8
2007
Aug

Google Analytics Counter-Intel

Rob Dumouchel

One of the most overlooked advantages of using Analytics is the business intelligence that can be extracted from the program. You can track specific visitor traffic, and generally keep an eye on everybody watching you. Sometimes extracting this type of information is labor intensive, but it can be very worth it. Plus if you’re like me, it’s fun.

Before I got involved with Search Marketing I was enlisted in the Army as a Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Analyst, oddly they go very well together. I was taught to gather, sort, and interpret data to figure out who was doing what where and why. The clever networker (the in-person type of networking) can use Google Analytics as a BIZINT tool to gauge their social effectiveness and who they should follow up with.

After going to a trade event, a Chamber of Commerce meeting, or any other type of networking meeting I come back to the office and check out the web site addresses on some of the business cards I picked up in the course of the evening. Chances are some of the people you gave your card to did the same thing. Give it a day or two and then check your analytics.

Select the day of the event up until today then on the side bar of analytics click “Visitors,” “Network Properties,” and then “Network Location.” The results will have the network location of every visit to your site. See any familiar names? Now not every business will have an identifiable result, smaller businesses will usually show up as a visit from an ISP like Charter, Comcast, RoadRunner and the like, but the midsize to big companies, schools, and government agencies will almost always be identifiable.

As you sort through this list you can see how many times they visited, how many pages they viewed and how long they visited for. If you want to investigate further click on the name of a specific network location, the next screen will be dedicated to just that location. Underneath the visit graph is a dropdown menu called “Segment” that has 20+ ways to dissect the traffic from this location. With this tool you can figure out if they came directly and used your card, or if they Googled you and what keyword they used to find you. You can even figure out if their office is running Windows, Mac, or Linux, and even their browser of choice. Experiment a little and see what data you can extract that would benefit you to know.

If you want to know what pages specific businesses were visiting Google is going to make you work just a little bit harder. Click on “Content” in the side bar and then “Content by Title” or “Top Content.” They both ultimately do the same thing. If you give your pages unique and easily identifiable titles choose “Content by Title” if your URLs are more easily identifiable use “Top Content.” From the resulting screen, click on the link for one of your pages. This will send you to a new page that gives you information on just one URL. In the “Segment” drop down choose “Network Location” to see which businesses may have visited that page. And now that you have Analytics set to show “Network Locations,” you can change the tracked URL via the “Content” dropdown menu.

If you see a person of interest lurking around your website, track their behavior. It may present a pattern that gives you a better idea of what may be important to them, and you can adjust your sales presentation accordingly. Also take the initiative and follow up with them. You’ve met them in person, they visited your web site, a follow up call or an e-mail wouldn’t be inappropriate at this point. What it is all worth is up to you, but I recommend keeping an eye on who is keeping an eye on you.