Since its release in November 2005, Google Analytics (GA) has continually provided marketing teams with a wide range of data to help them understand just how users interact online with their business. GA now offers everything from real-time analytics, multi-channel funnels to social media and mobile tracking.
More often than not, marketers approach the Vertical Nerve Analytics team and just want to know, “What terms, numbers and metrics should I really focus on?” Although the answer varies from business to business, these are some of our top tips for success in Google Analytics.
Regular Account Auditing
When was the last time your GA account was checked to make sure everything was working properly? GA is one of the most widely used tools for online marketing measurement in the world and like any other system, it requires regular updates and check-ups to make sure users are getting the most out of its reporting capabilities.
Our team regularly performs account audits and even the most proficient users have at least one error in their account. Make sure your GA account has been set up properly and that everything is being tracked and that all users have been trained on how to properly read the data in GA.
Find Metrics with Meaning
Almost every business wants to increase their online traffic but what good is more traffic if those visitors never convert into customers? Many marketers tend to focus on increasing traffic to their website without taking plans a step further and measuring how much of that traffic converts on the website.
Marketing teams need to first define what a conversion means to them. If you are in the insurance industry, a conversion could be a visitor filling out a form to have an agent contact them about life insurance or for the automotive industry for a car dealership to send information about a certain vehicle. E-commerce businesses have it a little easier when it comes to defining a conversion because the end result is a purchase.
If a website has 10, 000 visits a day, but only 5 produce conversions there is a problem. Marketers need to determine what factors helped produce those conversions (ex: AdWords campaigns, blogs, social media, outside site referrals, etc.) and stop focusing heavily on the elements that don’t work (ex: email campaigns).
Here are some of the top reports we regularly use in Google Analytics that provide key insights on how users find and interact with your business.
- Examine where visitors enter and exit your conversion process
- Identify which site paths lead to the most goal completions
- Use your findings to test changes to your site
Intelligence Reports – Automatically detect and surface significant changes in key performance metrics that you should be aware of.
- Create, save, and share reports that are important to your business
- Simply drag-and-drop dimensions and metrics for customized reports
- If an outside firm isn’t regularly managing your Google Analytics account the easiest way to keep GA at top of mind is to set up regular email reports.
- Select format (pdf, xls, csv, xml, tsv) and scheduling (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly)
In 2011, businesses saw a huge increase in mobile traffic with the adoption of smart phones and tablet technology. Recently, the official Google Analytics blog reported that the weekly volume of mobile visits jumped 40% in the last four months of 2011. Earlier in the year, the Vertical Nerve analysts audited our own client websites and saw an average mobile traffic increase of 350%. Every day more and more consumers are visiting websites that have not been optimized for mobile devices.
GA can not only measure the traffic coming to your site from a mobile device but also segment the traffic by specific types of devices and operating systems. If the majority of the traffic on your site is coming from mobile and you don’t already offer an optimized version of your site; that needs to change as soon as possible!
It’s important to remember that even a brand new optimized website can be improved upon and should be; we encourage regular website testing to find out what works best to improve conversion rates. Online marketing is always evolving and the key is picking an analytics tool that works for your company helps you measure everything.