Understanding your customers and your marketing analytics
Your website is humming along, but you still have questions. You might be wondering: Which pages are most popular? Where and how do customers find my website? How many visitors actually make a purchase or fill out a form? With a website analytics tool, all of these answers (and many more) can be answered quickly. Bottom line, if you own a website, you must be using analytics. One of the most popular analytics tools is Google Analytics. Here’s why: Google Analytics is free, it can be integrated into your site in minutes, and the tool measures a variety of key data points that can help you improve your website. Here are a few reasons to consider it:
- It’s Free – All features of Google Analytics are completely free. No upgrades or premium subscriptions. It doesn’t cost a dime, and major sites like Yelp and Huffington Post use it.
- See How People Find You – Google Analytics will show you which keywords drive traffic, what your traffic sources are (like Facebook or another website that links to yours), etc.
- Most Popular Pages/Links – Determine where customers spend time on your website, and which pages or links they’re most likely to click to.
- Examine Your Audience – See the geographic locations and how many of your visitors are first-time or returning customers.
- Make Your Website Better – Use Google Analytics data to improve and optimise your site. Do people spend little time on a page and then leave your site? Experiment with improving the information.
- Search Console and AdWords Integration – Link your webmaster and digital ad accounts to help you better calculate performance and get richer, more complete data.
Signing Up and Getting Started
To sign up, just create a free account on Google Analytics. If you already have an existing Google ID (i.e. for email or Google Docs), you can use that username to get started. Once you’ve signed up, you need to “create a property in Google” for your app or website. This will create a unique Tracking ID for your site, which you will then integrate into your site’s code. After you’ve installed the Tracking ID on your website, data about your website will then become available in Google Analytics. Each content management system has its own way to integrate Google Analytics. Search for “(CMS name) + Google Analytics installation” for step-by-step instructions for getting up and running on your CMS. The process typically takes no more than a half hour.
Understanding Analytics Data
Now, you’re ready to start learning about your website. What’s working, what’s not, what could use some improvement. And that’s all available in your Google Analytics reports. You’ll find a variety of advanced data about your site, but in particular, there are a few reports you should know about:
- Audience – An audience report gives you a look at who the people are that visit your site. You can access information like:
- Age, gender and demographic data
- Geographic location, country and language reports
- Browser, device type info
- How much time visitors spend on your site
How to Use this Data. Audience data can reveal what direction you should take with your website in terms of products, promotions and content. Generate blogs based on your audience’s interests, or feature products/promotions that will sell well with your demographics. If you receive a lot of mobile traffic, make sure you’re optimising for them.
- Acquisition – Your acquisition report shows how you “acquire” new visitors, i.e. where they come from. You can access information like:
- Traffic sources, i.e. Google or Bing, or Facebook, or social media
- Marketing sources like organic search, paid ads, social media, or email
- The organic keywords that drive traffic to your website (which requires Google Search Console to be linked)
How to Use This Data. Acquisition reports can help you fine tune your SEO and marketing strategy. Does Facebook drive a lot of your traffic? That might be a great place to advertise. Are organic keywords showing up that you haven’t yet optimised for? Then start integrating them into your content.
- Behaviour – The behaviour report shows exactly how customers interact with your website. You’ll find out:
- How long they stay
- What pages they visit
- Navigation paths users take
- What pages visitors leave
How to Use This Data. Behaviour data can transform your website and enhance the user experience. Optimise your most visited pages, fix and revise pages that “bounce” visitors. Look at your navigation paths to determine if information is easy to find, and work on usability if you find convoluted paths are being taken to find info.
- Conversions – This report shows if customers are taking desired actions on your website, i.e. purchases, email sign-ups, etc. You’ll see:
- What actions users take
- Your conversion rate (percent of visitors that take the desired action)
- What traffic sources result in conversions
How to Use This Data. Optimise your pages to increase your conversion rates using this data. Is a product page not converting visitors into customers? Experiment with new copy or a different offer. Do people not fill out a contact form? Try using fewer fields, or more clearly state the benefits of filling it out.
Link Google Analytics and AdWords
You want a complete picture of the customer lifecycle – from the moment a customer interacts with your marketing, to the moment they land on your site and make a purchase. By linking Google Analytics and AdWords, you can do just that. In particular, linking these two accounts will help you:
- Work smarter: You can import Analytics Metrics and goals into your AdWords account. This helps you determine the effectiveness of an advertisement, as well as ensure you’re marketing ROI is being properly monitored.
- Get more robust data: See AdWords performance data in your Analytics dashboard. This lets you work faster.
Use richer data and new advertising methods: Use remarketing, dynamic remarketing in AdWords, and Multi-Channel Funnels reports in Analytics.
To link AdWords to the Google Analytics account, sign into your Google Analytics account.
Click Admin and then property you want to link.
Click Adwords Linking in the Property column and then click on +New Link Group.
All AdWords accounts will appear.
Choose the desired account and click continue.
Turn linking on for each website and app that analytics should gather data on.
To automate the linking process between AdWords and Google Analytics, click “Link Accounts”.
To manually tag AdWords links, click “Advanced Settings” and then “Leave my auto-tagging settings as they are.”