YouTube And Google Analytics: Working Together
This week in Youtubular Conversations I look at how Google Analytics can be used to learn about visitors from YouTube. I wanted to talk about paid YouTube ads but failed. My research lead a story about organic traffic from YouTube and understanding its value. This episode is also a gate-way to semi-advanced Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is NOT Scary, it’s FUN
Communicating With A Goal
Today professional communicators are being ask to provide qualified leads, and even sell products. That means directing folks to a web site, not once but multiple times. Even on a community or not-for-profit site where education and outreach is “the product,” it’s likely that folks who come more then once, are more likely to be activated, engaged, educated and inspired.
YouTube Is A Major Component Of Attracting Visitors Who Will Visit Again and Again – A Goal For Most Brands
P in PESO
Communicators need to amplify their storytelling with paid media. I wanted to compare YouTube Ads and AdWord Ads; they are very different in nature.
Google Searches vs. YouTube Searches
AdWords are triggered by searches that are often questing for answers that have a tangible immediacy like “restaurants near me open now,” “where can I eat Italian near me?,” “best laptop under $500,” or “computer store near me open after 8pm”). In-Market searches indicate folks are close to making a purchase decision, or semantically indicate a purchase decision has been made, and they are looking at where to buy it “where can I buy an Samsung Chromebook model XE513C24-K01US .” Ad buyers track users through there entire series of queries and pay a premium to reach folks “ready to buy.”
YouTube is considered the world’s second largest search engine, regular visitors to YouTube may rarely search. Regulars are often subscribed to specific channels and the user interface (UI) floats episodes from subscribed shows to the surface, along with curated selections based on user interests, and general trends.
YouTube is The World’s Second Largest Search Engine
Different Search Type
Those who are searching on YouTube are not likely to be “ready to buy.” They search early in the information research stage, or even after a purchase. A Google Millard Brown study found folks 64% of folks search YouTube regarding electronics both a week before and a week after purchase. Other searches may have nothing to do with purchasing like those looking for a rant, review, to hear a story, seeking new skills, or general education (5 Ways A Car Wash Will Destroy Your Car, or How can I make a fence without cement).
I’ve bought ads that run on YouTube direct from Google and through 3rd parties. But I was looking for some data I could share with you for this episode. As I noted above I failed. If you have data that can be publicly shared. I love to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org.
TGMT: Cheap Trinkets and $300 Learning Thermostats
The Google Merchandise Store (TGMS)
Google runs paid ads to drive some traffic to their merchandise store ($3k in 2016) and they make the data available through Google Analytics. This is a real store that in 2016 sold ~ 2.5 million dollars — about .01% of Alphabet’s* 2016 gross revenue (*Google’s parent).
Shared Media Not Paid
It turns out that TGMS doesn’t buy paid spots on YouTube, at least done that I found in the data from 2016, or 2017. They do get a fair amount of traffic from YouTube, more than any other social network. They also don’t get a lot of sales directly from folks who directly visited from YouTube. The data as I discuss in this episode of Youtubular Conversations indicates that in 2016 YouTube was the largest source of organic traffic from all social media sites. YouTube wasn’t however the largest source of revenue as you can see below.
Small Sales – Bigly Referral Traffic
In 2016 TGMS had less than $700 in direct sales from YouTube. For this episode I examined data from July 20, 2016 to Dec 20, 2016; in that period of time there was less than $150 in direct revenue spread across seven transactions. But direct revenue isn’t the only story here.
Gini Dietrich, my friend, FIR Podcast Host, (and client) agrees that PR Can generate sales but don’t forget about ESO (Earned, Shared and Owned).
Time May Be Your Best Sales Person
Time Makes The Most Sales
At TGMS about 70% of their sales come from folks who have visited more than once. I know because I’ve spend about 40 hours reviewing the data for TGMS in the last 6 months for a class I teach.
One thing I’m sure of (in general) and specifically for this store… it takes time to make sales. Which should make sense to communicators. It takes time to build relationships, trust, and mind share. It takes time to find the time to engage, research and transact.
As the chart indicates, YouTube visitors are less likely that the average visitor from returning to the site. But the they do return. Many folks who do transact on TGMS do so on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th visit.
90 Day Limit
Google Analytics has lots of amazing features but many of them only retain data for 90 days and they don’t allow for retention of any personally identifiable information.
- You can assign each visitor an unique ID, but it can’t be an email address or a Social Security Number.
- Google Analytics will keep track of every time a person returns to your site, every action they take, including the referral path (direct, paid, social). However that data is only retained for 90-day.
- You can even add off-line data like attending an event or receiving a physical letter or an email.
- They will retain the date of the first visit.
- It’s not un-common to have a customer record where the first visit was 4, 5, or 6 months ago — only the activities, actions and paths from the last 90 are available.
- Brands that need to retain that data export it to Customer Relationship Management systems, and/or use other analytics packages like PiWik, MixPanel, or Kissmetrics.
- Some brands send the same data to both Google Analytics and PiWik or MixPanel.
- Google does offer a service with longer retention starting at $150,000 a year.
- Not only does Google Analytics drop data after 90 days; at the report level the data is often sampled (as you can see in some of the reports below).
In the episode I mention a number of the reports I looked at. I have included them here. Unless otherwise notes, all of these reports were recorded on Sunday Feb 5th, 2017 and is for TGMS using a data set from July 20, 2016 to Dec 20, 2016.
You Too Can Access The Demo Account
The demo account is open for everyone. If you don’t have a free Google Analytics account you will need to create one. If you normally access Google Analytics through a work emai/loginl, etc. you may wish to use a personal account if you don’t want the demo account showing up on the same dashboard you use at work. Click here for the instructions and link.