FIRST is Now a Google Tag Manager Certified Partner

published by on 31st August 2015 under Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager

FIRST is Now a Google Tag Manager Certified Partner


FIRST is Now A Google Tag Manager Certified Partner

We’re very pleased to announce that we are officially a Google Tag Manager (GTM) Certified Partner. And as far as we are aware, we are the first in New Zealand to be awarded this partner status.


What could Google Tag Manager do for you?

  • Have more agility, speed and control on your marketing campaigns and deployment of tags and tracking without depending on developers or the IT team
  • Save time by managing all marketing tags in one place
  • Save time on deploying advanced Google Analytics solutions – is often so much easier and faster in GTM – and in return get richer data for greater insights and better decisions

Earning this Partner Certification required deep analytics expertise and evidence of high performing campaigns that utilised GTM to help maximise return on digital investment.

As an early adopter of GTM, we’ve worked with the solution extensively and have customised to clients unique requirements. See what we have done for by reading our case study post.


Read the full Harmoney GTM Case Study here


Our Partnership with Google

In addition to this new Certification we are also a Google Analytics Certified Partner (1 of 3 in NZ) and a Google Analytics Premium Authorized Reseller (1 of 2 in NZ).


FIRST and Google Partnerships


We can help you with any of your Google Analytics needs:

  • Analytics & Measurement Strategies
  • Migration to Tag Manager, Universal Analytics and Enhanced eCommerce
  • Audience insights, website conversion insights, media optimisation
  • Analytics dashboards
  • Analytics for mobile apps
  • Custom-built advanced solutions

… as one-off projects, or to provide ongoing support and analytics leadership for your organisation.

Questions? We’re here to help.

Call us today at +64 9 920 1740 so we can chat about your specific needs.

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FIRST Team Survives The Zombie Invasion at Escape Masters

published by on 28th August 2015 under Events, Team Fun

FIRST zombie invasion


You read it right!

For one of our team activities, FIRST headed over to Escape Masters, New Zealand’s first real-life escape game, to experience a real adrenaline rush (like we don’t already have enough at work :) ).

Escape Masters had lots of experiences to choose from – zombie invasion, alien abduction, rescue mission, gangsters’ room and cyber crime. Our main goal was to escape from a room by finding hidden keys and clues, cracking codes, solving puzzles/problems and linking them all together to reveal the code or uncover the location of the key to the exit door before the time was up. Each room had a Help button which we could use three times in case we got stuck.

It was everyone’s first time which made it more exciting! We chose the Zombie Invasion experience and the hard level (oh yeah!). For this experience, there were two identical rooms – same set-up and puzzles to be solved. Our team was randomly split into two with six members each to see which was the fastest team to escape from the room. Below are the teams and their team names :)

Team Bite Me

Team Bite Me


Team Breathers

Team Breathers


Game On!

We had 50 minutes to find every clue and solve every brainteaser in the room to get the code to unlock the exit door. The moment the time was started, everyone scattered and went through everything but the floor and ceiling to look for hidden keys and pieces to puzzles and clues. Pieces of furniture were turned upside down and everything in sight was scattered on the floor. It seemed like the zombies have already gotten in the room. But nope! It was still us.. humans.

Thirty minutes in and Team Breathers decided to push the Help button as there were still quite a few locks unopened. Team Bite Me managed not to push the Help button and worked on their own in finding the code to escape.

And The Winner Is

Team Breathers won finishing at 36 minutes! Team Bite Me finished at 49 minutes, just 1 minute before the zombies invaded the room. It was an awesome team activity for all of us first-timers. Would definitely come back for a fun and unique experience at Escape Masters!




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Harmoney Partners With FIRST To Gain Deeper Customer Insights And Smarter Campaign Optimisation

published by on 27th August 2015 under Case Studies, Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), Google Analytics, etc


How gained deeper customer insights and smarter campaign optimisation with help from FIRST 

Harmoney is New Zealand’s first peer-to-peer 100% online lending platform. A lack of understanding into the website behaviour of different customer segments was preventing Harmoney from converting leads into customers. Gaining clear visibility on its conversion funnel performance to uncover needed insights was a challenge for the marketing team. In addition, tracking was difficult due to the technicality of their website’s design.

Since partnering with FIRST for customised analytics tracking solutions and actionable insights on user segmentation, Harmoney gained deeper understanding of their customers’ behavior, enhanced campaign performance and improved online experience for their customers through Google Tag Manager implementation.

Find out how FIRST customised Google Tag Manager for Harmoney to meet their objectives, read the full case study here.


Glen MacKellaig Head of Digital Marketing Harmoney

Read the full case study here. 

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Google Partners Masterclass 2015 Insights Part 7: Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics

published by on 21st August 2015 under Digital Strategy, Digital Trends, Events, etc

Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics

In yesterday’s post, we took a closer look at Google AdWords’ latest enhancement to Dynamic Search Ads (DSA). I also shared with you some best practices and tips on how to make the most out of this new enhancement. For the 7th and last post of the Google Partners Masterclass 2015 series, we’ll dive into cracking the (not provided) keyword data in Google Analytics (GA) so you can enable better SEO performance reporting and find out what’s working and what to improve on.


Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics

What is (not provided) in GA?

In October 2011, Google changed the way it delivered keyword data to website owners in its move to make search more secure for users.

What does this mean? This means goodbye keyword data.

All searches made by users in Google, are encrypted and referral data relating to the searches are hidden. This includes information such as the keywords used in the searches. Whether you are logged in to your Google account or not, browsing incognito mode, your searches in Google will be conducted over SSL encrypted search and you’ll be redirected to the https:// version of their chosen Google domain. No keyword data will be passed to website owners from encrypted Google searches.

What does this mean for my site? Sadly, this means a whole lot things.

You won’t be able to track site visitors or users by their keyword searches. It will be harder to segment them by the keywords they use within your Google Analytics (GA). Additionally, this missing information makes it difficult to have a complete and clear picture of the ROI of certain keywords in organic search and to properly determine SEO budget allocation.

Note that only organic search is affected and the ‘not provided’ data is not applicable for paid search results. Google AdWords users will still have access to the keywords.

I see some eyebrows raising there…

Lots of speculation around this, but for now, let’s focus on how you can work around it.


What now


David shared some steps on how to get back your (not provided) keyword data in Google Analytics. In the next section, we’ll go through the steps with additional insights and inputs from our in-house Senior Consultant, Rattandeep Singh.


How to uncover (not provided) keyword data in Google Analytics? 


Step 1: 

Mine your Google Analytics data for user’s behaviour on your website with the Landing Pages Reports.

Go to Reporting > Behaviour > Site Content to find Landing pages report and apply the Segment for Google Organic Traffic (see no.4 in image on how to create custom segment). Select the right metric for your goal if you want to include conversions data.

Uncover not provided data step 1


Also, add “Page Title” as a secondary dimension to the report, we will need page titles in coming steps:

Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics Step 1-2


Select “Show rows” to 2500 or as appropriate to include all of the pages as per your data at the bottom of report and export all the landing pages to as a CSV from Analytics.


Step 2: 

Luckily we have search traffic data available for keywords from Google Webmasters tools (GWT), now known as Search Console.

If you have linked your GWT to Google Analytics, you will be able to get search queries report within Google Analytics in “Search Engine Optimisation” tab under “Acquisition”. If not, you can go to Search Analytics in GWT and apply filters there to get non-branded data or do it in excel after exporting data.

We highly recommend using Google Analytics for this step because of being able to add more precise filtering.

Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics Step 2

Export this data to excel with maximum rows selected at bottom of the page to include all queries in the export.


Step 3:

Put your excel hat on, ‘coz now is the time to play with data!

Put together the data in one excel file in different sheets that you have exported from GA & GWT/Query Data from GA.

Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics Step 3


Step 4:

Extract the terms from URL, titles or H1 tags of the landing pages. You can use Page titles if you have keyword details in titles. See Step 1 on how to get this data from Google Analytics. You can also use some SEO / Analytics plugins for Excel to pull data directly.

then, table-ize the data.

Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics Step 4


Step 5:

Load Search Query Data in another worksheet on the same Excel file

Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics Step 5


Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics Step 5-2

then, table-ize the data.


Step 6:

Download and install the Fuzzy Lookup extension for Excel.

Fuzzy Lookup Plug-in will help you in finding similar data in Excel. Once installed, you can then assign values in left & right table and select the columns from each data set (GA & GWT) in a new worksheet, you can call it “Output” or any other name.

Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics Step 6 Fuzzy lookup

Source: Cardinal Path

Step 7:

Generate report from the data.

You will get a similarity score in the output for each column in the output tab and then you can filter out the one that has more than 0.8 similarity score.

Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics Step 7

Source: Cardinal Path


Step 8:

Query & Performance

Now you are ready to look at the performance by keywords in your report.

Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics Step 8

Source: Cardinal Path


Step 9:

Group Landing pages

Find duplicate landing pages in the report and group them together to find, which key terms are sending traffic to these pages.

Uncovering (Not Provided) Keyword Data in Google Analytics Step 9

Source: Cardinal Path

For more information, check out the articles posted by Chris Liversidge and Avinash Kaushik.


Until Next Time…

FIRST Digital Team at the Google Partners Masterclass

(Left to Right) Cindy Li, Eamon Hoolihan, David Neubauer, Grant Osborne, Zharina Pelea, Katherine Steffensen, Mike Child and Rattandeep Singh


Overall, I had an awesome first time experience at the Google Partners Masterclass with my teammates at FIRST who attended the event. A chance to be in the company of talented digital peers and to learn a huge amount from David Booth and the rest of the attendees. Events like this help everyone be in the cutting edge of the Analytics and Web tracking scene. Can’t wait to see what the next event brings!

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Google Partners Masterclass 2015 Insights Part 6: Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) Overhaul

published by on 20th August 2015 under Digital Advertising, Digital Strategy, Digital Trends, etc

Google Partners Masterclass 2015 Insights Part 6: Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) Overhaul

In yesterday’s post, I presented 6 possible solutions on how to get rid of referral spam from Google Analytics (GA) as discussed at the Google Partners Masterclass 2015 event. Although, there is no foolproof solution for this problem, implementing those will help you report on cleaner and more accurate GA data. Today, we’ll talk about Google’s latest enhancement to Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) that can help you reach your customers better with more targeted ads, focus on the campaigns that are most important by automating the ones you don’t have enough time for and overall optimize and improve on your paid campaign workflows, especially in the set-up phase.


New and Improved DSA

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) was recently overhauled and now has tools and features for those with huge inventories of landing pages (i.e. e-commerce advertisers). Aside from crawling your website, DSA now sorts your website content (i.e. products and services) into recommended categories and saves you time by targeting your ads based on those categories. With DSA, text ads are automatically generated by Google for inclusion in an auction based on website content. Google also creates the headline and ad copy and chooses the relevant landing page on your website.

Recommended Categories for DSA


A Closer Look at DSA

Although DSAs are a good way to propel a low performing e-commerce site forward, David cautioned everyone not to use this as a primary way of managing campaigns. For control freak-advertisers, the downside of this is the lack of control on what ads are being displayed and where you are driving people to. Another issue would arise if your website contains not optimized title tags or H1 heading tags which would make the search query matching of the ads with your online product or service quite difficult.


Some Helpful Tips For You

Tip #1

Best practice would always be to manage your keywords, ads and bids yourself. Be wary about anything Google does on autopilot, especially when it comes to keyword selection and bids (which directly impact spend and, therefore, Google’s profits).

Tip #2

A good tip, from David, is to manage most campaigns manually but use DSA for covering all your bases on the large number of low search volume long-tail keywords or in cases like where you have a huge number of location based keywords. So kind of use it as a “Catch All” for anything you’ve missed. Also suitable where you have thousands of landing pages, such as e-commerce advertisers with thousands of products in stock.

Note in the case of above, normal bids take precedence over DSA bids, so your manual campaigns will show first.

Tip #3

You can use DSA for harvesting valuable keyword data, for cases where the Google Keyword Planner tool doesn’t provide information for extremely specific terms.

Tip #4

Recommend ensuring you have a good list of negative keywords, as DSA will pick up very broad traffic otherwise.

Tip #5

Also, I recommend regularly running search query reports to pick up any high cost, low performing keywords.


Is DSA right for you?

DSA is a powerful way to reach your customers, spearhead remarketing and display campaigns and guide your landing page creation, but is it right for your business?

It really depends, but we can help!

One of the benefits of partnering with FIRST is that we can help you sort the wheat from the chaff and make sensible decisions about how to use a tool like DSA for your business.

Give us a call at +64 9 920 1740 or fill out the contact form below so we can get in touch with you and have a chat around your specific needs.


Up Next…the Last of the Series

For the seventh and last post of the Google Partners Masterclass 2015 series, our article tomorrow will cover Google’s (not provided) keywords data in Google Analytics. David presented the process developed by Chris Liversidge on how to match keyphrase data from Webmaster Tools to their landing page URLs and how to workaround Google’s (not provided) keywords for better SEO performance reporting.

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