Free. Powerful. Mostly Intuitive; Google Analytics ranks as one of the best all-round tools a webmaster can have. Out-of-the-box, the amount of data it gathers makes it a one-stop shop for analysing traffic, monitoring campaigns and tweaking sales funnels.
With detailed reports, business owners can track down the impact that specific marketing choices have on their sales. But using its standard form limits users to a mostly one-dimensional experience, and the platform offers much more than that. By creating custom filters, previously hidden data can be shown, leading to better visitor insights.
By creating custom segments and dashboards, you can generate the data that is most relevant to your business. Whether it’s insights for conversion, creating buyer personas or getting content ideas, here are six ways you can unlock the true power of Google Analytics.
SET UP AND TRACK GOALS
With every blog post written, social media campaign launched, newsletter sent, there’s an underlying goal. Primary goals may be to encourage readers to place an order, fill out a form or call the business. Other goals or conversions include printing a coupon, leaving reviews or download an ebook.
Google Analytics allows you to determine which visits are actually valuable to your business i.e. the visits that result in the desired action being taken. These goals can be conversion goals, duration or destination goals. To set up a conversion goal:
- In your Analytics admin panel → View → Goals.
- Click the New Goal button → Custom. In the web form that comes up, you can create a custom goal to track exactly what you want to know.
- Name your Goal → Destination. This destination is going to be the page on your site, where the desired action takes pace. A download page, a page with a survey, a catalogue request page. Anything.
- Click Create Goal.
Check this goal at a later date and you’ll be presented with a chart that shows valuable data including Goal Completions, Goal Conversion Rate, Abandonment Rate etc. Google Analytics even allows you set a goal value, so you can determine if the cost of the campaign was worth it.
How’s that for actionable data?
It’s one thing to aggregate large volumes of data and attempt to sift through it to determine patterns. That method is extremely cumbersome, but Google Analytics makes it easy to segment based on anything that it reports on.
Do you know how visitors are landing on your page? Do you have more mobile users than desktop users? This kind of information can make all the difference in a business like mobile app development.
Did you know you can determine your buyer persona based on the number of pages per visit and their time on site? You can build a custom report that takes both metrics and gives you a clearer view of what visitors do before they make a purchase.
To create a custom segment that tracks users that land on a certain page:
- Click on the +Add Segment button that appears in almost all Analytics reports.
- Under the Advanced tab → Conditions.
- Now set the filter to Sessions → Include → Page → Contains. Now fill in the URL of the destination page.
- Give the Segment a Title → Save.
- If you remove the default All Sessions option, you’ll be left with traffic data from sessions that involve the URL specified.
Examining this type of info will provide insights into visitor behaviour across your pages. Information like purchase rates, device used, page flow, can help you tweak pages for better conversions and also remove elements that cause funnel abandonment.
SITE SEARCH TRACKING
Do you know what your customers are typing into the search box on your site? Site Search tracking allows you identify the exact type of content that visitors are looking for. Instead of digging through WordPress for this data, Analytics offers an easy way to track these internal searches.
Using search parameters, you can configure site search tracking in under five minutes.
- Log into your Analytics account → Admin → View Settings for your main view.
- Click Site Search Tracking, and toggle it to the ON position.
With Site Search activated, find your site’s query parameter.
- Visit your site and perform a search using a unique search term. The resulting page is your website’s internal search landing page.
- Look at the URL of the page; it should contain your search term, and several characters, ‘?’, a random letter and ‘=’. The letter before the ‘=’ is your website’s query parameter.
- Input this letter in the Query parameter field; click Save.
Within a week, your search term will start to show up in the dashboard; but we recommend waiting at least a month, before looking at the data as a whole. Knowing the terms searched for can help you create better internal linking if you have matching content, or allow you create new content that satisfies visitor queries.
Custom reports are some of the powerful tools in the Analytics arsenal. These filters and reports can help businesses find the detailed information needed to make important decisions. Join us next week for the concluding part of this article, where we’ll show more ways to get the most out of your Analytics data.
Can’t wait till then? Contact Search and More today, for actionable SEO tips and marketing plans that will improve your website profitability.