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  1. #1
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    How do you interpret Places Insights?

    For what seems like forever, I have been trying to find a way to gauge how well my local efforts are paying off. I don't find this particularly easy with Google Places Insights. Trying to search through analytics (these days) seems like a chore in and of itself due to the new features, changes, etc.

    Back to Insights.... how do you all interpret "Impressions" and "Actions" in terms of getting a feel for performance? I noticed directions have been popular but few clicks to get more info and clicks to your website. Could this be a result of the way Google displays the local listing? Is this a true gauge for how well the business is doing locally?

    I know that Insights has not been a very accurate tool in the past. I don't every plan to use it as the spoken word but I'm curious to know how everyone else interprets the data provided under Insights?

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  3. #2
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    Re: How do you interpret Places Insights?

    I have always paid more attention to the "Top Search Queries" to get an idea of what the listing is getting impressions for. Of course, 292 out of 386 are other queries

    Prior to the new category options, when you could create your own in the Places dashboard, we had an Elder Law Attorney who was dead set on having "Medicaid Attorney". Eventually we noticed his top search query was "Medicaid Office" - not the type of potential client our client was looking for.

    Sometimes I view success as more impressions for the business name, like Katy Day Care Center, or for more impressions for a broad term like, preschool. Just depends on where the client started out and what their objectives are.

    I also find clients extremely uninterested in the details and would rather know where they rank and for what terms. Shocking, I know.
    Amber Robinson on G+

  4. #3
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    Re: How do you interpret Places Insights?

    We have too struggled to provide information from Google Analytics that clients are interested in seeing. Recently, I found a company called Megalytic who uses their own unique interface combined with GA to provide useful custom reports.

    Megalytic (I hope it's ok to provide a link - I am not affiliated with them in any way, but found this useful.)

    One of our clients recently wanted to see a YTY comparison of their website stats and the reports we were pulling from GA were difficult to interpret. We tried out Megalytic's trial, send the report to the client and the YTY comparison was extremely simple to understand and this client wants this YTY comparison every month instead of the GA reports we normally send.

    This will be our go-to reporting option for our higher end clients who are non-technical and prefer simplified reports.

  5. #4
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    Re: How do you interpret Places Insights?

    Do you currently use Goal tracking in Google Analytics? Any offline tracking to determine where your leads are actually coming from?
    Chris McCreery - Local SEO & Technology Strategist
    Circle on Google+ | Follow on Twitter

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    Re: How do you interpret Places Insights?

    We do set up goals in GA and at the moment, it is to a thank you page to track online visits and conversions. I use heat maps to supplement GA to an extent to attempt to track the users interactions.

    I have not toyed with GA Goals enough to see if I can funnel the visit types more. It is definitely worth a look though. I have seen some traffic and referrals from Google Maps but with # of impressions and some of the terms showing up, I'm wondering if the visitor just looks past the listing, gets enough information from the listing that doesn't require them to click for more info or go to the website or the Insights data just flat out sucks...lol I'm sure there is a good combo of the above and I don't rely solely on Insights for valuable data but I wasn't sure how I could use this data to figure out any kind of positive or negative metric based on Insights data.

    Kristen, thank you for the recommendation. I'll have a look at their site.

    Amber, thank you for your insight. It depends on who you talk to at the business and on which day. Sometimes they don't care about the nitty-gritty data than when you least expect it, they want to drill down to every morsel of traffic. I've been searching for ways to effectively measure local business optimization efforts for quite some time.

    I was hoping Insights was redeveloped enough and expanded with all of the recent updates to give a better picture. Hopefully they will improve some more for us.

  7. #6
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    Re: How do you interpret Places Insights?

    You might want to implement offline tracking as well. Whitespark.ca has a free one that will even send your analytics tracking data as well. Once you have that data you could cross-tab it with the online stats and Insights to see if there is any correlation between the various mediums.
    Chris McCreery - Local SEO & Technology Strategist
    Circle on Google+ | Follow on Twitter

  8. #7
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    Re: How do you interpret Places Insights?

    This definitely looks like a handy tool for tracking. I can't even get these people on the phone to say hello never-mind getting them to ask a caller how they "how did you hear about us." lol

    I plan on going through GA to see about drilling down more where visitors come from. As a free tool from whitespark, it certainly does not hurt to try it out. Thank you for pointing that out.

  9. #8
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    Re: How do you interpret Places Insights?

    I think it depends on what the client is looking for. You should have a conversation with them about the limits of local insights, and then ask them about how they wish to measure success.

    For some, we see the Driving directions as a conversion metric, because obviously if a customer mapped directions to your business, then they had some intention of converting.

    Also if you can show the increase in insights month over month. With the new dashboard, you can only go back 90 days, but if you have screenshots of the rankings from months prior, you can show your clients year over year growth.

    Many clients are just concerned about showing up in the "pack listing" on the first page.

    I think each client will have different goals, so speak with them and work out a reporting plan!
    Free Local Checklist
    51Blocks - "White Label" Google Places & Website Development/Hosting - Will Pay Good $$ for Wordpress website hosting referrals
    Wordpress Site Speed Problems? Site speed optimization is part of our hosting - 90's on Google PageSpeed Insights

  10. #9
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    Re: How do you interpret Places Insights?

    It's funny you mention driving directions. If the business is a standalone business and has it's own address, this may work. For businesses that are in an office or a strip mall per say, Driving Directions can be deceiving.

    I had this very conversation with a client and asked them if they were seeing an increase in people coming through the door. The company had occupancy in an office building (using suites) with a mall across the street. It was unknown if people were looking for the mall or another office in the building but they reported that nobody came in off the street or walked into their office. The driving direction numbers were very high compared to what I was seeing and I was excited. Turns out, bogus...lol

    I agree that it definitely depends on what the client is looking for. Most of them want to see their business in the results. I would like a little better info to go off of to see where my time is best spent. Not for anything, half of these clients don't know what the heck they want let alone understand what SEO is or what it is that we do day to day.

    Impressions are a decent gauge but I don't chalk that up to a whole lot if the ultimate goal isn't being reached. I can be on a million and two screens with my listing but if no actions are being taken, what good is it? I'm not tracking phone calls for myself and relying on the client to be honest and tell me if there is an increase or not in calls. Seeing an increase in calls, I can correlate that much better with impression data IMO.

    Thank you for the feedback all. I appreciate your thoughts and sharing of ideas.

  11. #10
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    Re: How do you interpret Places Insights?

    Update: I've started going through GA to see if I could drill down a little further to track referrals from Google Maps, G+ Maps, etc. Looking at the dashboard, I see that there have been a number of "Clicks to your Website." Looking through GA for the same time period as I'm seeing in the Places dash, I only see 1 referral from maps.google.com. In GA, I'm looking at: Acquisition > All Traffic > Primary Dimension: Source/Medium

    I plan on digging around some more but I want to see where y'all are looking in GA to track visits from Google Places or maps listings? I plan on setting up an event in an attempt to better capture & track these visits. I need to determine the various referring URL's which seems like a daunting task.

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