12 March 2013 by Web Bureau
Charts and graphs, numbers and…stuff??? What does it all mean? And why do you need to know what it’s all about? Well, because if you’re not making sense of the valuable data Google Analytics can provide, you’re probably not making the most of your online presence…
Here’s our handy guide to interpreting the data, identifying what’s important to you, how it can be improved and what it all means to your bottom line.
First things first: What’s your website for?
Are you aiming to sell a product or service, provide information or make money? Whatever your motives, clear objectives will help to shape the KPIs that you need to benchmark your efforts against; for example, profit, volume of transactions, conversions, shares, traffic, engagement, interactions or discussions generated.
Identifying these drivers is key to focusing on the Google Analytics data most beneficial to your website. Track these KPIs in Google Analytics or, if you’re retailing, implement ecommerce tracking, which demonstrates the direct relationships between visits and sales.
Breaking the numbers down further into sources, landing page, browser type or dates can give invaluable insights into where your traffic’s coming from and which sources are most valuable.
It sounds simple, but knowing which pages are ‘stickier’ will help you work out why they’re working. Google Analytics can tell you which pages users land on and which they most often leave through. Analysing the content on these key pages will give you valuable insight into your customer’s journey and their motivations. Date comparisons can help you identify peaks and troughs in a page’s popularity and enable you to fine tune content so it’s more relevant and engaging.
Check Your Search Results
If you have a search facility within your site, check what your visitors are searching for. Putting the search URL parameter into your profile settings will show what people are searching for that they can’t immediately find, useful keywords and variations, and ideas for improvements like new pages or improved navigation.
Where are they all coming from??
Knowing where your visitors are coming from is a great way to help them to get to where they’re going. Going to Sources, All Traffic, Medium, gives a straightforward breakdown that’s easy to analyse. The pie chart gives you a clear breakdown of the traffic as a percentage of the total, and an insight into each individual medium.
Maximising organic performance in terms of both keywords and landing pages is a really cost-effective way to improve your numbers. Clicking Secondary dimension box and selecting Landing Page, will give you an indication of topic searches, show the spread of clicks on Sitelinks, and help you to see gaps in data.
If you aren’t already, being social has many more benefits than you might imagine. Apart from the obvious, cost-effective self-promotion and opportunities for casual brand research, your social activity will grow your brand footprint online. You can also identify the social platforms that send you traffic, associated engagement statistics and the amount of data hub activities for each URL. Looking at conversions will also show you how many are generated from each social media platform – click Assisted v. Last Interaction Analysis to see more.
Monitoring the number of clicks plug-ins get will give you some idea of how they’re used and so how valuable they are to your visitors. Google+ activity is tracked automatically though you’ll have to code to track other shares from your site.
Time to Get Technical
Ask Google Analytics if you and your visitors or customers are compatible! Knowing what operating systems and browsers your visitors use mean you can build your site to work best for them.
And that’s Google Analytics in a nutshell. Although it can seem a bit overwhelming with so much information available, once you know what metrics are relevant to your website and what you should be looking for, it won’t be as intimidating after all.
If you’re still not sure where to start, contact us today to speak to our digital marketing specialists about using Google Analytics to the best of your advantage.