How to Actually Use Your Google Analytics
September 7, 2017
Search Engine Optimization
Google Analytics can be an overwhelming experience–trust me, I get it. There’s just so much information to sift through–how is anyone supposed to know what’s the most important, or even where to start?
It’s also one of the most valuable (and free!) tools you have at your disposal to drive new traffic to your website… and to help you understand what to do with the traffic you already have, including how to convert visitors into customers, where (and to whom) you should be targeting your marketing efforts, and which of your content is attracting the most views (and could it be doing more?).
Here, I’ve broken down Google Analytics into four crucial yet easy steps to help you market your service or product better.
Step One: Figure Out Which of Your Pages or Content Receives the Most Traffic.
To access your traffic, go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
Let’s start looking at your Pageviews. This shows you, in general, which of the content on your site is getting the most traffic. This is the most important first step to gaining a general idea of how your site is doing–and how you can improve it.
The page that is getting the most Pageviews is the page that is doing the heavy-lifting in terms of marketing efforts. So check out that page–does it have enough call-to-actions? Does it have info for next steps? Are you proud of it?
Don’t worry–I’m not asking you to guess on any of this stuff. Actually, please don’t. Instead, try this:
Take a look at the bounce rate of your pages (the % of single page sessions with no interaction to the rest of your site); if your traffic is checking out this one page but not interacting with anything else, perhaps you need to add more compelling links to different areas of your site to keep users actively engaged.
Next, take a look at the average time a person spends on the page. If you’ve written a 10-minute blog article but people are spending 30 seconds on it, there’s probably something wrong–add an interesting intro, make it more concise, or add more pictures to keep people on the page. What’s the point of adding a call-to-action at the end of the article if no one is interested enough to get that far?
Check out your entrances… Entrances shows you how many people are entering your site through this page. This is crucial–is this content the first thing you want people to see? What information would you add if you knew this page was the gateway to your site? Perhaps you need to add more links or call-to-actions to entice people to keep clickin’.
…And your exits. Similar to entrances, this will show you the page most people are leaving from; the “last page” of your company novella, so-to-speak. Perhaps you want to add a link to a purchasing site, contact-us form, etc.
Step Two: Figure Out Who Your Traffic Is.
Okay, now that you’ve figured out what your general traffic is doing/what pages they’re looking at… let’s figure out who your general traffic IS.
To figure out specifics about your audience, start with Audience > Demographics > Overview.
This tells you the age and gender of all your users. This is helpful for uncovering an audience you might not have known about. Perhaps you’re appealing to more 18-year-olds than you thought, but most of your content is geared towards 25-year-olds. This is valuable info–unless you’re an alcohol company, in which case, let’s stick with the 25-year-olds.
Now, try Audience > Geo > Location.
You can get a general idea of which countries are checking out your site, but you can also click anywhere on the map to figure out where the highest concentration of your users are located. For instance, I clicked on the map of the U.S., then Massachusetts–which was dark blue, indicating a large majority of our users–and then I was given a list of the top 10 towns looking at our website.
This is incredibly constructive for your marketing efforts. Let’s say you notice that Salem, MA, accounts for 30% of your traffic, apart from Boston. Rather than wasting time and money marketing to all towns in the state, you can target your marketing efforts towards the people of Salem–perhaps with some witch-themed giveaways? (ha… kidding).
Finally, go to Audience > Mobile > Overview.
Here, you can find out what most people are viewing your device on. If you’re website isn’t very mobile-friendly, but 70% of your users are checking it out from their iPhones… perhaps you should consider re-designing.
Step Three: Figure Out Your Relationships With Other Sites.
Okay, so we know how many people are visiting your pages, we’ve gathered details on who they are–now, let’s find out how they’re finding you. This is probably the most valuable step for marketing purposes, because it shows you which content is most marketable on social media, which websites drive the most traffic to your site, and where to focus your marketing efforts in the future (for instance, is organic search accounting for only 4 new users per month? Perhaps it’s time to reconsider your SEO strategies…).
First, visit Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels.
This categorizes how people are finding your site: through direct channel, social media, organic search, paid search, or referral.
Referrals are particularly vital, so let’s look more closely at these by visiting Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals.
This shows you which websites are guiding your users to your site. This is important for building a relationship with a business that can help you market your product. Let’s say you notice a popular food blogger mentions your restaurant in her post and gets traffic to your site–perhaps you could partner with this blogger in the future to advertise your product.
Finally, check out Acquisition > Social > Overview.
Your social stats can show you on what social media platforms your content is most popular. This helps you see which of your content is best-received online. For instance, if your first blog post is shared 100 times on LinkedIn and 50 times on Facebook, but your next blog post is only shared 8 times on both, you have a better idea of what’s working and what isn’t… as well as motivation to revise that second blog post for better share-ability.
Step Four: Let’s Set Some Goals and Convert!
Now we’re at the final step. Everything else we’ve done so far–figuring out how many people are visiting your site, who these people are, and how they’re finding you–is useless if you have no goals in mind for what to do with all this traffic once you have it.
So first, sit back for a minute and think about what your goals are… For instance, do you want users to find the product page to buy a product? Do you want them to download a free trial? Do you want them to contact you for more info? (To name just a few…)
Go to Admin > Goals > New Goal to set up your first goal.
This is essentially the part of the weight-loss program that asks you how much weight you want to lose–I mean, how motivated are you to lose weight when you haven’t given yourself a way to measure your success?
Google Analytics gives you four types of goals: destination, duration, pages/screens per session, or event.
Once you’ve set-up your goal(s), you can measure your conversions (yay!), by going to Conversions > Goals > Overview.
Although it’s exciting to see how many conversions your site is getting, what’s even more useful is figuring out which page has the highest conversion percentage (number of conversions divided by Pageviews). This page (or pages) is the one you need to be promoting on social media, linking to from other pages within your site, and ensuring a high SEO rating based on keywords and quality, etc.
If this page is the one that has the highest chance of turning a view into a conversion, you absolutely need to ensure it’s a page you’re sharing… and that you’re proud to promote.
So that’s it–four crucial steps on how to use Google Analytics to market your website better. If you need help improving content or design on your website, contact us…
Or, if the idea of marketing your site is still daunting to you, let Mule Media help you out!
Check out our other posts about analytics.