Good online marketing for businesses is about tracking, measuring, and analyzing your website and social media data. There are a few powerful tools available to simplify this process. By integrating these tools into your website and learning the basics of reading your data, you’ll be able to make better decisions and optimize conversions. In this article, we’ll discuss the most important tool in your toolbox, and show you how to use Google Analytics to grow your business.
Google Analytics (GA) is a free service from Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It provides insight into everything from information about key customer demographics and campaign performance to bounce rates and daily traffic.
Every business should add Google Analytics to their website. If you don’t already have it, make sure you add it after reading this article. You need a Gmail or YouTube account to access it. Here is a handy guide for adding GA to your site.
More in-depth metrics from GA include reports on the audience, page acquisition, user behavior, conversions and type of device used (mobile, desktop, tablet). You can also link GA to your social media accounts to track campaigns and statistics on those channels.
Use Google Analytics to know your customers
Let’s look at one Google Analytics metric you should be very interested in: the audience. GA can provide diverse information about your web visitors:
- On-page behavior
- Browser and Device info
- First time or returning customer
- And much more
This data is invaluable because it provides insight into how your visitors relate to and interact with your website. With this information, you can make website and content updates and see if they have a positive effect on user behavior.
GA also gives you a flowchart that shows the landing page that web visitors came in through, pages they viewed through, what they bought and/or where they exited.
Another important data metric to follow is your traffic sources. GA gives you rich information about where your visitors are coming from. You’ll discover whether they are coming to your site directly (they type your web address into the browser) or as a referral (coming from another source such as Google or Facebook, where you may be running ads). Direct traffic can be called branded keyword traffic, while non-branded traffic discovered you by searching for some keyword related to your industry.
Important note: If you are running ad campaigns via Google AdWords, you can use Google Analytics to track your AdWords performance.
Other important features of Google Analytics:
- Content Analytics. The content section gives you an overview and detailed report of the pages people are looking at and for how long.
- In-Page Analytics. This is a useful feature that allows you to browse your site as if you were a visitor, but with stats related to the links on each page that show how many people clicked them. There’s even a heatmap tool (like CrazyEgg) to show you what’s hot on each page.
- Conversions Tab. This lets you u track how many people bought something or fulfilled another website goal (such as filling out a form).
Important analytics factors to remember
A healthy website conversion rate (ratio of visitors to the number of sales/goals) is about 2-5%. Most online businesses are struggling at a conversion rate of .5% or lower. Do you know your rate? Use Google Analytics to find the answer. If it’s not where you want it to be, you can always use Google Analytics insights to improve it!
Time spent on a page is a simple but powerful way to measure how engaged your users are. The more time they spend on your pages, the more likely they are engaged with your content. Here are some numbers that most experts agree on:
Good on-page duration metrics:
- Average time on site: 190.4 seconds (about 3 mins)
- Bounce Rate: 40.5%
- New Visits: 62.9%
Average Bounce Rate of Website per category
- Retail / eCommerce Sites: 20-40% Bounce
- Landing Pages: 70-90% Bounce Rate
- Portals (MSN, Yahoo, etc): 10-30%
- Services or FAQ sites: 10-30%
- Content Websites: 40-60%
- Blogs: 60-80%
- Lead Generation: 30-50%
If you are performing better than the average, that’s great! Keep going. If you are lagging, we can help.
How do you use Google Analytics to improve user engagement?
Focus on a few key factors proven to improve the way (and time) that users interact with your website.
Website design is a critical element. Make sure your website is clean, modern (like it’s from 2017) and intuitive to navigate. Only a few milliseconds pass before the eye makes the first impression.
Content is an excellent way to engage your users. Having the right content that people are looking for improves engagement. We’ve written extensively about creating great interactive content.
Calls to Action (CTAs) are essential. After every post, give your users a suggestive action that would benefit them. It could be a signing up to receive a free e-book, encouraging them to visit your store, or directing them towards other areas of engagement on your website. Guide your users into what you want them to do.
Trust must be built immediately. Before most users will buy from a website, they need to trust it. Users feel confident when they see security badges, official seals, and certifications, a privacy page link at the bottom, etc. You also have an SSL certificate, right? (This creates the ‘https’ in your URL and signifies and secure website).
Easy does it. There are few things more painful to users than a website that makes them figure out how to use it. They don’t ask questions, they just leave. Design your website so the content that users want is fast and easy to find.
When you use Google Analytics, you get to see customer behavior. Understanding how users behave on your site, and even on individual pages, is critical. In fact, once you understand their behavior, you can make the engagement suggests above with clear goals in mind.
For more information about how to Google Analytics or for a free eCommerce web development project estimate, contact us today.