Marketing Foundations: Analytics. Getting the data you need to Keep Optimising with Luke Carthy (episode 030)

by April Buencamino-dy

Luke started his eCommerce career client side, then after being invited to speak at MozCon 2019 (oh yes!) he decided to go it alone. He now spends his days helping his clients deliver sustainable eCommerce growth with SEO and CRO. In order to do that he’s often getting into the details of analytics setups to make sure what we’re seeing in our reports is (a) useful and (b) an accurate representation of what actually happened!

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How Luke Got into Analytics

At some point, Luke realized that everything he was doing came back to evidence and data.

He says it was important to him to do it himself and he’s really focused on building a lot of depth in his expertise. 

Google Analytics Out of the Box

A lot of people assume that one click google analytics reports are showing face value truth, but Luke says those are just the bare bones.

To turn analytics into information is far more complex. Asking questions and creating information is so critically important. Luke says you have to, at some point begin to ask the right questions.

For example, page KPI’s are a great example of the importance of going deeper. If you see 85% of people are bouncing the logical question is why is it so high? If 60% are converting,  you’ll want to paint the picture of why.

Consider Using Heat Maps

Heat Maps like Lucky Orange, Crazy Egg and Hot Jar will help you understand what your customers are doing on the site and will help you begin to address problems.

Start Customizing

Enrich GA data with your own systems. A great example of how to do this is using a custom dimension to add error messages into your Google Analytics.

If you can collect error messages that customers are seeing you will be able to easily line them up with GA data to quickly solve customer problems.

What Data To Look For

It all comes down to you vertical. Luke says, for instance, if you’re a lead generation business, pay attention to messages around your contact form.

If your captcha widget breaks, you’ll be losing leads like crazy for instance.

Google Data Studio

The right hand of Google Analytics, the two integrate very tightly and allow users to add in custom data sources.

Custom Definitions

  • Custom Metrics—Any with calculus against it is a metric
  • Custom Dimension—Anything not mathematical is typically a dimension
  • Metrics are based on a hit for a specific page
  • Dimension can stick on hits, sessions and users.

Google Tag Manager

The easiest way to get data into GA is Google Tag Manager. Simo Ahava is The Godfather of this technique. 


Events are actions—things you complete. There are easy ways to set flags in GA that can be really helpful. You can also set them up as a goal. 

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with Foundations Marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Get the Basics Right. Nothing is more painful than seeing someone miss the basics.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve foundations marketing performance?

Ask people who have very little technical experience to play around with a new feature. Take notes to make it better.

It’s impossible to improve our marketing unless we’re monitoring the performance – but the list of stuff we could monitor can be overwhelming. So what, for you is the number one foundations marketing KPI?

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in foundations marketing?

Prepare for the unknown. 2020 showed us that sticking with the typical way of doing things didn’t work in 2020 and might not in 2021. Pay attention to your analytics instead of standards. Look at what you’re doing and ask if you could make it better.

Interview Links

Luke on Social media:

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