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    How to really understand the success of your PPC/SEO/Whatever


    Google Analytics new User Explorer (introed earlier this year but now old enough to show useful information) is exposing just how misleading Analytics can be.

    This is one of many examples I've discovered today.
    - a user discovered a clients site via Google Shopping.
    - a week later the user returned via a brand name search and purchased that product
    - Google Analytics says the the source/medium of that sale is 'google/organic' but in reality it was PPC
    - 2 months later that client returned directly to the site and purchased another product
    - Google Analytics says the source/medium of that sale is 'direct' but in reality it was PPC from two months ago (and great service) which won that second sale.

    To understand how each of your marketing channels is really working you need to know how that client discovered the site because these have long term implications.

    From what I have read you can't extract this data from User Explorer - does anyone know something different....?
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    Originally Posted by Doodled
    From what I have read you can't extract this data from User Explorer - does anyone know something different....?
    Since Google encrypted the referrer, this information has been basically impossible to retrieve. The best I have been able
    to do is just list the terms (from analytics) that your site is showing up for, run them thru adwords keyword tool and get best guess traffic stats
    and I have even begun to doubt the validity of that data as well.

    We all be in the same pickle.
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    Originally Posted by KnowOneSpecial
    The best I have been able
    to do is just list the terms (from analytics) that your site is showing up for, run them thru adwords keyword tool and get best guess traffic stats
    and I have even begun to doubt the validity of that data as well.

    We all be in the same pickle.
    Since over 90% of the clicks register as 'Not Set,' how do you do this?
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    Groupon recently did a study where they de-indexed all their Organic Results in Google for a day. In the end, they determined that 40% of their 'Direct' traffic, was in fact Organic. The Analytics results really cannot be trusted.
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    Originally Posted by KnowOneSpecial
    Since Google encrypted the referrer, this information has been basically impossible to retrieve. The best I have been able
    to do is just list the terms (from analytics) that your site is showing up for, run them thru adwords keyword tool and get best guess traffic stats
    and I have even begun to doubt the validity of that data as well.
    Its not so much the keyword (although that was nice to have way back when), it's being able to know the real general source of a buyer/goal converter. How did that person originally become aware of that website?

    Analytics reports on a session basis. Person X came via organic and made a purchase. Person X may have searched the brand name (I do for Wizzair) on that occasion but it is not the real reason for the sale.

    User Explorer tells us the real reason but only on a user by user basis which would take forever and a day to extract .....
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    It could be that google uses their search history to bring up your site...then the user says yea that's it and click on it, what google is calling direct traffic. I admit I don't use googles free too cause I don't trust them. You could also install statcounter and compare the results, it'll tell you where it came from what page it went to and whole lot more.
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    It's not as detailed as the User Explorer but, you could get similar data from the Top Conversion Paths under Conversions > Multi Channel Funnels. It would tell you if a user started in Paid, then next session was Organic and so on.

    It gives detail on how many visits it takes to convert, channels where they started and ended.

    Direct can be weird, it could be browser history, someone keying in the url, even reddit traffic can come in partially as direct (might have something to do with the mobile app).
    Last edited by ryandiscord; Sep 29th, 2016 at 10:42 AM.
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    Yep - figured out Multi Channel Funnels yesterday morning. If you use the secondary dimension it will also tell you the original landing page which is exactly what I was after. User explorer effectively tells you how bad the data in Sales Performance can be!

    I've written it up here in more detail for anyone who stumbles on this: Do you know where your customers are really coming from ... its not where you think
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    The Sales Performance data isn't bad necessarily, Google Analytics by default uses last click attribution. Meaning it credits the source / medium of the very last session that resulted in the conversion. I agree this isn't helpful in finding the original source that got the user to your site.

    This is one of the reasons why things like 3rd party email tracking and Adwords will always have different numbers than Google Analytics.

    Comments on this post

    • Doodled agrees : Sorry - no rep left!
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    This was sort of my point in my write up - you first need to check how badly Sales Performance data might be skewed before assuming it is skewed.

    I'd like to see Analytics offer better reporting on this. For example if a visitor arrives via PPC on a certain page yesterday and then returns direct the next day to the same page and makes a purchase that is a pretty strong signal.

    Google have announced they will start to roll out Optimize 360 as a freebie from next month so who knows.....
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    After reading all the post here, it comes to mind there may be a much simpler answer to all this.

    Provide an incentive to for the customer to reveal how they found you.

    A. Give them a discount,
    B. Next order 50% off
    C. Some other discount or incentive
    D. Just out-right ask them how they found you.

    then provide them the place to indicate how they found you.

    How did you find us.

    A. Ad on Google, Bing, or Yahoo
    B. Referred by friend or associate
    C. You had the most reviews
    D, I found you by search engine, searching for xxxxxxxxxxx ( this would be a blank text box )
    E. I like this product and use it often. (a repeat customer)

    I have found that not even providing an incentive is effective, people don't mind telling you if you ask nicely enough !!

    I suppose it would depend on what type of site you are running and other factors as to how you would implement this
    but it would provide you precise info on how they came to be on your site.

    Just my two cents worth..........
    Last edited by KnowOneSpecial; Oct 5th, 2016 at 08:56 AM.
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    I would ask this as a supplement to GA but, no discount or offer. This could work well for brick and mortar though.

    Comments on this post

    • KnowOneSpecial agrees : I totally agree
    Last edited by ryandiscord; Oct 5th, 2016 at 09:47 AM.

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