Google Analytics and BILLmanager pt. 2. Top-10 GA tools for providers and resellers.
We continue to examine the connection between marketing and revenue. The first part tells us how to transfer sales data from BILLmanager to Google Analytics and correlate depersonalized information about website visitors with the exact users in the billing. In this article, I will tell more about a possible usage of this information. Will tell the main scenarios of working with GA allowing to find out what channels favor your business and what channels not worth spending your time and resources. The article will be interesting for beginners in hosting providing, reselling domains, SSL and different software.
The first thing to be done before you start working with Google Analytics is to get familiar with the audience of your website. It will allow you to understand the general situation about the visitors without getting lost in a sophisticated interface.
In order to start your analysis click the  Audience  group in the left block and go over some reports, for example:
- Attendance data, duration of sessions, percentage of refuses.
- Demographic data like sex or age.
- Geographic data: languages, countries and cities.
- Devices: desktop computers, tablets and mobile devices.
Such analysis can bring a lot of food for thought and give some insights about improving your website. For example, you may discover that 75% of your audience are young people between 25 and 35 years old. It may mean that you don’t need to have tons of official texts on your website while your support team may use more easy-going communication style. You may also find out that the traffic from mobile devices contributes 33% in a total volume instead of 3% in 2014. It will be a right decision to pay more attention to creating and improving a mobile version of your website.
2. Traffic sources
After getting familiar with your audience it is time to find out the sources that bring visitors to you. Knowing these sources you will be able to pay more attention to them and attract more customers.
Go to  Traffic sources  —  Total traffic . The data is sorted in 8 groups. You can find the channel that is the most efficient in bringing visitors and money to you. Pressing Social, Referral, Organic group of sources will get you one level deeper. Social networks are represented by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Referral — by names of the websites and their exact pages referring to you.
Choose a longer  period of displaying data  , for example a year or two years. Find the sources with the best performance in attracting traffic and generating revenue and explore a potential of investing in them.
For example, you see that Quora brings you several hundreds dollars every month even though you had only a few questions answered there. It will be a good signal to find an answer more questions from the area of your competence. There is a chance that it will increase your profit. Another scenario is when you find your website of your partner among Referrals channels what may mean that you should ask your other partners to post a link to your website./p>
By default Google Analytics displays the information about all the users. And it works great if you need to get a general statistics on your website. However, sometimes you need to take a closer look at some aspects and this is why you need the Segments for. It is a flexible filter for dividing collected data by popular characteristics. Moreover, with Segments, you will be able to set your own conditions for creating a segment.
For example, you published an article last week and want to see the results of organic traffic attracted by it. In another case, you need to study the visitors of a chosen section of your website or you want to know if there is any growth of orders from mobile devices after applying an adaptive design to the website. There may be hundreds of possible scenarios and Segments allow you to get reports for the chosen audience only.
Segments tool is available for almost every report except for “Real time” section and for several reports in "Conversions" section.
It is very easy to use default segments, however what if you need to create your own customized scenario. Let's imagine that you started AdWords advertising campaign for US residents on October the 13th 20117. And now we want to know how many visitors we got from this campaign at our website (ISPsystem). However, we should exclude users of mobile devices and New York residents because we run another campaign for them at the same time.
Now let’s click on the  field of segments  at the upper left corner of the working area and create a new segment.
You will see different filters on the left side, you can build a flexible combination of them including or excluding them from search results. The advanced version of the filter will allow setting AND/OR policy for every condition.
Navigate to the  Demographic  section and choose "Country" instead of "Continent" in the  Location  field. Leave "Contains" condition as is and choose United States in the input field. You will see the statistics in the left part of the screen in a moment.
Step 1. Click on  Technology  block and choose "No" in the "Mobile devices field".
Step 2. Go to the  Traffic sources  block and choose "exactly matches" — CPC (or cost-per-click) for "Channel".
Step 3. Go to  Advanced conditions  block and choose "Exclude" instead of "Include". Then pick "City", leave "Contains" as is and choose  New York  in the input field. It will exclude New York residents from search results.
Step 4. Let’s give a name for this new segment and call it USA visitors from AdWords and press "Save".
We can see that there were 3 sessions complying with our conditions with av average duration of 40 seconds. You may generate any other reports for the new segment. In our case, we don’t have enough data to make the decision about a future of advertising in the US: whether we should invest more or drop this direction and focus on other channels.
4. Saved reports
Saved reports help you to save your time for generating frequently-used reports. It is especially important if you use reports with composite conditions that include several segments and compare different periods.
Let’s imagine you offer hosting services for several countries in Europe. You hire SEO-specialist and want to increase an organic traffic from Netherlands and Germany to your VPS section. The specialists have been working for 6 months and report positive results every month. Using Saved Reports in Google Analytics will allow you to check the real situation. You only need to spend some time on creating the report that you can use regularly.
Step 1. Create a new segment and call it "Organic traffic from Netherlands". For every segment pick a country in  Demographics  block. Choose "Organic" channel in  Traffic sources . In  Advanced conditions  choose "Landing Page" and enter URL for your VPS section.
Step 2. Just copy the segment you just created for creating the second segment for German traffic. Click on the drop-down menu of the new segment and press "Copy". Just change the country from "Netherlands" to "Germany"and enter a new unique name — "Organic traffic from Germany".
Step 3. Such reports can be easily studied in organic traffic summary. Go to Traffic sources  —  All traffic  —  Channels  —  Organic traffic .
Step 4. In order to see the results in dynamic, choose 3 months period (a maximum period for reports with segments in GA). Choose "Month" period of data displaying and "New users"instead of "Sessions" because our SEO-specialist is paid for new visitors only.
Step 5. Save the report by pressing "Save". And it’s done!
Now if you want to check saved reports you just need to go to "Special reports” — "Saved reports". It will only take a few minutes to check the data reported by SEO-specialist and you will always be aware of the current situation.
Mass emails functionality of BILLmanager will work great for email-marketing within your client base. You can inform the clients about special promotions and launching new tariff plans, send gifts to loyal customers. You can track an open rate of such mailouts with Google Analytics.
It became possible after adding a special picture in HTML-code of an email. The picture is represented by an invisible pixel, containing an information for Google Analytics информацию: tracking counter number, event type, mailout name.
Use a special Hit Builder from Google for creating the pixel or take my example below. Please pay a special attention to the following variables: tid, ec, el — don’t forget to add your parameters there instead of mine.
- tid — GA identifier you use on your website. May look like this: UA-XXXXXXXX-X.
- ec — event category, used for sorting events.
- el — mailout name.
- v — version of the protocol in Google Analytics.
- t — a type of action to be tracked. Choose "event" here.
- cid — customer identifier in the billing. It is used to exclude multiple openings of the email by one customer from the general statistics.
- ea — event action. In our case, it is an email opening.
Edit my code or use Google Hit Builderand use it for mailouts. If you want to automate the process with BILLmanager go to  Marketing section  —  Mailouts . When you create an email open the editor menu  Tools  —  Source code .
In order to see the reports for mailouts open GA and go through  Behavior  —  Events  —  emailing . The last point may have a different name depending on your variant.
The given tool will help you to evaluate the open-rate and Email - Website visit conversion of your emails as well. Feel free to play around with email headings and content - there tons of materials about it on the web. These activities will help you to raise mailout efficiency in a short time.
6. Advertising campaigns
Google Analytics allows analyzing every type of online-advertising: banners, PR-publications, videos. The main condition is that an ad should contain a link. It is very important if your media plan includes tens of different promotion channels and hundreds of ads. It is possible to view a statistic information for every channel or ad in a special section of GA.
An advertising analysis has the same principle as email mailouts do: Google Analytics collects an information about an efficiency of advertising thanks to UTM-tags in URL. However, you don’t need to add the special pixel for this. Just create an extended URL and include the parameters you need there.
For example, you publish a banner at WebHostingTalk. The banner link leads to your VPS section and looks like this: website[dot]com/vps. You need to add special tags of the advertising campaign at the end of this link. In order to do this use GA Hit Builder to generate the link you need.
Once you have launched the advertising the reports will become available in  Traffic sources  —  Campaigns  —  All campaigns .
Of course, it is not necessary to generate all the links with the Hit Builder. You can change the tags in your links by yourself. For example, if you have similar links with minor differences you may use Excel.
When you accumulate enough data regarding your advertising you will understand the costs per lead and conversion rate for every type of advertising. It will allow you to optimize your marketing expenses and invest in the most efficient channels of attraction only. Thanks to this information you will have more data for making a decision about investing in a new channel and claim a discount when you have enough arguments. For example if a new forum with low attendance rate will ask a double price for the banner compared with the other forums you work with.
Some providers keep their blogs at Medium, write unique articles for Web Hosting Magazine, and maintain a high activity on Facebook. Such activities may generate more leads and sales rather than a context advertising sometimes. However, you need to make an analysis to be sure.
UTM-tags described above may not always work for content marketing. Some editors don’t allow to post any links to your website. Other may allow using only short links without UTM-tags. In fact, it is justified from SEO standpoint because a URLs should be easy-to-read by users, while UTM-tags contain many special symbols stretching the URL. Many hosting rating websites, catalogs, and user review websites don’t like the tags.
Let’s take an example from our practice. We made an agreement with servermom.org regarding posting an ISPmanager review. The article was posted on January the 15th 2016. Three months after we want to examine the traffic and sales.
We need to create a new segment and after that go to  Traffic reports  —  All traffic  —  Referral sources . Now we see that there were only 4 sales for 3 months.
It is interesting to notice that choosing a hosting provider usually consist of several stages. At first, a potential client finds mentioning a provider somewhere on the web. He will go to the provider’s website after that. The next step is checking the feedbacks from other clients on the Internet at a special user review website. A link from this website may bring our potential client back to the provider. After a short time, the client makes his first order by googling the name of provider he studied before. Back in a while, such purchase would be accounted as a result of search engine process. However, it is possible to change the model of attribution and share the value of conversion between the different sources. In order to check what source has actually brought you the lead use "Multichannel conversions" report.
Choose the period you need, go to  Conversions  –  Multi-channel funnels  –  Main conversion . Choose "Path" as a main parameter in "Source/Channel". As a conversion choose "Referrals with transactions". Voi la! Now we can see the hard way of getting the client.
As a next step, we could find out the transaction ID to find the client who made a purchase. But it’s not necessary anymore thanks to the User-ID.
This work will bring fruits in a long perspective. Pay attention to the content that brings traffic to you not only within the first week after the publication. Choose the websites with top-rated places among the search results you are interested in. Grow your volumes and speed up by hiring third-party authors.
8. User statistics based on User-ID
User-ID will allow you to see only reports generated for users who had registered and/or made a purchase in your billing. You will see the websites, social networks, and search engines that bring real clients to you. At my first article, I had described how to use this feature of Google Analytics.
Step 1. I had logged in Google Analytics on February the 12th and noticed a new purchase from the Habrahabr portal. As I can say from the link it was an article from Selectel blog (thank you, partner!).
Step 2. Create a new segment and choose "Referral path" in advanced filter adding a part of the link from the previous step.
Step 3. Go to  Audience  —  User statistics  report. Now we see the client ID from the billing.
Transaction data may be viewed in a regular introduction, while registration data has a different story. Many clients start to use your services from a free trial that require a simple registration. In order to determine the channels that generate trials downloading, go to BILLmanager settings and change the export type from "expenses" to "services".
9. A website visitor behavior
At Yandex.Metrika, another popular web-analytics system there are such handy tools as "Webvisor", "Map of clicks", "Map of Links", "Map of scrolling". These tools show the behavior of the website visitors: where they click, what they read and scroll. It allows improving your website by making it more convenient and interesting for visitors. Unfortunately, there are no a decent analogs of these tools in Google Analytics today.
Google Analytics has a special extension for Chrome — Page Analytics (by Google). It is a great tool for studying user behavior and I recommend to use it. After installing the extension, you will be able to browse the statistics for the pages with Google Analytics counter installed. You need to be authorized in Chrome in order to let Google know what tracking counters you have an access to.
For example, you have added a page with an action button in the lower part of it and referral statistics shows that only 0.05% of your audience click on it. It is a good signal to review the page content or change the button’s location.
We recommend to use both GA and Yandex.Metrika together rather than limiting yourself with just one system. Pay a special attention to the Webvisor. An instrument of qualitative data analytics it has a great value when you need to explain a data of quantitative analysis. Don’t forget about a sufficient selection condition - if you see that that one user scrolled down an infographic on your website, you don’t need to redesign the page. Collects a sufficient data from other sessions before making a decision.
10. E-Commerce\ The efficiency of goods
It is the last report in a list of the reports that I check every week. The last but not the least. It allows you to see what products and services have better sales statistics compared with the others. An information received thanks to this report may give you a signal to do something: change design and content of the corresponding section, launch a promotion or completely get the item off the shelves.
Well, that’s it. In my following article, I will tell why you should carry Google Analytics to Google Tag Manager and show how to do it.