In today’s high-tech world, there are so many ways to capture, track, and analyze hundreds of varying pieces of data, so where do you even begin? Luckily, there are analytical tools available to ease the headache that big data can leave you with. As an added bonus, many of them are free! In this article, we will be focusing on the power of Google Analytics.
Why spend a ton of money on focus groups and market research to understand your customers? There is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips and it’s 100% free – your website. Your website not only provides your customers with information about your business, it also provides you with a wealth of analytical knowledge. With the help of Google Analytics, you can turn all of this knowledge into higher customer retention, more conversions, and overall success for your business.
I Have A Website, But How Do I Know If It’s Working?
First thing’s first. Before you can start tracking you will need to implement the Google Analytics code into your website’s backend, so that the program actually knows what to track. Once all of that is done, the real fun can begin!
There are a lot of pieces of information that Google Analytics will pull from your website, so the easiest thing to start with is measuring traffic. As a side note, do keep in mind that it will take at least a week or so for the program to pull any useful data after you first implement the code. To start taking a look at who’s visiting your site, how often, through what channel, etc. you will need to navigate to Behavior → Overview. This will give you a very high level overview of how your visitors are interacting with your site.
The information on this page, and every sub-category underneath the “Behavior” menu option, will explain how many new and returning visitors you have, how they are accessing your site, how long they stay on your site (and each page), which pages they visit, and so on.
Metrics To Get You Started
As we have mentioned earlier, the number of ways Google Analytics can pull data for you is overwhelming, so we will get you started with just a few of the more common metrics that are extremely useful. Here are also a few ways to use Google Analytics when you’re first getting started:
- Behavior Flow: You’ll want to know what paths your visitors are taking when they come to your site. What information are they looking for and how can you help?
- Channels: This will help you see where your site visitors are coming from. You can easily check the search queries to see what people looked for when they decided to click on your site.
- Meaningful Time Frames: It’s also very helpful to use Google Analytics as a way to inform and measure other marketing efforts. Have you done a direct mail campaign recently that shared your website address or a specific webpage? Set the Google Analytics time frame to reflect when the campaign would have taken effect to see if there were notable differences in the amount of traffic and where those visitors came from. This also works around the time of going to a trade show. There we would expect a larger, more national audience, perhaps.
What Does It All Mean?
Once you get all of these basic metrics under your belt, you are now tasked with making sense of it all. This part of the process is highly dependent upon your unique business goals and what you ultimately want from your customers, however we pulled together some common conclusions based on certain pieces of data to give you an idea for how to get started.
- Extremely high/low bounce rate: When you notice a bounce rate of 100%, this often means that something is not firing correctly with your GA code, or your website isn’t working properly. Same thing goes for an extremely low bounce rate, as well.
- Low new user count with high avg. session duration: You might be thinking, “Drat! I have barely any new visitors to my site,” but fear not! Many times this metric is paired with a long average session duration count. You might not have many new visitors, but the ones you are getting are spending time actually looking around your site, possibly finding the answers to their questions.
When you’re just getting started with Google Analytics, it is also a good idea to make a list of goals. You can then transfer these right into the program and use those to track if your potential customers are actually doing what you want them to, while also identifying potential problem areas of your site. For example, you can tell people are reading your blog, but then they always leave the site right away afterwards. Are you giving them a strong call-to-action? And what if people are visiting a lot of pages, but not for very long per page? When this is the case, your website might be too difficult to navigate. Use goals and goal conversion to help pinpoint exactly where you need the most website work and make sense out of your data results.
As inbound marketers, our goal is to make sure we are providing you with the knowledge to succeed, whether it’s through analytics or conversion strategy. But know that we are also here to help you because we know all of this takes a lot of time – time that you don’t always have. Let us make your life easier by giving you insights and suggestions for how to make your website work for you. Want to chat more? Visit our Contact Us page and get in touch with one of our experts today!