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Updated 24 October 18
Since launching in 2005, Google Analytics has fast become essential in the world of digital marketing. The platform allows you to gain crucial insights about your website’s visitors, as well as real-time data revealing their behaviour as they interact with your site. Google Analytics tracks every step of your visitors journey through your website. This includes where they came from, where they visited and where they left.
Here are the reasons your website needs Google Analytics, and what you can do with the crucial data it provides.
Google Analytics works like this: You add a tracking code to your website, which will then instantly start recording data about your website visitors. This data includes:
Google Analytics also records your visitors behaviour. To name just a few - pages visited, time spent on each page, clicked links, the page visitors landed and exited on.
Collecting this data is a great start, but it’s useless if you don’t use these insights to improve your website’s performance.
Segmenting is arguably the most important tool in Google Analytics. This allows you to really drill down into specific visitor groups and find out how they are interacting with your site.
Segmenting also allows you to compare how different visitors behaviour. For example, you could discover that those visiting your website through social media are engaging more with your site compared to those who have been obtained through paid search. Having learnt this, you could adapt your acquisition strategy and choose to do paid promotion of your website on social media as your data suggests you’ll get more engaged leads.
Segmenting your visitors is a great way of evaluating the performance of your marketing channels, so it’s definitely something you should consider.
Google Analytics allows you to assess whether your website is achieving your business objectives. You can set up multiple ‘goals’ which you want your visitors to achieve based on the purpose of your website and function of each page.
If the purpose of your website is to inform and educate then a goal dedicated to the duration of user sessions would be appropriate. On the other hand, if the purpose is to increase ‘sign ups’ then the goal would be for your visitors to reach your “Thank you for signing up” page.
You can also create ‘goal funnels’. This is the path that you want your visitors to follow in order to reach your goal.
Here’s an example:
You could set up a goal funnel that tracks visits starting from the homepage of your site, to the ‘about us’ section of your website, to the ‘sign up’ page of your website, and ending at the ‘Thank You’ page. Google Analytics will be able to tell you at which page in the process your visitors are entering and dropping off your goal path. It will also tell you where they are going - they could be exiting your site, or they could still be exploring other pages looking for more information before committing to signing up.
Visitor behaviour metrics are great for measuring which pages on your website are performing well and which need improving. Metrics such as ‘time spent on page’, ‘bounce rates’ and ‘exit rate’ can indicate the performance of your website.
Do you CTA’s stand out? Is your website mobile friendly? These are the kind of questions Google Analytics’ data raises for YOU to solve.
Note: searching “What is a good website bounce rate” is a common mistake from those new to Google Analytics. This is a very subjective metric - every website serves a different purpose.
If your bounce rate is high, it could be as simple as your website’s messaging isn’t right. Find out the demographics, interests and geographical information of your visitors through Google Analytics. Does your content match what your visitors are looking for?
If you’re attracting the wrong people to your website, they are unlikely to engage with the content on your website. Alternatively, if you’re attracting the right kind of people, your message and brand probably isn’t hitting the mark.
This should be music to the ears for anybody looking to begin a startup business. Google Analytics is a powerful and free tool that offers just as much as a lot of paid platforms.
You can also follow Google’s free online courses helping you to get more out of the data you capture.