Why Google Analytics is showing 0 Average Time on Page

Google Analytics’ “Average Time on Page” can be a bit confusing and I’ve had people ask me why they’re seeing sessions with an average time of zero, wondering if they’d perhaps installed their analytics correctly. If you’re in a similar situation, there is good and bad news.

  • The Good News: There is probably nothing wrong with your GA integration.
  • The Bad News: GA’s method of tracking time on page can be misleading and leaves much to be desired.

How Google Analytics calculates Time on Page.

Google Analytics triggers upon page loads or other … Read more

Tracking Internal Redirects in Analytics and Tracing External Redirects

This post is split into two sections.  The first is for tracking your own internal redirects using Google Analytics.  The second portion is for tracing URL redirect paths.

Tracking Redirects with Google Analytics

One of the problems people run into is their inability to track redirects in Google Analytics. For example, let’s say you purchase radio or print ads in order to advertise a product. Rather than simply advertising your domain name (ie (www.yourdomain.com), you may add an easy to remember folder name (ie. www.yourdomain.com/adpage), which redirects to the appropriate product page (which is probably too long and complicated to display on a radio, TV, or print ad).

Depending on the type of redirect you use, Analytics may not be able to track visits and user behavior. Fortunately, there are at least 2 ways you can track redirects. In both instances, you have to make sure the directory actually exists as a file (ie. /adpage/index.php). The difference lies in the type of redirect you use. If you use a 301 redirect, you’ll want to add campaign tracking to the url you are redirecting to, so Analytics can track visits as a campaign. The other option is to use a standard javascript redirect, and add the Analytics tracking to the redirecting page (ie. /adpage/index.php). This way, you can track visits and user behavior in the Analytics Content section.

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Google Analytics/Adwords Tracking Audits with A1 Website Analyzer

Google Analytics makes our lives easier. Easy installation, intuitive (usually) reporting/metrics, easy integration with Adwords and Webmaster Tools, etc. Best of all, it’s free. Of course, installation is also easy to botch, and future installations don’t always correctly overwrite the old ones . You may have failed to add the tracking code to certain pages. Or perhaps you have multiple implementations on certain pages. Maybe certain pages have your old Google Analytics tracking code. Perhaps you have 2,3 or even 50 websites sharing a code base and you ended up getting your wires crossed.  This can really skew your metrics in numerous ways.

Enter A1 Website Analyzer

I have been using this nifty tool for a lot of on-site optimization lately. You can use it to crawl your site and find broken links and redirects, link juice flow, last date modified, review meta and H tags, etc. It’s also useful for checking for instances of specific code implementation. Out of the box, A1 WSA can check for gat and gaq object methods for Google Analytics tracking code as well as Google Adsense tracking. This is useful for searching for pages that lack this code (or pages where the code has been been implemented more than one). … Read more

Calculate AdWords ROI with Ad Slot Position Segments

Google AdWords provides a “quick and easy” way to get visitors to your site. Setting up campaigns are fairly easy and the learning curve is small. But maximizing your ad spend takes time, patience, and planning. One of the often-overlooked methods for measuring optimal AdWords campaign success is seeing which Ad Slots tend to be the most profitable. If your CPC is high and conversions are low, it may not be the wisest thing to open the flood gates and bid with the expectation of holding the top slot.

Setting Ad Slot Position in Advanced Segments

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Click to Enlarge

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Google Annotations: Track SEO & Marketing Initiatives

Google recently added the ability to add annotations to Analytics.  What this means is that you can now correlate trends with campaign implementations in Google Analytics (as opposed to having to cross-reference your trends in Analytics with whatever source you typically use to keep track of these changes).  What’s more is you can also share these changes with other users in the account.

Google Analytics Annotations

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Website Alerts with Google Analytics Intelligence

Anyone who logs into Google Analytics frequently knows that Google’s been adding one new beta feature after another. One of these recent additions has really made life easier for keeping track of website metrics and catching potential problems right away.

Setting up Alerts with Intelligence

Intelligence allows you to set up custom daily, weekly, or monthly alerts which can be emailed to you. This saves you from having to log in to see these metrics (the more profiles you manage, the more grateful you’ll be for this). In the example below, I am creating an alert so that will send me an email if a day’s worth revenue falls below a certain point (Intelligence allows you to choose exact numbers of percentages).


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Difference between Revenue & Product Revenue – Avoid Confusion

For information on MRP, click here:

When working in a fast-paced environment where different reports are needed, one of the common ‘discrepancies’ occur when Total Revenue and Product Revenue are used interchangeably.  The differences is simple (tax and shipping is included in Total Revenue, but not in Product Revenue).  As trivial as this seems, this can cause a lot of confusion when dealing with multiple reports for multiple departments. … Read more

Blogs/Articles for 2009-10-06

Blogs/Articles for 2009-10-06

Using Google Analytics to Track Email Address Signups

If your website has an email sign up form you can use Google Analytics to keep track of which email addresses are signing up.  Simply use the parameter you are using to pass the email address as the query parameter in your Analytics Site search setup (go to Profile Settings and click Edit Profile on the profile you want to add this to).

Use parameter you pass on the email address sign up as your Site Search parameter

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Act on Extremely Relevant Data with Advanced Segments

I recently wrote another guest post on the Bronto (an email marketing service provider) blog. This one relates to using Custom Segments to better track your email marketing campaigns. The entire post can be read here: Act on Extremely Relevant Data with Advanced Segments

Testing report discrepancies with Google Analytics (Advanced Segments)

So I ran into a brain-racking situation with my employer the other day.  A certain 3rd party advertiser is linking to one of our websites from several places on their all-flash website (and not for free mind you).  In an effort to gauge the utility of these links, I’ve been perusing through both Google Analytics (to measure the number of visits from the advertiser’s website) and the admin the advertiser provides us (which tells us the number of times people have clicked on our links).

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Blogs/Articles for 2009-05-05

Blogs/Articles for 2009-05-05

Google Analytics: Using Regular Expressions to Segment Data (Guest Post)

I just wrote another best practices tutorial as a guest blogger on the Bronto Blog. This one pertains to using regular expressions to better filter email send campaign data in Google Analytics.

You can read the entire article here: Google Analytics: Using Regular Expressions to Jump Onto More Data!

Track outbound links and file downloads with Google Analytics

Track outbound links and file downloads with Google Analytics

One of those not-so-obvious features of Google Analytics is its ability to track outbound links and file downloads. This feature isn’t available by default, because Google Analytics tracks links by way of the tracking script you paste. So when users click from one page to the other on your site, Google Analytics can track the sequence of this visit.

Since your Analytics tracking code doesn’t exist on 3rd party websites you link to, Google Analytics won’t track this (at least not in your account—the site you link to may also have GA, but for privacy reasons, Google won’t share their data with you). Likewise, you can’t embed your GA tracking on a PDF or WMV file. … Read more

Blogs/Articles for 2009-04-15

Blogs/Articles for 2009-04-15