Google Tag Manager Updates

published by on 16th October 2014 under Digital Strategy, Google Analytics

Today (5.00 a.m. NZ time), Google has announced some major improvements to Google Tag Manager (GTM):

  • New APIs to Answer Custom Needs

APIs are a time saver when you need to manage GTM containers at a large scale. Thanks to the new API you can for instance manage users in bulk or create a container template to be used and synch for hundreds of different sites.

  • New Templates for 3rd-Party Tags

Over the next weeks, you will find new tag templates for Neustar, quantcast, Criteo and more to be added to the already supported 3rd-party solutions (AdRoll, Marin, Comscore, Bizo, Clicktale, Distillery, Turn, Mediaplex, VisualDNA). 3rd-party tag templates make tagging easier and reduce the risk of errors when using Custom HTML tags.

  • New User Interface

More intuitive and colourful!. The new interface has a more visual workflow, which should make things easier to understand. Also some useful features such as instant search, autocomplete and new keyboard shortcuts.

One of the Google Tag Manager Updates is the New GTM user interface

A new more friendly interface for non-technical users

These improvements will be rolled out over the next few days so be patient if you don’t see your new user interface in your existing GTM account. Don’t have a GTM account yet? Create one and have a play with the new UI!

So here you go: even more reasons to use Google Tag Manager!

Read the announcement on Google Analytics blog

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Searching for accommodation online – NZ Accommodation Industry SEO Report

published by on 6th October 2014 under Industry Reports, Research

Accommodation Providers Industry SEO Report - NZ Reach

For the full report (PDF) please use our download form

Which Accommodation Providers are maximising their market share online?

Find out which accommodation providers are taking the lead in organic search and how they’re doing it.
FIRST has investigated the organic search engine rankings for NZ consumer searches focused on booking accommodation in New Zealand, utilising FIRST’s Ranking Based Reach (RBR) analysis framework. In addition, a consumer survey was carried out to discover where Kiwis go first when searching for accommodation and what type of accommodation New Zealanders typically stay in.

In this report we discovered:

  • In NZ Wotif is leading the RBR (for desktop search), followed by Expedia, AA Travel and Holidayhouses. And also in mobile search Wotif is leading the field, Expedia falling back to 5th position, left behind by players like Booking, Jasons, and AA Travel.
  • In general, search results are broadly dispersed among a wide range of competitors. In this competitive market, some accommodation providers have recognized the urgency of ranking well in organic search, nevertheless there are still many companies which are not at all present within organic search. It would make sense for them to invest in a robust and smart search strategy.
  • In our survey we revealed that Australia is the number 1 travel destination for Kiwis and that most use an online search engine (e.g. Google) to search for accommodation. Moreover, 4 out of 5 Kiwis search online and also book online before leaving for their trip.
  • A digital strategy that integrates both organic and paid search should be a key customer acquisition and revenue driver for accommodation providers.

ranking position accommodation providers nz

FIRST uses its bespoke metric called RBR (Ranking Based Reach) to estimate how well each company is ranking in search engines. RBR provides a simple way to compare a website’s search engine rankings with its competitors. RBR is an estimate of the percentage of available search traffic a website will receive for a set of phrases – this gives the sites share of search or reach. It is weighted based on the popularity of each search phrase and the relative click through rate (CTR) of each ranking position.

For the full report (PDF) please use our download form

Websites included in this accommodation industry report comparison:

www.aatravel.co.nz
www.agoda.com
www.bookabach.co.nz
www.booking.com
www.expedia.co.nz
www.graboneescapes.co.nz
www.heritagehotels.co.nz
www.holidayguide.co.nz
www.holidayhouses.co.nz
www.jasons.co.nz
www.lastminute.co.nz
nz.hotels.com
www.travelbug.co.nz
www.tripadvisor.co.nz
www.trivago.co.nz
www.wotif.co.nz

 

SEO learn more

 

 

Tracking Fragment URLs in Universal Analytics with Google Tag Manager

published by on 19th September 2014 under Google Analytics

Ah, fragment URLs – you know these URLs with a hashtag (such as www.example.com/categoryA.html#filter1=abc&page=2), that can’t be tracked with Google Analytics…

Indeed Google Aanalytics strips out everything after the hashtag. Yet seeing what’s after the hashtag can be useful to know what are the most popular filtering options for example or to check if your visitors go beyond the first page of your product listing.

With Google Tag Manager, tracking these URLs as virtual pageviews becomes relatively easy. No need to be a developer or adding any codes on your web pages.

Here is how to do it :

1. Create a Universal Analytics tag for Virtual Pageviews with a hashtag

This tag is different from your existing Universal Analytics Page View tag.

In the field for Document Path, click on the brick to insert the new {{hashtag URL}} macro that you create in step 2.

UA virtual pageview tag for hashtag URLs

UA virtual pageview tag for hashtag URLs

2. Create the {{hashtag URL}} Custom JavaSscript macro with the function below:

function() {
var newURL = window.location.pathname + window.location.search + window.location.hash;
return newURL;
       }

3. Create the firing rules for the UA Virtual Pageview tag

You want to fire the virtual pageview tag when:

  • The URL changes in the browser without the page is loaded again (history change event rule)
  • Or when the user lands directly on a hashtag URL (fragment URL is present on the page load).

The first “History change event” firing rule is as follows:

Firing rule for the UA Virtual Pageviews tag

Firing rule for the UA Virtual Pageviews tag

The rule calls the History Listener tag: {{event}} equals gtm.historyChange (see https://support.google.com/tagmanager/answer/3415369?hl=en#HistoryListener).

The second “Fragment URL loaded” firing rule is like below:

Fragment URL loaded firing rule

Fragment URL loaded firing rule

For this rule, you’ll need to create the {{fragment url}} macro as below:

Fragment URL macro

Fragment URL macro

4. Save your UA Virtual Pageview tag

5. Create the History Listener tag

History listener tag to fire on all pages

History listener tag to fire on all pages

6. Add the “Fragment URL loaded” rule as a blocking rule in your “standard” UA pageview tag

Because you don’t want to double track the hashtag URL on the page load.

7. Preview & Debug your container version

Check that your Virtual Pageview tag for hashtag URLs fires when a fragment URL is loaded (tag fired on GTM Page Load event) AND also when you navigate to another hastag URL (tag fired on gtm.hisotryChange event)

8. Visit your site and check your Real-Time Content report in Google Analytics

Google Analytics Real-Time Content report

Google Analytics Real-Time Content report

Hooray, it works!

9. Create your new Google Tag Manager container version, name it, publish it, and get you a well deserved cup of coffee, tea or whatever beverage you most prefer :-)

 Story based on:

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New Google Analytics Benchmarking Reports gives Insights and Competitive Intelligence

published by on 11th September 2014 under Digital Strategy, Digital Trends, eCommerce, etc

This morning (US time) Google Announced that new Google Analytics Benchmarking Reports are now available in GA.

These new Google Analytics benchmarking reports allow you to compare your website performance against the averages of similar websites for a variety of dimensions and metrics.

For example you can filter by the following dimensions:

  • Channel Grouping (Direct, Organic, Paid, Referral, Email, Social, Display and Other)
  • Location (Country)
  • Device (Desktop, Mobile and Tablet)

You can compare the following metrics:

  • Sessions
  • % New Sessions
  • New Sessions
  • Pages / Session
  • Average Session Duration
  • Bounce Rate

On the Google Analytics Blog they show an example of Twiddy (see below)

The benchmarking reports even use colour to show at glance whether your business is above or below the industry average.

Google Analytics Benchmarking Report - Twiddy

You will find these reports under Audiences -> Benchmarking in your Google Analytics left hand Menu

If you cannot see these reports, you will need to follow these instructions.  Only if you choose to share your data anonymously with others will you be able to see the benchmarking reports.


NZ Google Analytics Benchmarking Reports data

It does provide interesting data Benchmarks, for example:In New Zealand, for Shopping sites averaging 1,000 to 5,000 sessions per day, Google is currently collecting data from 125 properties. The below data is from these sites for August 2014

  • Average Sessions per Month: 62,000
  • % New Sessions: 45%
  • Average Pages per Session: 6.14
  • Average Session Duration: 4:08
  • Bounce Rate: 35%

And here is how the various traffic sources contribute to total sessions:

  • Organic Search: 29%
  • Direct: 18%
  • Email: 18%
  • Paid Search: 11%
  • Other: 9%
  • Referral: 7%
  • Display: 4%
  • Social: 4%

An observation from this limited set of Data – Organic Search, Email and Direct referral sources are the biggest drivers of website visitors for NZ shopping sites.  Display and Social activity on average do not drive a significant number of website visitor sessions.

Note: We have found a few discrepancies in the data that we will observe further -

1) Not all data correlates exactly with these Google Analytics benchmarking reports.  For example we have a client for which they were showing 10% the average number of sessions being driven by paid search, where we know in fact they are higher than the average

2) The sum of the channels does not equate to the sessions noted in the top line.  Just something to be aware of.

3) For smaller regions (such as NZ) data will not show for many subcategories unless there are enough contributing properties to protect the privacy of those websites.

Perhaps not perfect, but this new Google Analytics benchmarking feature provides reasonable benchmarking data that may be difficult (or expensive) to get in other ways. Take some time and benchmark your business – if you are way ahead of the average, evaluate success and ROI and if well, keep doing more of it.  If you are lagging behind average it gives a good indication of where you need to be investing.

 

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Searching for new and used cars online – NZ Car Industry SEO Report

published by on 10th September 2014 under Industry Reports, Research

cars industry SEO report

For the full report (PDF) please use our download form

Which New Zealand Car Providers are maximising their market share online?

Find out which car providers are taking the lead in organic search and how they’re doing it.
FIRST has investigated the organic search engine rankings for NZ consumer searches focused on new and used cars, utilising FIRST’s Ranking Based Reach (RBR) analysis framework. In addition, a consumer survey was carried out to discover what the first place of choice for Kiwis is when considering purchasing a new or used car.

 

In this report we discovered:

  • According to an article from automotivenews.co.nz, sales of new vehicles in 2014 are expected to top those of a record in 2013, the best year for the New Zealand motor industry since 1984.* As the car sales market in New Zealand is likely to be very profitable, car dealers should make use of this development and implement suitable digital strategies to increase sales. 
  • Autotrader is leading the RBR (for desktop search), followed by Trade Me and Turners. However, in mobile search Trade Me just ranks on ninth position, left behind by players like AA, Turners, AutoBase and others.
  • In general, search results are broadly dispersed among a wide range of car industry competitors. In this competitive market, some automotive providers have recognized the urgency of ranking well in organic search, nevertheless there are still many companies (especially car brand companies) which are not at all present within organic search. It would make sense for them to invest in a robust and smart search strategy. 
  • In our survey we revealed that buying from a car auction is rather unpopular among Kiwis, and that 75% of the respondents would buy their car at a car dealer. 
  • A digital strategy that integrates both organic and paid search should be a key customer acquisition and revenue driver for car dealers, both online and offline/in store.

 

new cars RBR image for blog post

FIRST uses its bespoke metric called RBR (Ranking Based Reach) to estimate how well each company is ranking in search engines. RBR provides a simple way to compare a website’s search engine rankings with its competitors. RBR is an estimate of the percentage of available search traffic a website will receive for a set of phrases – this gives the sites share of search or reach. It is weighted based on the popularity of each search phrase and the relative click through rate (CTR) of each ranking position.

For the full report (PDF) please use our download form

Websites included in this car industry report comparison:

www.2cheapcars.co.nz
www.aa.co.nz
www.audi.co.nz
www.autobase.co.nz
www.autotrader.co.nz
www.bmw.co.nz
www.buyrightcars.co.nz
www.carfair.co.nz
www.drivesouth.co.nz
www.ford.co.nz
www.holden.co.nz
www.honda.co.nz
www.hyundai.co.nz
www.kia.co.nz
www.mazda.co.nz
www.mercedes-benz.co.nz
www.nissan.co.nz
www.subaru.co.nz
www.suzuki.co.nz
www.toyota.co.nz
www.trademe.co.nz/motors
www.turners.co.nz
www.volkswagen.co.nz

 

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