Sure, you may have heard of Google Analytics, but do you have it installed on your website? Don’t let intimidation or doubt of its usage hold you back. We believe it is up there with the most valuable tools you can use on your website.
You heard us correctly. One of the most valuable tools.
And why is it that you haven’t gotten around to installing Google Analytics again?
Why your website should utilize Google Analytics
- Data is only useful if you have collected it. Maybe you are planning to closely track your website’s audience data starting from the moment you launch. Maybe you don’t have the time, energy, or desire to look into such things. But we like to pose the question, what if? What if two years from now, you’re reevaluating your content marketing strategy and you’re curious which of your blog topics have been most viewed. What if five years down the road, you want to make a big marketing push? If Google Analytics was set up from the start, your website’s data is ready and waiting for your analysis. If not, all that valuable insight is lost.
- Knowing what brought your audience to your website has value. Was it the result of an ad placement? Was it the result of a social media post? Was it a referral? By clicking on “Acquisition,” you can see details of not only AdWords campaigns but also the percentage of your traffic coming from organic search, referrals, social media, and the direct entering of your web address into a browser. Within these categories, Google Analytics allows you to dissect your audience acquisition further. What are the most common keywords people used to find you via organic search? What are the websites that send you the most referral traffic? Is Facebook or Twitter driving more people to your website? Just imagine how you can move forward knowing these details.
- Knowing your audience can be critical. Of course, when you craft any text on your website, you should be considering who your target audience is, but is that goal the same group as the viewers who most commonly frequent your website? By clicking on “Audience,” you can learn everything from the city and country of your website’s visitors to the language they speak, their ages, gender, and more. Connecting with your exact audience just became a bit easier.
- Knowing the technology your audience favors can give you an edge in how you present your material. When you click on “Technology,” you can proceed to learn about your visitors’ web browsers and operating systems, as well as whether they are most commonly using their desktop PCs, tablets, or mobile devices. Are your visitors most commonly using Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or something else? Is your website fully functional in the browsers most commonly utilized by your audience? Hopefully your website is already responsive, but are your website strategies in line with your specific customers’ usage habits? There’s a lot to think about, enhance, and elevate when this data is at your fingertips.
- Knowing which pages visitors spend the most time on sends a signal about what you are doing well. Tracking “Behavior” in Google Analytics can be eye-opening. Which are the website pages most frequented? How long are visitors staying on each page? What is it that you’re doing right on those pages? Perhaps, whatever it is, you should do that some more.
- Knowing how your audience interacts with your total website gives a more complete perspective. Are your visitors stopping by one page and then leaving your website? Are they clicking from page to page? Google Analytics’ “Behavior Flow” can be fascinating, seeing the most common paths through your website’s pages. How many drop-offs are you having between a user’s starting page and their first interaction? Or their second? Or their third? “Engagement” can be equally interesting, seeing how long visitors spend on various pages. Understanding these behaviors can help you up your game.
- Knowing which pages cause visitors to leave your website can allow you to change course. Under “Behavior,” you can examine “Landing Pages” but also “Exit Pages.” Is a strategy, conversation topic, or product not quite as effective as you planned? Perhaps you’ll never know—or perhaps, you can analyze the data, see that certain pages are creating dead-ends, and try a new direction.
- Knowing average loading speed for various pages shows you where the developmental hiccups are. While this process is admittedly not perfect—with average speeds sometimes calculated between countries with a wide span of internet strengths—detecting hang-ups can be priceless. Is your loading speed at your shopping cart causing users twiddling their thumbs to close the window and shop elsewhere? Is the delay in your video stream causing potential clients to walk away? In addition to tracking your loading speeds, Google Analytics also offers you solutions to these issues. And solutions are good.
- Knowing the percentage of new vs. returning visitors to your website gives unique insight. How well are your inbound and outbound marketing strategies working? How well are you continuing the relationships that you have established? Are these ratios changing over time? How should your marketing tactics adjust? These answers aren’t always easy, but with the right tools, they can be easier.
- Calculating ROI for your various website strategies just makes good business sense. ROI is sometimes hard to measure on a website—be it a basic brochure site, an ecommerce store, a content marketing playground, or otherwise, but Google Analytics tracks the data that can make an argument. Is a strategy paying off? Well, check the numbers and find out. Isn’t it great to have the numbers?
Even if you think you’ll never use it, there’s no harm in setting up Google Analytics. It’s free. It’s included with little effort. It does the work so you don’t have to.
Your only responsibility is the act of turning it on. Our suggestion? Plan ahead. Be prepared for the potential of using Google Analytics someday, whether that time is next week or next decade. Don’t miss out on all that marking gold by thinking it’s not something that you need today.