Data visualization: How to transform analytics data into actionable insights

Tired of buried insights in complex reports? Turn overwhelming analytics data into clear insights with data visualization.

Dashboards and data visualizations are great for quickly and easily keeping tabs on campaigns and tracking progress toward your goals.

But you know where they really excel?

Keeping your stakeholders in the loop.

Data visualization tools that provide real-time updates with user-friendly interfaces, including drill-down options, give your stakeholders visibility they can use themselves.

Whether it’s tracking a paid social campaign, assessing the impact of recent SEO efforts or reviewing an email blast, up-to-the-minute data empowers them to make timely, informed decisions.

Read more about the power of data visualization in Alan K’necht’s latest column for Martech.

PubCon 2024 March 4-6

This March, Alan K’necht will be speaking at Pubcon in Las Vegas. Pubcon, is the premier new media and optimization conference, was founded in 2001. K’necht has been a regular speaker at it for about 20 years.

His session is entitled “Google Analytics 4 – Navigating the Transition“.

K’necht will be joining two other speakers (Adam Proehl) and Scott Hendison on a session focused on Google Analytics 4 and what people need to know about the transitioning from the former Google Universal Analytics (GA3) to GA4.

Image shows session title and speakers

How to Safeguard Your UA Data

Google’s Universal Analytics (UA) data is scheduled to become unavailable to all users on December 31, 2023. This means that the majority of UA users will lose access to their historical data (data collected prior to July 1 of this year) when they were mandated to transition to GA4. The urgency of saving your UA data cannot be overstated. In this guide, we’ll explore effective strategies to safeguard your invaluable UA data.

What can you do to save all your data before it disappears? Here are some options:

Methods for Saving Your UA Data

Option 1: Save Data as PDFs

Step 1: Identify the data you truly need on an ongoing basis by looking at the data you consistently refer to or include in reports.

Step 2: Generate custom reports that capture this essential data.

Step 3: Determine the reporting range, specifying a period like July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, or any timeframe relevant to your organization’s needs.

Step 4: Establish your data reporting periods, typically on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Step 5:  Export the report as a PDF from within UA, working your way backward in time to capture all the historical data required.Image shows the export options within Google's Universal Analytics. They are PDF, Google Sheets, Excel (XLSX), , (CSV) and Unsampled Report

However, it’s essential to note that this method results in static documents, limiting their usability for complex investigations or analysis.

Alternative Approaches to Saving Your UA Data

Option 2: Export Data as CSV or Google Sheets

Benefits of this Option:

  • Greater flexibility than PDFs
  • Suitable for larger datasets

Limitations of this Option:

  • A maximum of 500 lines per dimension can be exported from UA (compared to 5,000 with GA4).
  • Not suitable for exporting reports with more than 500 pages or reports with multiple dimensions exceeding 500 within a given reporting period.

Repeat steps 1-4 from Option 1, but instead of exporting the data to a PDF, choose the CSV format (which can be imported into Excel files) or Google Sheets.

Option 3: Looker Studio – A Comprehensive Solution to Safeguard Your UA Data

This option is similar to Option 1 but uses Google’s Looker Studio for creating custom reports. While it may be more time-consuming, the benefits are immense. Looker Studio utilizes Google API for extracting data, eliminating row limits.

Step 1 – 4: Repeat Steps from Option 1

Steps 1 to 4 from Option 1 apply to Option 3, with the added advantage of using Google’s Looker Studio for creating custom reports.

Sample Looker Stuido Custom report showing KPI for landing pages
Example of a a Landing page Report using Looker Studio

Step 5: Export the data from the Looker Studio report to Google Sheets for each reporting period.

Steps 6: Organize and Consolidate

Create a master Google Sheet for the entire date range needed to save your data. Then, access each Google Sheet with exported data (Step 5), rename it with the appropriate date range, and send it to the master sheet. This approach offers unlimited rows (dimensions), ensuring the safety of your data.

Image shows multiple tabs in a Google Sheet. Each tab contains the name of a month and year

The major benefit of Option 3 and using Looker Studio is that there are virtually no limitations on how many rows (dimensions) can be exported.

Other Options for Protecting Your UA Data

While other options, such as implementing Google API for data extraction into a data warehouse or alternative formats, exist, these may necessitate expertise beyond that of most analysts. In such cases, it is advisable to seek assistance from your systems or database team.

In conclusion, taking proactive measures to save your UA data is imperative as the deadline for data inaccessibility draws near. Evaluate the options outlined in this guide and choose the method that best suits your organization’s needs, ensuring the security and accessibility of your invaluable UA data.

If you need help with any of these, feel free to reach out. We’ve helped many people save their Universal Analytics data already.


Pubcon 2023 – Austin Texas – Take Aways

Picture of session listings out side of the conference session room. Half way down it list's Alan's sessionIt’s been six years since I last presented at a Pubcon event. How wonderful  it was to return and reconnect in person with numerous friends and colleagues from the Search Marketing industry. As is the case with all conferences, some of the most valuable insights came from casual conversations by vendor booths, during breaks between sessions, and at evening networking events. Naturally, the various sessions provided a wealth of knowledge as well.

The session I presented was titled “GA4: Customize the UI and Reports”. It was held in the largest of the four conference rooms, a space grand enough to accommodate the keynote speakers and all attendees. I interpreted this as a nod from the organizers, suggesting they anticipated my session would draw a significant crowd. Although the turnout was lighter than expected, those present eagerly absorbed the details and methodologies about optimizing Google Analytics 4 by customizing its User Interface and utilizing Looker Studio to enhance & simplify reporting.

Alan standing in front of a large screen point a Looker Studio Report detailing Scroll Tracking

Feedback during the Q&A, as well as comments shared in the hallways, assured me of the session’s success, notwithstanding the less-than-expected attendance.

Photo of Alan delivering his conference address at Pubcon with session moderator Chris Boggs sitting in the background

One observation from Pubcon that stood out to me was the popularity of sessions centered on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Nearly every AI session was bustling with attendees. I had the opportunity to attend several, and one particularly noteworthy session was conducted by Dixon Jones. He spotlighted a case study from his firm, Inlinks, where they evaluated various AI tools to determine which produced the most SEO-friendly content. Although the findings weren’t definitive, a key takeaway was evident: not all AI tools perform equally, and human oversight of AI-generated content remains indispensable.

Another standout moment was the Keynote address by Microsoft’s Sharon Peng. The keynote delved into Microsoft’s free Clarity product. Peng not only highlighted the potency of this tool but also emphasized its ease of implementation and methods to harness a new depth of user interaction with one’s website.

I also had the opportunity to follow up with Peng and her team at their vendor table. During this interaction, I gained deeper insights into the product and learned just how straightforward its implementation can be, particularly if a website already uses Google Tag Manager. Subsequently, I tested it on a few sites, and the results were consistent with the Clarity team’s promises. I will be recommending it to all my clients.

Having been a regular at Pubcons since the early 2000s, I’m thrilled to see the conference persist despite the devastating impact of COVID on the event industry. While it’s evident that current attendance doesn’t match the pre-COVID era (a trend I also observed at various conferences the past 2 year including Digital Summit a day earlier), numbers are on the rise. Here’s to hoping that Pubcon and similar conferences reclaim their former glory in the not-so-distant future.

How to Add Google Search Console reports to GA4

Many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) professionals are lamanting the retirement of Universal Analytics (UA) in favor of its successor, Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Their main gripe? The absence of familiar reports they had become accustomed to.

While it’s true that many reports from UA are no longer present in the default GA4 setup, they haven’t disappeared altogether; they’re just a bit hidden.

In this video, discover how you can integrate your website’s Google Search Console data and reports into GA4 in under a minute.

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GA4 Channels Ensure your links are properly tagged

There is a difference in utm tagging of marketing links (paid and organic) between GA4 and older Google Universal Analytics (UA) for different channels. In Alan’s latest column for martech entitled “Campaign tracking in GA4: How to ensure your links are properly tagged“, he covers many of these issues.

Digital marketers today, are experiencing confusion between the new GA4 channels and old marketing channels in Google Universal Analytics (UA). Of special concern is the new Unassigned catchall channel category.

Learn how to correctly set the utm_source and utm_medium parameters to ensure that all traffic generated from marketing efforts gets attributed to the correct marketing channel. Thereby ensuring no traffic gets attributed to the catchall of “Unassigned”.
Image of the channels report from GA4 with the Unassigned channel highlighted

Read the full column at:

Digital Marketing & Accessiblity

How to make web accessibility a part of digital marketing efforts

in his latest column for Martech, interviews a leading experts on Accessibility with a focus on accessibility and digital marketing.

Through interviews with Meryl K. Evans, CPAC, Kim Krause Berg, CPACC and  Lea Scudamore, he explores what most organizations are doing wrong and things they can do address accessibility short comings in their digital marketing efforts. It is only by addressing and fixing these that company can increase the ROI on their digital marketing efforts.

Read the follow column: How to make web accessibility a part of digital marketing efforts

Alan K’necht to Present at DigitalSummit Washington

Alan K’necht is presenting once again at a live conference on August 4, 2022 in Washington DC. This is his first IN-PERSON presention in over 2 years and he’ll be at Digital Summit Washington DC.

Details on the specific topic are still being worked out, but you can be assured they will involve analytics and making your data sing!

If you’d like to attend you can use the special discount code for the event SPEAKER75 (saves you $75)