More and more businesses are adopting new digital strategies to attract more business and build brand awareness through marketing campaigns and advertising. Businesses are trying to leverage as much of their data as possible through their website, but this can also include social media profiles, email accounts and databases. The trouble is that most businesses don’t actually know how to harness their data and put it to good use!
On average there are around 4.5 million businesses in the world using some form of data measurement tool. 51% of the market use Google Analytics (GA) which is free. Google 360 is a paid version. A high percentage of these businesses don’t actually use GA to it’s full potential. Typically GA is used to overlook vanity metrics, such as how many users visited their site in the last 7 days ? (hardly insightful). A growing number of businesses are hiring data analysts but all too often they struggle to really extract, and fully use important data for business growth.
Data is constantly being referenced as the new oil of our generation so why are businesses still stuck in the 1950’s when it comes to taking advantage of seeing who visited their website, from where in the world, which page (s) they looked at, for how long, gender, age, interests and where exactly they fell off the website.
So why is all of that useful?
One of the biggest benefits of using Google Analytics is that it does not just collect data on website visits, it collects all the information that will be needed to segment and evaluate website visitors (Google, 2018). If you are business pumping money into campaigns you need to know who your target audience (s) are (we spoke about identifying target audiences in a previous blog) also what type of product and service to aim at your identified audience (s) and tailor your campaigns to their needs. If for some reason all of your campaign work falls flat and doesn’t generate any return on investment (ROI) Google allows you to define re-target audiences and segment them into target groups and effectively do re-targeting ads directly to those groups which saves resources, time and your sanity. It is features like this that really help businesses maximize marketing spend and hit closer to their targets.
Here’s how to create audiences for re-targeting:
Another highly useful measurement tool:
New vs Returning
Another seriously good measurement tool on GA is New vs Returning how many users visit your website and never came back compared with those who came back for more. In the last 3 weeks we have had 565 visitors and a return rate of 10%. Of those 10% that visited the returning pages 0% converted. This could mean several things, they are still working out if they want to get in touch, didn’t like the content, got distracted and timed out (happens a lot) or their cat was hungry and they went off to feed them and forgot about us. Whatever the case we dig deeper.
Firstly we check which pages they visited, and for how long, what they looked at (which content they watched), how long they were on the page, search terms used to surface the page, source of traffic that got them to that page (direct, social media, Google search) where in the world they live, as granular as city, age and gender. GA also gives you the ability to look at service provider so sometimes you can see if they are a large corporation via this metric. We use all of this data to further define and build audience types which helps us direct re-targeting ads back at them for conversion. #smartmarketing.
We do all of the above to ensure we don’t miss viable business opportunities staring us in the face, your website is your shop front and in order to generate business through your website you need to be clever. Hardly anyone is going to convert after the first time visiting your website, typically 2-3 visit they might reach out and enquire about your services. That’s why New vs Returning metric is such a useful measurement tool for seeing who’s coming back enabling you to unleash re-targeting ads, building customer profile types and generate some sales.
Key Recommendations For Google Analytics
Set up a GA dashboard:
Customization > Dashboards > Create > Starter Dashboard – This will give you some GA defined widgets to give you better overview of your data in one place. You can edit which widgets you want to see and change them around as per your goals and what you want to see. If you are concerned about the amount of visitors to your site via mobile, have a widget set up to view devices so you can quickly see that in here without having to scour Google Analytics to find that metric.
Ensure you filter out your internal IP traffic to ensure accurate traffic.
Admin > Filters > Add Filter > Name it ‘Exclude Internal Traffic’ (ensure you do this for home address and office) > Exclude > Traffic From IP Addresses > That Are Equal To > Plug IP Address In (Google – what’s my IP address).
Here is a really good video on filters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1JHYUbg1ek.
Also ensure you filter out bots and spiders Google send to your website to crawl you don’t want to record this as traffic!
Admin > View Settings > Click ‘Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.
Clearly Defined Goals:
Clearly define some goals (that fit into your marketing strategy) and set them up in GA:
Admin > Goals > Goal Description – More Than 3+ Pages > Select – ‘Pages/Screen Per Session > Great Than 3 > Save.
That will then start recording how many pages a single user visit has and this can be key for viewing user journeys (UJ’s) and website flow as well as which pages are being looked at and which are not. You can go through and add more goals at your disposal in line with your strategy. A really good goal setting video is from Loves Data: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg5Wh-8KyiA.
GA is a beast and in the right hands can be massively beneficial to driving decisions and strategy or it can be a hub for showing off how much traffic you get to your site per month. Have GA positioned to feed into your businesses strategy and bring on a person or agency who knows how to best utilize GA and your data to give you the best opportunity for success.