Lead scoring: A bridge from marketing to actual sales

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How can marketing better align with sales? Contributor Sweta Patel walks you through the ins and outs of building a lead-scoring plan and the metrics for tracking lead-scoring success.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

July 19th 2017 Analytics

Identifying top analytics talent in a competitive environment

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Are you searching for the right candidate to fill a marketing analytics role? Columnist Nick Iyengar says you shouldn’t focus on what they know about the tools, but instead take a look at their soft skills.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

July 19th 2017 Analytics

Google Analytics rolling out ‘ask a question’ to get answers instantaneously

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With natural language, users can quickly get data without having to dig for it from both desktop and Google Analyticsmobile apps.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

July 19th 2017 Analytics, Google

How to ask survey questions of liars and pretenders

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It’s easy enough to use a survey to test out a website or campaign, but how do you know if the answers you get are truthful? Columnist Brian Massey helps you weed out the pretenders among your participants.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

July 14th 2017 Analytics

Google Search Console and structured data

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Google Search Console is an incredibly important tool for website owners. This tool shows you how your site appears in the Google search results. It also shows you what to improve to make the most of your listings in the results. One of the many cool features of Search Console is the structured data analyses found in the Search Appearance section. Let’s dive into that!

In this post, we’ll cover the Structured data tab in GSC, the Rich Cards tab and the Data Highlighter. If you don’t have Search Console yet – and you really should -, sign up on Google’s website.

Google search console home

Search Appearance

First, log into Search Console. On the left-hand side of your screen, you’ll find the Search Appearance menu item. This tool gives you insights into how your website appears in the search results. You can click any item to see how Google treats your site.

Structured Data

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In this post, our main focal point is structured data, so we’ll jump to the Structured Data section of GSC. Clicking on Structured Data will show you an overview of all the pages that have some kind of structured data attached to it. This could be in any form, like RDFa or Microdata, but usually, it will be in JSON-LD.

Structured data is all the extra information you give search engines to understand what a page is about. For instance, as the writer of this article, I am both a Person and an Author. If I add this data to the source code of this page, search engines can use that data to do cool things. If you sell products, you can enhance your search listings with reviews and ratings, prices and availability. These might all become visible in the search results.

Rich snippets products

Google Search Console shows a red line for the pages on your site that have incorrectly implemented structured data. Red indicate items with errors. You’ll notice that Search Console automatically sorts the list by the number of errors on a page. This way, you can start by fixing the most important issues first.

Google search console graph

Click on the lines in the table to see which pages have errors with the selected data type. Use these errors to prioritize your work. The big graph shows the progression of your structured data implementation as seen by Google. Let’s see how that works.

We’re going to take a closer look at the data. Above the graph, we see how many structured data items Google has found on how many pages, in this case, 218 items on 56 pages. Look closely at the left and right-hand side of the graph. The left side – in blue – goes from zero to 240 and this shows the number of pages with structured data items. The right side – in red – goes from zero to sixteen and shows the number of errors. At the bottom of the image, you see all the different data types Google has found on your site and all the items that have errors.

Errors

Now that we’ve analyzed all the different data on the structured data tab, it’s time to look at our errors. So click on an item with errors.

Google search console errors

After clicking on an error you’ll see this screen. This is where all the errors are listed individually. It’s the same kind of information as the screen before this one, so I won’t cover it again. However, now click on the individual error to see what happens:

Google search console popup

When we clicked on the individual error, a pop-up appeared. It shows information of the domain we’re on, information about the data item that gives an error and a button to test it with the Structured Data Testing Tool. Try to test with live data because GSC might give you an incorrect message. Also, the Structured Data Testing Tool allows you to tweak the code until it doesn’t give an error anymore. This way, you can safely test and improve on the error. Let’s move on to Rich Cards.

Rich Cards

Rich cards are new ways of presenting search results. These results are often amended with special, rich search features that make the results more interactive. For instance, a recipe site might get swipeable cards in the search results or a restaurant might get an option to immediately reserve a seat from the results. These are just a couple of examples. And since this is one of the areas Google is increasingly focussing on, you’ll see a lot more of these in the coming years.

Rich cards aren’t that different from structured data types. You can see structured data as the language used to describe the content on a page, while a rich card is a visually compelling way to present search results. And yes, more often than not, rich cards rely on the structured data that Google finds on a page. That’s why the Rich Cards tab is kind of complementary to the Structured Data tab instead of it superseding it. 

By the way, these are all the rich cards Google creates.

Add structured data to your site, validate it and you’re ready to get rich cards. If Google deems your site the best possible result, that is. In Search Appearance, you can check if your implementation is correct and if Google has already awarded you rich cards.

Google search console rich cards overview

Click on the Rich Cards tab and you’ll see a graph like the one above. On top of the graph, you can tick and untick the boxes. We’ve got invalid cards, cards that can be improved and correct cards. You can probably guess that each box shows a different graph. Also, our issues are sorted by severity. First, we’ll try and find out what our critical issues are by clicking on them.

Google search console rich cards

Now we see all the individual URLs with errors. We know that these are all image-related problems because that’s mentioned in the previous screenshot. Just click on one of the URLs.

Google search console cards popup

A pop-up will appear, similar to the one in the Structured Data tab. It gives you the option to test your live data and read the card documentation. You always want to double check your live data with the Structured Data Testing Tool. As said before, you can edit the code right away and see whether your changes validate. All good now? Great, you can start to implement your new code.

Data Highlighter

The Data Highlighter is a tool within GSC that allows you to markup your pages without any knowledge of coding. There are a couple of things you need to know before you start marking up your structured data with Google’s Data Highlighter. Firstly, your highlighted data is stored in Google’s databases, not on your site itself. Since the data is stored externally from your site, other search engines won’t be able to benefit from it. Ask yourself if you want this. Secondly, Data Highlighter only offers a limited set of schema you can implement. So it won’t be for everyone.

The Data Highlighter does make fixing the issues you’ve found in the Structured Data section easier. For instance, choose one of the URLs that had a faulty Structured Data setup and tell GSC what kind of information you want to highlight.

This will bring you to a live view of that page and you’ll be able to select any element on the page. By selecting an element you’ll be given a choice of what you want to highlight that specific element for. For example, for a Product, you’ll be given these markups to add to the corresponding element on the page:

google search console data highlighter

This makes adding Structured Data, for Google at least, as easy as a few clicks.

You can find the Data Highlighter under the Search Appearance section. Click on the “Start highlighting” button and you’ll see a new screen. Now we can fill in the URL (a product page, for example), select the type of markup we’d like to implement (Product Schema.org) and select if we just want to markup this single page or similar pages like it as well. We’ll only show multiple pages because marking up single pages shares the same core functionalities – only with fewer steps.

You can easily select elements on a page. Google automatically shows the available Schema.org you can select, see the first arrow. Once selected, you’ll see an overview of the data items on that page, check the second arrow. When you’re done, you click on finished – it’s the big red button in the top right corner.

google search console data highlighter save

In the end, Google shows you random pages from your selection to check the implementation. You can verify whether the information holds true for all of your products:

● Did Google unexpectedly include a page it shouldn’t have? Click Remove page.
● Did Google mistakenly apply the wrong Schema? You can correct it by selecting the element and change the Schema.
● Did Google do it right? Just click Next.

The Google Data Highlighter is just one of the tools that helps you implement structured data with Schema.org. It is, however, fully tied into the Google ecosystem and might not be the best option when you want to keep full control over your data.

You’ve reached the end…

Structured data gives you an excellent opportunity to open a conversation with search engines. By adding structured data, you make your site instantly comprehensible for engines. This way, they can use your data to present your content in innovative, highly visible ways that are guaranteed to catch the eye of your customers or readers.

Structured data is becoming so important that we’ve developed a course to educate you on this subject. In this course, we’ll show you exactly what structured data encompasses, what it can do, how to implement it using JSON-LD and Google Tag Manager, and how to check its performance in Google Search Console. This course will be available from June 29.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article! Keep an eye on yoast.com for more articles on structured data and SEO. And don’t forget to sign up for our brand new Structured data course!

Read more: ‘Structured data with Schema.org: the ultimate guide’ »

June 22nd 2017 Analytics

Google Tag Manager: an introduction

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Perhaps you’ve heard about it: Google Tag Manager. Google introduced this tool 5 years ago, a tool that would make marketers less dependent on developers and that would, therefore, speed up your marketing process. Google Tag Manager has evolved over the years becoming a more complete and easy to use tool. Here I want to explain why you should sign up today, if you aren’t using Google Tag Manager already. 

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Before I go on to introduce Tag Manager, I do want to say a word of warning. Tag Manager is a powerful tool, and like any power tool, it should be used with care. Don’t just add tags that look appealing to you but you don’t fully understand. For instance, you might bring in a tag that could harm your site because the code is not safe. Or use a tag that influences your data tracking. If you’re not sure or in doubt of a certain tag, have someone who knows JavaScript take a look at it. Luckily, Tag Manager has a great Preview and Debug mode that lets you validate code before you publish.

What is Google Tag Manager?

If you have closer look at the term Google Tag Manager, you can guess what it’s about. It’s a tool developed by Google to manage your tags. But then the next question arises: what’s a tag? A tag is a snippet of code. There’s a whole bunch of analytics and marketing tools out there that work with JavaScript code. For instance, the Google Analytics tracking code – the one you add to your site to track your site’s traffic with Google Analytics – is JavaScript code.

Did you ever had to wait for a developer to add a piece of JavaScript to your site? Or to test whether that code wasn’t harming your website? Then you know how much valuable time that can take. With Google Tag Manager you can add these pieces of JavaScript or tags yourself. Google Tag Manager even has the ability to test whether you’ve implemented the tag correctly.

Running every tag from Google Tag Manager has two big advantages. First of all, you’ll have an overview of the tags you’ve added. Secondly, you’re in full control of measuring the effects of your marketing efforts.

What can you use it for?

Because Google Tag Manager allows you to add JavaScript to your site, you can use it for a lot of things. You can use it to get more insight into the behaviour of visitors on your site – ‘events’, like clicking on a button – but also to get tags of third party tools on your site. It will even help you to add structured data to your pages!

Google Analytics and Tag Manager

One of the most used tags that’s managed in Google Tag Manager is the Google Analytics tag. Not only you can add the Google Analytics tracking code, you can also use Google Tag Manager to create, for instance, custom dimensions, events or content grouping. This means that you can track if people click on your buttons, if they scroll down to a certain point on your page, if they watch your videos and so on. All the cool things you can do with Google Analytics events, you can now manage in Google Tag Manager. And you won’t need a developer for it!

Other third party tools

Google Tag Manager supports a lot of third party tags like: Adwords, Adobe Analytics, Bing ads, Hotjar, Crazyegg and so on. You can find the complete list on the Google Google Tag Manager support forum. You can use Hotjar tags to finally get those heatmaps – a visual representation of where people click on your site – you always wanted to have. Or run surveys and A/B tests on your site. Getting data like that can help you bring your conversion rate to the next level.

Google Tag Manager and structured data

But there’s more! You can also use Google Tag Manager to implement structured data on your site. Structured data is extra information you add to your page in a specific format. Google can show this information in the search results, which makes it more likely people click on your result and engage with your page.

At the moment, we’re working on a new and practical course about structured data. In this course, you’ll learn how structured data works and how to implement it with Google Tag Manager yourself. Don’t miss the launch and keep an eye on our newsletter!

Where to find Google Tag Manager?

Google’s tools are ubiquitous. If you visit: google.com/analytics/  you can find all tools Google has developed to help you with your marketing strategy. In addition to Google Analytics, there are tools to help you boost conversion or perform customer surveys. And, of course, there’s Google Tag Manager. You can sign up for free! Wait! Free, you say? Yes, free!! So what’s stopping you?

After you’ve signed up, you can create an account for your website, your iOS or Android app or your AMP pages:

Create a container in Google Tag Manager

Just provide the URL of your site as the container name and then select web – if you want to implement it on your website. After you’ve created this container, Google Tag Manager will ask you to add a piece of code in the <head> and <body> of the page. I promise, this is one of the few things you might need a developer for, when it comes to using Google Tag Manager.

install Google Tag manager on your site

Luckily, if you’re using WordPress, you can easily add the Google Tag Manager code using a plugin called DuracellTomi’s Google Tag Manager for WordPress. Please note that you only have to use the GTM-XXXX code.

If you’re using another CMS, check out the quick install guide for more information on how to get started.

After you’ve inserted the Google Tag Manager code to your pages, you’re ready to create your own tags. This can be done in a so called workspace that looks like this:

So now you’re all set up and ready to add those tags to your site.

And now?

We’ll be doing more posts on Google Tag Manager soon. We’ll explain the practical side of things like how to create variables, triggers and tags, and how to implement structured data with it. We’ll also help you understand how to combine Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics to use it to its full extent. So stay tuned!

Keep reading: ‘How to use Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics’ »

June 14th 2017 Analytics

People-based measurement is the new black

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Ad tech and CRM are converging, and columnist Jordan Elkind believes the need for people-based measurement has never been greater.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

June 7th 2017 Analytics

Firebase Analytics Gets New Features and a Familiar New Name

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Can it be just a year since we announced the expansion of Firebase to become Google’s integrated app developer platform at I/O 2016? That Firebase launch came complete with brand new app analytics reporting and features, developed in conjunction with the Google Analytics team.

Now, at I/O 2017, we’re delighted to announce some exciting new features and integrations that will help take our app analytics to the next level. But first, we’d like to highlight a bit of housekeeping. As of today, we are retiring the name Firebase Analytics. Going forward, all app analytics reports will fall under the Google Analytics brand.

This latest generation of app analytics has always, and will continue to be, available in both the Firebase console and in Google Analytics. We think that unifying app analytics under the Google Analytics banner will better communicate that our users are getting the same great app data in both places. In Firebase and related documentation, you’ll see app analytics referred to as Google Analytics for Firebase. Read on to the end of this post for more details about this change.

One other note: The launches highlighted below apply to our latest generation of app analytics – you need to be using the Firebase SDK to get these new features.

Now let’s take a look at what’s new.

Integration with AdMob
App analytics is now fully integrated with AdMob. Revenue, impression and click data from AdMob can now be connected with the rest of your event data collected by the Firebase SDK, all of it available in the latest Google Analytics app reports and / or in the Firebase console.

For app companies, this means that ad revenue can be factored into analytics data, so Analytics reports can capture each app’s performance. The integration combines AdMob data with Analytics data at the event level to produce brand new metrics, and to facilitate deep dives into existing metrics. You can answer questions like:

  • What is the true lifetime value for a given segment, factoring in both ad revenue and purchase revenue?
  • How do rewarded ads impact user engagement and LTV?
  • On which screens are users being exposed to advertising the most or the least?

With this change, you can now have a complete picture of the most important metrics for your business ― all in one place.

Custom parameter reporting
“What’s the average amount of time users spend in my game before they make their first purchase?” Many of you have asked us for the ability to report on specific data points like these that are important to your business.

Custom parameter reporting is here to make that possible. You can now register up to 50 custom event parameters and see their details in your Analytics reports.

  • If you supply numeric parameters you’ll see a graph of the average and the sum of that parameter.
  • If you supply textual parameters you’ll see a breakdown of the most popular values.

As with the rest of your Analytics reports, you can also apply Audience and User Property filters to your custom parameter reports to identify trends among different segments of your userbase.

To start using custom parameter reporting for one of your events, look for it in the detail report for that event. You’ll see instructions for setting things up there.

Integration with DoubleClick and third-parties – Now in Beta
We’re also pleased to announce a new integration with both DoubleClick Campaign Manager and DoubleClick Bid Manager. Firebase-tracked install (first open) and post-install events can now easily be imported back into DoubleClick as conversions.

This is a boost for app marketers who want a clearer view of the effect their display and video marketing has on customer app behavior. Advertisers can make better decisions (for all kinds of ads, programmatic included) as they integrate app analytics seamlessly with their buying, targeting and optimization choices in DoubleClick.

We also know that some of you use advertising platforms beyond AdWords and DoubleClick, so we continue to invest in integrating more third-party networks into our system. (We’re now at 50 networks and growing). The goal: to allow app data from all your networks to come together in Google Analytics, so you can make even better advertising choices using all the data you collect. Learn more.

Real-time analytics for everyone
Google Analytics pioneered real-time reporting, so we know how important it is for our customers to have access to data as it happens. That’s why we’re so excited by the real-time capabilities we’ve introduced into our latest app reports. To refresh an announcement we made in March: StreamView and DebugView are now available to the general public. These features allow you to see how real-world users are interacting and performing with your app right now.

StreamView visualizes events as they flow into our app reporting to give you a sense of how people around the world are using your app, right down to the city level. Then Snapshot lets you zoom-into a randomly selected individual user’s stream of events. And DebugView uses real-time reporting to help you improve your implementation – making it easy for you to make sure you’re measuring what you want how you want. DebugView is a terrific tool for app builders that shows you events, parameters and user properties for any individual development device. It can also highlight any events that contain invalid parameters.

Same product, familiar new name
As mentioned above, we’re rebranding Firebase Analytics to make it plain that it’s our recommended app analytics solution, and is fully a part of the Google Analytics family.

Our latest reports represent a new approach to app analytics, which we believe better reflects the way that users interact with apps. This means that these reports have different concepts and functionality when compared to the original app analytics reports in Google Analytics.

If you’re used to using the original app analytics reports in Google Analytics, don’t worry: they’re not going anywhere. But we recommend considering implementing the Firebase SDK with your next app update so you can start getting the latest features for app analytics.

Good data is one thing everyone can agree on: developers and marketers, global firms and fresh new start-ups. We’ve always been committed to app-centric reports, because analytics and data are the essential beginning to any long-term app strategy. We hope that these new features will give you more of what you need to build a successful future for your own apps.

May 18th 2017 Analytics, Mobile

Google Analytics is Enhancing Support for AMP

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Over the past year, developers have adopted the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology to build faster-loading pages for all types of sites, ranging from news to recipes to e-commerce. Billions of AMP pages have been published to date and Google Analytics continues its commitment to supporting our customers who have adopted AMP.

However, we have heard feedback from Google Analytics customers around challenges in understanding the full customer journey due to site visitors being identified inconsistently across AMP and non-AMP pages. So we’re announcing today that we are rolling out an enhancement that will give you an even more accurate understanding of how people are engaging with your business across AMP and non-AMP pages of your website.

How will this work?
This change brings consistency to users across AMP and non-AMP pages served from your domain. It will have the effect of improving user analysis going forward by unifying your users across the two page formats. It does not affect AMP pages served from the Google AMP Cache or any other AMP cache.

When will this happen?
We expect these improvements to be complete, across all Google Analytics accounts, over the next few weeks.

Are there any other implications of this change?
As we unify your AMP and non-AMP users when they visit your site in the future, you may see changes in your user and session counts, including changes to related metrics. User and session counts will go down over time as we recognize that two formerly distinct IDs are in fact the same user; however, at the time this change commences, the metric New Users may rise temporarily as IDs are reset.

In addition, metrics like time on site, page views per session, and bounce rate will rise consistent with sessions with AMP and non-AMP pageviews no longer being treated as multiple sessions. This is a one-time effect that will continue until all your users who have viewed AMP pages in the past are unified (this can take a short or long period of time depending on how quickly your users return to your site/app).

Is there anything I need to do to get this update?
There is no action required on your part, these changes will be automatically rolled out.

Will there be changes to unify users who view my pages both on my domain and in other contexts?
Some AMP pages are not visited directly on the domain where the content is originally hosted but instead via AMP caches or in platform experiences. However we decided to focus on fixing the publisher domain case first as this was the fastest way we could add value for our clients.

We are committed to ensuring the best quality data for user journey analysis across AMP and non-AMP pages alike and this change makes that easy for AMP pages served on your domain. We hope you enjoy these improvements – and as always, happy analyzing!

May 17th 2017 Analytics, Mobile

Google launches Marketing Mix Model Partners program for comparing channel performance

Comments Off on Google launches Marketing Mix Model Partners program for comparing channel performance
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Nielsen, Neustar, Marketing Management Analytics announced as launch partners.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

April 7th 2017 Analytics