By Mark Hayden on Oct 23, 2015

Stop Pretending Your Insights Are Actionable: Part 1, Google Analytics

Analytics is the cornerstone of every marketing stack, right? But, a simple view into web metrics isn’t enough to build a personalized web experience around.

Having a method to report and monitor behaviors in any channel, like web, is obviously a critical step in successful marketing. However, there are two enormous gaps where most analytics tools fall short:

  1. Attributing unexpected behaviors to campaign(s).
  2. Empowering direct action on either a user or segment level.

In the first part of this series we dive into Google Analytics and show how Lytics fills those gaps.

Google Analytics + Lytics

Let’s say, hypothetically, I’m an email marketer and just finished deploying a big campaign. Yay me.

Now all I have to do is wait a week or so to build a report of opens, bounces, clicks, site traffic and conversions. Up till now this has worked well. It has allowed me to cut costs, increase conversions and all that good stuff.

Have you ever thought about what was missing?

What are your competitors doing tomorrow to claw at your market share?

What if a user never clicked directly in the email, but still converted?

What if a user only read the subject line before going directly to your site and making a purchase?

Heck, what if I checked the email on my phone and then converted on my desktop?

These “what-ifs” are endless, difficult to identify, and absolutely critical in understanding the full impact. Enter Lytics. We complete the picture, tell the story to all your other marketing channels and most importantly, allow you to take your next action on the individual or group level. In real-time.

Here’s how.

The Lytics JavaScript Tag

Implementing the Lytics JavaScript tag is pretty simple. Just copy and paste a few lines of code onto your site, or into your favorite tag manager, and you are ready to roll.

<script src="http://c.lytics.io/api/tag/[YOUR_ACCOUNT_ID]/lio.js"></script>

The heavy lifting this tag does, however, is anything but simple. Let’s take a closer look.

Along with allowing valuable data to be passed into Lytics on the fly (we’ll cover that in another article), our JavaScript tag acts as the hub for web based integrations.

Every time a user visits your site, we identify who they are based on what we know about them from other data we’ve collected. It could be a cookie we create, a user ID that you’ve set up, or a variety of other methods covered in our documentation.

What’s important is once that visitor has been identified we return their full cross-channel profile, in real-time to be used on your site.

{
"data": {
	"accountids": [
		"0000",
	],
	"app_visitct": "267",
	"emaildomains": [
	 "lytics.io"
	],
	"app_lastvisit_ts": "2015-10-05T23:09:18.178Z",
	"user_id": "23462lk234himfake24234kh234kh",
	"lastvisit_ts": "2014-09-30T11:02:00Z",
	"cm_lastopen_ts": "2014-09-30T11:02:00Z",
	"city": "Portland",
	"content": "something_fancy",
	"cm_listids": [
	  "hjkgljk4gkglk23l4kj2l3k4j",
	  "lkjlkj124lk43j5k3lkj43lkj"
	],
	"devices": {
	  "IOS": "71",
	  "desktop": "2779"
	},
	"utm_mediums": [
	  "card",
	  "cpc",
	  "email",
	  "testmedium"
	],


... and more.

Likewise, tapping into this profile is what triggers many of our built in integrations, such as Google Analytics.

These profiles are the foundation of how we bring user behavior-rich value back to integrations. Don’t worry, we’ll cover how we use these profiles, segments, and custom Google Analytics dimensions together for our own marketing.

What Are Lytics Segments?

First, let’s define Lytics segments so we’re all on the same page moving forward.

Our segments are special. They aren’t built with a single channel or usage in mind. Instead, they are a way to describe a user on a granular level, across all channels.

They can also be used to group users who have similar profile information. For instance, we can identify all users that have clicked an email in the last 30 days. This is useful for marketers that want to gage a sense of urgency with their audience base and respond with a timely campaign.

Sample of Lytics segment builder.

Having segments defined in Lytics is critical in bridging the user information gaps between your tools. These segments allow marketing teams to identify trends in Google Analytics and then respond by deploying a marketing campaign to that exact same segment.

There’s no need to attempt to recreate segment logic individually in each tool when you use Lytics.

What Are Google Analytics Custom Dimensions?

Custom Dimensions are built into Google Analytics and allow you to create a variable or “dimension” that programatically stores values that describe custom attributes of a user. You can use this feature to segment or filter out data within your favorite reports in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics interface for adding custom dimensions.

For our integration, we create two custom dimensions. One dimension stores our unique identifier, and another stores a comma separated list of segments that can be accessed within Google Analytics.

Example: Capturing Site Visit Behavior by User Profile

With all of the above in place, the magic happens as soon as a visitor hits the site.

User data returned to site via javascript

After a user has been identified, we pull their profile, pass the segments to Google Analytics using the ga(set) method and enhance your ability to accurately report and uncover behavior-rich user insights to influence and improve your marketing.

Sample Google Analytics dimensions with Lytics segment values.

Turn What-Ifs into Opportunities for Web Personalization

With Lytics, you sync a behavior-rich segment with your favorite email marketing tool and deploy a campaign. That same exact segment information is shared with Google as customers hit your site regardless if they opened, clicked, searched or went to a bookmark.

Now you have the ability to get a full picture of what impact that campaign had. What’s more, you can start to understand user behavior patterns, and adapt to them by providing deeper, resonant web and brand experiences.

Maybe you uncover better channels for communication or better timing for the campaign. Can you deploy your emails individually so they hit the inbox of a user at the precise time they are most likely to open it (spoiler alert, you can with Lytics)?

Connecting Lytics and Google Analytics gives you a more clear look at user behaviors. Any marketing team that wants to relate to customers and users based on this kind of context needs this type of tool.

For us, this is the tip of the iceberg. Next we’ll dive into people based analytics tools like Mixpanel, KISS and Intercom.

If you’re curious of how you could pull something off with or without Lytics, drop us a line and we might feature your idea in our next post!


By Mark Hayden Engineer

Mark is a full-stack wonder at Lytics. If he’s not building marketing technology integrations, he might be working on other technical portions of Lytics, or designing something new. We’re still trying to figure out what he can’t do.

“Look mom, I’m on the internet!”