Google Analytics: An Essential Tool for Marketers
Anyone who belongs to the field of digital marketing or even has a passing interest in analytics, e-commerce, or data tracking, should be familiar with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is the undisputed leader in the world of web statistics. It is the go-to platform for marketers who want to keep track of what people do online and gather insights based on the data accumulated.
It all started back in 2005 when Google acquired Urchin, a web statistics program that had revolutionized the way customers engage with online platforms.
Google saw the potential that web analytics had and was keen to launch a program of its own; something that would allow developers and marketers to create a superior online experience for customers.
With the acquisition of Urchin that dream became a reality. The first version of Google Analytics came out in 2006. Sure it was different from what we are using today, but Google’s goal has remained the same since the first day of launch— to empower companies of all sizes and help them become smarter and effective in the online world.
Google Analytics and Marketing Strategies
The high volume of data on Google Analytics can be quite daunting for people who are using the platform for the first time. Without having a clear idea regarding your objectives, it can become very tough for you to identify metrics that require focus.
We will be looking at some of the essential metrics on Google Analytics shortly. Before doing so, you will need to understand how the platform works.
Google Analytics has eight main sections: Dashboards, shortcuts, intelligence events, real-time, audience, acquisitions, conversions, and behavior.
These eight sections are further divided into subcategories, however, it’s not necessary that these categories are relevant to your business.
The three main sections that marketers need to focus on include: audiences, behavior, and acquisitions.
This section of Google Analytics consists of all the data and information about your page visitors. Data is divided into categories like gender, age, and location of visitors. You can also extract further information like the devices your customers use, along with their interests.
The acquisition section consists of information regarding the source of traffic on your website. It tells you whether customers are coming to your website through social media, web search, or search engines.
The behavior section of your website gives you information regarding how customers engage with your website. For example, if you have a page that contains details about AT&T home internet plans, you would want customers to hit the CTA button and place an order.
Through the behavior section, you can identify whether that is happening or not. What if a customer quit before completing the purchase. What if they leave the website as soon as they come on the landing page? The behavior section allows you to address these issues in your website and address them for better conversions.
Now that you have a relatively better idea regarding how Google Analytics works, let’s take a look at some of the essential metrics on the platform.
Sessions and Users
Every person who visits your website is known as a user, and every time a user visits your website, they initiate a session. This session is terminated after 30 minutes of inactivity or at the end of midnight.
Keep in mind that the number of sessions will always be higher than the number of users because a single user can launch multiple sessions.
New and Returning Users
Identifying the number of returning users and the number of new users on your website can be quite useful. Behavior patterns of both of these user types are different and can give you deeper insights into the mindset of customers. For example, a high percentage of returning users is an indication that they re loyal to the brand and find the content on the website engaging enough.
The ratio between new and returning users is also dependent on factors such as your business model, the industry you are working in, the intention of users, and the marketing channel used for the first contact.
Bounce rate is the percentage of users who come to your website only to leave it immediately. Marketers can use this metric to determine if content on a page is engaging or not. A high bounce rate naturally is an indication that the website’s content has issues that you need to address immediately.
Goal Conversion Rate
In digital marketing, a goal is a specific action that a visitor needs to take. Signing up for an internet plan, subscribing to the company’s newsletter, adding an item in the shopping cart, or providing contact information are just some of the examples of the kinds of goals marketers set for audiences.
Google Analytics allows you to create up to 20 conversion goals at a time. Google tracks these goals from the moment of creation, and marketers have the option of attaching a monetary value to them as well.
Conversion tracking serves as the basis for the optimization of website performance and in-depth analysis of business performance within the digital landscape.
Average Time on Page
The more time a visitor spends on your page, the more likely it is that they will convert into customers. For a layman, that’s the logic behind tracking the average time spent on a page. However, there’s a lot more to this metric than that.
Average time on page allows you to measure the performance of individual pages on your website. It tells you which pages of your website are performing well and which pages need to be revamped or optimized for better performance.
In case of e-commerce businesses, this metric tells business owners which products customers are most interested in.
Organic vs Paid Sessions
Digital marketing strategies incorporate both paid as well as organic marketing. In an ideal situation, both of these tactics should equally contribute to a business, however, practically that’s not always the case.
Organic sessions allow you to determine the benefits you are getting in return for the efforts you put into SEO and content creation. Paid sessions tell you about the number of users who come to your website because of PPC campaigns. This number tends to be higher because you are spending money to get traffic.
Apart from keeping track of visitors who come to your website through paid or organic sources, you also need to keep an eye on the number of conversions generated by users. If the number of conversions generated by users who come to website organically are higher, then It is only natural that you tend to focus more on the organic sources of traffic.
Top Search Query
Analyzing keywords that lead to the highest number of clicks on your website gives you an insight into whether your keyword strategy is working or not. It tells you if your content meets a user’s search intent.
Users by Gender
Google Analytics also tells you the gender of people who visit your website. This information is useful because it gives you an insight into the kind of people who commonly visit your website.
Using that information, you can develop content on your website in such a way that users find it appealing.
Gender-wise distribution of users also allows you to identify potential customers and increase your business.
Let’s Start Tracking
Based on the information provided above, you can see how big of a role Google Analytics plays in digital marketing. User data is a valuable commodity for all marketers as it gives them an insight into the minds of consumers and allows them to develop communications accordingly.
Access to data and the ability to keep track of goals is the reason Google Analytics is such a valuable tool for marketers.