13 Google Analytics Goals for 2013

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As we prepare for the 2013, as a follow up to our Best Practices Conference this month, Analytics Pros has put together the following 13 goals for 2013. We suggest taking some time to really pour over this list with your team and coming up with a plan for the new year.
1. Start Clean 2. Measure Value 3. Setup a Goal Framework 4. Use Goal Flows 5. Use the Full GA Data Model 6. Stop Using Sampled Data 7. Dive into Universal Analytics  8. Upload Additional Cost Data  9. Get Certified & Stay Sharp 10. Use Multi-channel Data & Attribution 11. Deploy Google Tag Manager 12. Take Action with Testing 13. Get Help when you need it
If you take these steps as you launch into the new year, you are guaranteed to see substantial increase in the value of your Google Analytics.  For more information on each goal, check out our goal-by-goal walkthrough!

1. Start Clean - Audit your data

Everyone should start their year off with clean data. Take the time to audit your Google Analytics data so you can be sure that the insights your discovering are reliable! Here are some quick tips on what to look for that would indicate an audit is in order:
  • Look at referrals. Are you seeing self-referrals in your sources report?
  • Check direct traffic to landing pages. Are you noticing a lot of traffic entering abnormal (non-popular) pages?
  • Check hostnames

2. Measure Value

Make sure you are providing and communicating value to your stakeholders and team. To do this by building a value spreadsheet similar to this one that maps initiatives to value and cost in order to calculate a tangible ROI. Stakeholders understand ROI, so make sure you are tracking the successes of your initiatives and monitoring their results. This will both help you prove why you rock and motivate you to do better.

3. Setup a Goal Framework

We all need to be measuring more and be able to say which goals are driving the most value. To do this we need to have a goal framework in order to best track and measure how we are tracking and measuring our goals :). If you need help developing a goal framework, check out our goal framework work book. And if you are one for a simple challenge - if you are currently using one goal - stretch yourself to five - and if you currently use five goals - stretch yourself to ten.

4. Use Goal Flows

Goal flows are one of the best features in Google Analytics since they let you understand how users move through your properties and get a segmented sliced view of your data - and they are instant and retroactive! Added Bonus: You can use them to "group" pages and see the flow between a set of pages.  

5. Use the Full GA Data Model

The average Google Analytics implementation only uses 20% of the features available. Take the time to evaluate your needs and the potential value Google Analytics could provide if some of the additional features were working. For example, if you invest X in effort and get Y in data, wat is Z value going to be? Another goal for 2013 - take a walk through the entire report tree in Google Analytics. Are you using all of the following tracking tools? What's the effort involved in getting implemented and what's the potential payoff?
  • Pageviews
  • Events
  • Commerce
  • Social actions
  • Custom variables

6. Stop Using Sampled Data

If you are seeing a sampling report in the upper right hand corner of your Google Analytics report, you are using sampled data and not getting a clear or accurate picture of your metrics. Avoid this by reducing the date range, sampling data capture or moving to Google Analytics Premium.

7. Dive into Universal Analytics

Universal Analytics is coming fast and everyone needs to stay abreast and explore the new potential of better reporting that integrates offline data, more dimensions through dimension widening, and other user-focused (vs. session-focused) benefits. Action: Talk internally, start planning now, evaluate the technical requirements, and make sure to discuss privacy concerns with your internal legal team.

8. Upload Additional Cost Data

Google Analytics is rolling out the new external data import feature. Investigate what additional cost data you have (or develop some from your marketing initiatives) and start looking at how you can use Google Analytics to show ROI for non-AdWords campaigns. For example, using email impressions or open rates or what about breaking your SEO program costs into quantifiable values?

9. Get Certified & Stay Sharp

Don't just make goals with the actual Google Analytics tool, set for yourself the goal of training for and passing the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) exam. And don't just leave at getting certified. Keep yourself sharp by reading our favorite blogs:

10. Use Multi-channel Data & Attribution Models

The multi-channel engagement picture is radically different then the traditional single-channel reports you're looking at today. Dive into multi-channel data (but not too deep yet, it can be overwhelming) and start experimenting with different attribution models. Google Analytics comes with some models out of the box, but review those models and your current ideal engagement path and look for ways to build a custom model that reflects your value-driven events. Quick Tip: Start looking at assisted conversions to see what the most overlooked source is and ways to enhance the overall flow of value to your visitor.  

11. Deploy Google Tag Manager

Earlier this year, Google released Google Tag Manager - the best thing since Google Analytics! In 2013, get Google Tag Manager implemented to help you manage and effectively update all of your tracking tags. The tool offers a host of features including version history and a debugger mode to preview your changes before you go live. Take the time to put together a plan and implement Google Tag Manager, it will be well worth it.

12. Take Action with Testing

Testing the usability of your website is one of the fastest ways to improve your conversion rate and start seeing immediate success (and insights you never imagined). Get moving and find a testing tool (or partner) and build a test plan. We use Optimizely for our clients and find it virtually frictionless to get the testing once the code is deployed on a site.

13. Get Help when you need it

Know when to research and learn and know when to call in the experienced support team. Access to trained professionals can save you time and money if leveraged effectively. Find a Google Analytics Certified Partner or move to Google Analytics Premium to get support that empowers your team.