Google Analytics . . . you’ve heard the term, but why is it important to your business?
Certainly, a significant amount of the terminology sounds foreign like “behavior flow,” “cohort analysis,” “bounce rate” and “sessions.” Surprisingly, Google Analytics can be simple to navigate and understand—if you know the answers you’re seeking.
Google Analytics can provide quantifiable data on marketing initiatives that can be challenging to quantify.
How do you measure the effectiveness of a media relations project for broadcast news? Sure, you can estimate the number of impressions it received based on the channel’s viewers for that time frame—but how do you know it was effective in reaching them?
For our client Hickory Construction, an East Tennessee general contractor, we coordinated monthly interviews with the Knoxville NBC affiliate. With Google Analytics, we were able to see if the number of website visits increased on the days the interviews aired—which they did, and significantly. This insight provided valuable, quantifiable data showing the interviews were effective.
Google Analytics can tell you where your website traffic is coming from.
Google Analytics provides insight on how people are getting to your website. One of the ways you can measure the success or effectiveness of a social media campaign or e-newsletter is to access the data in Google Analytics and to check for increases in website visits and where the traffic is coming from.
If you’ve invested in Facebook advertising, you can see if it’s translating to an increase in website visitors since it captures social platforms.
In response to a series of wildfires that devastated areas of the Smoky Mountains, we pursued a series of editorial cartoon campaigns for our client, the Peaceful Side of the Smoky Mountains (Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority), that were executed across social media. Google Analytics enabled us to see an increase in website hits acquired from social media during the time frame the cartoons ran.
Google Analytics also ranks your web pages and provides data on visits to the page so you can see which content is performing the best.
If you spend time writing weekly blog posts for your website, Google Analytics will show which posts have been viewed the most or are most popular. It can also point out which web pages receive very few views and may be in need of tweaking or revamping.
At Mary Beth West Communications, we monitor our blog posts in Google Analytics each month to ensure the blog posts we write have content that is appealing to our audience.
Google Analytics provides insight on whether your call-to-action is working.
A website can be informative, but it’s not reaching its full potential without a clear call-to-action (CTA) from visitors.
When people visit your website, what do you want from them? Do you want them to contact you about your products or services? Do you want them to sign up for an e-newsletter? Do you want them to click to download a brochure? Do you want them to fill out a form to be contacted by a sales representative? Whatever your call-to-action may be, Google Analytics can tell you if it’s effective, providing the opportunity to adjust it if necessary.
When building a website for Holbrook Peterson Smith, a law firm in Knoxville, the client needed visitors to the site to contact the firm to meet with an attorney for legal advice. Using principles from Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing, we made sure this call-to-action (CTA) was clear, to-the-point and easy to see. We also ensured it was on every page of the site. For clients whose websites we manage, we’re able to use Google Analytics to see how the call-to-action is performing. If website visits for the CTA’s landing page are low, we can change the location of the CTA, make it a bolder color or adjust the size.
We’ve told you why Google Analytics is important and how it can grow your business, but you’re probably scratching your head as to how, exactly, you access this data.
- If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, you can create one. Go to com/analytics and click More options > Create account. For help and instructions in creating your account, click here. You can also hire a firm, like MBWC, to set up Google Analytics for your website and provide ongoing tracking and reports.
- Once you do have Google Analytics, log in to your account. To track data for a certain time period, go to the upper-right-hand corner where it shows a range of dates. You can change this date range for any point in time. This allows you to look at one specific day, month or year, and you can compare data from different points in time.
- The first page you’ll see is an Audience Overview. This provides a helpful snapshot of page views for your site, the number of sessions (a group of user interactions that takes place in a given time frame) and duration. It also shows a simple graph of new versus returning visitors.
- To see where your traffic is coming from, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
- To see how your different website pages and content is performing, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
Social Media Today touts Google Analytics as “one of the top, most powerful tools out there for monitoring and analyzing traffic on your website;” yet it’s a tool that’s underutilized by many businesses.
Start today, and use our tips for guidance. You’ll soon find the metrics and answers to campaign effectiveness.