The Secret Impact of Universal Measurement Protocol

Okay, so e-mail opens.
This is a fairly standard number that I’d expect you to see in your auto responder or CRM console. So the provider of the service that sends out e-mails tells you, supposedly, how many of the e-mails that you sent have been opened.

And the way it does this is to use tracking pixel. So a tiny image often one pixel by one pixel and therefore invisible, is retrieved and that retrieval causes the count to the incremented.

Now have to tell you that this is not the best statistic in the world. It can be readily manipulated by the e-mail reader that everybody uses. Many e-mail readers have a preview window. And if that preview window is the size that includes the position of the tracking pixel; then the automatic preview will be counted as an e-mail open by the system that counts the number of pixel retrievals.

But having said that, it can still provide some useful indications as to whether the trend is up or down.

But Auto responders and CRM systems vary and in some the graphic presentation may not be that great. And even if it is, it’s an extra place to go and look when you’re reviewing the statistics. And it’s all so often a fairly crude count in that you can’t segmented in ways that the CRM system or autoresponder don’t support. So you might be able to look at the numbers of opens by the time of day or the country of receipt; but all dependent on the system that you’re using.

So Google Analytics may actually offer you the opportunity to measure your response in a more granular way…
Now the universal measurement protocol was actually a huge change for Google. Previously, in order to be able to get Google Analytics to count activities you needed a system that would run JavaScript. Now this is natural for all web browsers. But it’s completely out of character for many other electronic devices.

The universal measurement protocol allows any electronic device that is connected to the Internet and can send an HTTP request ( or can talk to something that can ) to send data to be recorded by Google Analytics.

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Google Analytics Source and Medium – the key to tracking what works

Our eight session on tracking marketing with Google Analytics

[Script Starts]
Now this channel tracking n’tis actually hard.

The source is exactly what it says on the tin.

It’s where the link in your marketing material is to be found.
So there are a whole range of candidates:
There’s your website.
There’s other people’s websites.
There’s e-mail.
There are physical locations.
There are scripts for speeches all videos given

Etc etc you get the idea.

The tendency is to think of this as something that applies only to electronic links. But I would argue that that’s a failure of imagination. Most current forms of marketing that are designed to provoke a reaction. And get the respondent to find out more. We’ll be asking that respondent to do something on the web. So actually all forms of direct response marketing should be annotated in this way.

Now if even this simple move were implemented consistently in the editorial process, it would represent a marked step forward for many marketers. It would enable them to know where the visitors came from, who arrived on their website.

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Paypal Buy Now and Google Analytics

Watch the webinar all about the wrinkles in measuring what happens when Paypal is used

Script starts
Hello and welcome along to our analytics half-hour.

This afternoon we’re going to tackle measuring Paypal purchases in Google Analytics. Why there are problems and what to do about it.


So you have a website on which the visitor “starts” the purchase process…


These technical problems come from 2 main sources :
Google Analytics is based on cookies – which are tied to your “domain”
You may not be able to control or even influence the code on the other site

Sometimes you do (at least enough to sort this out) – and it’s a hosted system from a CRM or other provider. In which case you can get your analytics code onto the other site. And accept that accept that this pain is worth solving to make sure the overall measurement process doesn’t get destroyed by the movement from one site to the other.

Now 3rd party providers vary:
Clickbank is quite good – it allows you to put your analytics code onto it’s site.
Leadpages does the same.

In these cases you want someone skilled in analytics to follow the instructions of the 3rd party and then to be able to run tests. Note that in many cases the documentation is still primarily aimed at the older (ga.js) version of Google Analytics (so not universal analytics). They’ll need to deal with the cookie issues and test the whole system.

Paypal and other merchant gateways DON’T allow code onto their sites.
So the best you can do here may be to watch for the returning visitor. And exclude the gateway as a referral source.

With the advent of universal analytics you may be able to capture “signals” from the payment gateway and use these to “artificially push” the data into Google Analytics. For instance Sagepay – a payment provider I know well – that integrates well into websites sends a good number of “hidden messages” back to you whilst the payment process is underway that could be used.

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Macro and micro conversions – practical examples

I wanted to to do this – because I want to relate what we’ve been talking about to the real world.

I’m hoping this will give you some ideas..

And make it clear that you may not have to try that hard to be better than many around you…


OK So here’s a local law practice.

You’ll see a range of ideas

Right at the top – a local phone number and an email address?

So first question for me – is the phone number trackable? Might be ; might not be…

Find out from your phone supplier whether it could push information into Google Analytics. is but one example of a local number supplier in the UK that can push information into GA and then forward the call to a different number. There are others – some on premium numbers, some not.

So what might be the “conversions” that this business is seeking?


Contact Us page

Email addresses with a mailto link…
no ability to track the intention to send.

Tendency is to route email to a general email box. Is it dedicated? Are the numbers of incoming emails counted?

Contact forms provide more structure.
Standard subject line
Standard (hidden) sender
Might capture senders email address – subject to privacy & data protection etc.

We’ll see examples later on in this session….

One suspects the phone number is a switchboard (from the number of times it’s repeated throughout the site)..

Reliance on the script of the call answerer….


OK – so this is what they really want..

They want you to book a first appointment

Either Free or Fixed Fee

The benefits of the two aren’t particularly easy to find – but nonetheless…

Again response mechanism is “Call the Office”…

Another idea here…

Sell the idea of appointment with the specialist.

Proper contact form.. Gather more detail in order that you can phone back and arrange the appointment at a mutaually convenient time – provides controlled window onto their “Calendar” ( Ical, Google or Outlook)

Special tracking phone number…
Sales & Investment – so not a standard Estate Agent / Realtor…

Higher end aspirational clients…


Contact Form – 5 mandatory fields

Now each of these could be tracked as micro conversions.
So you know at which stage people bomb out…

Interest has only 2 options ( sell or investment) – so radio button might have been better – so it’s immediately obvious you aren’t asking for much

Send Message – cold – not “put me in touch with your experts”…

Map – blurring round edges is nice touch..

Phone number clearly visible…

Now importantly contact forms don’t exist for tracking – they’re largely anti-spam… because they hide the incoming email address from scrapers…


Watch video ( depending on the player – play, pause, stop – how long did they play the video for?)

Download Property Schedule – is this being tracked? External inspection suggests NOT. Lack of CSS ID, onclick handler.

Is this freely available to everyone – without contact details

Download Home Report

So some good example here of micro conversions – things that you might want to encourage everyone to have
Macro conversions – Make An Enquiry.. Doesn’t exactly sell the sizzle…


Range of offers all presented to visitor
Another contact form

More fields on the “contacting”…

Not clear which fields are mandatory vs optional…

Candidates for micro conversions…
Simple offer


Contact Us

Cross between features & benefits…

Each of these buttons could be a micro conversion – after all you wouldn’t easily know how many people went to the contact page from product pages vs from top menu without some work..
And certainly not easily by product/service type…

Script ends

Google Analytics Goal Funnels & Goal Flows

If you haven’t got goals configured in your analytics account – you won’t have seen these reports. Once you’ve appreciated the power of these you’ll want to setup goals PDQ..


I wanted to to do this – because I see all too many businesses that can’t ever have seen a goal funnel / goal flow – because they haven’t got goals set up.

And if they have it isn’t working correctly..

So what should it look like…

OK So here’s a simple funnel.

You see the people coming in from a page. Now the fact that’s one page is a simplification – an example..

Looking at the funnel to the right. Somethings to notice
It’s got a user friendly title – you can pick what you call each step in the funnel – so don’t let someone choose arcane names that mean nothing to the rest of the business.
Everyone went to step 2, none left (the red arrow)… All proceeded to the next step.

OK proceeding to step 2
Some left – exited the site
Others went to a different page Step3 – now our page naming gives us a clue – this funnel has (deliberately) some missing steps…

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What makes an Pinterest infographic doubly effective?

Pinterest is stacked full of infographics. It seems that photos or infographics are the 2 options most pinners go with.Popular Infographic

So what makes an infographic effective?

Not surprisingly a focused story – supported with good graphics is felt to be important. I found a list that included

  • Simple graphics that relate to the data
  • Simple colour palette
  • Visualisations that clearly illustrate the data
  • Message at a glance

Looking at the infographics on the Mashable board collected from around the place it would seem that some of these insights are novel.

A cursory look at the most pinned images though turned up some other interesting results:

Large numbers of the pins needed to be zoomed in order to be read.  This seems weird. Why would people want to deliberately pin graphics that can’t all be assimilated at a glance. Then one very popular pin gave a clue. It had (at the time of the post) 1401 repins, and 390 likes.

This has very well known brand names – and then the explanations are in small print.

And on looking further I realised that there are highly effective pins (if measured in terms of repins and likes) that have the same characteristics. Note it doesn’t matter if the small elements are graphics or textual.

These infographic have what is known to direct response copywriters as “double readership path”.

Double Readership Path

Now in copywriting this means that the headings and sub headings if viewed alone would be sufficient to convey a good part of the story. They attract the reader, draw the reader in etc. etc.

And it’s the same with these effective infographics – the large graphical or textual elements draw the viewer in – and the smaller, less obvious part then supplement the main story with extra detail.

Is the the complete answer?

It can’t be – because I also found – this infographic about digital marketing. (at the time of writing 890 repins and 122 likes)Popular Infographic 2

I’m struggling with which (if any) of the graphical guidelines above it follows.

And I’m left wondering what the message at a glance about digital marketing would be – other than it’s complex and confusing… Perhaps there are people out there who are prepared to put lots of effort into reading infographics?

What do you think made this last infographic so popular?




Goals vs Events – Which to choose & why

Hello and welcome along to our analytics half-hour.

This afternoon we’re going to tackle goals vs events in Google Analytics. Why use them – and which of the two to choose.

And we’ll look at why this kind of tracking is of extreme value for business, and how you’d move ahead of competitors just by doing it.

Just to introduce me. I’m Vernon Riley and I’m a chartered mechanical engineer – and I’ve spent my career working with systems & processes.

So I apply engineering insights to ensure the measurement and reporting systems that go alongside analytics tailored to fit business.

Just a word about the interface at in your browser – if you’re watching this live. It’s fairly simple to the right of the main window. There is a sidebar.

One of the tabs is the chat window and in that you can post messages to me and I can post messages back. I’ll do my best to keep up with the messages, but obviously as you’ll understand, I can’t necessarily read all the messages whilst on concentrating on talking to everyone else.

So if you’ve heard all of this please type HEARING YOU FINE… in the chat box on the right hand side… thanks

So with that, let’s get going

If you’ve listened to the last couple of Analytics Half Hours you’ll have heard me talking about using events to tracking specific activities

on their websites. (video, chat, filling in a form, clicking social share buttons,

  • Calling phone numbers
  • Someone opening an email you’ve sent.
  • Numbers of emails sent to a particular mailbox
  • New attendees to events that you’re running – if you’re an online system like Eventbrite to capture their details.
  • New lists or customisations being added to your autoresponder or CRM system
  • Appointments being made or altered on a cloud based system
  • When a specified user pins an item to a specified board on Pinterest..

Now any or all of these could be of marketing interest – But (crucially) most of these aren’t the last stage completion of a process, a real sequence.

And I’d like to encourage you to think about Google Analytics Goals as “the last stage – the outcome of a process”.

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Marketing Webinars on Pinterest – 15 tips & tricks

What do you need to do – and what might you miss if you’re not on the ball?

I’ve put together:

  • 5 Tips for the pin
  • 5 Tricks for the blog post
  • 5 Details that make it easier

The basis of the promotion is the blog post, and where most of the work gets done. And because you’re promoting on Pinterest you’ll ought to thinking about making your blog post work for months or years. Whilst can be true for other social media promotion – and is of course true for search engine listings – Pinterest is known for viral sharing over long periods.
I’ve assumed you’re able to add plugins and widgets to the blog.

So in the blog post..

  1.  Sell the sizzle of the webinar. Who should attend – why, what will they get from it.
  2. Show a replay – if it’s already happened. Embed this – but don’t make it auto-play.
  3. Have a good image to book for a future webinar in the body of the blog post itself. You can certainly try using widgets in the sidebar – but these aren’t likely to be as effective.
  4. Use a lightbox to show the webinar signup details. This can allow you to use the webinar provider’s sign up page – which can be good, without using other expensive plugins. It also mimics the 2 step signup which is now common in lead generation situations.
  5. Use a PHP snippet to allow you to update multiple blog posts with new dates/times. There’s not much point in booking for an old webinar. Nor do you want to have to go round lots of blog posts and manually alter the links just because the calendar dates keep on going.

Then you’ll need to get the contents of the image that you’re going to pin right.

  • Find a good image.
  • Make sure text is easily readable
  • Link the pin to your blogpost
  • Tag the link for analytics
  • Send it to friends

Now some of the details for the blog posting

  1. Graphics of the pin
  2. I use Xara Photo & Graphic Designer v9 to do the pins. It’s much cheaper than Adobe Illustrator – and can import the open source svg formats you find on So the pin you clicked on had the colours changed to make it stand out more.
  3. Tagging the pin. I put & This means that the Google Analytics on my blog knows that the visitor arrived from pinterest.
  4. I use the AllowPhpInPosts plugin to insert the code snippet that allows people to book for my next webinar – using a standard Webinarjam signup template. I can have one snippet and simply change the code as time progresses – so every post automatically directs people to the next webinar.
  5. I use the Lightbox Plus Colorbox plugin with the secondary feature enabled – that allows me to put the webinarjam URL into the PHP snippet.
  6. I tend to use an image and show the replay in a lightbox. This makes the page load faster than it would if I either set it to autoplay or loaded it directly.

What do you think it needs to make it work?


Using Google Analytics to Track Video, Phonecalls, Chat etc


So what sort of business will be really interested in tracking specific activities on their websites.

Now to be honest – many people listening will have a short list of the activities they think can be tracked using Google Analytics.

  • Pages visits
  • People submitting forms
  • And people going to external websites (the subject of our previous analytics half hour)

That sort of thing

What most won’t realise is that anything (in principle) can be tracked using Google Analytics Events:

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Google Analytics and SEO

With the changes to Google’s ranking algorithms (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon) and the information available in Google Analytics it’s an obvious question “What is the continuing relevance of Google Analytics to SEO?”

Well, as it happens, there are good reasons to want to look at Google Analytics to give you ideas as to what you need to do to improve your search engine optimisation. Whilst you no longer have access to many of the raw keywords and phrases used to reach your website you still have feedback on how you’re doing and therefore how you might improve. In fact, that’s the core reason for wanting to look at analytics in any circumstance.
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