Arkansas Internet Marketing and Arkansas Inbound Marketing Blog

Google Analytics Advanced Segments: Is There Buried Gold in Your Blog?

Posted by Jon Dodson on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 @ 17:06 PM

If you know us, you know we live in our clients’ data.  If you don’t know us, then please understand... WE LIVE IN OUR CLIENTS’ DATA.  The data is where we find the secret map to the buried gold.  Here’s a good example.
Not too long ago we were preparing to meet with one our clients.  Part of this is putting together the PowerPoint slides that walk through our performance over the last month.  Not to brag, but it was all good news:
  • 5.0x ROI YTD on ALL related spending (media buys, professional services, technology, and attributed in-house resources)
  • Total visits up 184% year-over-year
  • And ‘non-branded’ organic search (SEO) visits up 231% year-over-year
 At this point it is easy to give ourselves a pat on the back and move on to the next task.  Seriously, think about it.  No client is going to push back on results like that.  They are getting what they are paying for (actually 5x what they are paying for).  But there is always more!

During our monthly analysis the data from the client’s blog jumped out at us.  This client has been working on their blog for 16 months.  Yep, 60-something entries.  Was it always rewarding?  Nope.  They had several months in the beginning with less than 50 page views per month to their total blog.  Translate that into layman’s terms analysis - no one cared they were blogging.  But, the last four months their blog averaged 1,600 page views per month.  Nice jump.  

At first this felt like a small victory, but we peeled back another layer of data and it started getting ugly.  

First, we had to identify the business purpose(s) of the blog: 1) Introduce the brand to potential customers; 2) Convert new potential customers into leads.  Quick aside: Don’t mistakenly  think the purpose of a blog is to increase SEO mojo.  It is unlikely that your customers pay you for your SEO mojo, so it doesn’t qualify as a business purpose.

Next we used Google Analytics Advanced Segmenting to really dive into what was happening and separate all of the noise from the true signal.  To quote Avinash Kaushik, “You no segment, you no find insights.  You no segment, you no have job for long time.”  We want to work with our clients for a long time, so we segment.

We created the following segments:
  • Blog Entrances: These are simply visitors who came to the website through the blog.
  • Organic Search Non-Branded Blog Entrances: These are visitors who came to the website through the blog who were not intentionally looking for the brand.
  • Non-Branded, Non-Blog Entrances: These are visitors who came to the website without the blog who were not intentionally looking for the brand.
The following table is what we found:

Here are our takeways from this data:
  • 31% of visits to the blog are non-branded.  So the blog is introducing the brand to people who were not otherwise looking for it.  This is a success and a baseline to gauge future improvement.
  • Non-branded visitors to the main website behave dramatically different than non-branded visitors to the blog.  The Non-Branded, Non-Blog visitors are 1,053% more likely to become a lead!  Ouch.  
Here is where it gets more fun.  Now that we have found a problem we have to ask, “What is it worth to solve it?”  From data supplied by the client we know what each lead is worth; a bit less than $200.  We’ll use a value of $200 per lead for the sake of making the math easy here.

So the current value of the Organic Search Non-Branded Blog Visitors is $1,000.  But if we could get the Organic Search Non-Branded Blog Visitors to behave like their cousins the Non-Branded, Non-Blog Visitors and convert to leads 2.54%, then there would be have been 58 (or 53 more) leads!  That gets us to $11,600 right there!

But lastly, we need an annualized dollar figure so we are making apples-to-apples comparisons prioritizing improvements to the website.  In this particular case we could expect an increase in Annualized Revenue of $25,000 if we hit our goal!  This tells us that it is well worth some time and effort to solve this problem.  

This is where the story ends for now.  If you want to hear what happens next as we work on this problem be sure to subscribe to our blog for automated updates.