Before we begin, let us enjoy this New Year poem, by our own Dan Settlemire:

“Alright, so your shopping is done.
The stockings were hung.
So what is there next to do?

We are here,
Ready for the new year.
With blog reading to help get you through.

Cousin Michael snored,
Aunt Bertha was bored.
A Christmas Story was (again) on TV.

Overcome that slog,
With some industry blogs.
To engage you and set your mind free.”

If the title of this post and the poem didn’t give our topic away, let me clear the air. I have consolidated a few blogs for you to add to your New Year’s reading list! Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Data Studio are just some of the great products that we live and breathe every day here, and we think businesses of all types can get great value from them.

Whether you’re a mid-sized non-profit, a Fortune 500 company, or a Mom & Pop shop, I have grouped a few blogs together for you below. Kickstart your New Year with some posts to help guide your 2018 strategy!

For Small Companies / Mom and Pop Shops

Install Google Tag Manager on Your WordPress Site in 4 Minutes

Many, if not most, websites for small companies are hosted by WordPress. If you are part of this bucket – good news! Let, Michael Bartholow, walk you through how to add Google Tag Manager to your site in minutes! Tag Manager makes it easy to implement event and pageview tracking within Google Analytics, plus manage many conversion tags, like from AdWords, without needing to be a developer. Now that you have this taken care of, check out all of our blogs on Google Tag Manager to get more out of your website!

Maximize Your AdWords Budget for Small Businesses

Google AdWords is not just for large companies! Small companies can get a huge benefit from it too, even if your marketing budget isn’t millions of dollars a year. Zach Tabler will walk you through spending your advertising dollars in very targeted and intentional ways so you do not spend money on large cover-all marketing plans. The key is to be very specific with your targets and to set your own budgets!

For Medium Companies and Non-Profits

How To Use the Google Analytics Settings Variable in Google Tag Manager

Earlier this year, we were given a new feature in Google Tag Manager; the Google Analytics Settings Variable. Are you using it yet? Do you know how? Do you know how it can help you in your future implementations and maintenance? If you answered “nope” to any of those questions, let  Kristen Perko walk you through this new feature.

I think my favorite thing about it is the ability to add custom dimensions to this settings variable and have it automatically be applied to all the Google Analytics tags associated with it. This has saved me from so many hours of adding variables as Custom Dimensions to every tag within a container.

Saving time and making implementations easier isn’t just for medium-sized companies, however. This is one that I think everyone can use!

Increase Revenue with Strategic Audiences in Google Analytics & Google AdWords

Continuing with the theme of maximizing the intent of your advertising spend, like we saw in the previous section, this post walks you through using your Google Analytics data to make audiences to target in Google AdWords. I think this is an underused feature of Google Analytics + AdWords because it outlines how we can truly take action on on data. This is especially helpful when you want to recapture people who were on your site, but did not convert in the way you hoped. Shout out to Michael Bartholow for simplifying this strategy for everyone!

For Our Large Companies

Free Data Studio Template for Your Google Analytics Data

Data is great. We love it. You probably have a lot of data in a large company. How do you want to look at it? Most people wouldn’t walk into a large meeting with an unreadable data table, so let’s do something better with Data Studio. It is often intimidating to start with a blank slate and try to create an interactive report, so let this post by Dorcas Alexander help you get started! Though this example is for data about your pages, you can make your own reports for event tracking, ecommerce data, and even AdWords!

Advanced Questions Publishers Should be Asking in Google Analytics

There are many sites on the web that are based on content and publications. If that describes your site, check this blog out to learn more about Custom Dimensions, Content Groupings, and more! I have worked on a few projects with publishers now, and the ability to add custom dimensions about the content has been a great value-add for the reporting process! Even if you don’t have a content site, you may be able to translate these concepts to your own site.

Why Is My Google AdWords Bid So High?

You may be working with a larger advertising budget than a small business has, but that doesn’t mean that you can set some campaigns up and forget about them. This post by Nick Eppinger will walk you through some ways to make sure that you aren’t letting some campaigns and settings get out of hand. My favorite tip in here is how bid adjustment settings work and how they can be stacked on top of each other, leading to prices way out of your expectations!

Bonus! Have you thought about…?

Gamify Your Life Goals with Google Assistant & Data Studio

So, what else can Google Analytics do? Have you thought about sending your own data to Google Analytics? Well, you can! Here is a great blog on how Andrew Garberson found a way to track his sleep, coffee, and beer consumption using Google Analytics!

What Next?

So you read these great posts, you have some great information, but what do you do? Use it! There’s generally a ramp-up time after the holidays while everyone tries to remember what they were working on before. Use this downtime to implement some new ideas and then bring them to the people you work with! Spend a few minutes setting up an event in Tag Manager, adjust your AdWords bids, build a simplified report, and create a new segment or audience. Bring these changes to your team and ask “what if we had more of this?”

Happy reporting and implementing, everyone!