Chances are that your website is hooked up to Google Analytics (but if it’s not, get with your web programmer and hook that up, ASAP). Are you using Google Analytics to its full potential? Yes, it is entertaining to play with all the graphs and numbers (can you tell I am a nerd?), but the information you gain from Google Analytics should be more than passively looked at or logged; it should be used to improve your marketing plan.
Which Google analytics information should you use in your marketing plan?
The amount of information Google provides is above and beyond what you may need (or have time for) in the beginning. At first, interface may seem overwhelming. Start small and work your way up to additional analytics. For starters, I’ve broken down 5 key elements that you should pay close attention to when it comes to your website analytics that can have an impact on your marketing plan and business development.
1. Audience location
Pay attention to where your traffic is coming from. This is helpful if you are a brick and mortar business, but it is also helpful if your services are online or consulting in nature. Your audience location information provides insight to where to focus your marketing efforts. For instance: If the majority of your audience is coming from the west coast but you have yet to land a client in that area, you may want to ramp up your marketing efforts because you know there is interest in that area. If you see traffic coming from a city where you do not currently have a location (i.e. restaurant, retail shop, etc.) this information can be helpful in planning your next move or addition.
2. Number of pages viewed
The more pages your visitors view on your website, the better. It likely means that they are interested in the content and information you’re providing and are willing to spend time on your site looking for additional content or services. This can be especially true for B2B. Research has found that B2B customers will contact a sales rep only after independently completing 60% of the purchasing decision – and a lot of that decision making requires online resources. To increase the number of pages viewed, add more internal links and calls to action (CTAs) on your webpages.
3. Mobile behavior
Pay attention to your mobile traffic–where are visitors coming from? Their smartphone? Tablet? Desktop? And if they are viewing your site from a mobile device, are they happy with the experience? For example: If the average visit duration for your mobile users is low, think about what might be driving those low numbers. Do you have a responsive website for ease of use? If not, put it on your marketing budget for this year.
4. Traffic sources
How are people getting to your website? Are they coming from social media, an in-store QR code or your e-newsletter? It is good to know this so you can give the social media manager a pat on the back for good numbers, but also so you know where to improve or cut marketing efforts. For example, if after 6 months to a year Twitter is not getting you the traffic you want, maybe it is time to spend less time using Twitter and focus your efforts on a social media channel where you are getting a positive ROI.
5. Content and Pageviews
The content on your website will drive customers to do one of two things: Stick around to read/learn more or bounce off to another site. Understanding the type of content and top pageviews on your website provides relevant information to you and your marketing team when it comes to future content planning. In addition, if you know the top 5 – 10 pages that your audience visits each month, it can prompt you to make sure your content is always updated on those pages and then when new information becomes available, it is reflected on those pages in a timely fashion.
As you get comfortable with your website analytics, add additional information to your monthly tracking reports (for starters, set it up in an Excel spreadsheet which makes it easy to see trends from month to month or week to week). For additional information, check out Melissa Harrison’s blog post breaking down all the online analytics terms you need to know. Then, after you know the vocab, attend Analytics Academy, which is a collection of free online courses from Google.
Now, go forth and make your marketing plan prosper!