There are many free tools available to help you make better marketing decisions. One of these tools is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that generates detailed specifics about your website's traffic.
We recently asked several business owners if they were using Google Analytics. The majority responded that they had set up Google Analytics but had not had the time to review the data. Others said that they didn't understand the data they were looking at, or were overwhelmed at the sheer amount of it.
With this feedback, we decided to put together a quick-and-easy guide for using Google Analytics to track your online marketing efforts. We'll highlight the areas of the tool that we find most useful in assessing what's working and what's not. Knowing this data will allow you to make real-time adjustments to your strategy, which is vital to staying ahead of the game.
Quick-and-Easy Guide to Google Analytics
Now for the good stuff. Here are our favorite sections within Google Analytics which help us track our client's online marketing efforts. The sections we'll be naming can be found in the left-hand navigation once you're logged into Google Analytics. You'll notice that we don't mention every section available, just the ones that we find most important in our social media and online marketing business.
The Audience Section
Getting to know your audience is key to your online marketing efforts. Use this section to create a visitor profile which details everything you know about the people who visit your website. The better you know your audience, the more personalized content you can serve them, the happier they will be and the more they'll engage.
- The Demographics area will give you the age and gender breakdown of those who visit your website.
- The Interests section is a great place to get to know your audience's shared interests. Again, knowing their interests will help you decide what type of content to serve them.
- The Geo section breaks down the language and geographic location of your website visitors. Knowing where your web visitors reside allows you to be accurate in the events and holidays that you use in your marketing efforts. For example, if the majority of your website visitors are located in Canada over the United States, you may choose to run a Thanksgiving deal in October (when Canadians celebrate) rather than November.
- The Mobile section shows you what percentage of people are visiting your site via a mobile device versus desktop. Check this statistic to help you decide whether you need to create a mobile friendly website.
The Acquisition Section
This is one of our favorite sections. This section goes into great detail about how people are getting to your website. Since our company works mainly in social media, this is a great area to assess how well we're doing in pushing people from social media through to our clients' websites.
- The Channels section breaks down which main websites your website visitors are coming from. You're able to see exactly how many people are landing on your website directly, from another websites, from social media, from an email you sent, or just through organic search on sites like Google or Bing.
- The Campaigns area gives you results of any campaigns you have run, may it be your Newsletter, email marketing, Adwords, etc... We find this section especially useful in tracking success of our weekly newsletter and comparing one to the next. Under Campaigns, be sure not to miss the Keyword section. This will tell you what people are typing into Google search in order to find your website.
The Behavior Section
This section goes into detail on how people are acting on your site. When reviewing this data, it's important to first understand how you WANT people to act on your website. If what you're intending is not happening, it's time to take a good look at your website design and copy. Each page should focus on 1-2 highlighted calls-to-action (CTA's) and that's where the majority of your website visitors should be clicking.
- The Behavior Flow section gives a cool visual roadmap of how people are maneuvering through your website.
- The Site Content area shows which pages of your website are getting the most (and least) visits. We like to assess this in order to decide why certain pages are not getting visits. This is also a great spot to analyze your blog marketing. Which of your blogs are getting the most reads? How did you market those blogs?
The Conversion Section
This section is extra special, but requires some set-up. If you offer anything on your website that requires a download, form completion, or purchase, we would recommend getting familiar with this area of Google Analytics.
- The Goals section allows you to set up goals in order to track conversions or completion rates. We like to use this to track goals like white paper downloads or form completions.
- The E-Commerce section is vital if you are selling a product on your website. Here you can collect transaction data like product sales, purchase amounts and billing locations.