An introduction to Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free data platform provided by the technology giant to help you better understand the visitors that come to your website, where they come from, what actions they perform and ultimately what helps them to convert.
How does Google Analytics help businesses?
Having the ability to understand the visitors that come to your website provides the data and opportunity that every bricks and mortar shop owner wishes they had. In real-time you can see precisely what brought a user to your site (paid advertising, organic search, social media etc.), what pages they visited, where they left and what areas on the site they interacted with.
If you view your website like a shop, Google Analytics is the tool you need to refine what products should be put in the display window, inform which customers to offer help to and recommend what lines to push through advertising based on data.
Analytics not only gives you the information you need to improve your website; it also gives you insightful information on your core business demographic, giving you the opportunity to spot market trends and business opportunities.
Is the data in Google Analytics relevant for small businesses?
Absolutely. For small and medium sized businesses, Google Analytics is the tool needed to give your online efforts context, feed you the information you need to make the right decisions with your marketing budget and maintain a competitive edge over the other businesses in the same web space.
This is the overview page you will see in your Analytics reporting dashboard. On the left-hand side column you will see the tabs which house various segments of data that encompass the information that flows through your website:
Dashboards – In Dashboards you can create custom pages of data so you can see the most important information to you all in one place.
Shortcuts – If you’ve created a custom report or have found a pathway with useful data you can create a shortcut to it so you can access that information straight away.
Intelligence Events – Intelligence events monitor your website traffic to detect significant data variations and alerts you as to the nature and amount
Real-Time – For websites with a high number of visitors, viewing data in real-time can be extremely useful and you can watch as visitors come and go, seeing what pages and actions they take on the site.
Audience – Audience contains data specific to the user, for example their demographic information, device type, location etc. You can cross-reference this with metrics such as conversion rate to spot trends and resistance points.
Acquisition – Acquisition tells you where your visitors came from. This is essential data to gauge the success of your marketing spend, you can see whether your AdWords campaigns are performing as well as expected, how they stack up against your revenue in organic search, social media, referrals etc.
Behaviour – This is where you would find information on what your visitors do once they’re on the site, what pages they visit and where they land/exit. You can use this information to find out which pages are successful on your site and what areas need work to give the user the information or journey they need to convert,
Conversions – This is where you find information on your converting visitors, what they bought, whether they filled out a contact form etc. Cross-referencing conversions with the other areas within analytics is a key part of analysis and for small and medium businesses this information is essential.
What insights can you gain from Google Analytics?
There’s no getting away from it, Google Analytics is the essential tool for any website owner. For businesses Analytics should ingrain itself as part of the furniture, there shouldn’t be a day where you aren’t checking your traffic levels, where your users have come from and whether or not they converted into paying customers..
An example of the sort of insights you can take from Analytics are:
What device your customers are most likely to purchase on
Whether your marketing vouchers cause a spike in sales
What location/age/gender/mobile device converts best, what pages they visit most often, what pages they exit at.
What channel (acquisition) produces the most revenue and the best conversion rate
Where you should be increasing your advertising spend/where you should be reducing your advertising spend
There is an endless realm of possibilities of the data you can extract and explore within analytics, the key is to find the right questions. Scratching the surface can often appear daunting but once you begin to penetrate and uncover deeper layers of data you can begin to make more intelligent decisions to increase the conversion rate on your website.
Where should you start with Google Analytics?
If you’re a business owner who hasn’t begun to tackle the data on their site yet – there’s never a better time to start than now. My advice would be to work with a data expert to familiarise yourself with the platform and what information it has to offer. At affinity, we run a number of Google Analytics training courses to help get you started, as well as regular training seminars.
Become confident in finding out answers to questions you have regarding the users that visit your site and use your data expert to support you and find insights on a deeper level so you can immediately find actionable fixes to help your website perform as it should. If you’re running a business, especially E-commerce and you’re not making the full use of Google Analytics you could be missing out on potential revenue and intelligent customer retention and management.
Would you like to learn more about Google Analytics and how it can transform your business? Contact affinity today and speak with one of our Analytics experts.