Google Analytics is an efficient tool if you know how to use it. The following tips will help you get actionable data from Google Analytics at a glance.
When working with data, the trick is to first start defining and setting clear goals. Your goals are your whole reason for using Google Analytics.
Here are a few examples of Google Analytics goals:
- Making A Sale — Sales goals link website performance to the bottom-line.
- Blog Comments — Comments are a good indicator that people are engaged in your content. By setting up a blog commenting goal, you can track the number of comments and learn which of your content performs the best.
- New User Sign-ups — New User Sign-up goals are important for membership sites. They give insight into the user’s experience, as it relates to sign-up programs.
After defining your goals, you can begin to ask the right questions. Here are some questions I have singled out to give you actionable data from Google Analytics.
1. Are you getting more, less, or the same amount of traffic?
To answer these questions you need to look at visits and page views over time. By observing the data over time, you can identify increases and decreases in the amount of traffic to your page.
2. Who is responsible for the traffic increase?
By plotting multiple rows on your charts you can identify the sources driving your traffic, comparing them visually. Plotting multiple rows for comparison is more efficient than looking at each source individually.
3. How are visitors finding you?
Often, people find your website through other websites and blogs. Do you know which ones?
Identifying how people are first learning of your digital brand allows you to better understand your visitor. If your visitors were finding you from a popular blog, you would know that the readers of the blog are a target audience and you might consider reaching out to that blog in the future.
4. Are you giving visitors what they want?
If you are trying to get actionable data from Google Analytics about what visitors to your page want from you, you should start with your internal site search data. When people search for products on your internal site search they are telling you what they want.
5. What are the conversion rates per device?
Everyone talks about how important it is to optimize business web pages for mobile. But how do you convince an organization to allocate the budget for it?
Knowing whether most of your visitors are coming from desktop, mobile, or tablet is highly actionable data from Google Analytics.
6. How are visitors sharing your content?
You can measure how people share content on your website. This is useful in deciding where and if to place social buttons on websites.
If you’re an online business using social buttons (e.g. +1, tweet, like), look for the “Social tab” and click on “Plugins.”
The social run-down for how people share your content is actionable data from Google Analytics that will help you decide which buttons to remove or reposition on the page based on their usage and performance.
7. Are your web pages current?
Have you ever browsed the web only to be hit with an error page? It’s frustrating when it happens. You will try to refresh the page and if that doesn’t work you’re out of there.
To make sure that you are the first to know when a link is broken, you can create an alert on Google Analytics to tell you when 404s raise above a certain level.
Google Analytics is an efficient tool; however, it is also a multi-faceted tool. It is very easy to get overwhelmed by the wealth of information available to you.
Knowing where to start can often be the hardest part of any analysis. If you find yourself struggling to make sense of the Google Analytics report you might want to reconsider your goals.
If you are really trying to make the most of your time on Google Analytics, you can tailor your analytics dashboard to your goals. I highly recommended doing this.
It is better to first focus on your own specific goals and questions. What do you want to learn?
Do you have experience with Google Analytics? Let me know some of your best tips.