Google Analytics contains a wealth of data and while it can certainly be overwhelming, it can also be a bit addictive. What should you be paying attention to and where do you find that information? Read on friends, we’re here to help.
Have you noticed the new Dashboard feature in analytics? click on the Home icon and you should see it. This shows you some headline data but you’ll also notice that it now shows you analysis of your data too, thanks Google how very kind.
One example of this is the ‘User Retention’ report and this pulls information from your cohort analysis data. This basically shows you what your user retention looks like for your website (how often people come back to your site after initial visit). If you click through to the ‘Cohort Analysis Report’ button it will take you to that data where you can change the range from day, week, metrics etc. This is quite a new feature and is still in beta at the moment but is a great addition for serious marketers and especially for businesses who rely on regular returning traffic.
Another great feature here is a quick overview of ‘Users by time of day‘ – very interesting to see what time of day people like to visit your site and which days are most popular. You’d expect a B2B focussed website to be busier weekdays 9-5pm for example but ecommerce sites can vary massively depending on who your audience are and their purchasing behaviour. Knowing what time of day is popular can help you with scheduling updates, promotions, new content etc
Other features here are as you’d expect, top pages, performance against goals, ecommerce conversion data, top devices etc and without having to go into a specific reports, it’s a really handy quick overview page.
Why is any of this information helpful?
You need to understand what is and isn’t working in order to make it better and ultimately make your site generate more X for your business (where X can refer to revenue, bookings, brand awareness, downloads etc). You also need to have a clear understand of how your website is used by your audience, which content works well, which device is the most popular, what your user retention is like. Information like this should be informing your marketing strategy and changes should be made to reflect what you learn.
Here’s an example
Company X has noticed that in the last 2 months, traffic to a specific page on their site has increased by a massive percentage and is responsible for over 40% of their organic (non paid for) traffic. A valuable page, agree? The problem is that this page is nothing special, it’s a page of blog content that wasn’t designed to do anything other than be news content. Looking at the analytics for this page, the company X can see that this page has a bounce rate of 97% (yes that is high) meaning that all that lovely traffic is leaving the site once it has consumed that content, boo! Why would that happen, bet they have more good stuff like that of interest to people?
What do they do next?
In this case, analytics has identified a key traffic driver and this page of content is now almost as important and valuable as the homepage. Company X now needs to work out why the bounce rate from that page is so high. Is it because the navigation is rubbish once you are in the that area? is it because on a mobile the menu doesn’t quite work properly and people just drift off? The most important thing to figure out here is what the potential problem is, then fix it..
We must add that ‘bounce rate’ won’t always be a cause for concern and can often be explained but it should be taken on board. Exit rate of a page is another indicator of an issue and again this can be down to a number of issues and sometimes, something s simple as a call to action on that page can make all the difference in keeping this valuable traffic.
The point is, analytics can give good news and bad news but if it isn’t looked at regularly, you are not going to have a scooby are you!
We offer Google Analytics services here at Philosophi, please feel free to get in touch if you think we might be able to help you.