5 "Must-Use" Features of Google Analytics
It seems that everyone these days uses Google Analytics, but we find that many organizations benefit from a better understanding of the relevance of the report data. Looking at website visitors and pageviews is a place to start, however, there is so much more than just how many people came to your site.
Following are 5 must-use features of Google Analytics:
The Visitors tab shows how many people visited your site, the type of visitors, and information on how they interacted with the site. However, the amount of visits your page receives shouldn’t be the only number you use to gauge your website’s success. Other metrics, such as Average Pageviews and Bounce Rate, can show you how effective your site was at sustaining these visits.
Average Pageviews indicates how extensively people are interacting with your site. If this number is low, it could mean people aren’t finding the content they are seeking.
Bounce Rate is the percentage of visits in which someone left the site from the landing page. A high Bounce Rate means that people are quickly leaving your site after opening the landing page.
If these numbers aren’t where you would like them to be, your website isn’t delivering what it could. Develop and tailor your landing page so that it immediately appeals to visitors and gives them a clear indication of what is offered and a reason to look at other areas of the site.
Once you can track this data, trends and patterns are easily identifiable and you can adjust your site as necessary.
2. Traffic Sources
The Traffic Sources tab provides detailed data on how people are arriving at your site. Use this information to find out how these visitors differ from each other depending on what online medium they use to get to your site.
All Traffic Sources combines and ranks all the referral mediums in comparison to one another. This allows you to see how organic search engine traffic compares to your paid advertisements. For example, a beauty salon in Cleveland might advertise on Cleveland.com. By clicking on Cleveland.com in the All Traffic Sources list, the salon can see what percent of their traffic is coming from this medium. What if this percentage is low, but has a high Average Time on Site? This could mean that Cleveland.com is attracting the right type of visitors, but not in large enough quantities. The salon could try improving their advertisement for Cleveland.com and continue monitoring it to see if they can generate the right type of visitors in larger amounts.
Keywords lists the most common keywords and phrases that people are typing into the search engines to ultimately arrive at your site. These can be segmented by paid, non-paid, or both groups of keywords. If you are actively optimizing your site for a set of keywords, the keyword report tells you what is working. The list of keywords displayed here are the phrases that people typed into search to find your site today. This helps identify which keywords you are missing.
The Content tab contains reports on each individual page in your site. These reports show how visitors interacted with each page including their time on the page, entrance and exit path information, and navigation summaries.
Top Content offers a look at which pages on your site are most viewed. You can see the specific page view information and use the Navigation Summary to see how people arrived at each page and where they went after they exited each page. Keep in mind that if you have a checkout page for when customers have completed a transaction, it may have a higher exit rate than the average.
In-Page Analytics opens your site within the Google Analytics browser and allows you to easily identify where users are clicking on each page and whether or not these clicks resulted in conversions. It offers a great visual on site usage as opposed to an overwhelming list of numbers and statistics.
The tools under the Content tab help you focus on the work that needs to be done on individual pages as opposed to the site as a whole. Look for patterns and trends in the pageview numbers to see if any pages stand out as being viewed far less than others. It’s possible that these pages are confusing to visitors and are causing them to leave.
4. Goals and E-Commerce
At the end of the day, your organization created its site for a reason – to produce results. Good SEO and good design can end up being irrelevant if your site isn’t generating these desired results. The Goals and E-Commerce sections of Google Analytics are used to find how well your site fulfills the desired business objectives.
Funnel Visualization gives you an idea of how successful your site is at directing visitors to your goal. You can set these goals up from the Overview page and they can be e-commerce related or be something such as getting people to sign up for your newsletter. If you have four steps in your goal process, the Funnel Visualization allows you to easily identify if any of the steps are over-complicated and causing people to leave before the goal is completed.
Product Performance not only displays your total revenue for the specified time period, but also splits this revenue up according to product. If you find that some of your highly advertised products aren’t generating much revenue, check to make sure all of the links are working and that these products are easily found when navigating through your site.
5. Advanced Segmentation
Advanced Segments filter your data according to the path that visitors used to arrive at your site. This helps you target your advertising to the areas with the highest chance of success. They can be created from the drop-down menu in the top right corner of your screen. You can use the default segments provided by Google Analytics or create your own. This is especially helpful if you are relying on any e-marketing techniques aside from organic search engine listings.
When you are paying for advertisements to drive traffic to your site, it’s vital that you know whether the cost is worth the result. The customized segments uncover the specific metrics on where your leads are being generated. Discover where your site referrals are coming from and which advertisements are successful in driving these referrals. Begin by grouping the segment depending on what kind of visits you wish to include. Then add dimensions and metrics to further qualify your visitors’ activities.
Remember, Google Analytics is more than just numbers. It can help you create the best marketing mix and action steps for your site provided that you monitor the data with an eye toward your site’s optimum performance.