Today’s customers have incredibly high expectations for personalized and relevant experiences from brands. That’s why Google Analytics keeps working to better measure the full customer journey in all its complexity.
Let’s look at four new Analytics features that are all about helping businesses understand users so they can deliver more personalized site experiences.
Focus on your users in reporting
Analytics standard reports have been updated to focus on your users. User metrics are an essential way to understand engagement with your customers, especially those who may have multiple sessions across multiple days.
With our updated standard reporting, you can see immediately, for instance, how many users are coming to your site from paid search ― in addition to seeing the number of sessions.
To enable this update, sign in to your account and go to Admin > Property Settings and then choose the toggle switch labeled Enable Users In Reporting.
For other ways to analyze by user, try existing reports like Active Users, Cohort Analysis, and Lifetime Value. In case you’re wondering, session metrics will continue to be available in standard reporting ― that’s not changing. Learn more about audience reports.
Measure lifetime metrics and dimensions for every user
Another tool that marketers can use to analyze visitors on an individual level is User Explorer. And now we’ve added something new: lifetime metrics and dimensions for individual users (based on the lifetime of their cookie). These new metrics and dimensions will give Analytics users a much more detailed way to measure visitors and customers.
For example, you can look back and see the total amount of time an individual user has spent or the total number of transactions an individual user has made on your website. You’ll also see new dimensions that show data such as when a user made their first visit to your site and which channel acquired them.
The new lifetime metrics and dimensions are already available in your Analytics account. Learn more about User Explorer.
Audiences in reporting
For marketers who live and breathe audiences ― which is most of us ― the breathing just got easier. We’ve added the option to publish any audience to a new report in Analytics that should help make every audience easier to understand.
You can now go to the new Audiences report and see a cross-channel view of the audiences you’ve created in Analytics. This is a change from the past, where you could create audiences in Analytics and export those audiences to other products like AdWords, but you weren’t able to publish audiences to Analytics for reporting.
For instance, you might decide to publish an audience to Analytics so that you can see all users who have purchased within the last 12 months but not during the last 2.
You can find the new Audience report in your Analytics account. Learn more about Audiences in reporting.
Reach users most likely to convert
Meet our newest metric: Conversion Probability. It takes user-based metrics one step further to show you just what the name suggests: the probability that a given user will convert in the future. The calculation is based on a machine learning model that learns from users who have made transactions in the past.
The advantages are clear: Marketers can create remarketing lists that target users who have a high likelihood to purchase and then reach those users through either advertising campaigns in AdWords and DoubleClick or site experiments in Optimize.
We are also adding a new Conversion Probability report. This report will show you the Conversion Probability for all your users, including across important dimensions such as channel.
This new feature from Analytics Intelligence is the first forward-looking estimate of how likely a conversion is for individual users. It’s rolling out in beta to all Analytics accounts over the next few months. Learn more about Conversion Probability.
These four new enhancements will help you better understand your users and what they are doing on your site, so that you can create better experiences for them. If you — like those 90% of marketing executives — are working hard to understand your users’ journeys, we hope you’ll find these features useful.
1“The Customer Experience is Written in Data.” Econsultancy and Google, May 2017.
Posted by Gene Chan, Product Manager, Google Analytics
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Chances are that some data is “hidden” in silos across your company. According to new research from Econsultancy in partnership with Google, 86% of senior executives agree: eliminating organizational silos is critical to expanding the use of data and analytics in decision-making.1
If teams don’t talk, or if your organization doesn’t have an integrated data strategy to harness marketing, customer, and advertising data, information and ideas won’t flow freely. Here are three ways to break down data silos and get your organization on the path to a more collaborative, data-driven culture.
1. Make data accessible — to everyone
If you have work to do to get your data house in order, you’re not alone: 61% of marketing decision-makers struggled to access or integrate data they needed last year.2
The first step to making data more accessible is to outline a data strategy that identifies data owners and key points of contact for each information source. Next, define how to integrate data and related technologies, and provide standards and processes related to data security and privacy. Include guidelines for sharing data internally.
Democratizing access to data and insights enables employees at all levels to check their gut — and that leads to better results. The same Econsultancy study found that marketing leaders are 1.6X as likely as their mainstream counterparts to strongly agree that open access to data leads to higher business performance.3
Watch our on-demand webinar featuring new research and best practices in marketing data and analytics strategy from Google and MIT Sloan School of Management.
2. Champion the value of data-driven insights over gut feelings
Once data is made available to marketing managers and business decision-makers, make sure you champion a data-first mindset with your team. Using data effectively is a key differentiator for marketers who are ahead of the curve.
While a documented data and analytics strategy can provide a guide for all employees, support from the top helps set the tone. Nearly two-thirds of leading organizations say that their executives treat data-driven insights as more valuable than gut instinct.4
C-suite buy-in and other champions across the company help reinforce a data-driven culture by giving teams stuck in silos a nudge to collaborate and share analytic insights. Even better, this environment should give teams the incentive to align or share goals since data is core to campaign plans and marketing strategy.
3. Educate stakeholders on how to interpret the data
Having access to data is great, but if employees don’t know how to use it, the insights will remain isolated and unused. Consider this: 75% of marketers agree that lack of education and training on data and analytics is the biggest barrier to more business decisions being made based on data insights.5
If a team is empowered with the right learnings, it will proactively integrate data rather than push it aside. Set up brown bag sessions or internal trainings, or provide employees access to self-paced learning modules.
Finally, consider pairing the “data evangelists” and data storytellers within your organization with different team members to identify areas of focus based on relevant business goals and the biggest opportunities.
1, 3, 4, 5 Google/Econsultancy, “The Customer Experience Is Written in Data”, U.S., n=677 marketing and measurement executives at companies with over $ 250M in revenues, primarily in North America; n=199 leading marketers who reported marketing significantly exceeded top business goal in 2016; n=478 mainstream marketers (remainder of sample); May 2017. 2 Google Surveys, U.S., “2016–2017 Marketing Analytics Challenges and Goals,” Base: 203, marketing executives who have analytics or data-driven initiatives, Dec. 2016.
2 Google Surveys, U.S., “2016–2017 Marketing Analytics Challenges and Goals,” Base: 203, marketing executives who have analytics or data-driven initiatives, Dec. 2016.
Posted by Casey Carey, Director of Platforms & Publisher Marketing, Google
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Highly data-driven organizations are three times more likely than others to report significant improvement in decision-making.1 Yet, 62% of executives still rely more on experience than data to make their decisions.2 When the stakes are high, decision-makers need information they can trust, easily consume, and understand.
Below are three ways marketing organizations can take action on their data to better support decisions:
Whether you have trouble connecting teams or data sources, silos can prevent your marketing organization from reaching current and potential customers. Data silos prevent you from gaining a holistic view of the customer journey. Organizational silos slow down the flow of information and ideas. What’s more, organizational silos are the number one barrier to improving customer experience.3
Outline a data strategy to organize and integrate information sources so you have the complete picture to your customers’ journeys. Collaboration and communication between departments is also key. Better yet, make sure marketers and analysts all have access to the same data sets and technology.
Good data storytelling means making data easy to process. By taking the time to visualize your data, you’ll be able to tell a compelling story at a glance.
The goal of a revenue chart, heat map, or bar graph should be to simplify a complicated idea or communicate a body of information in seconds. Tools can help make data quickly actionable by taking multiple data sources and turning them into interactive reports and dashboards. Focus on reducing misinterpretations of your data and making it easy for decision makers to act.
If the data can’t be understood, its insights cannot be acted on. But just as important, if the data and ideas are not shared with the right people at the right time, decision makers can’t fully leverage the power of marketing data.
“Real-time data is critically important. Otherwise, business leaders may be making decisions off data that is no longer relevant. The business landscape changes so quickly, and stale data may inadvertently lead to the wrong decision,” says Suzanne Mumford, head of marketing for the Google Analytics 360 Suite.
Look for solutions that offer data visualization and built-in collaboration capabilities so you can start practicing all three steps right away:
- Organize workflow and integrate data from multiple sources
- Visualize information by creating easy-to-digest, interactive reports
- Share insights by setting up dashboards with real-time collaboration
The companies that shine at optimizing the customer experience go beyond analytics and measurement. The whole organization collaborates in order to connect the data dots and communicate the meaning and impact of insights surfaced. Leading marketing organizations build a culture of growth — one that uses data, testing, and optimization to improve the customer experience every day — and share insights in ways that everyone across the organization can understand and act on.
Download “Measuring Marketing Insights,” a collection of Harvard Business Review articles, to learn more about how to turn data into action.
A version of this article first appeared as sponsor content on HBR.org in August 2016.
1 PwC’s Global Data and Analytics Survey, Big Decisions™, Base: 1,135 senior executives, Global, May 2016
2 PwC’s Global Data and Analytics Survey, Big Decisions™, Base: 2,106 senior executives, Global, May 2016
3 Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, “Marketing in the Driver’s Seat: Using Analytics to Create Customer Value,” 2015.
Posted by Karen Budell, Content Marketing Manager, Google Analytics 360 Suite
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