With consumers’ digital engagement becoming increasingly central for most businesses, tracking that engagement is more important than ever. Google’s free digital analytics tool, Google Analytics, allows marketers to do this and much more. Available to anyone with a Google account, this dynamic resource collects, processes, and reports on the behavior of users who visit your website(s).
The valuable data collected by Google Analytics helps marketers understand the effectiveness of their marketing channels, as well as their website’s overall performance. As a result, company stakeholders can make strategic business decisions about the performance of their digital strategies without investing a single dime.
Anyone paying to drive traffic to their website in the form of social media promotion, SEO, and/or targeted ads should be measuring the effectiveness of their investments. After all, while some of these strategies can be extremely effective, businesses reap the greatest reward when they’re able to track efficacy and adjust their tactics accordingly. Google Analytics lets you do just that; track your marketing campaigns and gauge whether or not your techniques are effectively driving more visitors and yielding higher conversions.
Google Analytics offers four key ways to help increase your marketing savvy by effectively measuring performance for free: audience, acquisition, behavior, and conversion. Let’s take a look.
1. Audience Reports
Audience reports provide information about the users who visit your websites. Such data can include information regarding the types of technology they utilize, including browsers, operating systems, service providers, language settings, and device types, among other useful information. These types of reports can be helpful to website developers in particular, as they work to ensure that your content is accessible to your most likely visitors and properly supported across devices.
For example, if you learn that most visitors view your website on smartphones rather than computers, then it becomes essential to utilize an adaptive web design. Such an approach will make content easier to read and more eye-catching on mobile devices.
2. Acquisition Reports
Acquisition reports provide information about how users come to your website. For example, while users can reach a website by direct entry (typing in a URL and going straight to your website), most traffic comes from organic searches (i.e., through Google or another search engine), paid searches (the advertisements that often appear at the top of a search results’ page), e-mail messages such as marketing campaigns, social media, and display advertising (image-based ads). This information can help you determine where to invest your marketing funds to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Plus, if you’re paying to drive traffic to your website, Google offers campaign parameters to append to your URLs. Essentially, this practice means that when a user clicks on your URL, Google will recognize the parameters and place the data from those users into specific acquisition reports.
Take the following example: From an acquisition report, you learn that people who reach your website via Facebook ads are 30% more likely to purchase goods or services than those who are directed from Google ads. Thanks to this data point, you conclude that it’s more lucrative to invest in Facebook than Google paid advertising.
3. Behavior Reports
Behavior reports provide information about what users do while they’re on your website. This information includes which pages are viewed most often, top pages through which users enter your website, which keywords are being searched most frequently on your website, and even provides custom event tracking for specific interactions on your website.
The information in these reports can help you understand how users interact with specific features on your website, such as blog posts, a shop page, or even an About Us page—and how they flow between them. Once you have this information, you can then determine whether or not these features help drive business or actually inhibit it.
For example, if a landing page has a high bounce rate, driving visitors off your site without visiting other pages, you’ll know that it either needs to be taken down or adjusted dramatically in order to more effectively facilitate engagement.
4. Conversion Reports
Conversion reports provide information about the goals you’ve set up for your account, e-commerce transactions, and multi-channel funnels. Goals are desired outcomes you hope will occur when visitors land on your website, such as sales or newsletter subscriptions. Multi-channel funnel reports provide insight into the various touch points a user goes through before converting.
So, if the goal of your website is to drive leads, then you will likely want to set up the thank-you page of your lead form as a goal—essentially recording any lead who completes the inquiry process as completing that goal. Such multi-channel funnel reports provide details about the different channels that contribute to a lead form completion on your website, showing which channel might be contributing to your goals. For example, a user might first go to a website from Paid Search then return using Organic Search. Multi-channel reports allow you to evaluate which acquisition channels contribute to a goal.
Google Analytics, a Free and Functional Resource
You don’t need to invest a fortune to get great results—even the standard, out-of-the-box reports in Google Analytics offer a great resource for quickly evaluating performance and getting an overall picture of your website’s functionalities and limitations. However, the deeper value for understanding the performance of your digital strategy comes from custom reports, segmentation, and dashboards.
Here at Fandom Marketing, we can help you set up your marketing with Google Analytics and educate your team to effectively use the tool for all your business needs. If you’re looking for help with your Google Analytics, reach out to us for a consultation.
Meet Guest: Nicole Leite
Nicole is analytics director at Fandom Marketing digital agency in San Diego. She has worked with nationally recognized brands over the past decade helping them align digital measurement solutions with their online goals and objectives. Over the years, her brand portfolio has grown to include Amazon, Intel, Holland America, Stanford Healthcare, Bumble Bee, WD-40, 2000 Flushes, Webster Bank, and Qualcomm.