Tracking analytics on your website is a key aspect of reviewing and improving your marketing strategy.
You’ve started using Google Analytics, your data is pouring in, now what?
Setting up Analytics for your site is simple, but understanding what to do with that information might still be a mystery. With a trove of data, you must determine what information is most important for your business's goals.
So, what metrics should you be tracking for your marketing strategy?
You’re probably trying to attract visitors from as many platforms as possible to maximize your prospects, but knowing where exactly those visitors are coming from is as important as getting them there.
Visitors can come from search engines, social media content, paid advertisements, etc., and knowing where your strongest leads are coming from will allow you to better prioritize and strategize your marketing.
Google Analytics reports several key dimensions for tracking traffic - source, medium, campaign, ad content, keyword, social network, referral path, and social source referral. Understanding this data gives you more information on who is in your target audience and what methods of engagement are most effective.
To put this information to work, you want to focus primarily on sources. Social, organic search, direct, paid, referral, and email traffic is reported by Google to show you where your target audience is most engaged.
You’ll then want to review what campaigns and content were most and least effective in bringing in traffic, as well as keywords for organic and paid search. Once you know the status of these sources, you can further analyze where your strategy needs amendments to better meet your needs.
Under the Behavior section of Analytics, you will find information regarding site content, site speed, site search, events, AdSense, experiments, and in-page analytics. Reviewing this information will help you further target your audience and better understand the behavior of visitors on different pages across your site.
Analyzing user behavior allows you to better tailor your site content to your visitors and goals. Here you can:
- See which pages are generating the most revenue
- View which pages receive the least traffic
- Review what pages your visitors last visited before leaving
- Reveal how long pages take to load and compare how that affects your visitor behavior
There is tons of information you can get from analyzing user behavior that can reveal how effective your site truly is.
The Behavior Flow report can be particularly important for understanding the paths your users are taking through your site. This chart shows the most common paths taken by certain types of users and the outcomes of those visits. From there you can review the actions these visitors take and determine where you might rather direct them.
This is a great metric for judging CTAs, as you can see what messaging and imagery guides the viewer to the desired action, as well as find pages where you might want to add a CTA.
These simple metrics can reveal a lot about your site and visitors. Just knowing where your leads land, the steps they take next, and whether they convert or bounce will help you make vital changes to your site structure and content that will help to qualify leads and increase conversions.
This very basic metric can reveal many things about your website and can be found under Behavior Overview.
When you see that a page has a high bounce rate, it means your visitors are not staying on the page long enough. This can be an indication of poor navigation, ineffective messaging, or an inefficient site.
Focus on the bounce rates of landing pages. If your homepage has a high bounce rate (the average for B2B is 61% and B2B is 54%), this could mean your navigation is not intuitive enough for viewers to find what attracted them to the site. Most visitors, especially first-timers, don’t want to have to dig deep for what they came for; you must quickly and simply provide viewers with the important information you have to offer. The layout of the homepage, as well as the strategic use of menus and navigation bars, can guide viewers to what they seek quickly and reduce the bounce rate. Additionally, you might choose to simplify your homepage to help viewers quickly and easily find where to take the next step.
For landing pages of special offers, perhaps promoted on your social accounts or blog, a high bounce rate could mean the visitors were not satisfied with what they were linked to. To prevent disappointed visitors, make sure your CTAs offer honest and accurate messaging as to what you’re promoting. This will also provide you with more qualified leads and make your marketing efforts more impactful.
Finally, slow-loading pages can be one of the biggest contributors to high bounce rates across your site. If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, this is definitely going to negatively affect your bounce rate.
One study found that a page that took two seconds to load had a bounce rate of 9.6%, four seconds had a bounce rate of 17.1% and seven seconds a bounce rate of 32.3%! Following SEO best practices, like improving server response time, reducing redirects, and optimizing images can get you on track to a faster site and a lower bounce rate.
This is an essential metric for judging how effectively you are meeting your target objectives. With Google Analytics you can set goals to track the behavior of users and determine if your site is getting viewers to take desired actions.
There are four goal types that can be customized to report the status of your specific goal- destination, duration, pages per session, and event.
Destination allows you to set a URL as the goal; when a visitor reaches that URL, the goal is updated. This metric is great for goals like registration confirmation pages.
Duration sets a target time spent on the site by a user and can tell you how that goal would affect your conversion rate based on user behavior from the past week. When setting this goal, it is important to find a number that is low enough that some visitors will reach, but not all; if all your visitors are reaching the goal then you will not learn much by tracking this metric.
Pages-per-session tells you how many pages a single user views in a session. This metric can reveal a lot about the navigation and layout of your site. Depending on the source of the user, you want them to explore your site further once they reach a landing page. If users are not looking at additional pages, this could mean all the information they seek is on the page they land on, or that there is nothing prompting them to further explore. For example, you want viewers who arrive at your homepage to visit additional pages, and tracking this metric will reveal what parts of your site visitors are accessing from the homepage and what parts you might want to make more accessible.
Event goals are triggered by an action not already tracked by Analytics, like form conversions, downloading content, sharing with social media buttons, or widget usage. Depending on your business, these can be incredibly important actions that you want to keep track of and could be an essential metric to judge the progress of your goals.
Tracking website analytics is only the first step in optimizing your marketing strategy. The biggest impact analytics will have on your site are the actions you take after reviewing the data. What you choose to focus on will depend on the unique needs and goals of your business, but these four metrics will put any small business on the right track.