Google analytics is a powerful data aggregator - if offers a wide breadth of reports and graphs but brands aren’t always aware that they add custom data to the platform.

 

Website Optimization Data

When performing and AB or multivariate test marketers are frequently faced with using the analytics available on the testing platform. This can be a hurdle for analysts and decision-makers because reconciling large data models together can be an exhausting effort.

 

After all of the work of choosing a tool and building a test you are now responsible for tying together your normal website data and testing platform data. While this sounds like a dire situation, there is actually a very simple solution - custom dimensions.

 

Before someone can understand how to implement custom dimensions in their AB/multivariate tests, it is important to understand what they are and how they can be used.

 

Custom Dimensions

Google gives every account 20 custom dimensions to track important customer behaviour. Custom variables can be provisioned with simple syntax:

ga('set', 'dimension5', 'custom data');

There is more specific information on the documentation found here:

https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/custom-dims-mets

 

Many companies only rely on the out of box data available for Google Analytics of Universal Analytics, but Google actually empowers all of its users to collect important information.

 

Custom dimensions have the ability to attribute to the pageview, the session or the user. By tapping into this customized reporting functionality users can be segmented by:

 

  • Registered/Non-Registered

  • Logged in/Non-Logged in

  • Big Spenders

  • Frequent Buyers

 

For publishers custom dimensions can be used to evaluate content types such as the following:

 

  • Brand Pillars

  • Categories

  • Author

 

Data like this can be combined in several ways in custom reports, or if you are technically savvy you can utilize the reporting UI. The output allows for data to be sliced very finely and allows digital marketer to truly understand their audience.


 

 

Bringing Custom Dimensions into a Test

Now the beauty of the custom variable is it can be fired a number of ways. If your optimization platform has a plugin for GA (like Optimizely) then we suggest you utilize that for efficiency.

 

Plugins are not required to get your testing platform to work with GA, they just make it easier. As long as you can paste the GA code into each variable that will play on your site, then the recording will occur.

 

A final caveat for implementation is that custom variables need to be set before the page hit fires in your standard google analytics tracking code.

 

The Strategic Advantage of Leveraging GA with tests

Now that your test is running you can analyze every dimension and metric that GA has available by each variable in your test. Some advantages of this level of resolution on testing data are listed below:

 

  1. Able to measure performance by AOV and revenue per session instead of just conversion rate.

  2. Possible to segment an individual variable and look at behavior flow.


     

  3. Possible to segment by events provisioned like:

    1. Newsletters

    2. Sign-up

    3. Sign-In

    4. Form Submission

 

After reviewing the several dimensions to measure it becomes very evident that by utilizing your analytics platform to review your testing data - not only do you remove the need to reconcile to data sources, but the wide variety of data available to you increases as well.

 

In summary, GA custom dimensions allow you to integrate your testing and analytics platforms and helps determine which experiences assist which KPIs.

 

If you would like to learn more about SEO, web analytics, or user experience as it regards to your website and Truvisibility you can learn more at http://www.truvisibility.com/en/blog. If you are interested in trying Truvisibility out today simply go to truvisibility.com and press the “Get Started” button, it is free and easy.