It’s undeniable that Google Analytics (GA) has become a large factor in current marketing strategy development. As such, it’s no surprise that most successful marketers are familiar with the program. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that marketers truly know how to fully optimize the data it provides.
For maximum effectiveness, marketers need to not only understand the information they’re being given, but also how to apply it correctly for their brand. A lot of the understanding of Google Analytics is learned through regular use. To help speed up your learning curve, 15 experienced members of Forbes Agency Council detail the most useful ways to find valuable data through GA.
1. Understand How Specific Content Is Performing
Google Analytics helps us dive deep into how specific content performs. Along with understanding traffic from a macro level, realizing specific pages that users enter the site through helps us understand what is working and what is not. We can then ask questions: Why? What keywords are tied to that page? Are users engaged? Do they continue to another page? Are they converting? This all helps decide next steps. – Larry Gurreri, Sosemo LLC
2. Watch The Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is one of many important metrics to drill into from Google Analytics, especially as it relates to paid media and pay-per-click. Many times you can tell right away if your targeting or messaging is off or if the landing page is failing to convert, simply by seeing how much of the traffic from a paid source immediately bounces out. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack PR Marketing Group
3. Learn What People Need
One of the most important things to know is what your customers are looking for. When you have all of the information on the books you can make all kinds of decisions based on what your users need. You can target all of your marketing campaigns, and you can know what you need to improve and what you are doing well when planning out additional campaigns. You need to know your customers. – Jon James, Ignited Results
4. View Traffic And Lead Origins
We’ve found that GA works well as a cost-free and effective option for viewing website traffic and determining the origin of leads. But some marketers make the mistake of measuring their traffic using only a single measurement tool. Each platform has its own unique algorithmic approach to gathering the data, and it’s always best to use multiple platforms to A/B test one against the another. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
5. Walk In Your Customers’ Footsteps
GA Conversion Goals are based on last click. But drill down to Multi-Channel Funnels, then Top Conversion Paths. Voila! Your data-informed customer journey! See how they first found your site, came back and finally converted. Where do your channels fall? Try it yourself. Follow their path and see what other content they are exposed to that could affect their decisions along the way. – Greg Lee, DRUM Agency
6. Synchronize All Google Products For More Value
Ensure you link all of the other Google products and use the Goals to truly track the onsite/in-app activity that allows for capturing and analyzing along your critical path to consumer action. Without it, it’s just collecting data and doing a good job of giving you page-level stats. – Ryan Keahukai Vaspra, Sightly
7. Leverage Users Flow Reports
One of my favorite features of Google Analytics is the Users Flow report. This report is focused on the pages users visit. It provides specific metrics describing the connections between pages on your website, including entry and exit pages. The data in this report offers great insights that web designers can turn into data-driven recommendations to enhance users’ experiences. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
8. Analyze Organic Keyword Searches
Google Analytics shows what people are searching for to get to your agency’s homepage. This allows you to identify how people recognize you. Use Google Analytics Organic Search data as a guide map when promoting your agency on social and building marketing materials. Don’t reinvent the wheel if you already have a strong search foundation. Instead, use those terms to your advantage. – Lisa Arledge Powell, MediaSource
9. Take Advantage Of Customization
Google Analytics provides a wide range of segmentation capabilities in e-commerce, geolocation and interest categories that can be leveraged for an agency’s success. Its high degree of customization in this area allows companies to tailor segments to the unique marketing goals and needs of each client. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC
10. See What Companies Are Visiting Your Website
Anyone with a website and free Google Analytics can easily see which companies are visiting their website with a not-so-well-known standard report in GA. Simply go to Audience, then Technology, then Network. Companies with dedicated networks will show as visitors. It’s a great way to identify potential leads. – Jordon Meyer, Granular
11. Use Internal Promotions Tracking (IPT)
Think of IPT as a more robust version of Event Tracking. Instead of three dimension buckets with events, we get four total dimension buckets with Internal Impression Tracking. It allows brands to see impressions, clicks, click-through rate, conversions and conversions rates. Even if you don’t have an e-commerce site, you can still apply your goal conversions to improve user experience and conversion rate optimization. – Dan Golden, Be Found Online
12. Customize URLs Driving To Your Website
Google Analytics can have trouble reporting the origin of clicks to your website. You’ve seen this if you’ve noticed a lot of traffic coming from “other.” Google can better attribute this traffic if you point to your site with URLs that have Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters (use Google’s URL builder). This generates fully trackable URLs to use in hard-to-track channels like emails, paid media and social networks. – Kathy Broderick Selker, Northlich
13. Monitor Your Competitors’ Campaign Traffic
Knowing what campaigns drive the most traffic are very important in this industry. Google Analytics gives you the opportunity to analyze and monitor your competitor’s campaign trail. With this access, you are able to utilize the information and strategize for your next big successful campaign! – Cagan Sean Yuksel, GRAFX CO.
14. Create Audience Segments
By using the Segments feature within Google Analytics you can learn a lot more about very specific audiences, including behavior and performance against your goals. This can help you when measuring against specific personas you’ve defined in your strategy. – Greg Kihlström, Yes Agency