The measurement tool of choice for marketing professionals
Google Analytics has become the measurement tool of choice for marketing professionals.
It’s detailed, comprehensive, versatile and can be used to extract meaningful and actionable information.
It is also quite intimidating for inexperienced users and its complexity can result in confusion and inappropriate conclusions that can be quite expensive.
If you don’t use Google Analytics, you should give us a call. If you do, are you confident in your use?
For example, let’s ask a few really basic questions to which you should answer ‘yes’.
- Have you set up a custom filter to disregard or separate out your own IP addresses?
If not you’re muddying the waters with the interactions of your own staff with your website.
- Have you segmented out all visits lower than 1 second?
If not you’re measuring the behaviour of crawlers and bots rather than customers.
- Do you understand why a high bounce rate can be bad and when it can be good?
Having an experienced Google Analytics expert at the end of the phone will help your business unearth the full potential of this industry-leading web analytics tool.
You may have Google Analytics already but are you missing out on some of the major insights that could help you increase your traffic, improve your conversions and boost ROI?
Google Analytics in more depth
Google Analytics (Universal Analytics), the de facto, free web analytics package is the go-to platform for most marketing professionals. The vast array of information that it gathers, provides the bedrock for meaningful insight and information regarding how well a website is performing.
Data and insight form the basis for sound business decisions when they are backed by metrics and analysis. These ensure that marketing efforts can be targeted, streamlined and become more effective in achieving your goals.
Quite often, however, the sheer volume of information it provides can be overwhelming and may not allow for meaningful conclusions to be drawn. Many of our clients say, “We look at it but we don’t know what to make of it”.
Most of the time they look at the default visuals provided such as:
‘How many visits the site has had in the last week or month?’
‘How long are people spending on the site?’
‘What’s the bounce rate?’
All this is done with the best intentions, however, many are unaware of the misleading nature some of these statistics that are provided out-of-the-box. This is often due to incorrect setup of the GA account and the lack of implementation of the key features of GA that enable far more accurate information to be obtained. As a result, decisions based on this flawed arrangement can be costly.
The initial key to making sense of the data requires a correct configuration of GA, cleansing of any data anomalies and answering well-posed questions of the data to provide the necessary insight and avoid any spurious correlations. The two core ways that GA provides to solve this is with the use of Filters and Segmentation.
You have suddenly received an influx of traffic that is unusually high for this time of year. At first glance, it would seem quite a positive situation, who does not want high levels of traffic drawn to their site. However, on closer inspection, it looks the traffic has all come from your office IP and lots of internal links on your website. So what looked quite favourable at one point is now a misrepresentation that could lead to incorrect business decisions. This is the reason for using filters which iron out all the controllable data anomalies.
Filters allow cleansing of the data to occur before it arrives on the GA dashboard. They are useful to include and exclude data.
Common uses are to:
exclude traffic from certain IP address such as your own office
exclude bots as they will skew the number of visits to your site and thus misrepresent the information being analysed
remove duplicate strings that would add overpopulate the data.
When setting up filters one has to be aware that they have a permanent effect on the incoming data. All exclusion and inclusion filters create a subset of the raw data. We set up the GA account to ensure we get full access to the raw data as well as working with the cleansed version.
Using filters provides the basis for accurate analysis to be done.
Data that arrives in GA is aggregated providing a birds-eye view of the web traffic that reaches your site. It can only provide limited conclusions due to its general nature across all measures such as times of visit of all users. If you want to find out…
- the peak times of visits
- who completed a purchase
- where from
… it becomes very difficult to do with aggregated data. A segment allows us to zoom into the data to answer very specific questions which can then lead to better strategies and decisions to be made.
Segments are types of filters that provide a way of creating subsets of the data. They are an effective way to drill down and isolate into components that answer the questions about the trends and performance of a business.
By posing the right questions for your business, this type of analysis is very powerful in determining the direction a business should go with it’s marketing strategies.
For example, if you find that most of your traffic for a particular page or section on your website is from a mobile device, all efforts can be applied to highly optimising the page for those devices. This would be an example of data-driven decision assigning a high priority to the mobile user experience.
Lots of comparisons and insights can be made with the tooling that GA provides using:
- audience analysis
- behaviour analysis
- explanatory analysis with multi-variables
Delving deep into the subsets illuminates the necessary answers for the underlying data.
Goals and conversion rate analysis
To get a real handle on whether users are engaging with the key conversion areas of your website, the definition of goals and their conversions is vital.
You may want a user to complete an enquiry form for lead generation, engage with a call to action or analyse the route to purchase of a product. Each goal can have a monetary value associated with it to reflect how much that conversion that is to the business.
Goals can be inferred from the data or can be implemented as predefined paths. Using campaign tags and linking Google ads, a thorough understanding of how a user behaves with your website gives valuable information. This information can lead to effective decisions and productivity on marketing, design and development.
Goals have four types:
The choice on which to use depends on the type of interactions and behaviours that need to be investigated. Multiple goals can be set up to measure different aspects of the user journey.
When a goal is achieved, it is recorded as a conversion, for example, completion of a contact form which adds a lead to generate potential business. It makes it very clear to see how many users are converting on chosen goal definitions which can.
The true power of goals is found when looking at the Goal Flow and Funnel reports as it provides a visual representation of how users are engaging with them. Measurements of the goals and conversions are an essential component when performing web analytics.
Google analytics provides default dashboards which can be useful to the casual observer. However, real power comes from creating custom dashboards that bring data to fore that is very specific to your business goals and objectives. The key to building effective dashboards is to understand what metrics and dimensions matter most. Armed with this information, one can proceed to create a dashboard that will then provide quick access to the insights these measurements provide.
When determining how the conversion points were realised, attribution models can reveal what is the most significant touchpoint in the conversion path, essentially reporting on the effectiveness of the multitude of communication channels.
The models are a set of rules that look at the interaction to the site in different ways such as first interaction, last interaction etc. These can be important when one needs to tweak the various stages of the route to the conversion and understand the business metrics.
The use of event tracking and campaign tags can elicit the mechanics of the user behaviour that is then encompassed in the attribution model rules. The interpretation of the results is quite often done by comparing the attribution models against each other to get a true reflection of what is going on with the data. The findings can then feed into the overall business objectives and whether the touchpoints are serving their purpose or can be abandoned for more profitable methods.
Would you like to find out more?
Please get in touch or sign up for one of our complimentary Google Analytics audit to help you gain valuable insights from your visitor behaviour.