This is a Google Analytics guide explained in multiple posts:
- How to Use Google Analytics for Better Digital Marketing (Part 1 of 4)
- How to Use Google Analytics – Audience and Acquisition (Part 2 of 4)
- How to Use Google Analytics – Behavior and Conversions (Part 3 of 4)
- How to Use Google Analytics – Goals and Attribution (Part 4 of 4)
Last week, in Part 1 of our Google Analytics Series, we talked about how your website is the biggest, most important, and likely most expensive, marketing tool for your business. Knowing this, many companies attempt to characterize their target customer before updating or adding things to their website – who they are, how they found your company, and what information they’re seeking in order to make a purchase.
For sales teams this is especially helpful, as it paints a much clearer picture of what type of person or company would be most suited for their product or service and therefore most likely to buy and use. But without actual data to back up those assumptions, they become merely guesses.
Using Google Analytics to better understand your audience allows you to make smarter, more strategic decisions about your digital marketing efforts. In Part 2 of our series we’ll focus on a few sections of data that will help you get to know the people visiting and interacting with your website. The sections below can be accessed via the Reporting tab of your Admin dashboard.
For more information about how to set up and get started using this platform, be sure to read through what we posted last week.
Audience: “the who”
Having hard data about who your website visitors are, where they live, and what they’re interested in allows you to ask yourself a variety of important questions: Do you have a clear understanding of who you want your target audience to be and does the data match that profile?
Are the people visiting your site even qualified to do business with you? If so, does the current user experience guide these visitors to convert? If not, can you make changes to your messaging or layout to help users better qualify themselves? Use the Audience sections below to starting familiarizing yourself with your users on a deeper, more meaningful level.
Demographics & Geo
Filter your audience by age, gender, language, and location.
Use this data to make strategic targeting decisions for any paid search or paid social advertising projects. For example, if you know that most of your audience members are men who access your website from major cities on the West coast, you can set targeting parameters around these metrics. You can also create specific campaigns to boost performance in areas or among certain demographics where your brand awareness is weak.
Group your audience by their lifestyle interests.
From foodies to football fans, this section allows you to segment users who have exhibited online behaviors that place them in some stage of the buying cycle for your type of products or services. You can also use this information to build or adjust remarketing campaigns to target users who are considered to be high-value (mommy bloggers who could be loyal and repeat buyers of your baby clothes) or have high-potential for conversion (decision makers in charge of procuring or purchasing your software platform).
Track and measure the ratio of new v. returning visitors every month including frequency and recency.
Measure the impact of your messaging and let it drive your content creation efforts. If you know that users are visiting your site frequently throughout the month, it may be important to have fresh content available for them upon each return visit. If most of your visitors only visit once or twice per month, you may want to identify what content they’re looking at so you can fine-tune your messaging – you may only get one shot at speaking to these users.
Technology and Mobile
Find how users are experiencing your site – via their desktop, tablet, or on a mobile phone.
Considering your next big website project? Use this data to make important decisions about your next digital upgrade. For example, if you know that the majority of your audience uses a non-desktop source to browse your site, you may want to consider going responsive or even creating a mobile app.
Create custom data segments.
Use aggregated data to set realistic goals.
Compare your data with other companies in your industry who have elected to share their performance as part of the Google Analytics network. Use this data to find meaningful trends in your industry and scope out the competition.
View your end-to-end user experience.
Find out exactly how many interactions users are having with your website before they convert or leave and go somewhere else – useful information for shortening your buying or conversion cycle. Focus your efforts on areas where users are falling out of that cycle to see an immediate boost in onsite conversions.
Acquisition: “the how”
If your business is serious about growth, then you’re probably investing a great deal of time and money to help increase your brand and service awareness. In today’s digital space, driving traffic to your website in and of itself is no longer enough – you need to know which marketing channels bring you the most qualified traffic month-over-month. Use the Acquisition section to find out exactly how your audience is searching for and finding your website.
Find out how users are getting to your website and how effective those channels are at driving quality traffic. View onsite behavior metrics for each channel such as the number of new users, time on site, pages visited per session, average session duration, and bounce rate. Use this data to expand upon or test your marketing efforts in low-performing channels. Is there more you could be doing on your social platforms to drive traffic? Could your emails have stronger calls to action?
- Organic: when a user types various keywords into a Google search bar and clicks through to your site. These keywords could either be branded, like the name or partial name of your company, or non-branded terms like medical supplies or office equipment.
- Direct: when a user types the URL for your website directly into their browser and successfully lands on a page
- Referral: when a user clicks a link to your site that’s found on an external, non-related site
- Paid: when a user clicks through to your site from some form of paid media, such as paid search via Google Adwords
- Social: when a user comes to your site via one of your social platforms
- Email: when a user clicks a link within an email that takes them to your site
Mainly used in the scope of advertising campaigns like remarketing or display, this section tracks the performance of product, category, and/or seasonal campaigns. You can use this data to determine if there’s seasonality to your business. Do your Cyber Monday emails boost traffic during the holidays? Are your remarketing campaigns drawing the right amount of traffic based on your list size?
Learn which keywords, both paid and organic, are most utilized when users are searching for your website. This keyword data is useful in conjunction with your Search Engine Optimization and Paid Media efforts. Measuring keyword rankings, monthly search volume, and competition is an ongoing task for both of these digital marketing channels.
Adwords, Social, and Search Engine Optimization
Dive deeper into the performance of your paid media, social, and SEO campaigns. This section allows you to enable some advanced reporting functionality that will be most useful to you once you’ve got a good handle on the basics of Google Analytics and a working knowledge of paid, social, and SEO digital marketing. Don’t worry! This stuff is on our radar. Look out for an additional post on this topic coming soon!
When enabled, this reporting analyzes the spend and ROI of your paid campaigns that are from a source other than Google. This includes initiatives like paid social advertising or email campaigns.
Now that we know who your audience is and where they’re coming from, we’ll use Part 3 of our series to review the “what” and the “what really matters” – Behavior and Conversions. What content most resonates with your audience? What messaging incents the most engagement? Most importantly, what information do users want and need to convert? Understanding and using the data within these two sections will truly change the way you communicate with your audience.
Find out the what – what content users are viewing, what they’re clicking on, what they’re searching for, and what parts of your user experience are keeping them on site or making them lose interest.
Track the success of your efforts to get your users interacting with your brand in meaningful ways – whether that means making a purchase, filling out a form, or subscribing to a newsletter.
New to Google Analytics? Review Part 1 of our series.