Google Analytics is a great tool. It can help you track visits, bounce rates and behaviours of users who come to your website. You can filter, splice, chart, and compare your data in so many ways it can be hard to know where to start (and stop!). With all this information at our fingertips, sometimes the answer for understanding it lies in the easiest, most underutilized tools at your disposal.
1. Campaign URL Builder: Understanding how users get to your site and access different pages is truly critical in assessing your marketing efforts. The Campaign URL Builder allows you to easily add parameters to a website link so that you can better understand how it impacts your traffic, and should be used whenever a link to your site is distributed or published.
Let’s say your marketing team has sent out an email campaign promoting a few services your company offers. In the email, each link should be tagged with a custom URL. Then by reviewing the Source/Medium dimensions, you can easily see which links are getting the most clicks, and how those users are converting. This can result in better targeting and fine-tuned copy for future campaigns.
2. Segments: If you have a defined target audience, this one couldn’t be easier. By creating a segment using detailed information about your target audience, you will be able to quickly assess how well you are doing with your targeting efforts by simply flipping on that segment and see how it performs against your total traffic. Feeding that information back to into your operations is a simple way to have greater impact.
For example, let’s say in reviewing different pages on your website with your newly created segment compared to all traffic, you see a much higher bounce rate from your target audience on several pages. Looking closer, you can see that most of your target audience is coming to those pages organically through a search then leaving. Reviewing the keywords that brought those users to your site against the copy on those landing pages may present an opportunity to closer align to their expectations.
3. ‘Compare to’ function: Comparing one period of time to another is a given, but did you know that adjusting it to ensure the start and end day of each are the same day of the week will allow you to very quickly see both trends and anomalies? Once you see a peak or valley in the chart, my favourite trick is to just click through all the available reports until you have found the one that most likely explains the variance.
Imagine seeing a large variance during the last three days of a time period, but when flipping through the reports you see that traffic from Social Media was down at that time as well. After a quick chat with your social team you found out that there were fewer social posts at that time, and the difference is easily explained.
No one said understanding your website data is easy, but by incorporating these simple tools and techniques into your analysis, you may find it becomes easier to use the results as a tool to drive and adapt your digital strategy.