Many of us grasp using Google Analytics to understand how our marketing efforts are performing can be a key to unleashing future success. Even so many are put off by the sheer volume of the data facing them. You might want to begin with asking the right questions: what are my goals, and what do I need to know to achieve them. Google Analytics can certainly be a formidable mountain of data to decode, and without having a game plan you can get lost easily. Let’s look at some ways to know which metrics to follow, and ways to use Analytics for your best advantage.
Which metrics do you need?
While each business will have somewhat different needs, the most useful common needs follow.
- Total visits – Discovering how many visitors you are getting is a basic measurement of success, assuming they are targeted visitors. Examine both “unique” (first time) visitors, and total visits, which include returnees.
- Keyword phrases – Understanding which keyword phrases are driving traffic to your page is paramount. This data will help you know how to target your primary and secondary keywords.
- Popular pages – Which of your pages are getting the most notice, and which aren’t!
- Visitors geo-location – Are you attracting people in your local area?
- Referring pages – Which pages are sending you the most traffic? This could be from any number of sources, including affiliates, video, images, social media and more.
- Search engine traffic – Which search engines are delivering the most visitors.
Google Analytics advanced features to help decipher the data
Three beneficial advanced features are very useful when dealing with processing and understanding this data.
Custom reports gives you the ability to create a version of Google Analytics just for you. You can select the data that’s important to you, and organize it any way you like.
Advanced segmenting lets you sort traffic into segments that shed light on the data, such as segmenting out mobile or tablet traffic.
Intelligence events is akin to Google Alerts, and sends a you an email or text to your mobile device when anything out of the ordinary happens on your site, such as a spike in traffic, either up or down.
Yes, Google Analytics is a LOT of data. And yes, you can make it do the job for you, with just a little bit of effort!