Google Analytics can be a great tool, but only if it is used effectively. There are many components that goes into the tool and comes out of it as well. We are going to touch on a few of the dos and don'ts as well as our top three reasons we use Google Analytics for our own sites.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered from Google. It was built to provide website managers / owners information about their site(s) across different platforms and devices to understand your customers and improve your marketing.
What Google Analytics Does / Doesn’t Do
There are many things you can do with Google Analytics. The tool was designed to help inform individuals about how their website is being discovered and user flow to improve the returns of the marketing plan. The reports that are available mirror that mission. The “real time” component allows you to view the at-that-moment traffic of your website. Past this, it will track and report data points back to you about: the device used to browse your website, the platform the visitor came from, where they are coming from (the general location they are in, such as city and country), webpage speed, the popularity of pages within your website, clicks, conversion rates and bounce rates. You can also view customer insights, including interests (such as if they identify as business owners) and discover what channels are drivers for your traffic.
Google Analytics has a lot of positives and abilities that it can do for you, however there are still some things it is not the best platform for, nor will it do. One big thing—and a reason to make sure you connect Google Analytics as soon as you launch—is that it can’t process historical data from before you were connected. This means as well, that if your Google Analytics tool disconnects or is deleted from your site, you will have missing data and information from the time it is not connected. Google will not track individual information that is PII (Personally Identifiable Information). It is designed for providing you data about your site, so the reports will not provide customer data from other locations, such as social media. It tracks visitors who come to your site and where from, but that is the extent of what it tracks for external data. You will not be able to see where they go off your website.
Why we Love Google Analytics
Reveals Who Our Customers Truly Are
Demonstrates Internal Areas for Improvement and Focus
Maintaining a website is about continuous improvements and updates. This doesn’t mean a complete revision, but small tweaks that make the design better, the user happier, and gives bots a clear image of what the website is all about. Google Analytics allows us to better the first two points, by analyzing technical website abilities (ex webpage speed) as well as traffic tendencies on those pages (consistent clicks from one page to another, most used internal links, bounce rate, etc). Knowing this information, we can act on the positives and service the lacking structures to improve our sites.
Directing Our Marketing Plan
A marketing plan without data is just a shot in the dark—or a mirror image of someone else’s plan. In this ever changing field, marketers have to keep up with the sometimes subtle shifts in customer preferences. Google Analytics was built with the direction of assisting marketing. The data available there, from traffic rates of certain channels to the customer’s themselves, all of these points allow a data-driven marketing strategy to be developed. We use the points to drive our planning as well as review how our past strategies worked to refine our reach.
The benefits of Google Analytics for you are that it is a time-saver when reviewing your marketing plan because of the automatically reported trends and insights, compiles everything together for a snapshot of how you are doing, and is data-driven information which is very valuable, especially in ensuring your return on investment is favorable. Another reason you should be utilizing this tool is it’s FREE! A free tool that provides you with clear data and trends to improve your site is extremely valuable, especially since Google is the number one search engine. Even if you don’t use it every day or for every report, as long as it is connected to your website, it will track this information for you.
This is one of the many tools we use ourselves for both our websites and monthly maintenance of our client’s websites. Interested in learning more about Google and Google Analytics, reach out for a consultation today with one of our LiveFive team members.