We all know by now that Google Analytics is useful for telling us information about our websites and how people are using them. But still, and all too often, we’re seeing the data being poured over by website development teams to improve user experience, while PR and Marketing Managers are thrown a screenshot here and there without being sure what to do with it.
Google Analytics is a treasure trove of valuable insights ready to inform our PR and digital marketing strategies. But its capabilities can be overwhelming; what key elements should time-poor and resource-short marketers be asking for from their web teams to get the most out of it?
- Channel Reports / Goal Flow Reports
Channels refer to the different sources your website traffic is coming from, including search (both organic and paid), social media, referrals from other websites, email and display; which of these are directing the most traffic? Goal Flow reports can then develop this to show you the journeys your customers are taking to complete your goals. For example, imagine the goal you want to track is a newsletter sign up or product purchase. The data may show you that users are mostly visiting the site two or three times through organic search or by referral from another site, then finally completing your goal when they arrive through social media. This suggests it may be an idea to put more investment relating to that goal behind social media marketing, such as offering a free gift or exclusive discount to your Facebook followers.
- Site Search
It’s very easy for marketers to develop campaigns based on what they think their customers want. Google Analytics’ Site Search allows you to see how your visitors are using the search function once they’re on your site, and therefore what they are looking for. You may find that they are searching for a product which thus far has not been a focus for you. Think how much revenue you could create if you made it easier for people to find that product, and incentivised them to buy it, whether on or offline, or both. Drumming up interest and desire for your products is what we’re all gunning for, so if there’s something customers already know they want, jump on it!
- Demographics and Interests
We all know defining your audience is an important first step of any PR and marketing campaign. Google Analytics can help you see whether the audience you identified and the people using your site match up, as well as how they’re arriving to the site and their behaviour when they get there. You can then segment these by age, gender, interest, plus which device and browser they’re using, amongst other categories. Keep an eye on this over time to help you see which areas of your social media marketing, email marketing, PR and experiential activity can be more specifically targeted to convert customers and ultimately affect your bottom line.
As with all valuable data insights, it will take time to gather patterns and trends to be able to help inform your strategy. First and foremost, be sure to have a conversation with your web team to ensure the information you need is being tracked, and dip into the data regularly to make sure you spot any unanticipated audience behaviours sooner rather than later.