Have you heard the saying “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. This is the basis of all digital marketing. With digital marketing, we have the unique opportunity to have a clear view of how are efforts perform. This means we can continuously improve our tactics until we receive optimal results. Enter Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is probably one the best tools to begin any of your analytic work. It’s free and very effective in understanding the performance of your website. Now, for those new to the tool or just starting out. Here are five of the features I believe to be the most important. Remember, this is my opinion. If you don’t like it, go look somewhere else for advice.
New Visitors Vs Returning Visitors
When it comes to visitors, I believe in a solid balance of 60% New/40% Returning. We always want to bring new visitors to our website. This is what grows both our website and business. The more new visitors we gain the more we can say our efforts are working.
But when you see a percentage such as 40% returning visitors, this tell us one thing. People like your content and they like your website. A returning visitor is just as important as a new visitor because they both are potential customers. Remember, a repeat customer is what will keep your business going and allow you the ability to attract new customers.
The bounce rate tells us if people are visiting and leaving or visiting and staying. If you see a bounce rate of 60% or over, you have a red flag. This means a majority of your visitors are showing up and leaving right away. This could indicate things such as broken links, slow load times, or an unappealing web design. Now these are not your only reasons for a high bounce rate, but usually are the top contributors. Try and aim to get a bounce rate of between 30 – 50%.
If you’re a global company, you can go ahead and skip this part of the blog. But if you’re a local, state based, or target specific areas. This is for you.
The city session part of Google Analytics allows you to see where your visitors are geographically located. You want to make sure you’re driving visitation from your targeted areas. For example, if you’re a Texas based business targeting Austin, Houston and San Antonio, you want your visitors to come from these cities (or the surrounding area). If you start seeing visitors from China, might want to change something.
Site Content Overview
I’ve said it before, content is king. Content drives people to your website. It’s important to analyze how your content is performing. This will tell you if they find your pages/blogs interesting or not.
Example: Your customers show low bounce rates, long time duration and high visits to your blog about “Save huge on your next real estate buy”. But high bounce rated, short time durations and low visits to “The Top Areas to Buy a Home”. This means your visitors enjoy reading how they can save on buying a home, but don’t care much about the areas they buy in.
Use this to drive your SEO and content strategy to gain the best performance from your website.
Finally, the source/medium metrics. This lets you know how someone came to your website. The source indicates whether it was direct, organic, social, referral, etc. The medium metric refers to the specific driver. This would include Google, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Yahoo, etc.
You can understand a few things by how people are coming to your website. For instance, you can find out where you need to focus your digital marketing efforts. If you see high visit volume from LinkedIn but low from Twitter. You get the notion that you need to focus more of your efforts on LinkedIn rather than Twitter.
It will also tell you where you should focus more of your efforts. Say social traffic is high but organic is low. This indicates you’re not showing high in search results. You now know you need to work on ranking higher for relevant keywords on Google, Yahoo, etc..
Google Analytics is a great tool and almost all companies regardless of size use it to some extent. Set your account up and begin monitoring your website. Remember you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Start measuring and improve your website for optimal performance.