How to Really Put Google Analytics to Work For You

Published on December 18, 2015

Google Analytics has changed a lot in just a few short years. Once just a free tool based around tracking JavaScript and cookies activity, Analytics is now an industry standard that lets us monitor all kinds of metrics, from bounce rate to social media referrals.

Analytics can be an extremely powerful tool – if you’re using it right. Here are a few ways to maximize your use of Analytics:

1.) Use Analytics for Analysis

Most of us use Google Analytics primarily for reporting – that is, we check our numbers and note whether the lines on our charts are moving up or down.

There is a better way to use Analytics, however. Rather than simply reporting your findings, make Analytics into a “decision support tool” for your new marketing strategies. Use it scientifically – determine a problem or question to be solved for your business (such as, “Are people coming to our site more on mobile or desktop?” or “Which social networks are sending us the most visitors?”), come up with a hypothesis, test it out on your platforms, and monitor the results using Google.

For a shortcut to more effective decision making, take an action and then use Analytics to track the outcome. Once you work the problem in the present, you can work smarter in the future.

2.) Use the Reverse Goal Path

Google Analytics offers a handy tool to check how successfully your individual posts are converting visitors into subscribers.

The “Reverse Goal Path” allows you to track what post a user was reading before they subscribed to your blog or newsletter. As explained by our friend, and digital marketing genius, Orbit Media's Andy Crestodina in a Social Media Examiner interview, Analytics is arranged as AABC (Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions). To get to your Reverse Goal Path, go to Conversions > Goals > Reverse Goal Path.

The Reverse Goal Path works like a giant spreadsheet, highlighting how effective content is at triggering a goal that you select (such as newsletter subscription). Having this raw data can give you new insight into how (and how well) your content is working, allowing you to promote and share your most effective content and create more pieces like it.

3.) Treat Educational and Sales Pages Differently

Pieces of educational content are those pages on your site that provide information to users without necessarily focusing on converting into sales. For these pages, worry less about bounce rate (the number of readers who visit just one page and leave without taking action), since readers are probably coming to your educational pages looking to complete one specific goal.

Instead of bounce, focus on time on site. The number of seconds (or, hopefully, minutes) that users spend on your site influence your Google rankings due to dwell time. With high quality, diverse content, you can attract visitors and encourage them to linger on your site, creating subscribers and improving your SEO.

Sales pages, on the other hand, target potential buyers rather than casual visitors, and should be analyzed differently as a result.

With sales pages, focus on pages per visit and exit percentages with Funnel Visualization. Located under Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization, this report allows you to track the percentage of users who drop off with each step of your ecommerce process (for instance, a shopping cart, a check-out page, and then a thank-you page).

With the data provided through Funnel Visualization, you can determine what steps you should take to keep your customers engaged and moving through the sales funnel.

Have any more questions about how to put Google to work for you? Looking for fresh content marketing strategies? Geek is here to help! When you’re ready to take your site to the next level, drop us a line!

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