Whether you are a news site that has a global presence, an eCommerce site with a broad consumer base, or just a large multi-country brand, understanding how to leverage Google Analytics to tailor your marketing efforts to a global audience can be very beneficial.
Dealing with global Google Analytics accounts and enterprise level data volumes every day has helped me be much more effecient at setting up Google Analytics profiles to accomodate for a global audience. I feel every large website that generates a ton of web traffic monthly could follow the same general thought process when it comes to web analytics set up, tracking, reporting and ultimately deriving business decisions from the data. I highlighted some common practices and things to keep in mind when managing a global or enterprise level website with Google Analytics.
Five Google Analytics Tracking Tips for Global and Enterprise Level Sites:
1. Become very familiar with the customization tab in your Google Analytics account. Custom reports are critical for understanding top metrics for your brand. The data views you can pull about visitors in different regions and how to market to them can be modified to show comparable data between the various regions. It’s important to note there may end up being a need for a new website or more relevant content for one particular region that is sending a lot of qualified and engaged visitors to the site. Here are a few examples of custom reports I typically use:
- New Visits by Region and Conversions
- Map Overlay by Conversions
- Top Sources by Region – *NOTE* This report is especially strong for global eCommerce sites, as it compares sources by region and can be sorted by top eCommerce Conversion rate or most transactions.
- Link Analysis by Region
- Content Efficiency Analysis Report by Region – *NOTE* This report has a built in filter that can be changed when analyzing different regions of interest.
2. Combined with the custom and standard reports, advanced segments can be used to compare regions against one another. I often modify advanced segments to match my top regions and compare traffic patterns and website navigation between different country site visitors. It’s fascinating to see the subtle but significant differences in navigation between visitors from France and visitors from Mexico.
3. Custom variables can be very powerful to segment by region as well. Not only can you use custom variables to track specific visitors from a region as they bounce around your site, you can also use other custom variables combined with advanced segments and custom reports listed above for very granular data. One example could be a custom variable for people that saw a particular product page. Combine that with an advanced segment for visits from China in the Link Analysis custom report, you will see referrals that sent only visitors from China to a specific product page. If you are running campaigns, this level of detail can be critical when measuring campaign and marketing success.
Keep in mind, regular Google Analytics limits you to only 5 custom variables but Google Analytics Premium provides up to 50 custom variables.
4. After any kind of new set up or changes on sites that have large visitor volume, setting up custom alerts/emails for different high importance-regions can be very helpful to monitor site health and immediately act if any dramatic traffic changes occur. Refer a previous blog post for more info about custom alerts by clicking here.
5. One of the most simple, commonly overlooked techniques that I’d consider a web analytics fundamental practice to keep in mind is breaking up your Google Analytics account into different filtered profiles for separating regions quickly and permanantly. This may sound contradictive to all the suggestions above, but if your site is getting a large amount of data, filtering the traffic out between profiles will ensure more accurate data gathering and more flexibility for segmentation. Plus, by utilizing this multi-profile architecture, you can set up roll-up reporting for enterprise wide analytics and soon split access of users to certain profiles (and ultimately regions). For larger brands that have regional marketers, this can alleviate a lot of pain of constantly filtering 1 main profile but actually having dedicated profiles to different regional teams. See more info about multi-site companies and roll-up reporting in a previous post here.
The more I use Google Analytics, the more I understand all the ways digital marketers and web analysts can slice up the data to get actionable data, even on a global scale. Tracking 1 large site, 100 small sites or some combination inbetween can be easily managed if there is proper planning and the right analytical mindset ahead of time. And with Universal Analytics right around the corner, advanced web analytics for these enterprise sites can get a whole lot more insightful!
We have a lot of exciting events hosted here in Cincinnati detailing analytics on a large scale as well as industry-specific. We also have webinars for those located outside the city, both can be accessed using the link below.