Setting up Google Analytics to collect data on your website visitors’ behaviour is step one. But are you getting the insights you need?
It’s about measuring and improving.
Here are some tips on how to use your data for informed marketing decisions for your company.
Make analysis a regular habit
Checking analytics to evaluate website and marketing performance varies from business to business. Some do it multiple times a day or only when it’s time to do their monthly reporting or end up getting hooked on real-time analytics.
Make it a regular habit to analyse your Google Analytics metrics and before you know it, you won’t need the constant reminders to do so and it'll feel less like a chore.
You can start off with doing it a few times a week and if you find that there aren’t enough changes to come to any conclusions, then do it less frequently. Whilst for smaller businesses the results won’t change much hour to hour or even day to day, for the bigger businesses changes can be significant on a daily basis.
Form your questions
Before sifting through your Google Analytics reports, come up with a set of questions that you are looking to answer with your data.
You might want to know:
- What are users searching for? (requires site search to be set up)
- Which pages are they spending the most time on?
- Which pages have the highest bounce rate and might need further tweaking?
- How are my marketing campaigns performing?
- Is my spending on Adwords justified?
- Which traffic sources bring the best converting traffic and are worth investing into?
- Are my call to actions working? (this is where goals come in handy)
Know where to measure
Think about which reports and metrics will be most suitable to answer your questions.
Knowing what you're looking for will minimise the amount you spend wandering aimlessly through numerous reports hoping that you'll find something interesting.
It’s said that there are over 100 standard reports available in Google Analytics, so it’s handy to know where to look. The reports are split into 4 main categories:
- Audience is about the users – where are they, what devices are they using,
- Acquisition is about how users get to your site – how are your campaigns performing, where do they come from
- Behaviour is about user interaction with your site – which landing pages get the highest traffic, which pages have the highest bounce rate
- Conversions is about users completing certain actions (requires further setup to get the most out the reports) – which goals did they complete, what is their shopping and checkout behaviour
Pages with high page views and bounces / exit rate
Check how your individual pages are performing in All Pages and Landing Pages reports (under Behaviour > Site Content).
If your page is getting a lot of page views and has a high bounce / exit rate, then whilst it might be a valuable or attractive piece of content it’s not doing a great job at getting your users to another page.
Can you provide some other relevant content on that page? Link to them where appropriate. This will help improve the visitor journey through the site and reduce the bounce rate.
Know your user journeys
You can use Google Analytics flow reports to view which paths users take through your site and where they drop off. Evaluate the pages with the biggest drop offs - can you improve these pages to encourage users continue their journey?
You've put a lot of work into the pages that are meant to convert your site visitors, but it's a waste of all that effort if your journey to the converting page doesn't work.
Goal flow report is especially handy for seeing users' paths towards the goals you have set up.
Not sure how to set up a goal funnel? Here's how.
Segment your users
Use Google Analytics segments to view and analyse a separate subset of user data.
You could view your reports for users from a specific location, eg Spain, or with a specific device, eg Apple iPad, or by certain behaviour, eg made a purchase.
Check out Google's guidance on using segments.
Evaluate your tagged campaigns
Custom campaign tracking is important for organising your campaigns so you can review the performance effectively.
If you're not tagging your campaigns yet, check out our blog post on how to tag your campaigns.
Share findings with the team
It’s great if you get into the habit of reviewing Google Analytics data on a regular basis to inform your actions. What's even better is if you create a team culture where you share findings with each other.
You can email around individual reports, share insight at team meetings, set up custom alerts or sign up to our web-based tool to do that for you.
For those less geeky or knowledgeable about data, make sure you translate the findings into plain English statements (PS. our tool already does that too).
When Dave Brailsford became the head of British Cycling, he implemented the concept of marginal gains within cycling. He believed that by breaking up the process of competing and improving every step by 1%, they would see a big improvement in their team.
This can apply to many other areas as well - customer satisfaction, improving service quality, doing minor updates to marketing campaigns.
Rather than focussing on one big improvement and spending weeks or months on it, before even knowing if it'll work, look at the potential small changes you could make. You will spot much more quickly which of these changes are of benefit and which are not.
There's a lot of information stored in your Google Analytics, when used correctly and regularly you will start getting the insight you need to guide your marketing efforts. Suggestions above will help you do just that.
Something else on your mind? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch!
Images: Courtesy of Suriya Kankliang, pannawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net