to a few, very specific pages — maybe your homepage; your “Contact Us” page; maybe one or two popular blog posts. With so many people landing on those pages, why would you treat them like any other ol’ page on your website?

Because so many people are landing on those pages, it’s very important that you create opportunities for people to convert on those pages, lest you leave potentially massive lead numbers on the table.

How to Fix It

First, figure out which of your webpages are the four or five most popular for traffic. (HubSpot customers: You can do this in HubSpot by going to Reports > Page Performance, then filter the report by Views.)

Then, optimize those pages for leads. This means making sure you create calls-to-action (CTAs) that stand out from the page, and then place them where people naturally look on your website. Our natural eye path starts in the upper left-hand corner of a website and moves on from there, according to an eyetracking study.

Another way to increase the conversion rate on a page that already gets a lot of traffic? Create special offers specifically for your most popular pages, and gate them behind landing page forms. I know, I know, creating a brand new offer can time-consuming — but it could be much more effective for lead generation than optimizing button color, language, images, and so on. For example, the folks at Eastern International College created a quiz for students on which college major they should choose, which they linked to on their popular Careers page.

eastern-international-college-quiz.png

At the end of the quiz, they promised to send the quiz results in exchange for people’s name, phone number, and email address as a lead capture tactic.

Read this blog post for more tips on how to generate leads from your most popular webpages.

7. You’re ONLY optimizing your top pages for lead-generation.

Yes. When you have a page that earns high traffic, it might also win over a lot more leads. However, AJ Beltis, a HubSpot marketing manager who specializes in content creation and lead acquisition, says you might be missing solid opportunities by only optimizing high-traffic-getters.

“It’s tempting for content marketers to immediately go to the most-viewed blog posts and try to convert their viewers into leads. High traffic means high potential, so it makes sense to look at these posts first,” Beltis says. 

“However, those most-viewed posts are often on topics that cast a wide net and might not tie directly back to your product or service,” Beltis explains. “Instead, try focusing on blog posts or topic clusters that may not have the most views, but have a clear path for conversion.

“After all, what’s better – a 5% conversion rate for a blog post with 50,000 views, or a 1% conversion rate on a blog post with 100,000 views,” Beltis concludes.

How to Fix It

Finding posts with conversion opportunities that don’t pull in major traffic can take a bit of research.

Using HubSpot, or other data-tracking tools, consider creating and analyzing a conversion rate optimization report that highlights each post’s conversion rate, number of new contacts, and lead goal. This will allow you to see how each post is performing and help you zone on posts that are pulling in a solid number of contacts. It will also allow you to see how traffic impacts a conversion rate.

For example, if you see a low conversion rate on a post but a high number of contacts, this could mean the post has many leads due in part to its traffic. On the other hand, if you see a post with a lower contact number but a higher conversion rate, this could be a lower traffic post with a higher chance of pulling in leads. 

Aside from using the reporting tools you have at hand to learn from your own data, you could also ask yourself a few topic-related questions like:

  • What are our audience’s interested in learning more about?: Sometimes, trends that impact people in your industry might be highly discussed on social media, but haven’t yet gained enough search volume to pull in high traffic. Are there trend-related blog posts and content offers you can create or update that can tie well together, provide value to your audience, and get them to convert?
  • Do we have any tactical posts that relate strongly to our product or current offers?: For example, if you sell a task-management software, a post on how to multitask, how to organize your office, or how to create a project schedule might not be shareable on social media or pull in huge traffic, but it still could align well with an offer related to your product — such as a free trial.

8. You’re not using social media strategically for lead generation.

Although social media is most effective for top-of-the-funnel marketing metrics like traffic and brand awareness, it can still be helpful as a source for lead generation — and a low-cost one, at that.

If you’re finding that social media isn’t generating very many leads for you, there’s a chance you’re not doing it strategically enough. At least that’s what Jeremy White, a serial entrepreneur and conversion consultant, wrote in a post on CrazyEgg’s blog.

“It’s not that you can’t get leads on social media; it’s that we’re not taking what’s there,” he wrote. In other words, you might be doing it wrong. If your social strategy is to post your new ebooks to all your social media channels and that’s about it, then don’t expect to bring in a whole lot of leads from those posts. The spray-and-pray technique isn’t enough.

How to Fix It

One way to generate more leads from social media is to sprinkle blog posts and offers that have historically generated higher-than-average leads numbers for you in with the new posts and offers your team is creating.

At HubSpot, we’ve found that one of the best ways to generate leads is simply to link directly to landing pages for blog posts and offers that have historically performed well for lead generation. (Learn how to do your own blog lead generation analysis here.)

We’ve also found that linking directly to an offer’s landing page can be more effective — as long as your post copy sets the expectation that you are, in fact, sending people to a landing page. In the Facebook post below, we set that expectation by putting “Free Template” in brackets in front of the offer title.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re using some of the features on each social network that are specifically designed to help you generate leads.

On Twitter, your lead gen tweets should contain a value proposition, a short URL linking to the landing page with a form, and an image to ensure the post stands out. (Here are some social media image templates you can use to create those images.)

Twitter also offers lead generation cards that can help you generate qualified leads at a lower cost than most of the other major ad platforms. Twitter cards let you embed rich media that don’t count toward your tweet character limit that allow your fans and followers to do things like download an app, visit a landing page, give over their email, or use a coupon — all without leaving Twitter. (HubSpot customers: You can connect your Twitter lead gen cards to HubSpot by following these instructions.)

On Facebook: There are a number of great ways to generate leads from Facebook, the best of which I’ve rounded up in this blog post. For example, one way to easily generate leads is by simply using the call-to-action feature available for Pages. The feature lets you put a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, and it can help drive more traffic from your Facebook Page to lead generation forms like landing pages and contact sheets.

Here’s an example from Tough Mudder’s Page, and you can learn how to insert your own Facebook CTA button here.

tough-mudder-facebook-for-lead-gen.png

On LinkedIn, B2B businesses can take advantage of the perception that LinkedIn is the most sophisticated of social platforms, and a place where B2B relationships are most likely to be built. Like on Facebook, you can publish your lead-generating content directly to your business’ Facebook Page alongside actionable copy and a compelling image.

9. Your forms are too long or too short.

How long should your lead capture forms be? Striking a balance between asking too much and too little on your forms is a common problem marketers gripe with.

If your form’s too short, more people might be willing to fill it out, which is great for leads numbers — but the quality of those leads might not be very high. If your form’s too long, though, fewer people might be willing to fill it out, meaning you’ll get fewer leads out of it. On the bright side, the people who do submit their information could end up being higher quality leads.

So what gives? What’s the “magic number” of questions to ask on your forms?

How to Fix It

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how many fields to put on your forms. Your “sweet spot” will depend entirely on your goals: Do you need more leads, or do you need better leads? Essentially, the length of your form will lead to a tradeoff between quantity and quality of the leads you generate. In general, shorter forms usually result in more overall leads, while longer forms will result in fewer, but higher quality leads.

“Think of every field in your checkout as a hurdle your prospect has to leap over,” writes Copyhackers’ Joanna Wiebe. “Then ask yourself if it’s worth the possibility of losing a sale — or thousands of sales — because you want to fill a database.”

You can’t possibly know how many form fields you can pull off without conducting conversion research and running your own tests. Even then, you have to compare the ROI of additional information with the ROI of increased conversions. How much does having a phone number really help the sales team? Is it enough to warrant a potential decrease in conversions?

It’s important that you don’t make this decision without involving your sales team. They have a better idea of what information will actually help them close deals. How much does asking for a phone number actually help your sales team — and is it enough to potentially lose leads over? Speaking of talking with your sales team …

10. Your definition of a qualified lead isn’t well communicated with your sales department.

You know the definition of a lead in the general sense of the term: It’s a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service by giving you their information in some way, like by filling out a form to download an ebook or completing an online survey.

A marketing qualified lead, or MQL, is a lead that’s been deemed more likely to become a customer compared to other leads, based on lead intelligence. MQLs have metaphorically raised their hands and identified themselves as more deeply engaged, sales-ready contacts than your usual leads, but who have not yet become full-fledged opportunities. In other words, from a marketing perspective, your sales team should be talking with them.

But sales teams tend to have their own system for qualifying leads. Sales qualified leads are leads your sales team has accepted as worthy of a direct sales follow-up. Agreeing on that quality threshold is where things tend to get muddy. Both the quantity and quality of leads needed and the sales process are mutually agreed upon by both Marketing and Sales.

How to Fix It

That’s exactly where the conversation begins. To align Marketing and Sales on what constitutes a qualified lead from both sides, you’ll have to learn to speak each other’s language. Similar to your marketing qualified leads, Sales has its own definition of “qualified”: sales qualified leads are leads they’ve accepted as worthy of a direct sales follow-up.

Both teams need to align on their definitions of a marketing qualified and sales qualified lead. And there’s no one-size-fits-all definition for one, either — an MQL at one company may be completely different than an MQL at another company. You should do your own internal analysis of your leads and customers to create your business’ definition of an MQL. Read this post to learn how to get started defining an MQL for your business and communicating that definition with Sales.

Avoid Losing Great Leads

There are plenty more lead generation mistakes we could add to this list, but these are some of the most important ones we see marketers make every day. For our readers out there who want to get more and better quality leads, we hope this post will help you prioritize where to focus your time and resources.

Now that you’ve had time to read up and reflect on some of the most common lead-generation mistakes, we’d love to hear from you. Vote in this completely anonymous poll to tell us which mistake you or your company have commonly made, or check the results to see how others voted.

 

If you want to learn more about creating an effective conversion rate optimization strategy, check out these beginner’s guides on conversion rate optimization and lead generation.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in October 2016, but was updated in July 2020 for comprehensiveness and freshness.

Thank you for reading.

How to Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Products

This may be of some interest.

Want to promote your products and services with Instagram Stories? Looking for actionable tips to create intrigue and excitement via Instagram Stories? In this article, you’ll discover how to use Instagram Stories features to create a sense of urgency and leverage scarcity for limited products or offers. To learn how to use Instagram Stories to […]

The post How to Use Instagram Stories to Promote Your Products appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

Thank you for reading.

The Campaign Comeback: What to Do When Content Fails &mdash; Best of Whiteboard Friday

This may be of some interest.

Posted by Shannon-McGuirk

We’ve all been there: you plan, launch, and eagerly await the many returns on a content campaign, only to be disappointed when it falls flat. But all is not lost: there are clever ways to give your failed campaigns a second chance at life and an opportunity to earn the links you missed out on the first time. In this popular Whiteboard Friday from 2018, MozCon speaker Shannon McGuirk graciously gives us a five-step plan for breathing new life into a dead content campaign.

What to do when content fails.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi, Moz fans. Welcome to this edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Shannon McGuirk. I’m the Head of PR and Content at a UK-based digital marketing agency called Aira.

Now, throughout my time, I’ve launched a number of creative content and digital PR campaigns, too many to mention. But the ones that really stick into my head are the campaign fails, the ones that got away from the link numbers that I wanted to achieve and the ones that were quite painful from the client-side and stakeholder-side.

Now, over the last couple of years, I’ve built up a couple of steps and tactics that essentially will help me get campaigns back on track, and I wanted to take you through them today. So, today, I’m going to be talking to you about content campaign comebacks and what to do if your content campaign fails.

Step one: Reevaluate your outreach efforts

Now, take it right back to when you first launched the campaign.

  • Have you contacted the right journalists?
  • Have you gone to the right publications?
  • Be realistic. Now, at this point, remember to be realistic. It might not be a good idea to start going for the likes of ABC News and The Daily Telegraph. Bring it down a level, go to industry blogs, more niche publications, the ones that you’re more likely to get traction with.
  • Do your research. Essentially, is what I’m saying.
  • Less is always more in my eyes. I’ve seen prospecting and media lists that have up to 500 contacts on there that have fired out blank, cold outreach emails. For me, that’s a boo-boo. I would rather have 50 people on that media list that I know their first name, I know the last three articles that they’ve written, and on top of that, I can tell you which publications they’ve been at, so I know what they’re interested in. It’s going to really increase your chances of success when you relaunch.

Step two: Stories vs. statements

So this is when you need to start thinking about stories versus statements. Strip it right back and start to think about that hook or that angle that your whole campaign is all about. Can you say this in one sentence? If you can get it in one sentence, amazing because that’s the core thing that you are going to be communicating to journalists.

Now, to make this really tangible so that you can understand what I’m saying, I’ve got an example of a statement versus a story for a recent campaign that we did for an automotive client of ours. So here’s my example of a statement. “Client X found that the most dangerous roads in the UK are X, Y, Z.” That’s the statement. Now, for the story, let’s spice it up a little bit. “New data reveals that 8 out of 10 of the most dangerous roads in the UK are in London as cyclist deaths reach an all-time high.”

Can you see the difference between a story and a statement? I’m latching it into something in society that’s really important at the moment, because cyclist deaths are reaching an all-time high. On top of that, I’m giving it a punchy stat straightaway and then tying it into the city of London.

Step three: Create a package

So this seems like a bit of a no-brainer and a really obvious one, but it’s so incredibly important when you’re trying to bring your content campaign back from the dead. Think about creating a package. We all know that journalists are up against tight deadlines. They have KPIs in terms of the articles that they need to churn out on a daily basis. So give them absolutely everything that they need to cover your campaign.

I’ve put together a checklist for you, and you can tick them off as you go down.

  • Third-party expert or opinion. If you’re doing something around health and nutrition, why don’t you go out and find a doctor or a nutritionist that can give you comment for free — because remember, you’ll be doing the hard work for their PR team — to include within any press releases that you’re going to be writing.
  • Make sure that your data and your methodology is watertight. Prepare a methodology statement and also get all of your data and research into a Google sheet that you can share with journalists in a really open and transparent way.
  • Press release. It seems really simple, but get a well-written press release or piece of supporting copy written out well ahead of the relaunch timing so that you’ve got assets to be able to give a journalist. They can take snippets of that copy, mold it, adapt it, and then create their own article off the back of it.
  • New designs & images. If you’ve been working on any new designs and images, pop them on a Google shared drive and share that with the press. They can dip into this guide as and when they need it and ensure that they’ve got a visual element for their potential article.
  • Exclusive options. One final thing here that can occasionally get overlooked is you want to be holding something back. Whether that’s some really important stats, a comment from the MD or the CEO, or just some extra designs or images for graphics, I would keep them in your back pocket, because you may get the odd journalist at a really high DA/authority publication, such as the Mail Online or The Telegraph, ask for something exclusive on behalf of their editor.

Step four: Ask an expert

Start to think about working with journalists and influencers in a different way than just asking them to cover your creative content campaigns and generate links. Establish a solid network of freelance journalists that you can ask directly for feedback on any ideas. Now, it can be any aspect of the idea that you’re asking for their feedback on. You can go for data, pitch angles, launch timings, design and images. It doesn’t really matter. But they know what that killer angle and hook needs to be to write an article and essentially get you a link. So tap into it and ask them what they think about your content campaign before you relaunch.

Step five: Re-launch timings

This is the one thing that you need to consider just before the relaunch, but it’s the relaunch timings. Did you actually pay enough attention to this when you did your first initial launch? Chances are you may not have, and something has slipped through the net here.

  • Awareness days. So be sure to check awareness days. Now, this can be anything from National Proposal Day for a wedding client, or it can be the Internet of Things Day for a bigger electrical firm or something like that. It doesn’t really matter. But if you can hook it onto an awareness day, it means that there’s already going to be that interest in the media, journalists will be writing about the topic, and there’s a way in for your content.
  • World events. Again, keep in mind anything to do with elections or perhaps world disasters, such as tornadoes and bad weather, because it means that the press is going to be heavily oversaturated with anything to do with them, and therefore you might want to hold back on your relaunch until the dust is settled and giving your content campaign the best chance of success in round two.
  • Seasonality. Now, this isn’t just Christmas. It’s also Easter, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day. Think about the time of year you’re launching and whether your content campaign is actually relevant at that time of year. For example, back home in the UK, we don’t tend to launch content campaigns in the run-up to Christmas if it’s not Christmas content, because it’s not relevant and the press are already interested in that one seasonal thing.
  • Holidays. Holidays in the sense of half-term and summer holidays, because it means that journalists won’t be in the office, and therefore you’re reducing your chances of success when you’re calling them or when you’re writing out your emails to pitch them.

So there are my five steps for your content campaign comebacks. I know you’ve all been there too, guys, and I would love to hear how you got over some of these hurdles in bringing your content campaigns back to life. Feel free to comment below. I hope you guys join me soon for another Whiteboard Friday. Thanks.

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The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics in 2020

This may be of some interest.

Are you confused — even intimidated — by Google Analytics? Good news: you’re not alone. GA is notoriously complicated.

In fact, when I first started to delve into GA’s waters, I wondered if I’d ever truly get it. There were so many concepts to learn and reports to run. How did people ever conquer this thing?!?!

Lots and lots of reading plus some trial and error, it turns out.

I’m not saying I’ve reached total mastery — there’s always something new to pick up — but I’m vastly more comfortable.

And I want you to be, too. So, here’s the cheat sheet to everything I’ve learned over the years. This guide might be long, but it’ll take you from zero to hero in ~6,000 words. And if you still have questions, let me know! I’m @ajavuu on Twitter.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics, or GA, is an analytics tool that gives you an extremely in-depth look at your website and/or app performance. It integrates with Google’s marketing and advertising platforms and products (including Google Ads, Search Console, and Data Studio) making it a popular choice for anyone using multiple Google tools.

What other types of people is GA popular among?

Other marketing analytics options, such as HubSpot, can give you all the data you need with much less work. Oh, and here’s another aspect of GA you’ll want to take into consideration:

Is Google Analytics free?

There’s a free and a paid version of GA (the latter is called Analytics 360). Small and medium-sized businesses will likely get all the features you need from the free version. Enterprise businesses need to upgrade if you want:

  • Advanced funnel reporting and attribution modeling
  • Roll-up reporting
  • More views, dimensions, and metrics per property
  • Unlimited and unsampled data

Paying for 360 also gives you access to dedicated support, including your own account manager. This alone can make the subscription fee worth it.

And about that subscription fee? It’s not cheap. Analytics 360 begins at $150,000 per year (invoiced monthly) and increases after your site receives more than one billion monthly hits.

360’s cost will price out many businesses. However, if you have the budget for both the service and an agency or in-house analyst to manage your analytics operations, consider investing.

Now, what steps will you need to follow when setting up GA? Good question.

How to Set Up Google Analytics

Before you start using Google Analytics, you’ll have to set up a Google account. This means you must have a registered Google Account email address and password.

Once you’ve created a Google account, that doesn’t mean you automatically have access to GA — rather, you have to register for Analytics (which we’ll review how to do in the next section). But the important thing to note as you go to set up GA is that you can only access the tool by using a valid Google account.

Additionally, to set up GA properly, you’ll want to understand the various layers of the tool — specifically, the hierarchy.

Google Analytics Hierarchy

Here’s a look at the GA hierarchy:

google analytics hierarchy

Let’s dive into each of the sections within the hierarchy.

1. Organization

The organization is the highest level. It represents a company. For example, our organization is HubSpot, Inc. One organization can encompass multiple GA accounts.

Organizations are recommended for larger businesses, but not mandatory.

2.Account(s)

Accounts are not optional. Using Google Analytics requires at least one (sometimes several) accounts.

An account doesn’t mean a user account. I can log into the HubSpot Google Analytics accounts using my Google email ID. HubSpot’s head of technical SEO can also log into the same account using his Google email ID. Our historical optimization specialist can also log into the same account using his Google email ID.

Important details:

  • You can assign one property to each account or multiple properties to one account. Every account can hold up to 50 properties.
  • You can give user permissions for an entire Analytics account, a property in an account, or a view in a property.

You might be wondering, “What’s better: creating a new account for every property or adding every account to the same property?”

It depends on your use case and goals.

For example, suppose you have one website — the Stark Industries corporate site — and five subdirectories, including the Stark Industries blog, careers section, media resources, case studies, and investor relations information.

You want to create separate properties for each subdirectory so the people on each team can look at how their portion of the site is performing, as well as the larger site.

But maybe you have another site that discusses Tony Stark’s work with S.H.I.E.L.D. You want the S.H.I.E.L.D. team to see data for this subdirectory, but you don’t want them to see data for the rest of the website. You create a new account and property for the S.H.I.E.L.D. site.

Property

A property is a website or app. Each property can support up to 25 views.

View

At the minimum, you need two views per property:

  • One with zero configuration — essentially the “raw” version of the view
  • One with filters set up to exclude any traffic from within your company (i.e. a filter for your IP address) as well as bots and spam traffic

A view only captures the information after your filters and configured settings have been applied. And once you delete a view, that data is gone forever. For those reasons, it’s critical to keep an unfiltered view of your data.

Now that you have completed the basis for how how to set up GA, here are the steps involved in using the tool.

Here are the steps involved in using your GA account.

1. Create a Google Analytics account.

First, you’ll have to create a Google Analytics account. Or, sign in to your current account.

2. Add the name, URL, and industry of the website you want to track.

Choose which account you want to add the property to. You should create and name your Property at this point and enter the website’s URL as well as industry and reporting time zone. Then you’ll be able to Create and Finish this step of the process.

3. Add a view to your property.

Go to the account and property you want to add a view to — use the menu to Create a View, name your view, select the type of view (web or app), and answer a few other questions. Remember, you can add up to 25 views to a property in GA.

4. Add your tracking code directly after the <head> tag of your site.

When you create a property, you’ll have access to a unique ID for tracking and a global site tag (code you need to add to each site page you want to measure). This is how you’ll be able to collect data in your property.

Then, paste your global site tag right after the opening <head> tag on each site page you plan on measuring.

You’ll be asked to choose your type of site (static, dynamic, web hosting, Google Tag Manager) so that you can set up the data collection accurately.

(For more, read our guide to installing the Google Analytics tracking code on your site.)

5. Visit your GA portal and verify the code is working.

Lastly, verify your code is working. You can do this by looking at the Real-Time reports section while clicking around on your site in a different tab or on your phone. The report should show at least one visitor to the site (that’s you!)

And that’s pretty much it! After that review, you may be wondering the following:

Do you need to add the GA code to every page of your site?

That’s a lot of manual work — especially if your website has more than 50 pages. Plus, what happens when you create new pages? Do you need to add the tag every time?!

Relax, because the short answer is: no.

The longer answer: you only need to add the tag to every page template. So, if you have one page type on your site (meaning every individual page uses the same header module), you only need to add it to that module — and it’ll be applied to every page.

If you have two page types, you’d need to paste the code into the two separate header modules. Three page types? Three header modules.

And if you use a CMS like HubSpot, this task is even easier. These tools come with a separate field where you paste your tracking code just once. HubSpot users can follow these simple instructions for adding GA.

Additionally, to use GA successfully, you need to understand dimensions versus metrics.

Google Analytics Dimensions and Metrics

I’ve found the easiest way to think about it is:

  • Dimensions = categorical variables. Simple examples include names, colors, and places.
  • Metrics = quantitative variables. Basic examples include age, temperature, and population.

Or as my Data Analytics professor put it, “Metrics are what you can do math on.” Not the most eloquent phrasing, but it works.

Dimension Examples
  1. Browser
  2. Location
  3. Landing page
  4. Device
  5. Customer type
Metric Examples
  1. Sessions
  2. Pageviews
  3. Conversions
  4. Bounce rate
  5. Session duration

In any GA report, your dimensions are your rows and your metrics are your columns.

google analytics metrics

Custom Dimensions and Metrics

GA lets you create custom dimensions and metrics from Analytics data plus non-Analytics data. To give you an idea, suppose you track the membership type of customers who have created an account in your CRM. You could combine this information with page views to see page views by member type.

Or maybe you run a blog. If you want to understand how audience engagement impacts other metrics (like conversions, pages per session, etc.), you could create three custom dimensions for each type of reader:

  1. Advocate: user who shared one-plus posts on social media
  2. Subscriber: user who signed up for your email list
  3. Customer: user who purchased premium access

Using these dimensions will give you invaluable information.

What’s a Google Analytics audience?

An audience is a group of users that have something in common. That commonality could be anything: maybe you’re targeting consumers in Australia, so you have an “Australian audience,” or you want to sell to millennials, so you have a “25-34 audience.”

GA comes with several built-in audiences (including the two I just mentioned, location and age). You don’t need to do a thing to set these up — once you have the tracking code installed, GA will automatically break down your visitor data into these audience reports.

However, you can also create custom audiences. Perhaps you’re only interested in “Australian millennials”; you’d need to make a custom audience that only includes visitors who are A) in Australia and B) between the ages of 25 and 34.

Creating an audience is fairly easy. Honestly, the hardest part is figuring out what you’re trying to accomplish and then identifying the user characteristics that’ll help you do that.

Once you’ve done that, follow these instructions to create a new audience segment. From there you can import a segment to use as the basis for your Audience Report.

That brings us to the next question:

What’s a Google Analytics segment?

A segment is a subset of your data. I like to picture an entire pizza made up of all different slices — one slice has pesto and mozzarella, another has sausages and spicy peppers, another has ham and pineapple, and so on. Metaphorically speaking, each slice is a segment.

You can create segments based on:

  • Users (e.g. users who have bought something on your site before, users who have signed up for a consultation, etc.)
  • Sessions (e.g. all sessions that were generated from a specific marketing campaign, all sessions where a pricing page was viewed)
  • Hits (e.g. all hits where the purchase exceeded $85, all hits where a specific product was added to the cart)

Like audiences, GA provides you with several segments. I wouldn’t stop there: you can get incredibly granular with your segments.

To give you some inspiration, here are a few of HubSpot’s segments:

  • Users who viewed a specific product page and watched the demo video
  • Users who viewed the same product page and didn’t watch the demo video
  • Users who view a specific Academy course page
  • Users who view a specific Academy lesson page
  • Users who view a blog post and a product page

The sky is your limit — well, that, and GA’s segment cap.

Alright, now let’s look at GA Reports. Remember, you can apply up to four segments at a time to any report.

Google Analytics Reports

GA’s left-hand sidebar can be a bit overwhelming. You’ve got six reporting options (all with confusing, vague names), and clicking on any of those only gives you more options.

Let’s walk through each report together.

google analytics reports

Google Analytics Real-Time Report

As the name suggests, the Real-Time report gives you insight into what’s happening on your site at this very moment. You can see how many visitors are on your site, which pages they’re visiting, which social platforms they’re coming from, where they’re located, and more.

While this report is fun to look at occasionally, it’s probably the least valuable. Here are some ways to use Real-Time:

  • See how much traffic you’re getting from a new social or blog post
  • Know immediately if a one-day sale or event is driving views and/or conversions
  • Make sure tracking URLs and custom events that you’ve just set up are working as they should

These are useful, but as you’ll see, the other reports pack a far greater punch.

Google Analytics Audience Report

The GA Audience report gives you a high-level overview for the property you’re currently looking at. Check this report once a day to get a sense of how you’re trending overall.

Underneath “Overview,” you’ll see “Audiences,” as well as expandable menus for “Demographics,” “Interests,” “Geo,” “Behavior,” “Technology,” “Mobile,” “Cross-Device,” “Custom,” and “Benchmarking.”

google analytics audience report

Explore each of these sections to get a sense of what they can tell you about your visitors.

Every section describes an audience.

Active Users

Whoever named this report belongs in the same group as the person who named guinea pigs: “active users” doesn’t refer to users currently on your site — that’s the Real-Time report — and guinea pigs are neither pigs nor from Guinea.

The Active Users report shows you the number of users who visited in the last day (1-day active users), week (7-day active users), two weeks (14-day active users), and four weeks (28-day active users.)

google analytics active users report

What’s the value of this report, you ask?

If you have more one-day users than longer-term ones, you’re struggling with retention. People aren’t coming back to your site or app — you need to figure out why.

I’d also recommend looking at this report with various segments; for instance, perhaps you see that users in a certain age bracket have much better retention than the average.

Lifetime Value

First things first: do you need a refresher on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and how to calculate it? We’ve got you.

The Lifetime Value report gives you a sense of how valuable users are to your company. You can see lifetime value for, say, the users you generated from email marketing versus the ones you acquired from organic search. Armed with this information, you can decide which channel to invest more in.

A few notes: Lifetime Value is capped at 90 days. The Acquisition date range, however — which you can adjust — reflects all the users you acquired in that time frame.

Imagine you’re interested in looking at transactions per user for users you acquired in the week before Black Friday. You’d adjust the date range to that week specifically. Then you’d see the average transactions per user for that cohort over the following 90 days.

Because HubSpot is a SaaS company, not an ecommerce business, I look at goal completions per user, page views per user, and sessions per user by Acquisition Channel.

If my team has recently wrapped up a marketing campaign, I’ll look at the same metrics by Acquisition Campaign.

But if you are in ecommerce and want to see transaction and revenue data, you’ll need to have ecommerce tracking set up.

(By the way, here’s how to track revenue in HubSpot.)

Cohort Analysis

Some people have gone so far as to call Cohort Analysis “the single most powerful report in GA.”

So, how does it work? This report groups users by one characteristic — so far, “Acquisition Date” is the only “Cohort Type” you can use. By the way, Acquisition Date is the day a user first visited your website.

You have several options from there.

  1. First, pick your cohort size: day, week, or month.
  2. Next, pick your metric, or what you want to explore for this cohort. It can be further broken down into Per user, Retention, and Total.
    • Per user means the total count of that metric divided by the cohort size. So if you choose Transactions per user, for example, you’ll see the average number of transactions per user for that cohort.
    • Retention is simple: user retention, or the number of users who returned that day, week or month (determined by the cohort size you selected) divided by the total number of users in that cohort.
    • Total: the total number of sessions, transactions, etc. that occurred for that cohort size.
  3. Choose your date range. GA lets you see up to three months of data.

Now let’s dive into reading the report, because it’s not obvious.

google analytics cohort report

The left-hand column shows you the Cohort Type you picked — Acquisition date, by default — broken down by Cohort Size (day, week, or month).

The first row shows you the totals for all the users in that cohort. Each row underneath that represents the activity in that day, week, or month (in this example, we’re looking at month.)

The row outlined in light blue reflects the Cohort Size you’ve chosen. Remember that data only goes back three months at the max.

The row outlined in yellow shows you the values for the metric you chose (in this case, Goal Completions per User). In the eternal words of Calvin Harris: baby, this what you came for.

Look at the first row. This tells you the average goal completions for the entire cohort in the first month after they were acquired was 1.09. Average goal completions for the entire cohort in the second month after they acquired dropped to 0.09. By the last month, it’s 0.02.

Now look at the next three rows. It looks like average goal completions per user in the first month after they were acquired increased slightly from December to January and again from January to February.

This is pretty usual behavior. Let’s imagine that instead, this report tells us average goal completions per user for February 1-28, 2019 (the last row) was 4.07. Woah! That’s nearly four times as high as December and January.

We’d definitely want to investigate further. And to do so, all we have to do is right-click on the cohort we’re interested in.

Make sure you click on the column if you want the entire day, week, or month analyzed. Click on a cell if you want to analyze only the users who, for example, completed a goal three days after they were acquired on February 27, 2019.

google analytics cohort report

When you right-click, this box will pop up:

google analytics cohort segment

Give this cohort a descriptive name. Change the views to “Any View” if you want to use this segment across your entire property (which I usually recommend), then click “Create.”

Voila — now you can compare this cohort to any other segment in any report you choose.

Google Analytics Acquisition Reports

The Acquisition report breaks down your traffic by source: organic, direct, referral, email, social, paid search, display, affiliate, and (Other). (GA uses the (Other) category when it doesn’t know how to categorize a subset of traffic.)

google analytics acquisition report

From All Traffic, you can click into Channels.

google analytics acquisition by channel

Click on any category to explore each source in detail.

Depending on the category, you’ll see landing pages (which URLs your visitors entered the site on), source (which website brought them to yours), or keyword (which query took them to your site.)

google analytics acquisition report

To see this information presented visually, click on All Traffic > Treemaps. This post walks you through how to read and adjust the Treemaps report.

The next report, Source/Medium, breaks down the general category of traffic (which you saw in “Channels”) into the search engine or domain.

It’s useful if you want to get more granular insight into the ways people are coming to your site. For example, you might notice that a whopping 70% of your referral traffic is coming from LinkedIn, while just 5% is coming from Pinterest. Depending on your marketing team’s priorities it may be time to shift focus.

The last report, Referrals, reveals the specific URLs that sent people to your site, e.g. your referral traffic.

google analytics acquisition by landing page

I like to add “Landing page” as a secondary dimension so you can see which pages on your site are receiving the referral traffic.

Google Analytics Behavior Reports

Out of all the reports in GA, I use the Behavior ones the most.

Site Content

This report gives you a review all of the blog posts, landing pages, web pages on your site.

All Pages

Let’s start with Site Content > All Pages. This shows the top-trafficked pages for your current view and/or segment. It’s useful in and of itself — you should always keep a careful eye on your most viewed URLs — but I especially like it when I’m analyzing traffic growth or declines.

To give you an idea, maybe total traffic to my website has dropped 10% month over month. I’d navigate to Site Content > All Pages and change the date range to this month compared to the last month (making sure the days of the week match up).

google analytics site content

Then I can see the differences in page views by URL:

google analytics page views

This helps me identify which pages received less traffic and contributed to that decline.

Helpful tip: I like to change the “Sort Type” from “Default” to “Absolute Change” so I see the results sorted by the greatest differences in percentage rather than total views.

google analytics

I also add Page Title as a secondary dimension so I can see the name of each page alongside its URL.

Content Drilldown

This report breaks down the structure of your site by subdomain and then subfolder. To give you an idea, for HubSpot we can see data for each of our subdomains, including:

  • blog.hubspot.com
  • developers.hubspot.com
  • community.hubspot.com

And so on. If I clicked into blog.hubspot.com, I could then see aggregated data for:

  • blog.hubspot.com/sales
  • blog.hubspot.com/marketing
  • blog.hubspot.com/service

You get the drift. This report is probably most valuable for those managing highly complex properties.

Landing Pages

Landing pages is another one of my favorite reports. GA defines a landing page as the first page in a session — in other words, the visitor’s first interaction with your website.

There are a few ways to slice and dice this report.

First, if you’re interested in the sources (organic, paid social, direct, etc.) driving users to the landing page, you can add Source/Medium as a secondary dimension.

This is basically the opposite version of the report we added earlier.

Second, if you only want to see which landing pages users visited from a specific source, on a specific platform, or within a specific category, you can add the appropriate system segment:

google analytics landing pages

Maybe you’re most interested in the landing pages that mobile and tablet users see — so you choose the Mobile and Tablet Traffic.

Or perhaps you’re curious about users who ended up buying something, so you choose the “Made a Purchase” segment. There are lots of possibilities here.

Exit Pages

This report shows the last pages users visited in their sessions before they left your site.

That’s a little confusing, so let’s use an example.

I want to find a place to grab dinner with my friends so I search, “Mediterranean restaurants near me.” A place that looks good pops up, so I click on it. First, I check out the menu. They have a hummus sampler — yum. Then I click on their press page. It links to a recent article on Eater, so I leave the site to read it. The reviewer loved the food. I’m sold.

The Press page would be my exit page.

You may hear that you should analyze your exit pages to understand why users are leaving your site — I think this example reveals why that strategy doesn’t always make sense. Just because someone has left doesn’t mean anything is wrong with the content.

Check this report out but take the data with a grain of salt.

Site Speed

This report is pretty self-explanatory: it tells you how quickly your site is loading for users. Obviously, the faster the better — not only do faster pages correlate with higher revenue, but Google’s algorithm takes page load time into account.

google analytics site speed

Site Speed Page Timings

This report delves into the average page load times for each URL. I use it to identify the slowest-loading pages on HubSpot’s site with the ultimate goal of figuring out why they’re taking their sweet, sweet time and how to speed them up.

google analytics site speed

The default metrics are page views and average page load time, but I also recommend looking at:

  • Avg. page load time and bounce rate
    • Change the Sort Type to “Weighted” so you see the blog posts with the highest page views first
  • Avg. page load time and page value

Site Search

First things first: if users can search your website, make sure you’ve set up Site Search in GA. You must enable it for every view separately (here are the step-by-step instructions).

Usage

I typically start with the “Usage” report, which tells me how many sessions occurred with and without one-plus searches. In other words, I learn how frequently people used site search for the view and time period I specified.

Search Terms

Here’s where you learn what people are searching for. Look for themes: if you see the same search terms coming up multiple times, there are a few conclusions you could draw.

Either you need to create new content that gives users the information they’re looking for, and/or you need to better surface existing content so it’s easier to find.

Pay attention to the “% Search Exits” column, as this tells you how many users clicked away from the search results page rather than choosing a result. You can usually infer there wasn’t a good answer for their question (or it wasn’t appropriately titled.)

google analytics search terms

Search Pages

This report displays which pages users are starting searches from. It’s important to think about this contextually. Maybe people are commonly beginning searches from your 404 page — that makes sense and isn’t anything to be alarmed about.

If, on the other hand, they’re starting searches from a product landing page, something’s wrong. The content clearly isn’t living up to the expectations they had when they clicked the ad link.

Loves Data provides a solid overview of GA’s Site Search reports if you want to explore them even further.

Events

A user clicks a button. Then they download a file. Next they watch a video.

No, this isn’t the world’s most boring bedtime story — it’s an example of a GA event. Three events, to be specific.

GA defines events as, “user interactions with content that can be measured independently from a web page or a screen load.”

Those user interactions are up to you; you’ll need to add special code to your site or app that tracks the specific actions you’re interested in. Here are the instructions.

If you’re not excited about events tracking already, I want you to get excited. There are infinite possibilities here: if you have an event set up for watching a product demo, and another for clicking a link to an external review of your tool, you can measure how many times each event happened.

Maybe you discover your video isn’t getting many plays. It’s probably time to optimize the current video, make it easier to find on your site, or create a new one. Or perhaps you see that way more users than you expected are checking out the third-party review of your product.

That tells you users want more social proof and testimonials. Since the review is favorable, you might want to put it front and center on your site.

Top Events

This report tracks the events taking place most frequently — pretty straightforward. You’ll see total events (e.g. how many times that event happened) and unique events (how many sessions included one or more occurrences of that event).

If you’ve set values for your events, this report also shows you how the total value of each event and its average value (or the total value divided by the frequency.)

Pages

In this report, you can see which pages generate the most actions. I typically add “Event Category” as the secondary dimension, then filter for the event I’m most interested in.

To give you an idea, my team tracks “Blog CTA.” This event fires whenever a user clicks a CTA embedded in a blog post. To get to the report below, I added “Event Category” as the second dimension, then filtered for “Page begins with blog.hubspot.com” (so I’d only see URLs on the blog) and “Event Category equals Blog CTA.”

Now I can see which posts generate the most CTA clicks. Hopefully you’re starting to see the power of event tracking!

google analytics page

Events Flow

The Events Flow report tracks the order in which events take place on your site. It can tell you:

A) Whether particular events tend to happen first — and if they trigger other events

To give you an idea, maybe users frequently watch your demo video, then click the CTA to schedule a call with a salesperson.

B) Whether certain event categories are more common than others

Imagine you see that videos are played far more often than PDFs are downloaded.

C) Whether users act differently based on segment

For example, perhaps people coming in via organic scroll to the bottom of your pricing page far more than people coming in via social media.

Note: This report is very subject to sampling. (Read more about GA’s data sampling practices here.) Sampled data is usually pretty accurate, but it means the more important the conclusion you’re drawing, the less uncertainty you’ll be able to tolerate.

To reduce the level of sampling, make the date range smaller.

Publisher

If you monetize your website with Google AdSense or Ad Exchange, you can use the Ad Manager and Google Analytics integration to bring information on how your ad units are performing into GA.

I won’t go into any more detail here, but I recommend reading the following resources if you want to know more:

Google Analytics Conversion Reports

If you have a website, you have an objective — probably several — for the people who visit your site.

Ecommerce store owners want their visitors to subscribe to their mailing list, make a user account, add something to their cart, and/or complete the order confirmation process.

Media companies want their visitors to stay on their site for as long as possible and/or view a certain number of pages (all the better to maximize their ad revenue.)

B2B businesses want their visitors to download an ebook, sign up for a webinar, or book a call with a sales rep.

Google Analytics makes it possible to measure all of these things — plus many more.

A goal is essentially a conversion that you’ve defined (which is why this info shows up under the Conversion section.)

There are four main types of goals:

  • Destination: This goal is completed when a user reaches a specific page, like a product page, order confirmation page, or thank you page
  • Event: This goal is completed when a predefined event fires (like the Events you can set up as, well, Events — think watching a video or sharing something to social media)
  • Duration: This goal is completed when a user’s session lasts longer than a pre-set time
  • Pages/screens per session: This goal is completed when a user views a specific number of pages (or screens for an app) per session

The first two are insanely useful. The last two are pretty useless. (If you have an interesting use case for Duration or Pages/screens per session, let me know on Twitter @ajavuu. I’d love to be proven wrong.)

Once you’ve identified your goals, take a look at these instructions for creating, editing, and sharing them. This guide on choosing goal values is also quite helpful.

Overview

Head here to learn how you’re doing goal-wise across the board. I get the most from this report when I compare date ranges and/or look at goal completions by segment.

For example, quickly looking at goal completions by device reveals mobile visitors sign up for the blog newsletter much less frequently than desktop and tablet visitors. That could be because it’s hard to sign up for the newsletter on a phone — or it could be mobile users are looking for one thing and ending their session as soon as they’ve found it. I should dig in more to decide which case it is.

Goal URLs

Knowing a goal was completed isn’t helpful in and of itself; you also need to know where it happened. Suppose you’ve embedded the same form in three separate pages on your site.

It’s great that Daenerys Stark from Dragonstone, Blackwater Bay just filled out your form to get in touch with a consultant, but which page did she fill it out on?

The Goal URLs report shows you. It breaks down conversions by “Goal Completion URL” (read: where it went down.)

google analytics goals

Reverse Goal Path

Reverse Goal Path is the unsung hero of the Conversion section. Well, I’m singing its praises now. This report allows you to see the last three pages a user visited before completing the goal.

It’s useful for goals that aren’t sequential. Maybe you have a contact form that appears in multiple places on your site, or there are two different paths that lead users into buying your ebook. Thanks to this report, you can understand the various ways people arrive at the end destination — and there’s no need to set up a funnel.

I usually filter down to a specific goal completion location or goal previous step 1, 2, or 3.

For example, since I’m interested in seeing which blog posts generated leads from content downloads, I added “Goal Previous Step – 1 containing blog.hubspot.com” to the filter.

google analytics reverse goal path

Here’s what I got:

google analytics reverse goal path

“(Entrance)” means the user came to the site on that step; “(not set)” means the user didn’t complete any steps prior to that one — because they weren’t on the website yet.

For a comprehensive exploration of Reverse Goal Path, take a look at OnlineMetrics’s guide.

Funnel Visualization

For sequential goals, Funnel Visualization is your go-to report.

Going back to the ecommerce example, the last goal would be “Arrived at the order confirmation page.” The goal before that, or goal #3, would be “Clicked checkout.” The goal before that, goal #2, would be “Added something to cart.” And the goal before that, goal #1, would be “Looked at product listing page.”

At each stage, you can see user drop-off. That lets you identify areas where you can improve conversion rates; for example, maybe you lose a lot of users during the checkout process. You change the flow so they can check out as a guest (versus needing to create an account), which dramatically reduces checkout abandonment.

To see this level of detail, you’ll need to map out your goals as a series. If all of your goals are simply the end objective, like “Arrived at the order confirmation page,” you won’t be able to reverse-engineer how users progress.

The Funnel Visualization report also requires you to mark the first step in the goal path as required or not. If you tell GA that yes, the first goal needs to be completed, Funnel Visualization will only show you the sessions where the user first finished goal #1. If a user skips goal #1 and goes straight to goal #2, their session won’t be represented here.

Goal Flow

If Funnel Visualization is the uptight relative who always made you take your elbows off the table and wash your hands before you ate, Goal Flow is the laid-back, fun relative who’d randomly take you out of school to go to the zoo.

All that to say: Goal Flow gives you a lot more freedom than Funnel Visualization. Unlike the latter, Goal Flow shows you all sessions that led to the completed end goal — regardless of whether the user completed the required goal #1 or not.

Another difference from Funnel Visualization: Goal Flow also shows you loopbacks — i.e. when a user goes back to a previous page or refreshes their current one.

If the user skips a step, Funnel Visualization “backfils” it. Goal Flow doesn’t.

If you edit an existing funnel or create a new one, Funnel Visualization will show you all your data from that moment onward. Goal Flow, on the other hand, can show you data from the past.

You can also toggle the Dimension and Level of detail of the report, as well as the segment, to get even more granular.

I recommend looking at various segments to see which convert at the highest and lowest rates — plus where they commonly drop out.

google analytics goal flow

Note: This report is subject to sampling. (Read more about GA’s data sampling practices here.) Sampled data is usually pretty accurate, but it means the more important the conclusion you’re drawing, the less uncertainty you’ll be able to tolerate.

To reduce the level of sampling, make the date range smaller.

Smart Goals

This report is helpful if you’re A) using Google Ads and B) not measuring conversions. Basically, Google uses machine learning to identify your “best” sessions — or those likeliest to generate conversions — and then translates those themes into Smart Goals.

Once you have Smart Goals, you can use them in Google Ads to optimize your ads performance.

Smart Goals are controversial within the marketing community because the data is minimal and businesses will be far better served by setting up their own conversion tracking. Keep that in mind if you decide to use them.

Now You’re Ready to Track

Google Analytics is a highly valuable tool for any business as it gives you tangible data that you can apply to grow your business. Bookmark this guide and come back to it as your data tracking becomes more sophisticated.

Good luck on your Google Analytics journey.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August, 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Thank you for reading.

FOMO and KIMO

This may be of some interest.

FOMO, of course, is the avoidable malady often known as ‘fear of missing out.’ It can completely undermine a life well lived, because it drives people to follow a crowd out of fear.

KIMO is in the past tense. “Knowing I missed out.” This is also avoidable, but in a different way. (I pronounce it K-eye-moh.)

I recently joined a club that sends out a liter of olive oil every now and then. And it comes with a newsletter. The newsletter reported that so many people are now members that they couldn’t send everyone the same type of oil, so they split the shipment in half. They then reported, in detail, everything about each of the two oils.

I can’t help it. I liked the reporting on the other one better.

While I’m confident that the one I ended up with will be delicious, my knowledge of what I missed, so beautifully described, is unavoidable.

It didn’t have to be. They could have also divided the newsletter in half. And more helpful, I could simply choose to not feel KIMO if it isn’t helpful.

Giving those you serve the satisfaction of knowing that they made a great choice is a fine service to offer. And we can find it for ourselves if we try.

Thank you for reading.

17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond

This may be of some interest.

Smiling Woman at Computer Image

Smiling Woman at Computer Image

Virtual marketing conferences offer a wealth of benefits to marketers looking to learn and increase brand awareness, and in the current crisis they represent the only event opportunities for marketers.

How do you go about finding events that match your business and B2B marketing needs, however?

With in-person marketing events not likely until well into 2021, more virtual events than ever taking place, making it harder than ever to find the ones that can best help build your business, expand your communication opportunities, and offer the most relevant new industry education from top marketing industry experts.

MarTech Today Chart

Marketers are getting more out of virtual events, too — with 75 percent in a recent survey saying they were satisfied with their virtual event experiences. Online events also hold their own unique advantages.

“Bringing events online has its downsides, naturally — there’s no substitute for personally meeting and interacting with all the valuable contacts attending a conference — but there are some key advantages,” Amanda Bulat, senior content marketing manager at LinkedIn Sales & Marketing Solutions recently observed.

“Virtual events are easier for people to attend (with no geographic restrictions), less resource-intensive to host, and can make it easier to capture lead gen info,” she added.

Expanding on our previous listing of “8 Virtual SEO Conferences for B2B Marketers,” for summer 2020 and beyond we’ve gathered together a collection of some of the top virtual marketing events, and we’re happy to present the list here, in chronological order.

Virtual Marketing Conferences For Summer 2020 & Beyond

Adobe Experience Makers Live — #ExperienceMakersLive
When: July 22-23, 2020
Theme: Digital Experiences
About: Adobe* Experience Makers Live is focused on creating long-term business success through inclusive digital experiences, featuring speakers including author Dr. Brené Brown, Microsoft’s Shelley Bransten, Forrester’s Joana de Quintanilha, and Adobe’s Marissa Dacay.

ContentTECH Summit — #ContentTECH
When: August 10-12, 2020
Theme: Content Marketing
About: ContentTECH Summit explores the ever-increasing importance of content marketing to create, manage, deliver and scale enterprise content and provide customers with better digital experiences, and features top speakers such as Mastercard Worldwide’s Wendy Richardson, author Alan Zweibel, and our own CEO Lee Odden.

Digital Summit At Home — #DSatHome
When: August 11-13, 2020
Theme: Digital Marketing
About: Digital Summit At Home examines digital marketing in over 30 virtual sessions, and features top speakers such as author Seth Godin, LinkedIn’s* Ty Heath, and our own senior director of digital strategy Ashley Zeckman.

IABC MN Convergence Summit — #IABCMN
When: August 12-13, 2020
Theme: Business Communications
About: IABC MN Convergence Summit weaves together business and academic experts to learn how to overcome today’s business communication challenges and explore how to build reputation, connect with audiences, and influence stakeholders, and features speakers such as Best Buy’s Andy Gorski, Deluxe Corporation’s Devon Block, along with our CEO Lee Odden who will present “In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience.”

INBOUND 2020 — #INBOUND2020
When: September 22-23, 2020
Theme: Marketing & Sales
About: INBOUND 2020 presents some of the biggest names and brightest minds in sales and marketing and other industries, and offers speakers from firms including Intuit, HubSpot and others.

AI Summit Silicon Valley — #AISummit
When: September 30-October 1, 2020
Theme: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
About: The Virtual AI Summit Silicon Valley 2020 presents all things artificial intelligence for business marketers, and includes leading speakers from Google, Lyft, Boeing, Lenovo and more.

2020 B2B Next Conference & Exhibition — #B2BNext
When: September 29-30, 2020
Theme: Marketing & Sales
About: The 2020 B2B Next Conference & Exhibition explores the digital-first B2B economy with a focus on collaboration in eCommerce, and features top speakers including Grainger CEO D.G. Macpherson, Graybar CEO Kathy Mazzarella, RBC Capital Markets’ Marketing Manager Mark Mahaney and others.

Advertising Week Virtual — #AW2020
When: September 29-October 8, 2020
Theme: Marketing & Sales
About: Advertising Week Virtual serves as a worldwide gathering of marketing, advertising, technology and brand professionals, offering major speakers including Google VP of Marketing, EMEA Yonca Dervisoglu, SNAP VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Baroness Oona King, Interpublic Group CEO Michael Roth and others, for eight days and six global markets filled with unlimited ideas.

Fast Co. Innovation Festival — #FCFestival
When: October 5-9, 2020
Theme: Innovation
About: The Fast Co. Innovation Festival offers business inspiration by leaders making a difference through technology and creativity, with a powerful slate of global speakers to be announced.

MarTech — #MarTechConf
When: October 6-8, 2020
Theme: MarTech
About: Martech Conference focuses on actionable tactics in marketing technology for solving marketing problems, with top speakers to be announced.

Content Marketing World — #CMWorld
When: October 13-16, 2020
Theme: Content Marketing
About: Content Marketing World conference and expo explores the best in content marketing to grow your business and inspire your audience, featuring top speakers including Beverly Jackson of Activision Blizzard, Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, MJ DePalma of Microsoft Advertising, and others.

ANA 2020 Masters of Marketing Conference — #ANA
When: October 21-23, 2020
Theme: B2B Marketing
The Association of National Advertisers’s 2020 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference is set to examine brand marketing practices related to digital and social, and to help brands and businesses navigate these difficult times and drive sustained success, with a lineup of speakers to be announced.

B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange — #B2BSMX
When: October 26-28, 2020
Theme: Marketing & Sales
About: B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange Online Experience brings together thought leaders in ABM, revenue marketing and demand generation, including top speakers to be announced.

Sitecore Symposium 2020 — #SitecoreSYM
When: October 26-28, 2020
Theme: Marketing Automation
About: B2B marketers looking to explore the marketing automation landscape can attend Sitecore Symposium 2020 and learn the next generation of strategies and tactics, with a lineup of major speakers to be announced.

Brand ManageCamp — #BMC2020
When: October 27-29, 2020
Theme: Brand Management
About: Brand ManageCamp’s conference explores the insights, tools, strategy and leadership inspiration to drive new brand growth, featuring a lineup a speakers including Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, author Shep Hyken, author Carla Johnson, and others.

MarketingProfs B2B Forum — #MPB2B
When:November 3-6, 2020
Theme: B2B Marketing
About: At MarketingProfs B2B Forum top leaders, innovators, and people who make things happen gather to share their secrets to success, with a stellar lineup of speakers to be including keynotes by author David Meerman Scott, author April Dunford, and writer and comedian Sarah Cooper.

Dreamforce 2020 — #DF20
When: November 9-12, 2020
Theme: Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
About: Dreamforce brings together the Salesforce community of thought leaders and industry pioneers for education and inspiration, and with over 2,700 sessions its one of the latest business conferences. Look for speakers to be announced in the lead-up to the event, and also check out Dreamforce’s virtual Leading Through Change series.

Gear Up Your 2020 Virtual Marketing Events

via GIPHY

We hope you’ve found a number of new and exciting virtual events to attend on our list to make the most of the rest of 2020, and that the learning you’ll experience from either these virtual conferences or the many others available will help you achieve new levels of B2B marketing success this year and beyond.

If you’re also considering hosting a virtual event of your own, check out “Boost Your Virtual Event By Taking These Actions Before, During, and After,” by Kylee Lessard, associate product marketing manager of LinkedIn Pages & Elevate at LinkedIn.

At TopRank Marketing we’ve explored the power of events both virtual and in-person for B2B marketers, especially those who incorporate influencer marketing, in a number of articles, and here are five to help you get the most from your virtual 2020 marketing events:

* Adobe and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 17+ Top Virtual Marketing Conferences for Summer 2020 & Beyond appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Thank you for reading.

What’s your story?

This may be of some interest.

If you care about it, it’s probably a story.

Whether you did well on the job interview. The results of your work to find resources to feed the hungry. Your efforts to engage with your teenagers…

We remember Bastille Day, not because we were there, but because the story resonates with us. We vote for candidates because of their stories, and shop at stores that have a story that resonates with us. And it’s a story that determines how people react to an emergency in their town.

The last time we took action on an idea, extended ourselves for a friend, and perhaps encouraged ourselves to launch a new project–these happened because the story worked.

And it’s possible to tell a better story.

It’s on us. We need to learn how to hear stories, figure out which ones are resonating, and do the difficult and urgent work to make our stories more effective.

Because if we care about it, it’s worth doing better.

There are techniques worth learning and doing the work with others on a similar journey is a powerful shortcut to doing it well. We’re relaunching the Story Skills Workshop with bestselling author Bernadette Jiwa today. It’s not only a place to share your story but it’s a place to learn how to do it better. It’s one of our most popular workshops because it’s proven and because it works. [Look for the purple circle on that page for a time-sensitive discount].

Your story matters.

Thank you for reading.

20+ apps and websites to help you live a more sustainable life

This may be of some interest.

20+ apps and websites to help you live a more sustainable life

So you want to live a cleaner, greener, more sustainable life? 

OK, let’s do this! 

NEXT STORY:

But suddenly giving up meat completely, or never buying single-use plastic again, is easier said than done. To make aspects of your life more sustainable, it’s best to start small and build on those changes until you’ve incorporated healthier habits (for the planet and yourself) into everyday choices. And it’s important to note that while you can lessen your personal impact, meaningful change will only come with widespread adoption by large companies.

You can embark on your sustainable journey in many different ways, and accessible, mostly free technology is there to help you do that. Here are some things you can do paired with apps (and a few websites) to jumpstart your greener lifestyle, no matter where you choose to start. Read more…

More about Social Good, Vegetarian, Apps And Software, Sustainability, and Carbon Offsets

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