Google Analytics is the web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google launched this service in November 2005, till the date it is most widely used website statistic on internet. Among many, here is the success story of how Google Analytics helped American Cancer Society to assess and improve the effectiveness of their website cancer.org and fundraise for cancer research and treatment projects.
About American Cancer Society:
The American Cancer Society has been working relentlessly for more than 100 years to eliminate and to find the cure for cancer and help patients fight back.With the help of million of supporters worldwide it helps people stay well and get well, find cures. It’s headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia. One can view their work on www.cancer.org. To support their efforts, the society uses a number of websites and mobile apps to provide information on cancer detection, treatment. It offers volunteer opportunities and accept donations.
In 2012, the members of society decided to seek help to understand how visitors are interacting with their sites and apps. As the website contains information, opportunity offers and donations also ; visitors visit the site with different needs and goals. So the challenge was to isolate these visitors and group them to different customer segments and help the ACS to achieve their goals.
The society also wanted to implement Google Analytics on its sites to monitor how users changed behavior over time and re-market to all identified customer segments.
So society turned to digital analytics and began working with Search Discovery to help understand how users are interacting with their sites and applications, and to address data quality concerns with the Google Analytics implementation on several sites. Search Discovery is a digital marketing and analytics agency that helps organizations transform their marketing through the effective collection and use of data. Search Discovery is a Google Analytics Premium Authorized Reseller and Google Analytics Certified Partner.
Goals set by Search Discovery:
- Identifying the different customer segments and the way they are interacting with ACS sites and apps.
- Observing the changes in the behavior of users over time.
- Re-marketing more effectively to each identified segment of users.
The American Cancer Society and Search Discovery started working with Google Analytics to capture data that would help them to identify user segments. It quickly became apparent that users of the websites owned by the ACS fall into three main categories;
- Info seekers: People seeking cancer signs and symptoms, some are needing help with understanding a cancer diagnosis.
- Event participants: People who are seeking opportunities to participate in walks, races, and other events to fund raise for cancer research and support services.
- Donors: People who simply want to make donations to help the fight against cancer.
The users are classified into different customer segments according to the unique goal that the user intends to achieve on the website. The digital marketing team has to isolate these customer segments to help users achieve those goals, monitor how these behaviors change over time, or re-market to these segments after they have been identified.
The team started capturing data for each segment using Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics and then determining whether they are successful in competing goal.
First they used Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics to capture necessary information to understand the segment a user belongs to :
Info seeker: User has viewed pages in the cancer info section
Event participants: User completed registration for one or more events
Donors: User made donation
The team began mapping website events that indicate when the user is successful or unsuccessful at meeting the goals. Custom metrics were used to send a score for each event :
- Recency score = 1 point awarded if previous session was within the past seven days
- Engagement score = 1 point awarded for every three pages viewed
- Conversion score = 1 point awarded for each donation, registration for an event or a view of an entire article on cancer information
- Revenue score = 1 point awarded for larger gifts than average gift size of about $70
This scoring method helped the marketing team to monitor the overall health of the site for each user segment and follow trends over time.It allows the team to dig deeper into the data when abnormalities arise.
The most important benefit of this analytics is that the society could re-market to its users based on any combination of these segments and scores by using Google Display Network. This integration can be used in different ways as below :
- Target cancer information seeker with an invitation to donate to cancer research efforts
- Share ideas with event participants to raise funds
- Encourage event participants who have not donated to make a personal donation in addition to raise funds from others
- Invite previous participants to take part in new local events
Cancer.org is the primary site of American Cancer Society to distribute cancer research and information, but there is a separate site called Making Strides Against Breast Cancer that is used to raise money for breast cancer research.
In Oct 2014, the site performance score for cancer.org began to increase dramatically over the prior month. After following behavior analysis, the team determined that this was due to increased average transaction size and average time on site during Breast Cancer Awareness month. However, they had expected breast cancer donors to arrive on the Making Strides site, and cancer.org was not optimized to receive this traffic. In response, the team at ACS created promotions on cancer.org to drive traffic to the Making Strides site and it worked. The links were clicked by more than 39000 people during that month. Also, the team created a new donation form for breast cancer on cancer.org that sent funds only to breast cancer research, generating a 5.4% lift in cancer.org revenue over the prior year and year over here.
According to Ashleigh Bunn, director of digital analytics ;
“The insights we’ve gained from Google Analytics and working with Search Discovery continue to influence the Society business decisions for the positive. Not only are our marketing decisions well informed, but our digital content is driven by user experience and engagement. We’re looking forward with enthusiasm and optimism.”
Now the society analysts use the user scoring metrics implemented by Search Discovery to measure the performance of other website changes and re-market projects.
As the American Cancer Society continues to follow its journey to fulfill the noble cause, Google Analytics is helping it to reach a new generation of supporters, patients and donors in the fight against cancer.
Image credit: www.cancer.org, Google Analytics