When comparing traditional and digital marketing, one feature of digital marketing makes it a no-brainer among small business owners. That is the ease of tracking and measuring digital campaigns; whether on social media (Hootsuite) or video (YouTube’s Analytics panel).
For a website, few platforms are as robust and inexpensive as Google Analytics. The tool allows webmasters test & track different tactics. The data garnered is used to make informed decisions about which marketing activities to stick with.
Knowing your key visitor metrics can help with everything from reducing high bounce rates to building better marketing campaigns. With over 100 reports available in Analytics and a straightforward dashboard, there’s no excuse for not using it. Many webmasters under-utilize the tool by choosing a ‘favourite’ metric to monitor; they log in and view the trend of the metric for the day. If it’s going up, they leave it as is, but if it’s trending down, they still leave it as is. Few webmasters do anything to improve the trend.
Used right, Google Analytics allows you experiment with aspects of your campaign and presents clear results for you to make marketing decisions.
Here are 5 ways that you can use Google Analytics data to make your website more useful today.
1. Optimize Speed
What’s your average load speed? Site speed has a direct relationship with user experience; the longer it takes your site to load, the greater the chance of losing a visitor. With 51% of buyers saying they’d abandon a purchase if the site took more than four seconds to load, fixing slow loading pages is a prerequisite for conversions to occur. In the Google Analytics dashboard, the Site Speed section shows you the parts of your website that need optimization.
The Site Speed overview report shows a graph displaying the average load times of pages on your site. It also shows the average redirection time, domain lookup time, server response time and the page download time. With access to this data, you can focus on improving load times. Page elements such as image size, plugins on the page and content can be optimized to reduce load time.
You can also compare your most-visited pages with other pages on site in the Page Timings section. If you find yourself confused on how to proceed, the Speed Suggestions report offers advice from Google on optimizing pages with a high load time.
2. Optimize for Mobile
Worried about whether your site design is being cut off on some mobile devices? You can use Google Analytics to find out which devices are used to view your site and see which ones push content off the page.
In the Analytics back-end, click the Audience tab, then Mobile → Overview. A table is displayed at the bottom of the screen, showing the breakdown of visitors by device. The table also shows the percentage of new sessions, new users, the bounce rate, average session duration etc. For a more visual representation, clicking the globe in the top right of the table, will display the data as a pie chart.
For more detailed engagement metrics, go back into the data view and click the comparison button to view relative values. You can compare the pages per session, average session duration, average time on a page, which devices are converting the most based on goals set etc.
3. Optimize Home Page
A new company website is only as useful as the conversions it leads to. If visitors arrive, spend a few seconds and leave; it shows that visitors are not finding what they are looking for on your site. This is recorded in your Analytics as a high bounce rate.
This is common among websites for small businesses, as many of them suffer from a distinct lack of clarity. If a visitor can’t find your value proposition in your featured image area, navigation or tagline, they’ll assume they are on the wrong page and leave.
To find the bounce rate stats of your home page, click the Behaviour tab, then Site Content → Pages. Your home page should be at the top of the list of pages, indicated by a trailing slash. If your homepage bounce rate is over 60%, the page isn’t guiding visitors towards your conversion goals. You should examine the elements of the page and determine the cause of the content gap.
4. Optimize Sales Pages
Like home pages, sales pages are often devoid of what many visitors would consider ‘interesting’ content. Targeted towards potential buyers, they convert differently (and should be measured by different standards) to blog posts. On sales pages, visitors are tracked using pages per visit and exit percentages; this allows webmasters see if visitors flowed through the sales funnel and where they exited.
Using the Funnel Visualization tool, via Conversions → Goals → Funnel Visualization, visitors can be tracked from when they land on the site till they leave. For an eCommerce site, this exit may be via a shopping cart; for an event registration, an exit may be the final thank-you page.
The Visualization tool shows the number of visitors that exited at different stages in the process. This allows you spot sections of the funnel where a gap in information caused a visitor to exit. Plugging these gaps will help you optimize your funnel and maximize conversion rates.
5. Optimize for Social Media
In social media marketing, to generate traffic, subscribers and sales, you must be on the platforms that your prospects actually are. You should analyse your traffic for three key metrics: are you getting any traffic from social media, which social network is sending the most visitors and which social network visitors are most engaged.
To find which channels bring the most visitors, click the Acquisition tab in your Analytics dashboard, then All Traffic → Channels. If the table has an entry for Social, it shows you get traffic from social media.
To determine which social media networks are sending the most traffic, look at Acquisition → Social → Network Referrals. This displays a table showing all the networks sending you traffic and the number of sessions generated by each social network.