When you’re making plans to improve your website, it helps to know how current visitors got there. You need to know what messages are sticking with them, as well as what’s not, and Google has a handy tool to help you discover that and more! Google Analytics is a free service (who doesn’t love free!) that happens to be one of our favorite marketing tools here at Rock Paper Scissors.
When you embed the Google Analytics code on your website, Google can keep track of what’s happening on it. Google is in the business of getting people to the websites that are relevant to them, and to do that they need to know how people are interacting with the sites they visit. With this service you have the power to have a better website and create a better user experience. Google Analytics is also very helpful for branding because it gives you the ability to see how your brand is resonating with your audience, if they’re doing what you need them to, and make necessary adjustments. Think of it as a way to connect the dots between launching a brand and the ideal end result of people investing in your product or services.
Now that you know the basics, here are our top 10 favorite things about Google Analytics!
Unless you have something to compare your data to, it’s not very helpful. When we first look at a client’s analytics, we like to compare the current month to the previous month to see what has changed in the last 30 days. Then we’ll compare the current month to the same period from the previous year. This latter comparison is important because it is comparing apples to apples from one year to the next and shows how you have progressed.
The annotation function allows you to add comments to your traffic data so you can remember that you launched a blog, email campaign, updated your website, etc. This will help you be consistent in the future as well as have a record of what helped your numbers increase.
The location feature is great for seeing where your audience is. If you are doing targeted campaigns or you serve a specific geographic area, this lets you know if you are getting your message to and attracting the specified audience. The location is based on the IP addresses of your users.
- User Flow
We really love this feature! User flow tells us how visitors are using the website. It breaks down where they entered the site (what page they land on first) and what they do next. It also shows whether they come to the home page and just leave, if they go to the special offer you just set up, or another page. This is a great way to see if your users are using your website the way you intended.
- In-Page Analytics
In-page analytics tells us where people are clicking on each page. Can they tell that graphic is a button? What is your most popular navigation item? Are they scrolling below the fold? Again, this feature helps determine whether visitors are using the site the way you want them to.
So now you have a ton of traffic coming to your website, but you’re probably wondering how these folks found you. Was it through a social media campaign, or your SEO and referrals campaigns? The acquisitions overview tells us how people are entering the website so that we can answer these questions, and more importantly, see what is working and what’s not so you can stop efforts that are not yielding beneficial results.
Are you wondering if you need to upgrade your website to a mobile-friendly, responsive design? Google Analytics will tell you! You’ll see what types of devices visitors are using and make adjustments for an improved user experience.
- Site Speed
Google’s built in speed test lets you see how quickly your site loads. It also gives you suggestions on how to improve the page for both desktop and mobile users.
- Email Reports
You are busy running your business and doing your job, so remembering to log in to see how your website is performing may not make it to your to-do list often. There is a feature that you can set up so you are emailed a report regularly.
- Google Search Console
Okay, so this is actually a tool that’s separate from Google Analytics, but it’s extremely useful so we have to tell you about it! Formerly Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console will let you submit your site and tell you if there are errors on the site – especially ones that will affect your search engine ranking. Think of it as a step-by-step walk through to help make your site as Google-friendly as possible.
If you would like to listen to our full webinar, check it out below!