Matt Hacker

About Matt Hacker

As Geonetric’s client analytics strategist, Matt helps clients define goals and measure online success. He goes beyond numbers, translating data into actionable guidance. This former manager of Web services for a busy Web design and video production company has experience in everything from search engine optimization and social media management to usability and design. Matt received his bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of Northern Iowa. He is also a certified Google Analytics Individual.

Ah Crap! Google Changed Something… Again!

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Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most widely-used analytics programs in the world. Although Google tends to make changes to most of their products and algorithms often, Google Analytics is a little different. It only gets fundamental changes maybe once per year … and even that might be pushing it. Granted, there are little updates here and there that happen, but generally the big ones don’t happen that often. This has been true, until recently.

There are a lot of people who want GA to focus only on what they want and need. A lot of people used to say that the user interface (UI) of their analytics product was terrible (my opinion is that it was OK, but could use some help in certain areas). They also noted that it was too hard to find things and that there was too much fluff data in the program. Knowing that they can’t please everyone, Google has started making changes where the most people are asking for them.

Within the last week or so, there has been two HUGE changes to Google Analytics. Both of which change the fundamentals of the program many of us had finally began to master. Both of these changes center on the UI of their product. This is fascinating to me. Not the fact that they made a change – the fact that they made two changes so close together. I want to go over each of these changes and share some of the things that I have observed.
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Understanding Your Goals and Analytics Through Dashboards and Scorecards

Let’s face it, most online marketers (especially in healthcare) have trouble understanding their online goals and initiatives. Heck, a lot of organizations don’t even know what their goals are or how to generate good goals (I am not going to touch on how to generate good goals today, that’s for another post). And a lot of times, when organizations do have goals, they aren’t measurable.

One of the workshops I attended at the SHSMD Annual Conference this year in Chicago, IL was centered on dashboards and scorecards — specifically the right and wrong ways to do them and the information that should be going in each. Let me first go over what all of these different pieces are.
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Data Puke vs. Actionable Data

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There is a misunderstanding with some online marketers that simply believe looking at your website’s visits and pageviews is indicative of the successes or failures of your site. Really? Come on, you can do better… a lot better.

I challenge everyone to dig deeper, but not so deep that you generate data puke. Data puke is the difference between ‘Web Reporting’ and ‘Web Analysis.’ It’s a term that Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, uses heavily and it’s one that has stuck with me ever since first reading about it. In essence, most of the time Web reporting generates data puke, where Web analysis generates actionable data.

In Avinash’s blog post, The Difference Between Web Reporting And Web Analysis, he gives readers a list of 10 signs you’re doing Web analysis in hopes that you can identify data puke when you see it. While I agree with what Avinash has to say, I would like to put my own spin on this list and share with you 5 signs you are generating data puke and then give you 5 signs you are generating actionable data through performing Web analysis.
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