Peter Drucker, author of the 1954 book “The Practice of Management” is often quoted saying “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Simply stated this means that your actions should be backed up by data. Do you want to start blogging about cats? No problem! Write a few blog posts and then check to see how much traffic is being drawn in by that particular topic. Are you looking to change the language on your sales page? Try A/B testing to see what wording resonates best with your audience. All digital marketing decisions should be backed up by data, so your time and money are being used efficiently. There are many different analytics tools to choose from depending on what you’re looking to measure but one of the most popular is Google Analytics.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is free and used to analyze user behavior on your site so you can make informed decisions on how to improve the user experience of your website.
Google Analytics offers a variety of reports including:
- Realtime – allows you to monitor activity as it is happening on your site. You can view by location, traffic sources, content, events, and conversions.
- Audience – allows you to identify specific characteristics of the users on your site including demographics, interests, language, location, devices, technology etc.
- Acquisition – allows you to identify how a user arrived at your site.
- Behavior – allows you to identify how users are interacting with your site. The behavior report provides a visualization of how users experience your site and the content that keeps them engaged.
- Conversion – allows you to analyze the conversion path your users are taking and how long it takes a user to convert.
Setting up Your Google Analytics Account
You can set up your free analytics account here. When you set up an account you will automatically create a property. Properties differentiate between the websites or apps that your brand or business may have, so if you have multiple websites you can set up multiple properties. Within each property, you can set up various reporting views depending on how you want to filter your data. Google Analytics automatically sets up an unfiltered master view of the property, but you can create customized views to fit your reporting needs.
Installing your Analytics Tracking Code
Once you finish signing up, you will receive your Google Analytics tracking code. Your tracking code can also be found by navigating to the admin settings and selecting tracking code under tracking info. This will need to be installed on every page of your website pasted immediately after the <head> tag on each page of your site. Depending on the type of website you have this process may be simplified. To verify that the tag is working, you can use real-time reports to see if your website visit is registering. It may take 24-48 hours to begin processing data in all other reports.
Once you have setup and configured your Google Analytics account and verified that data is being pulled in you can dive into the numbers. You can easily spend hours analyzing different metrics and segmenting reports for the most granular information. However, if you don’t have time to spend hours looking at data you may want to setup a customized dashboard. Dashboards are a collection of widgets that give you an overview of the reports and metrics you care about most. If you don’t know where to start, begin by determining the three most important goals you have when it comes to your website. Here are some examples of website goals along with widgets that are appropriate for each goal.
Goal: Increased website traffic
Widgets: Unique visitors, traffic source: organic, referral, direct, social networks sending the most traffic, average time on site.
Goal: Increased conversions
Widgets: Average order value, visits and product revenue by source/medium, visits, top 10 products by revenue.
Goal: Brand Awareness
Widgets: Audience demographics, location, language, most and least popular content.
Goal: Increased blog subscribers
Widgets: Audience demographic, most and least engaging content, best performing posts on social media, pages with the highest number of subscribers.
Google Analytics is a great tool if you’re looking to get more out of your digital marketing efforts and measure the effectiveness of your business’s online presence. If you’re not happy with the data you’re seeing it may be time for a website refresh. Kevin Brown Design can help you redesign your website to promote an amazing user experience and improve conversion rates. Get in touch today for a free consultation.