Google Analytics Summit 2015: The Power of Together

We need to remember the people behind the metrics we see. Actions happen in micromoments. That wasn’t an abandoned visit – it was a baby awaking from a nap. That wasn’t a forgotten video paused halfway through – it was time for dinner and will be finished tomorrow. It is about people reacting to what is happening in this moment; their moment.

Through a series of speakers, demonstrations and panels, I was given a sneak peek into the ways in which Google is responding to these moments, via data capture, influence and understanding.

Full disclosure: All attendees are fully under the NDA so while I can’t reveal all the cool details yet, I can share some of the key themes I found myself thinking about from the event. That and I’ve signed us up for every conceivable whitelist possible – so hopefully we’ll have some cool new toys in the near future. I’m talking dashboards, testing, attribution modeling…you know, the good stuff.

Theme 1: Data Collection

We need to better understand consumers. What is driving them, how so, and why? Did they really abandon that shopping cart, or did they just run out of free time at that moment? Did we stop to consider both possibilities, or just assume that the cart was going to be forever abandoned unless we could, just somehow, present the right coupon to the consumer to entice them to finish the sale? Did we lose revenue presenting a coupon when the consumer would have come back and finished the sale a few days later without it?

Theme 2: Data Combinations

Have we taken advantage of the relationships between our tools? Google Analytics has an AdWords integration option directly within the GA interface. Has the connection been made or are we trying to stitch together the data from each source? Google Tag Manager has prebuilt tag types for DoubleClick. Have we taken advantage of that, or just gone with the standard custom HTML tag type?

Let’s take advantage of the work done by both Google and other vendors to make their systems compatible. While not a panacea for all data, the more integrated and standardized it can become, the less open the data becomes to subjectivity and potential unintentional misconstruing.

Theme 3: Data Presentation

Use data responsibly. Just because GA makes available a lot of data does not mean it all needs to be shown. This reminds me of a college professor who was (in)famous for his response when asked how long papers needed to be, “Girls skirts. Long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be interesting.” A standard dashboard is meant for repeating data of interest – such as KPIs and some contextual metrics. What metrics are you going to take action of? What metrics have you actually thought about in the last quarter? Those are what needs to be in a dashboard.

A dashboard is not meant to be a data dump or a place to store all of your metrics. That is what the analytics platform is for – to hold all of that data for safekeeping. By all means, though, an interesting point pops up on the dashboard, do a deep-dive analysis. Support it with additional metrics if needed. That does not mean it is given a place of honor on the regular dashboard.

So, in TL;DR fashion: Numbers are people too. Allow the tools to play together. Prevent data dumps. 


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