Setting up goals in Google Analytics

6 11 2007

If you want to get more complete image about your website you need to know how well your site is converting. It was designed with a specific goal in mind, be it game download, game purchase or filling up newsletter form. Google Analytics can help you track goal conversion rate.

For a website dedicated to games I advise to setup two goals: game download and game purchase. Those two are the most important goals your site should be aimed for. You need to maximize number of downloads per visitor and your games should maximize number of purchases.

If your Google Analytics account is set up and working you can proceed to setup goals. Click Edit link in Settings column. In the second table you will be able to setup up to 4 goals. Click edit on G1.

You will need to enter goal information: Goal URL and Goal Name. URL is important. Google uses it to determine whether the goal was achieved or not. If you enter wrong URL, your goal will not be tracked. Goal name is not that important, but keep it meaningful.

If you want G1 to track downloads you can skip funnel section completely. If you track purchases you can enter URL of all steps that are necessairy to complete order, like enter billing informations, credit card data, etc. You will be able to check where people abondon purchase process.

In additional settings you can set 3 important parameters:
– case sensitive – check it if your URL is case sensitive
– match type – there are 3 options: exact match, head match and regular expression match
– goal value – if you know average CR for games on your site you can enter ie. $0.2 (1% CR and $20 games). You can set it to 0 if you plan to track orders in G2

Match type is the trickiest one. First of all, to make it work, you need a page your game is downloading that will redirect to a certain binary file. On this page you need to put Google Analytics code. And last but not least, if you want to track all downloads, you better put that page in subfolder download and choose regular expression match. Enter /download/ as Goal URL. Otherwise if you enter URL without or with www. one of this URL’s will not be tracked.

As I mentioned in one of my previous articles, tracking orders is not so easy. First of all, you need to put Google Analytics code on your invoice page. If you are using eSellerate, you are lucky. eSellerate is kind enough to setup this on request. I don’t know if other e-commerce providers can assist you with it, but their help would let you not only track number of transactions, but also order value and quantity of purchased products (and even more, like average order value, site conversion rate, revenue per medium, etc.).

If you want to track revenue per medium (referrals), then you need to do one more thing. You need to pass Google Analytics cookies to third-party domain, which is your e-commerce providers domain. Due to security restrictions, you cannot do it from your own domain. I use set of php scripts that redirect visitors to eSellerate shopping cart. If you don’t use such scripts, you better start using them. I modified those scripts to fetch Google Analytics cookies and save them into database along with visitor IP. Then, when shopping cart loads into browser, it calls another php script on my page that writes JavaScript code to setup cookies on eSellerate domain. It sound complicated, but it’s not that hard. In next article I’ll post PHP code that does it all.

Once you get some orders you’ll be able to see a lot of great informations about your website. But having information is just the beggining, what you do with it is the key to your success.

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Installing Google Analytics

29 10 2007

Tracking your visitors is very important. If you don’t know who is visiting your site, where is coming from or what are your most popular pages then you are not able to improve your website. What is even worse, you don’t know if a change on your website has a positive or negative impact on your traffic. There are various options available for website owners, from free to commercial. For a long time I have been using commercial software, but it didn’t give me information I needed. And then I found Google Analytics.

Google wants you to attract more of the traffic you are looking for, and help you turn more visitors into customers.

Use Google Analytics to learn which online marketing initiatives are cost effective and see how visitors actually interact with your site. Make informed site design improvements, drive targeted traffic, and increase your conversions and profits.

Google Analytics is a free tracking tool (though some argue about it and say it’s an exchange deal – you let them know how big is your site, they let you use their software). Installation process is quite simple. You need to go to and set up a Google account, or if you have a Google account just sign in and Google will create Analytics service for you.

The next step is to add website profile. Google will show you tracking code. All you need to do is to copy this code into your website footer (I hope you do use templates). After Google verifies placement of tracking code you are ready to go. Come back next day and check out what it was able to track. If you see no data, it means you did something wrong.

The best thing about Google Analytics is that you place just one piece of code and it detects which pages on your site are the most popular. This is something not every commercial soft offers. You can easily find out that ie. “your game description page” is the most popular page on your website and what’s more – you can find out how people go to this page (search engine traffic, referrals, direct entries, etc.).

Setting up Google Analytics is almost done. The important step is to set up goals. This will be covered in the next post.

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Learn how you can sell more games without spending a penny

24 10 2007

Sell MoreI, just like many developers here, was suffering due to lack of sales. Creating games is fun, but when your game is done, you put in on your website and then wait… wait… and sometimes sales come, but mostly not.

I started to ask myself why is this happening. My games are great (don’t they? ;-)) so what’s wrong? Am I the only one that likes my game?

I started to read various blogs regarding making money online. No, not to make money selling ads, but to learn how to improve my website. When I finally got some results I decided to write few articles to help you find the right way.

So you want to know how to get more sales without spending a penny?

First of all, you need to know who is visiting your site and what one is doing. You need a good tracking tool. Because you don’t want to spend a penny, you can use Google Analytics (GA). That’s what I use and it works great. Installing Google Analytics is easy, so I won’t go deep into this topic today.

When you get GA working the next thing you need to do is to set goals. I recommend setting two goals, but you can have up to four. First one should be game download. Second one, game purchase.

I advise you to install same goal tracking code on all download pages. I assume that you have some kind of a page: “You are downloading…” and then this page is redirecting to binary file.

Google Analytics will track how many downloads you have and what is your site conversion to goal (CRd). What is even more important, GA can report this in depth, so you can find out CRs for each referral. This will let you choose sites that have quality traffic and you can invest some more money into advertising on those sites.

Shopping CartTracking purchases ain’t that easy. Most of us make use of a 3-rd party shopping cart. I use A lot of people uses Plimus, BMT Micro, etc. If you want to track your orders you need to contact your e-commerce provider. eSellerate did a great job for me implementing GA.

You can meet a problem here. Your e-commerce provider my not let you redirect your customer to your site (thank you page), so you lose referral information. You can workaround this by using a mix of PHP and JS script that sets GA cookies on e-commerce service domain. I wrote that script for eSellerate and if you want I can send it to you (I’ll write an article about this later).

When all is set and working you need to wait a little bit to get some data. After that take a look at following metrics:

  • visitors to download conversion (CRv2d)
  • visitors to purchase conversion (CRv2p)
  • download to purchase conversion (CRd2p)
  • bounce ratio

You can improve each of this metrics. If you succeed improving it, you will get more sales without spending a penny. How to do that? You need to use Google Website Optimizer. You can read about one of my experiments in the post Improving Runes of Avalon website. In the nearest future I will talk about how you can make such experiments using Google Website Optimizer on your own.

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