Google Analytics can be a good friend to small business owners working on different Digital marketing activities to expand and grow the business – like Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Paid Advertising, Link Building, Mobile Marketing, Video Marketing, etc. But what to measure in Google Analytics? With so many metrics and data available in your Google Analytics dashboard, where do you start your analysis and which metric do you focus on?
Entrepreneurs do know the importance of measurement, but they simply do not spend the required amount of time, effort and resources analysing the impact of their marketing campaigns because of the complexity of the measurement tools like Google Analytics. It could get a bit overwhelming.
Here is a list of 3 ways in which you can simplify the Google Analytics measurement process and use this free, powerful tool from Google to the fullest. When you take these simple beginners’ steps, your data will start to make more sense to you, helping you make informed business decisions.
1. Measure the Source and the Medium
Start your measurement journey by knowing how your website visitors are finding you online.
When you open your Google Analytics dashboard and you start seeing some numbers in it, then you know that your potential customers are starting to visit and interact with your website. Now you need to know how they found you. Which source and medium did they use to locate your business? Among the millions of sites that are out there, how did your audience land up on your website?
Why is this important?
The data on the source of your traffic and the medium can tell you which marketing activity is bringing you visitors and which is not. With this, you can make an informed, data-driven business decision on your marketing efforts. For example: If your Google analytics report shows that more visitors are landing up on your website from a particular social media channel, then you can make a data-driven decision to increase your efforts in that particular channel, create more content for that channel, place ads or invest in a new content marketing campaign.
In Google Analytics, you can measure various sources of website traffic by looking in 2 places:
- The ‘Audience’ tab: This tab give you an overview of your audience with demographics – like age, gender, etc. You can also look at the location details like city and country along with type of device and browser that they used to find you.
- The ‘Acquisition’ tab: In this tab you will get an overview of the channels through which your visitors came to your website, with channel-wise and source/medium breakup. You can also look at the social media channels and the campaigns that are driving traffic to your website.
2. Measure the Interactions & the Engagement
Measure what your audience do on your channels after they find your website and how they engage with your content.
Driving traffic to your website is only the beginning. What do your visitors do after they land on the website? Do they take the actions that you want them to take? Are they engaging with your content? Do they like what they see? Do they stay for a long time or do they leave in a hurry? Are they sharing your content?
Why is it important?
Without measuring the interaction and engagement metrics, as a business owner you will have no idea which content is working for you, what your visitors like and what they don’t. As discussed in our eBook on Measurement, you should think of your website as your online business location, just the way you would think of your offline office space. Would you allow the customers who walk into your retail store to just hang around in the middle of the store by themselves, without you or your staff or any sign boards helping them? Would you not like to talk to them and try to help them get what they want? Yet, many of us do this very mistake on our website. We spend a lot of time and money getting traffic to our website but ignore the visitor once they get to the website. We do not create engaging, user-friendly content or customer journey that will eventually lead them to the product/service or information that they are after. When you measure key interaction and engagement metrics, this data will help you understand your consumer behavior and help you serve them meaningfully.
In Google Analytics, you can look for various behavioral metrics in 3 places:
- The ‘Real Time’ tab: This tab is very helpful if you have a website where there is a time specific event or activity. This tab shows you the ‘active users’ in real time – with their location, the pages that they are visiting, the devices that they are using, etc.
- The ‘Audience’ tab: Under the audience tab, you can look at the ‘Behavior’ sub tab and see the numbers for new vs returning users, the frequency, the recency and the engagement in terms of session duration (the time spent by your audience) and page depth (the number of pages they visited)
- The ‘Behavior’ Tab: Apart from the sub-tab that we discussed in the last point, there is a main tab called the ‘Behavior’ tab. This has some of my favorite metrics and cool tools like ‘Behavior Flow’ which is a flowchart that shows you how your audience started and how they went about going through your site with 1st, 2nd and 3rd interactions, etc. This data can give you great insights into the behavior of your online audience. This tab also helps you by giving information of which pages your audience visited, on which page they left the site and much more. Make full use of this tab.
3. Measure the Conversion & the Cost
Finally, measure the most important metric for a business: conversion’. And measure what it cost you to get that conversion.
Why is it important?
Marketing activities are all about fulfilling that final business objective. As a business owner, you should not lose sight of the end objective amidst all the activities and excitement of the campaigns. The end objective could be an email sign up, or a product purchase or an eBook download – a micro or a macro conversion. But it is best to list the objectives out clearly and make sure you measure them.
Google Analytics has a main ‘Conversion Tab’ that helps you look at the ‘Goals’ that you have set (Note: You need to set Goals before you start measuring conversion. See this article on setting Goals) and what is cost you to achieve these goals. You can set up either an assumptive and an actual pricing parameter for this section.
This section also has great features like eCommerce Product Performance, Sales Performance, Reverse Goal Path and Funnel Visualisation. I highly recommend that you invest time and resources in configuring Google Analytics right so that you can take full advantage of such powerful tools.
Google Analytics also has a premium edition, if you are very serious about measurement. But first take full advantage of the free edition before investing in the premium version.
Hope this helps you get started and more interested in spending time with your Google Analytics dashboard. Let us know if you have any specific questions or challenges as a beginner in analytics. Use the comments section to share your thoughts.
All the very best!