Google Analytics, Conversion Tracking & Single Segment Reporting Power

Conversion tracking is a simple concept. Marketers designate a web page at the end of the funnel, often a "thank you" or "confirmation" page, to signify a completed action. Be it a lead-generated, e-commerce sale tallied, free application downloaded or any other desired event, conversions are notched when a user meets certain criteria and then hits the trigger.

Even using sophisticated attribution tracking systems, marketers still need to track conversion to the final touch, which results in a desired action.

The Awesome Power Of One

The Google Analytics Advanced Segments checkbox tool allows us to deselect the "All Traffic" option and choose a single Custom Segment to study on its own, isolated from all other metrics. The premise of this post is clarity gained after deselecting everything but a single conversion segment.

Select Segments

The power of surfing Google Analytics by stream of consciousness, focused solely on a single conversion trigger segment, can yield fascinating clarity. For one thing, it makes a huge difference to me not to have to separate my last touch conversion data from the muck of all other traffic. Usually conversion is a small enough percentage of overall site activity that it can be hard to glean much of anything visually from Google Analytics' infographics.

See how the conversion graph's line, squished along the bottom of the infographic, reveals little about trends?

Conversion Graph

OK, now have a look with newly added clarity by examining the same report viewing only the conversion segment. Note the upper right, where I've selected only the conversion Advanced Segment.

Only Conversion

Not only are the subtleties of trending revealed, but there's also little junk to wade though. All of our favorite Google Analytic infographics and statistics (traffic sources, sources, keywords, etc.) are laid out only as pertain to the conversion segment. It's like putting on a new pair of glasses.

Have some fun with this technique to create useful reports, ranging from mild to wild. Let's try a few on for size.

Conversion Improvement From SEO

Wondering if all that expensive SEO work paid off with sales? This report says it all. Note the time on page, pages viewed, and bounce rate engagement metrics. It's really cool to note out all the little corners of pretty much any Google Analytics report applied only to conversion.

Conversion Improvement From SEO

Conversion Improvement From PPC

Apply the same thinking to paid search for no-bull clarity surrounding keywords and engines. Drill into individual keywords if you like, for conversion only trending at the keyword level.

Conversion Improvement From PPC

Direct Conversion

Unfortunately in this era of social media, "direct" traffic can mean more that typing the URL into the browser bar or using a local bookmark. For instance, a click from a Twitter App on your Mac or Android phone will show as direct. Sure, direct can be further segmented by mobile/non-mobile, geo, etc., but this report is the start.

Here's all the conversion, which will require further detective work.

Direct Traffic

Direct Conversion by Platform

This report is good because it starts to clarify that which we do not know: where the direct conversion sales come from. In this case we can pretty much rule out mobile. Still, it's cool to note that mobile users, who did buy, were engaged on their handsets.

Direct Traffic by Platform

Conversion By Time of Day

This report is an awesome tool for social media community managers because it could provide a roadmap for when engagement might yield fruit. Also, absent attribution concerns, there may well be insight for PPC day-parting. I used Custom Reporting to build this report.

Conversion By Time of Day

Mobile Conversion

There's no doubt that mobile is sending more traffic to our clients' sites. However, often times they just don't buy. Use this report to determine if mobile users convert or not.

Mobile Conversion

iPhone Conversion

Go ahead, get granular. Try segmenting conversion by specific mobile handsets.

In this report we also see the traffic source for iPhone conversion. Apply the same thinking to keywords, geographic location, etc., for any mobile handset type's conversion data.

iPhone Conversion

Android Conversion

Android Conversion

YouTube Conversion

An interesting Easter egg here is that we can see some of the actual YouTube user profiles that converted. Take note of these users for friending in YouTube later. For advanced users, associate YouTube users to sales via the API and ship the data to your community manager for social action.

YouTube Conversion

New vs. Returning Conversion

We think this is priceless data and is self-explanatory.

New vs. Returning Conversion

New Visitor Conversion

Now get granular and explore the specifics of new visitor conversion. It's easy to study engagement metrics, referral sources, keywords, etc., for new or returning visitors, all as pertains to conversion!

New Visitor Conversion

Top Converting Landing Pages

In AdWords it's easy to see what landing pagers convert best. Use this report to check out how landing pages convert from all traffic sources.

Top Converting Landing Pages

There's awesome power in the simplicity of surfing Google Analytics, only studying a single conversion setting. The only limitation is your own imagination. After you stumble upon a clarifying report, don't forget to add it to your Analytics dashboard for easy reference later.

Happy single segment surfing!

About the author

Marty is author of "Killer Facebook Ads" (Wiley/Sybex 2011) and CEO of aimClear, an online marketing agency that has managed Facebook ad campaigns generating over 10 billion impressions internationally. Client credits include MarthaStewart.com, Siemens, Second Life, Budget Direct, and other global brands.

He’s written extensively for respected Internet marketing trade publications and been quoted in many others. aimClear Blog has been cited as among the Technorati Top 10 Small Business Blogs, Cison Top Ten Social Media Blogs, PRWeb’s 25 Essential Public Relations Blogs You Should Be Reading, and listed in the AdAge Power150.

A fixture on the international conference circuit, Marty speaks regularly at Search Engine Strategies (SES). Marty founded and produces the aimClear Full Day Facebook Marketing Intensive Workshop.

He has been described as “not your typical agency type.” A “social media maverick” and “more innovator than follower.” aimClear has become internationally recognized for its work in demographic research, especially as pertains to search, Facebook, and LInkedIn.

Marty and his aimClear team specialize in paid and organic search and social online marketing. aimClear’s services include blended search and social demographic research; search engine optimization (SEO) technical and semantic audits, analytics monitoring, and consulting; pay-per-click (PPC) audits, setup, testing, and ongoing management; online reputation management (ORM) dashboard configuration and ongoing monitoring; social media marketing consulting and data-driven community management; public relations; and copywriting.