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Why you should be using web analytics.

Spreadsheets, graphs, charts, and data—it’s enough to make the un-analytical mind want to run, no sprint, in the opposite direction. Embracing the numbers game of web analytics isn’t something many businesses spend time on. However, with a little acceptance and understanding web analytics can be eye-opening, provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of a website, and when correctly applied, can be a driving force into an effective marketing strategy. Here are three reasons why your company should be using web analytics:

Analytics help you understand consumers at a deeper level.

Go beyond the surface of knowing whether people are coming to your website. Web analytics give you a deeper look into behavior patterns, keyword searches, click-through rates, popularity of content, and what type of device a viewer is using, just to name a few. These many functions uncover how people interact with your website, revealing behavior patterns that give insight into the intentions, attention spans, and interests of your visitors.

Analytics help you act with intention.

Knowledge is power. After you’ve used analytics to understand your audience, you can then act on your findings. Given all the patterns and functions that web analytics allow us to see, we can use these statistics to build more effective marketing campaigns. Which social media channels are driving people to your site most often? If it’s Twitter, it might be a good idea to ramp up the amount of content you tweet out to your followers. Are people clicking through to your website from Google? If not, it might be time to rethink your SEO tactics. Looking at analytics can help you refine your business strategy

Analytics eliminate the guess work.

Without analyzing web behaviors, you may be taking a shot in the dark with your budget and your time. It pays—literally—to know the kinds of people and behaviors that are exhibited on your website. Not only can analytics show you what channels are piquing people’s interest (presenting you with the best places to put your money), but some programs can help generate key business leads. With web analytics, we no longer have to wonder if we’re investing in the right places because we have a trail of statistics that led us there.

This newsletter will explore how specific functions of Google Analytics can help you achieve the above three goals.

Getting to know your audience

Google Analytics can help you bring out the human side of web statistics. Its many functions teach you about the people visiting your website and downloading content.

  1. Separate mobile users from desktop users. Tracking the amount of mobile users, tablet users and desktop users can provide valuable insights about your website visitors. It’s good to know the platforms by which people are viewing your site, so you know whether a mobile site or responsive design is needed to boost user experience or increase functionality. It can also give you hints of the age of your typical viewer, because of the astronomical rise in mobile usage among millennials and Gen X. Other demographics, such as lifestyle or expectations can also be inferred from viewing platforms.
  2. Multi-Channel Funnels. Your prospects will be exposed to your brand in many ways before they become customers. They may see your product on a shelf, see that one of their friends has liked your Facebook page, or have seen your TV ad. These experiences are impossible to capture, but are important nonetheless. Google Analytics’ multi-channel funnel reporting is a step towards broadening the focus. This report shows the most common paths your web visitors take on their way to convert, showing the first measurable step all the way through the conversion. 
  3. Show the path though your site. Google Analytics can report what visitors tend to do once they hit your website in a series of steps. It Allows us to see which pages are best at driving conversions, and what aspects of a website drive page views, decrease bounce rate, or cause visitors to leave altogether. It also tells us whether a site has a logical layout with easy-to-find information.
  4. Filter out brand keywords. When trying to understand how people find your site, it can be eye-opening to filter out brand keywords. Brand keywords are words and phrases that include the name of your company. By filtering them out, you can see what service or product keywords your website ranks for and how people who don’t know your name find your website.Act with Intention

Act with Intention

Google Analytics provides a myriad of functions that let you get out in front of a marketing campaign. Using what you learn about an audience in combination with other functions of Google Analytics, allows you to go above and beyond the typical campaign strategy.

  1. Show whats happening on your site in real time. This function acts in real-time, showing you how many visitors are currently looking at your website, where they are geographically, and how many page views are happening per minute and per second. This allows you to look at traffic patterns that coincide with the launch of a marketing campaign, and can determine if the timing is effective. For example, If you know a direct mail piece is landing on a Tuesday, you can look at traffic patterns around 5pm, when everyone gets home and checks their mailbox.
  2. Spot opportunities on search engines. The queries report in analytics shows what users have typed into search engines before landing on your site, showing impressions and average position in search results. Looking at which keywords are used most often, but your site isn’t ranked highly for, allows you to adjust your keywords to create more opportunity for organic website traffic.
  3. Find your best (and worst) pages. Content reports can show which pages create the most engagement, and which pages don’t measure up. If you have an overwhelmingly popular blog, you can use it to drive new business to your website by promoting it on social media, or by generating more similar content.

Eliminate the Guesswork

Many times, cold hard facts can be the only way to know if we’re putting our money in the most effective places. Google Analytics has some great tools to help reduce the anxiety of the unknown. Using these tools, it can be easy to prove that your time and dollars will be spent most efficiently before you even start a campaign—the statistics don’t lie.

  1. Find other places where people are reading your content. Your organization’s web presence goes well beyond your company website. Depending on what kind of product or service you offer, you may find information about your brand on social media sites, review sites, location and map websites, association directories, general business directories, and the list goes on for miles. With data hub report and trackbacks reports, you can see where people interact with your content. No longer do marketers have to wonder if and where their content is being shared on the internet. Google Analytics helps you track the places that your content is being viewed.
  2. Text Alerts to your phone. Getting back to someone quickly is good business—and good sales. Google Analytics can track certain actions or sets of actions and send text alerts directly to your phone, allowing you to provide instant service to your clients or potential clients.

Statistics aren’t so scary when they’re helping us reach our marketing goals. And today, we have more information than ever before to drive our marketing campaigns, thanks to web analytics programs. Whether you choose Google Analytics, another type of software, or multiple website tracking programs, web analytics are always a good idea.

For more on Google Analytics, download our white paper 10 Things You Didn’t Know Google Analytics Could Do, or for help applying what you learn from your web analytics, drop us a line at [email protected]