Leah Monica

Director of Marketing

Favorite Tool: Google Page Analytics Chrome Extension

For me, 2017 is all about productivity hacks and working more efficiently. Recently, I’ve been diving deep into the world of Google Chrome extensions to help me streamline as much of my work (and personal life) as possible.

One of my current favorite tools is the Page Analytics extension for Chrome. With just a quick glance, it shows you how your users are interacting with your site, in an easily digestible format.

How does it work?

Once you have the extension installed and turned on, you will see the analytics data pop up on any webpage you visit that you have access to in Google Analytics. Keep in mind that this requires that you are logged into the Google account in Chrome that is tied to your Google Analytics account.

When the extension is turned on, you’ll be able to see:

  • Metrics such as pageviews, unique pageviews, average time on page, bounce rate, and exit percentage. You can also use the date comparison and segmentation tools directly in the extension for these metrics.
  • The number of active, real-time visitors on your site.
  • In-page click-through rate analysis.

I love that in the middle of a marketing meeting when someone asks, “Hey – does anyone know if our users are actually clicking on the calls to action in our rotating branding area?” I can quickly pull up our website to see how many people have clicked through in the last month. It’s also a heck of a lot easier to take a quick, high-level peek at the traffic on any given page of our website than it is to log in to Google Analytics and dig for that information. Pretty great, right?

While I still very strongly suggest doing a deep dive into your Google Analytics reports once a month at minimum, it’s great to be able to get a rough idea of what pages users are visiting, what’s working, and what’s not working in a matter of seconds.

One very important thing to note about the click analysis, however, (and one of my only gripes with this extension as I think it’s a bit misleading at first glance), is that the click-through rate is for each destination page. For example, if you have three separate links to your events page on your homepage – in the navigation, right rail, and footer – they will all show the same number of clicks, even though the link in the navigation may have gotten the most number of individual clicks. Therefore, the click analysis isn’t good indicator of the success of link placement. Just something to keep in mind!

What are some of your favorite Chrome extensions for working more efficiently?

Leah Monica

Director of Marketing

Using UTM Codes for Better Google Analytics Reporting

URL-smIt’s no secret that we’ve been seriously geeking out about everything Google Analytics here at Matrix Group. We’ve been endlessly exploring, experimenting and testing and have been blown away by the amount of invaluable data we’ve been able to collect for our clients, down to the granular who/what/when/where/how/why. We’ve said it before, and we’ll keeping saying it until we’re blue in the face: you simply can’t afford to ignore your analytics reporting!

Want to start digging deeper but not sure where to start? You’re not alone! Our clients frequently ask us for one or two simple things they can do to get started, and our No. 1 answer is: start with UTM codes.

UTM codes are code snippets that you can attach to custom URLs that track a source, medium, and campaign name. This information gets passed to Google Analytics and identifies where your traffic is coming from and what campaigns are driving the traffic. Invaluable data!

Here are a few of our top tips for using UTM codes:

    • Create a spreadsheet to track codes and campaigns. Having everything planned out and stored in one place will not only help you visualize your whole campaign, but it will also ensure more accurate reporting, especially if you have multiple staff members working on one campaign.
    • Keep your tags consistent. UTM codes are case sensitive, so make sure you stick to the same permutations of upper and lower case!
    • Use dashes, not spaces, to separate words. While a UTM URL builder will allow you to use spaces, it makes the URL look a lot less clean. Example: “CEO blog post” will become CEO%20blog%20post. Instead, try CEO-blog-post. Doesn’t that look better?
    • Use a URL Builder to create links. These tools are very easy to use and will save you time and heartburn over building the URLs yourself.
    • Use a URL shortener, where appropriate. When you use UTM codes, the URLs can get quite lengthy and ugly. Use URL shorteners to make the links more visually appealing. There are tons of easy-to-use URL shortener tools out there (we like goo.gl), so make use of them!
    • Never send out a link to your site without a UTM code in place!

Looking for other Google Analytics tips and tricks? Check out CEO Joanna Pineda’s recent blog posts on Google Analytics. There’s some great info there! If you want a little more hands-on guidance and assistance, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’d love to help you in any way we can.

Have any other tips for getting started with Google Analytics? What are your favorite reports and hacks?

Kelly Browning

Director of Strategy

Google Keywords as User Research

As an information architect, I often use card sorting and other types of user research to find out how people verbalize their content needs.  If available, I look carefully at a website’s internal search term tracking. But there is another tool that speaks to the verbal side of your users’ information seeking habits: the Google Keyword Tool.  screenshot of google adwords keyword tool

The Google Keyword Tool tells you the words and phrases that are most widely searched via Google. Do more people search for a “veterinary clinic” for their pet, or for an “animal hospital?” How many people seek “diabetes rates,” compared to “diabetes statistics?”    Does anybody search for “diabetes infographics?” This information can be applied to menu labels, taxonomy terms, link text, and other navigational elements not from the perspective of SEO but from the angle of information scent and usability.

Admittedly, there is a big difference between how people formulate Google searches and how they browse navigational elements on a website.  So just because nobody searches on “diabetes infographics” doesn’t necessarily mean I would nix “infographics” as a menu label on a  diabetes-related website. But if there was a near equivalent that people did search for en masse (such as “diabetes statistics”) I’d be more inclined to use that term, all other things being equal.

What I find iffy is the notion of using your site-specific organic search keyword stats from Google Analytics to reach any conclusions about a site’s users.  This is because those dice are loaded with SEO mojo:

For instance, what if “Veterinary Clinic” generated 100 visits to your site, but “Animal Hospital” generated only five?  Is that because the word “veterinary clinic”shows up a lot in the content?  Could it be because your website’s url is “veterinaryclinics.org?”  It’s circular reasoning to conclude that your top organic search terms must reflect the way your target audience verbalizes their content needs.

A website’s navigation, taxonomy, content, internal search and the SEO universe beyond are part of one massive linguistic system that extends from the mind of every person who interacts with the web.   When your user research budget is skimpy, remember that Google is has been doing a lot of work for you.   No user research method is perfect, but with a billion users being tracked, it’s safe to say you’ll turn up a useful nugget or two.

What nifty free or low-cost tools have you found to aid you in UX/IA?

Census Dotmap and Doing Things with Data

Census Dotmap

Overall view of the Census Dotmap by Brandon Martin-Anderson (http://bmander.com/dotmap/index.html)

This isn’t just a map that looks cool with a serious human connection (though it is that).  It’s a dot map based on the US and Canadian census data, each of its almost 350 million dots representing each person the census counted.

It’s more than simply a cool thing to look at for us, because the MatrixMaxx team is looking into doing this type of data mapping for our clients. We’re planning on visualizing membership data on a map. It would give a population base line to compare other data maps against. For instance, do our clients have more members on the East Coast in keeping with the population density seen on this map?

Analytics and Big Data are a huge part of tech and business today. How are you measuring your business and its impact?

Sarah Jedrey

Marketing Coordinator / Video Editor

Auto-analytics and Why Headphones Aren’t Evil

Smiley-face wearing headphones and a tie

image via Stock.XCHNG

There’ve been complaints about younger workers – often Millennials, which will be the term I will use from here out – are losing out on traditional, organic networking and collaboration at work because they’re stuck between a set of headphones.  “Anti-social”, “anti-collaborative” and “career-killing” are phrases tossed about in articles at and linked by HBR.

However, Scott Berinato, an HBR blogger, tried out some auto-analytics to measure his productivity and came up with a contrary picture.  Read the article here (Here’s the article he references, which is great on its own). But the basic takeaway I got is that this is a changing world driven by increased exposure to lots of different tech; incoming workers were raised on this new tech; and old expectations should be examined and, if necessary, changed.

How do you feel about your employees or coworkers spending their time with headphones on?