I recently had a very enlightening conversation with a guy from the Google Analytics premium team. He wanted me to teach him some web scraping tips so could add to the data in GA for his clients. It reminded me of a powerful GA feature that I’d forgotten about: Data Import.
We discussed how Google Analytics is great, but unless you are connecting it to data from other sources, you are limiting the picture and missing out on a whole universe of insights. Which is why the GA team created Data Import in the first place, but now – with tools like ours – this tool can really come into its own.
In any context, a greater depth and breadth of data has always proven to be beneficial. Google Analytics is no different.
Adding more data into the mix you can start to answer questions like:
- How many views and ‘shares’ did your content get, based on the traffic source?
- How many people used a voucher code from your blog post via their telephone?
- How many sales did you make offline, and which pages generated those calls?
- How many of your sales were refunded?
- What products with which features get the most views at lunch time on a weekday?
Get a unified view of your data
The Google Analytics Data Import feature does exactly what it sounds like: it lets you upload data from external sources and combine it with your GA data.
“You can then use Google Analytics to organize and analyze all of your data in ways that better reflect your business.”
What data you should be importing
The type of data you push into your GA account depends on the type of insights you’re looking for. Google provides several different types of data imports:
- Refund data – align your internal ecommerce reporting with Google Analytics by importing ecommerce refund data.
- User Data – create segments and remarketing lists that incorporate imported user metadata, such as a loyalty rating or lifetime customer value.
- Campaign Data – expand and reuse your existing non-Google campaign codes by importing ad campaign-related dimensions, such as source.
- Geographical Data – create custom geographical regions, allowing you to report on and analyze Google Analytics data in ways that are better aligned with your business’ organization.
- Content Data – group content using imported content metadata, such as author, date published, and article category.
- Product Data – gain better merchandising insights by importing product metadata, such as size, color, style, or other product-related dimensions.
- Custom Data – provides support for importing custom data sets.
- Cost Data – include 3rd party (non-Google) ad network clicks, cost and impression data to gain a more complete picture of your ad spend.
Most of these data types are actually just extensions of things that GA already does. But the really interesting one is the Custom Data.
Example Use Case: Affiliate Data
Let’s pretend that your analytics system records a affiliate ID as a campaign, but no other information about the affiliate. Using Data Import you can now extend your dataset to include any other information you care to upload about that affiliate
- Geo location
- Commission rate,
- Source of the affiliate etc…
Collecting and analyzing that information allows you to answer important questions such as this one: “What level of commission gives you the best trade off of commission vs traffic in america compared to the UK?””
To do it, create a CSV with those data points by extracting the data from all your affiliate marketplace websites and then import that data to GA with the affiliate ID as the primary key.
Now you can know the answer to that and a 1000 other variations, by segmenting your Google Analytics set using the inbuilt features plus your imported data.
Where to get data to import
The best place to look is on the web. If the data you need to import is stored in web page, or your internal admin systems that has no data export system, simply use import.io’s web data platform to create an Extractor that outputs a nice CSV you can just upload to Google and you are done.
Tip: A lot of the info you may want to import into Google Analytics will be on a website, behind a login, so it probably worth learning how to make an Extractor to get the data you need.
For more info on the Data Import Feature of Google Analytics click here.
Have an idea for how you could use the GA Import Data function and import.io? Tell us about it in the comments 🙂