If you are like most practices, you may receive an occasional Google Analytics report from your Internet marketing agency showing your website’s traffic and bounce rates, with the primary objective to justify your continued investment.
If you only superficially review these reports, you may be missing the vast majority of insightful data your website’s Google Analytics offers. Not only can GA offer general information on your Web marketing results, it can:
- Guide your website design strategies and updates
- Show which paid referral sources are working, and which one you may need to cut
- Uncover important pages that need updating or new content
- Improve your conversion strategies
Most importantly, in the eyes of an experienced Internet marketing consultant, Google Analytics should be leveraged to improve your website design, as well as your digital marketing and advertising campaigns. This article identifies how you and your marketing consultant can utilize GA to make data-driven improvements in your online marketing.
Can’t Use It If You Don’t Have It
The most important first step is to ensure you have administrative access to your website’s Google Analytics, and not simply reply on report data that your webmaster chooses to send you. Unfortunately, most practices don’t realize they are entitled to access their own website data and simply don’t ask.
You can do this simply by requesting your webmaster invite your Google-associated email address to access your account.
How To Research Your Data
Google Analytics can be used to begin to understand the types of visitors that are coming to your website. It can be utilized to develop user personas, identify their behaviors and how they engage with your design and key elements.
Although there is no single “right way” to analyze your GA data, you need to develop an understanding as to the scope of information and how specific areas can apply to your specific goals, strategies and marketing campaigns. We will share some suggestions on how some key data points can apply, but ultimately, you and your Internet marketing consultant need to see how they can contribute to improving your results.
The key is to make sure you focus more on opportunities, rather than simply finding items to criticize.
Where Did Everyone Go?
Identifying what pages visitors go to the most frequently (Site Content link) helps you gauge the effectiveness of your navigation menu, strategies and links. It can also provide useful hints on design updates.
All of your pages do not have the same value. Are your highest priority pages at the top of the list? Design and navigation strategies should funnel visitors to key “destination pages” (ex. Contact Us) that get visitors motivated to actions you want them to take.
In addition, user data on key pages also can give you insights to their effectiveness and what can be done to improve them. This could include assets, like graphics, videos, long form content, more strategic links, etc.
Demographics and Interests
Many practices never realized that Google Analytics also provides useful demographic information that can guide you to 1) create pages that meet their needs, 2) provides information in the manner they prefer, and project an image and brand that connects with them.
Demographics information (located under the Audience link), provides different ages and genders, as well as their user behaviors and volume.
Beneath the Demographics link is one for Interests. Like demographic data, Interests data sheds light on who makes up your website audience, what type of information appeals to them, and what “affinity” or similarities your website has towards them. It can give you ideas on content and imagery that can be updated or added to your website.
How They View Your Website: Devices
Browsers and Devices can also be found under Audience. Although nearly all practices realize more of their visitors are accessing their website through mobile devices, most have no idea how many. In some cases, I have seen mobile visitors make up as much as 70+%. I have also seen some where desktop still dominates.
The most important reason to understand how visitors view your website is to make sure you view your website in the same manner. In many cases, practitioners may have a high percentage of smartphone visitors to their website, yet still view and strategize website updates using a desktop.
GA also shows you how visitors engage with your website based on the device they are using and if there are updates needed for your desktop, mobile design or both.
How Did You Find Me?
One of the most common question practices have regarding visitors is “How did they get to my website?” Google analytics can tell you a lot about the value of referral sources are when it comes to driving traffic to your website (under Acquisition). This can shed some light on your social media, digital advertising, paid directory listings, etc.
It can also show you a wide variety of search phrases (Acquisition/Search Console/Queries) that are driving the highest volume of traffic to your site, many of which are not the vanity search phrases you assumed. This can be highly useful for updating your SEO strategies and PPC campaigns.
What Time Is It?
One of the most overlooked areas is identifying when visitors come to your site. Not only does GA allow you to see what hours of the day visitors are coming, but the days of the week as well. You can find this as well as other information on the main Home dashboard.
There are a number of reasons why it makes sense to understand when visitor arrive to your website:
- This data can help ensure you and your intake staff members recognize high volume days of the week and times of the day to prepare for leads. Many times, high traffic volume occurs during lunch hours when some practices may close for lunch or intake personnel are not available.
- If you have a high percentage of visitors that come after hours or on the weekends when your office is closed, you should consider adding a live chat service to your website (at least during off hours), or address converting these visitors in different ways.
- This information can also give you ideas to improve your paid advertising campaigns. Dayparting your exposure and messaging has always been an important element to traditional direct response media advertising (TV and radio) and should also be incorporated into your digital advertising as well.
- In some cases, time of the day can also give you an indication of where visitors are and how they are viewing you. Some studies indicate that early morning traffic is driven by smartphones, where daytime working hours are still largely on desktops and evening/late night hours are dominated by smartphones and tablets.
These are just a handful of ways your Google Analytics can be used beyond just superficial reporting. If you or your practice does not have the resources or time to devote to leveraging it, consider at least retaining an Internet marketing consultant that can help.
If you would like us to provide an initial review of your Google Analytics data, call us at 800-368-9910, or Email Us.