Simple Ways to Use Google Analytics to Improve Your Marketing
If you’ve not used Google Analytics before or you don’t really know where to start with it, then I’ve put together some tips on how to gather some simple facts and figures that can add massive value to your marketing.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free website analytics tool. It tracks activity on your website and tells you what people have been looking at, for how long and when. It can give you a wealth of free information that can help you understand your website better and how it’s working for your audience.
If you don’t have Google Analytics then I highly recommend getting it set up on your website. Speak to your website designer, or if you’re using Wix, Squarespace or another website builder then search their support for how to add in Google Analytics. It should be very easy.
Where to Start?
There is a vast amount of information that you can gain from Google Analytics. So much so, it can be daunting to know where to start. It’s best to start with some basic information that can give you a lot of insight into how your marketing is working.
At the top right hand side you can choose dates. I normally look at information on a monthly basis.
Then if you go to Audience and Overview on the left hand menu you’ll get a great overview of what has been happening within your chosen date range.
Tracking the number of visitors to your site can be found across Users, New Users and Sessions. These figures tell you how many people came to your site. Users is the number of individual people that came to your site, and Sessions is the number of times it was visited. So if one person visited your site five times, it would be one User and five Sessions. News Users are then people that have never been to your site before.
This is incredibly useful information to track. For starters, if your marketing is about growing your business, but your website traffic doesn’t increase, something isn’t working. Also, think about your total audience. 200 visitors to your site every month might seem good, but if your total potential audience is a few thousand, then it signals more needs to be done. On every marketing plan I write, I always have website traffic goals. It’s so easy to track and it will give you a reasonable indication of how well your marketing plan is working. It’s not an exact science, but it helps.
As well as just telling you visitor numbers, the overview also tells you how long people were spending on your site.
· Pages / session – this will tell you how many pages of your website a person looked at during a single visit to your site, on average
· Avg. session duration – this will tell you how long each session lasted, on average
Without looking at anything else, these two figures give you a very good indication of how engaging your website is. If people are only looking at one or two pages of your website and spending very little time doing it, you know it’s not right. This alone can get you thinking about what needs to change.
Two more very useful bits of information that I always urge clients to look at are where your visitors came from and what pages of your site they’re looking at.
Go to Acquisition on the left hand menu, choose All Traffic and then click on Source/Medium.
This will give you a list of all the ways that visitors came to your site within the time period you’ve chosen at the top. This is so powerful as it will tell you how many people are directly coming to your site (as in typing out the URL themselves), those who are finding you through search engines, or those being driven by other areas of your marketing, like online adverts, emails or social media.
By knowing what’s happening you can do more of what works, whilst also reacting to some of the gaps that are appearing.
If you then go to Behaviour on the left hand menu, then Site Content and All Pages, you will find a list of all the pages visited on your website and the amount of times they were viewed in the time period you chose at the top.
This again is valuable information. It will tell you what people are looking at on your website and what doesn’t seem to be of interest. There are often some surprises, but by knowing the reality you can take action. For example, if one of your key products or services has its own page but very few people are looking at that page, then maybe you could start some marketing that drives traffic directly to it.
It sounds cheesy, but knowledge is power. There is a huge gap between someone knowing you exist and someone buying from you. By understanding what is happening along the way and how people interact with your website then you can tweak your marketing to better deal with customers, both existing and potential. Marketing is a journey, make sure you’re optimising the track as best you can.
If you need any help or advice on improving your website or marketing, please get in touch.
All screenshots are of Google Analytics.