Google Analytics is essential to any marketing success. It not only provides insight into how your current marketing strategies are performing; it also helps fuel new marketing ideas.
But have you ever wondered if you’re getting the best use out of Google Analytics? Do you use Google Analytics, but aren’t sure what your data is telling you? Perhaps you never look at the data and feel guilty about it. Maybe you’re using analytics but know there is more you could be doing with the data.
You may be familiar with bounce rates, page views and average session durations, but Google Analytics’ capabilities means you can dig much deeper than this. And that’s where your most valuable insights will lie.
I recently went on a Google Analytics course to learn more about the advanced features the platform has to offer and have compiled this Google Analytics guide to give you some insight into the type of things your data could be telling you, and the more complex questions your data can answer.
Goals are essential. You’ll have general marketing objectives, but these should also be aligned with objectives for your website so you can see which marketing campaigns and channels are working. What are the key things you want people to do when they land on your website? What would indicate to you that your website is working as it should and is pushing your visitor to get more involved in your brand?
In some cases, website goals are obvious. If you’re running an ecommerce store, your goal is simply to get people to purchase your products. But to be getting the best use out of Google Analytics, even B2B websites should have goals. In the simplest form, the goal or action could be to push people to pick up the phone and give you a call or fill out an enquiry form. Alternatively, it could be to download a PDF, watch a video, visit a certain landing page or read a case study. All this information can tell you which marketing messages are pushing to deliver an action or outcome you are looking for.
Google Analytics has a feature that allows you to track goals for your website, allowing you to analyse the percentage of website visitors who complete your desired action(s). In turn, having them in place will allow you to evaluate how hard your website is working.
If you can’t think of any goals for your website, it could be because you haven’t considered the actions you want your visitors to take on their journey to a purchase. It’s a good opportunity to consider what useful tools, documents or other assets might be helpful to your customers and set these up as goals on your site. Reflect on what you want to achieve with your website and make the necessary changes.
Once you have goals set up, you’ll be able to tell how often that goal is being achieved. But what you might be curious to know is which of your website pages are most influential in making that goal happen, and which could do with some work. That’ll help inform your content marketers and guide them with their content strategy.
Google Analytics has the capability to allow you to assign a value to your goal so that they can work out the value of the pages visited before the goal was completed. For ecommerce websites, this will already be defined. The value of a goal is guided by the purchase value. But for a B2B business, this is something you’ll have to do manually.
For example, if a goal on your website is to request a brochure, you could assign a value of £10 to its completion. If, before completing that goal, a user visits page 1, page 2 and page 3, Google Analytics assigns a value of £2.50 to page 1, page 2, page 3 and the goal page as each page plays a part in encouraging a user to complete a goal.
Over time, these values add up and you begin to see which pages play a vital part in goal completions and which ones rarely do. That gives you an idea of the content that is working well on your website and the content that is perhaps underperforming.
Using Google Analytics is a powerful way to fuel your paid marketing activity. In the admin section of your Google Analytics account, you have the capability to create audiences based on different scenarios. For example, you could create an audience of people who initiated the checkout, but never completed; or visited your request a brochure page, but never filled out the form. You could further define this by demographic data such as age and gender.
By linking these audiences to your Google Display ads account, you can then create ads that target the individuals that never quite completed your goal. Ever looked at a product on Amazon and had an ad follow you around on the internet for the exact same product? That’s exactly how this works.
Did you know Google Analytics gives data based on different groups of people in order to give more in depth insights? It’s called segmenting.
In the simplest terms, segmenting allows you to view metrics for a subset of data. For example, you might create a segment based on a geographical location. You can then see how website users from this geographical location interact with your website in comparison to other geographical locations.
In turn, this helps you spot and respond to trends. It allows you to adapt your marketing plan and strategies where a one size fits all approach isn’t working.
Segments can be as simple as demographical or geographical based or can get more complex such as analysing data based on the keyword length a website visitor used to find your website.
With so much data available in Google Analytics, it can be overwhelming. But chances are, you won’t need to use all the metrics that are available. You simply need to work out which metrics are most important to you and your business, and which metrics indicate whether your goals are being achieved.
Once you’ve done that, you can create a custom report that is based solely on that data. In one screen you’ll be able to view all your key metrics; saving you time trawling through multiple reports in order to get the data you want to see.
It also helps with consistent reporting. To see how things are really performing and changing, you need to be reporting on the same metrics every time. Google Analytics’ capabilities means you can save your custom report and refer to it every time you need to review your data. All you’ll need to do is change your date range to see the figures for your desired time frame.
If you need help determining which metrics are most important to your business, download a copy of our marketing metrics pack which will help you clarify the metrics you should be monitoring.
Many of our clients tell us they want more ways to show the value of their marketing. Using Google Analytics to all your advantages, gives you the power to show exactly how your time and efforts are paying off.