Why You Should Look at Google Analytics Today

May 23, 2017 Written by Johnnae Nardone

Your website can be the workhorse of your organization, creating leads, selling products, promoting your cause. It’s the hub that welcomes new clients and engages returning ones. But what is really happening on your website? Do you know? One of the main ways you answer this question is with Google Analytics. I know it can be intimidating but like most fears, they’re worth confronting.

Reason 1: Take a baseline and make sure nothing is broken.

Just like maintaining our own health requires tracking stats (cholesterol, heart rate, hormones), the same applies to the health of your website. You should open Google Analytics to check out four key metrics on a monthly basis. Tracking regularly helps alert you when things go awry.

Sessions: This is the number of times people visited your website. You should expect some fluctuation. But if you’re putting some effort into raising your profile, this number to be on a slow but steady incline.

Average Pages per Session: The average number of pages a person views when they get to your website. All of these numbers are goal/purpose/intent dependent. In most cases, I believe a nice goal for “pages per session” is three pages. For example, maybe someone reaches your website via a blog post but then checks out  "About Us" and signs up for your newsletter. That’s three pages. Seems reasonable, right?

Average Page Load Time: This is the number of seconds it takes from someone clicking on a link to see the page completely loaded. Generally speaking, you don’t want it to take longer than five seconds, and if it is an ecommerce site you want an even lower number.

Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of people who came to your website and didn’t click to another page. Depending on goals or how your site works, it may be fine if this number is high but most of us want another click or two. Try not to let your Bounce Rate go past 70% and aim for number closer to 50% or less. This means half of the people who visit your website click away or fulfill their purpose by visiting just one page and the other half engage and go deeper.

The purposes of websites vary but generally speaking, tracking your numbers on a monthly basis is the best practice to know things are running smoothly.

Reason 2: Tell me what to do, Analytics!

There are many ways to spend your marketing budget, but Google Analytics helps you manage that budget more wisely by answering three important questions.

1) What are people currently doing?
You can learn what people are currently doing on your website, what they are searching for, what is the popular content, and how they are finding your website. For example, inside Google Analytics under Acquisition you can see how people are getting to your website. You can see how many people are coming from social media and even drill down further to see the data filtered by specific network.

2) What can I learn about them?
Google Analytics’ demographic data continues to expand every month. Currently you can find out the user’s age, gender, interests, geography, and technology (like browser and smart phone), just to name a few.

3) Did your marketing campaign do anything?
It’s worth getting comfortable with analytics to see if your marketing and outreach efforts are producing results. Maybe you decide to run a few Facebook ads. While Facebook will supply plenty of data, it won’t tell you what happened once people reached your website. That’s where Google Analytics comes in. After setting up conversions, you can find out how many people arrived on your site via the ad and completed a particular action — maybe made a purchase or subscribed to your email list.

This information should guide your next campaign. Armed with Google Analytics data, you can refine the target audience, the channel, and also the content — all making your marketing efforts more effective.

Reason 3: Make things better.

You can use features in Google Analytics such as funnels, exit pages, and keywords to improve your website. If people are exiting your site in an unexpected place you should look at that page and ask: Is there an error? Is there an intimidating form that is chasing people away?

Take a look at the funnel: Is it taking a user six clicks to reach your goal? Can you make changes to reduce it to three? What you learn from funnels, as well as the metrics mentioned above, can be influenced by choices you make on your website’s design, technology, and content.

Google Analytics is a powerful, free, and well-supported tool to advance anyone’s marketing efforts. Find your login and check it out today. You don’t have to use everything it has to offer but poke around and review the features mentioned above.

If you still feel like a deer in the headlights, contact Johnnae to find out about future group trainings and individual consults to help you get the most out of this powerful tool.