So you want to be a GA expert, heh?

As you wish… But hang on, ’cause this might hurt ye ol’ brain a bit…

Tracking custom variables

How can you track custom variables with our Web Analytics Connector? It’s quite simple, actually. You need to wait for our tracking object to be created, and then you can do whatever you want with it – including setting custom variables! So how would that work? Well, as we saw before, we give you a nifty hook to customize the tracker object before we send the page view to GA – that is the best place to set your custom variables:

function monitus_customize_ga_tracker(pageTracker) {
pageTracker._setCustomVar(2,"My variable","The value",3);
}

Of course you’ll need to change the actual parameters to the _setCustomVar call, based on your needs, and the official Google Analytics custom variables documentation.


"onclick" tracking

Still around? All right – so how would you adapt the monitus code to track "onclick" events – say for event tracking? Again, it’s relatively simple… All you need is the name of our tracking object, and to avoid any possible javascript error from popping up, surround everything in a try block:

<a href="..." onclick="try{ _MONITUS.pageTracker._trackEvent("My Category", "My Action", "My Optional Label", "My Optional Value") }catch(e){};">My tracked link!</a>

Again, you’ll need to change the actual parameters to the _trackEvent call, based on your needs, and the official Google Analytics events documentation.

Put your hooks into it

All right – let’s tackle something a bit more advanced now… As with all products, there is always people who are not satisfied with the out-of-the-box features, and would like things to work a bit differently… Our Web Analytics Connector was no exception. So for all of you tinkerers out there, we have created a couple of "hooks" – javascript functions that act as point of entries in our normal GoogleAnalytics mechanism so you can complement it and/or customize it. Without further ado, ladies and gents, here they are…

  • function monitus_customize_ga_tracker(pageTracker) This function allows you to customize the tracker object, passed to you as the pageTracker variable. Please be careful which property you modify though, so you don’t break the cross-domain tracking… But it could be used for custom variables, for instance. This is called right before the call to pageTracker._trackPageview();
  • function monitus_final_callback() Our most famous hook! This function is called right after our code has sent the page view to Google Analytics. Particularly useful to build your own tracker object and not mess-up the GA cookies. Or to run any code that requires the tracking object to exist and the cookies to be set.

One last note: for those who need them, monitus potentially creates two tracker objects. The main tracker object is _MONITUS.pageTracker, and if you use our new Google Website Optimizer wizard, you also have access to it’s tracker object: _MONITUS.woTracker.

I hope you will find you have quite enough control to customize the GA tracking with just these two hooks… If not, please, by all means, let us know and we’ll see what we can do!

PersonaQuest: Your Own Magic Eight ball

Not to toot our own horn but… Oh what the heck: TOOOOOOT! This is one clever tool we’ve designed, and it’s part of our base monthly offering too – great deal!

Ask the Eight Ball: Who is this customer, coming to my store?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to specifically target customers based on specific pieces of information? A known example of this is geo-targeting: show some targeted offers to customers, based on where they’re from. (There’s a setting for that) But we go beyond that… Think of PersonaQuest as a light (read "cheaper and much easier to use") targeting tool. With it you can show targeted content to your customers, based on their provenance, habits, etc…

But wait! That’s not all! If you keep on reading, and for a limited time only – because you know we can’t offer this all day – we will throw in integrated A/B testing on steroids: that is, not a simple 50-50 A/B test, but an A/B test where you control the frequency at which versions A and B are shown… It’s also coupled Google Analytics event tracking, which mean you can see how well things are going right there in your GA reports!

And we’re feeling so generous today, we’ll even throw in, for free, another feature: coupons integration! That’s right – match a coupon pool to a particular rule and customers seeing this particular targeted content will each be offered a unique, single-use coupon!

So come on, admit it… TOOOOOOOT!

All right, all right – what, exactly, can I target on?

Glad you asked! It’s almost like this discussion was scripted! So here we go:

  • Returning visitors and customers: An easy one, to start with – but still very powerful, especially coupled with coupons… What about offering a special 15% off to customers who bought 3 times and more already? Or, offer free help to visitors who came 10 times on your store already…
  • Referrals: Another great use for coupons: users who come through organic searches get a 5% discount – since you didn’t have to pay for CPC for them… Or, offer a bigger discount to CPC customers, to make sure they convert after they cost you a click!
  • Cart Recovery: Make your Cart Recovery efforts even more efficient by offering an extra rebate to visitors that come form the cart recovery email… Or acknowledge they came back after dropping a cart and offer online help or live chat to help them out…
  • Page depth: It might be safe to assume a visitor whose been viewing 50 pages on your store is probably lost or not finding what she wants.. .Yet she’s still there for some reason… ("Suspenders.com doesn’t have polka-dot neon suspenders??? Impossible! It’s got to be here somewhere…") Again – offer tech support or help – anything to try and lower frustration and increase conversion and loyalty!
  • Visitor buckets: Nifty ones these buckets… A bucket is simply a list of "hot" pages that are used to trigger a specific message… Could be used for some cross-selling or even better navigation help… As soon as the visitor sees the neon suspenders page, what about showing a nice picture of those shiny new polka dots neon suspenders? Because if it’s neon, it’s gotta have dots baby!
  • Geo Location: Well, we had to do that one, although ti’s pretty old news by now… But it’s there! Target by states / provinces… Ya know, the usual stuff.
  • Periods: Another simple idea – but with lots of potential… How about a 5% off on Tuesdays only? Or a limited-time offer, ("Double the dots for 3 days only!") scheduled to show from next monday to next thursday only? Set it up now, and walk away – we take care of the rest… (well, you still have to honor the offering, but that’s a minor detail…)

This is just a quick tour of the PersonaQuest – but as you can see, the sky is the limit… And we’re also always on the lookout for useful rules to implement and give back to you so you target customers on ever more criteria… So please, by all means, send us your comments and ideas!

Web Analytics Connector – The magical bridge

This is where it all started really – from a need to use Google Analytics’ free web analytics platform on Yahoo! stores… And we like simple, so we wanted a simple solution too… (we’re nothing if not difficult!)

The problem

Google Analytics (GA) does offer a way to pass cookies across domains, (https://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=175538) but that requires quite a bit of work: you need to change all the links that cross over to the yahoo domain (search, checkout, etc…) so that they now pass over the GA information… Even on an automated platform like the Yahoo! store platform, this can be a daunting task… And you need to keep at it for every new cross-domain link you create in the future…

The solution

We needed an easier way of passing GA data across domains, so we designed a bit of code you place on all your pages, once, and we do the rest. No need to worry about content anymore and links – just place the Monitus code on every page on your store and don’t look back… Now that is an elegant solution for a platform like Yahoo!’s: simply include our code in a variable, stick it in your template and you are done!

But the Web Analytics bridge is now much more than that – since our code was handling all the GA installation for you, we could then go the extra mile and do, well, pretty much everything for you! Hence, the connector also:

  • Automatically sends the transaction details on the confirmation page.
  • Can send product categorization on the confirmation page, if provided to us. This produces even richer reports in GA.
  • Can send a collection of events and custom variables to your GA account, again in an effort to give you ever better information on your customers and how they interact with your site… In fact, let me go over a few of these…

Events and Custom Variables

Our Web Analytics Connector can automatically send many events and custom variables to your GA account; all you have to do is tell us which one(s) you want us to send for you:

  • Checkout Errors: How frustrating for a customer to get errors when they are trying to checkout and buy your products! Some might even abandon the whole process at the first sign of an error, leaving the sale on the table. So close – yet so far! Knowing which checkout errors your customers see can help you improve the checkout process considerably.
  • Checkout Messages and Coupon data: On a related note, other messages shown to your customer on the checkout can also give you a glimpse on how they interact with your store. Plus, knowing what coupons they use can also enlighten you on their effectiveness.
  • Google Organic Ranking: wouldn’t it be great to know how well your keyword was ranked on Google search pages when the customer clicked on your link? Maybe you don’t need to pay for that keyword anymore…
  • Cross-sell clicks: Know how well your cross-sell links actually work on the checkout pages.
  • Product Options: And how about tracking which options a customer selected for a particular product? Even if they on’t eventually buy it? Better stock-up on neon polka-dot suspenders!

Google Analytics is a very powerful tool; if you haven’t yet started using it, please dive in… And by all means, let me know any comments or questions you might have regarding this tool or any of our other tools!

The Monitus Blog: Not Just Updates Anymore

In an effort to better explain all the toys and candies we here at Monitus include in your subscription, we have decided to add more posts to this blog. The goal here is to give you a quick tour of the tools we offer, and also explain the new developments, as we release them. And who better to do this job than the lonely code-monkey that creates them? (FYI, the “Keyword Monkey” tool i snot named after me – it’s named after my cousin, the other monkey)

My name is Jean, I’m Michael’s partner here at Monitus… Some of you have dealt with me in the past (a pleasurable experience I’m sure), those who have not yet, your time will come… ; ) I’m usually busy coding new features and new tools, so that’s why you don’t see me much. But I am as dedicated to this endeavour as Michael is, and my goal is always to make your life easier. Michael is my main inspiration, but we both hope that this blog will open a new channel of communication with you guys, and provide me with even more inspiration… Teh end result should be better, more useful tools for you.

So over the next few weeks I will start by taking you on a tour of our current offerings; I want to highlight what each tool does so that you can see the full potential of each tool. And as time goes by, I’ll highlight new features and new tools we introduce as our offering grows. And I strongly encourage you to leave me comments – we are totally opened to new ideas, comments, criticisms… We want to offer easy to use and valuable tools, and though we have a pretty good idea of how to get there, there’s no better judge than the user itself: you!

All right, so on that note, let us begin..