How to use Google Analytics

How to use Google Analytics to generate sales leads

Do you know how many of your web visitors your site attracts, and what percentage of those become paying customers? Do you know what people do when they arrive on your website – which pages they visit and which ones cause the most frequent exits?

Google Analytics gives us a rich picture of your website’s performance and plays a central role when we work with companies to increase their conversion rates. The data allows us to make assumptions about what’s working and what’s not, and gives direction for our online marketing strategy.

As you can imagine, Google Analytics is a mammoth topic. The aim of this post, therefore, is to provide a basic introduction to the capabilities of Google Analytics, and to provide guidance on interpreting the statistics. We’ll explain how to access reports about your website and show you how to make meaningful interpretations from the rich and detailed data which can be gleaned.

Why use Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a tool which helps you understand how many people are visiting your website, how they are finding it and what pages they are visiting when they get there.

To access Google Analytics you need to have a short piece of code embedded within your site so that traffic data can be retrieved. You then simply visit the Google Analytics website to sign up for a new account. Once you’re registered, your website will appear within your Google Analytics account list, and you’re away.

Where to begin

With all this data at your fingertips you could spend hours simply looking at the statistics. So before you begin, it’s best to have a clear idea of how Google Analytics can inform your online marketing strategy.

For most businesses, there are three main questions to answer:

  • What volume of visitors are coming to my site and how many are converting (either into online sales or sales leads)?
  • What is my best source of web traffic and what does this tell me about my marketing outreach?
  • What are people doing once they visit my website, and how can I improve the user experience so that more people convert into customers?

The answers to these questions will help to ensure your online marketing strategy is aligned with commercial goals – and you won’t have to become a guru in Google Analytics to glean the information you need to improve leads into your business!

What can Google Analytics tell you?

In a nutshell, lots!  You can view overview reports or drill down into the detail for a variety of topics, including:

Historic and current (real-time) traffic levels

How many people have visited your website over any given period, or how many are on the website now. This is a good way to spot trends.

Comparison statistics

You can view statistics over any period of time to monitor growth on a daily, monthly or annual basis.

Traffic sources (where your website visitors are coming from)

Direct visitors are those who have input your web address into their browser); search visitors are those who have used a search engine like Google or Bing; advertising visitors are those who have clicked on online ads like Google AdWords and referral traffic is made up of visitors who have clicked on a link to your site from another site.

What proportion of your traffic is new (unique) compared to returning visitors?

This tells you how effective you are at reaching new customers or influencing existing customers.

How long visitors stay on your website and how many pages they visit

This indicates how engaging your site is.

What your bounce rate is

A bounce is where people land on your site and then exit without visiting any further pages. A high bounce rate can indicate that your site is unengaging, or appearing on Google for an irrelevant search term. Bounce rates should be kept as low as possible as they affect your Google rankings.

Social visitors

How many visitors have found and engaged through social channels. This will tell you if social channels are sending traffic to your site, indicating the success (or otherwise) of your social media outreach.

Conversion rates & transactions completed

How many visitors turn into customers?

How can you encourage people to put more into their shopping baskets?

If you don’t have an e-commerce site, you may track other types of conversion, such as number of newsletter sign-ups, phone or email enquiries.

How many times a content type is clicked on

This will tell you about your audience’s interests.

Visitor behaviour and navigation

What is a typical journey through your website and what does this tell you about your visitors’ interests and buying behaviour.

Website exits

At what point do people leave your site, and is there a trend to abandoned baskets?

Website speed of access

How quickly does your site load – people have a limited amount of patience online! If you have a high bounce rate, or people only visit a few of your pages, it’s worth checking out these statistics first. It could be that you simply need to improve the loading speed of your site.

Technology access – how many visitors are accessing via tablet, mobile or PC

If your website isn’t responsive yet enjoys a high proportion of visitors from mobile phones and tablets, you may be able to increase conversions by making your site more mobile device friendly.

In summary…

If you’ve so far only used Google Analytics for tracking the number of visitors to your site, maybe it’s time to look again to glean new insight to inform your web marketing strategy.

If you’re still unclear about interpreting the data or formulating an effective online marketing plan, please get in touch, we’ll be glad to help.