It has often been said that web analytics is the most under-utilised yet most beneficial skill set within digital marketing. When it comes to small and medium sized businesses, analytics often provides the secrets to where you should be pushing your marketing efforts. This could be as simple as knowing your audience prefers a certain type of blog content to as large scale as realising that SEO is driving 75% of your results. There really is no end to how much you can uncover with analytics.
The first step to ensuring you’ve got analytics, is to set it up on your website. For this you’ll need to get the unique access tracking code from Google Analytics. It’s worth noting that analytics classes your website as a property and is thus labelled accordingly. After you’ve logged into the analytics interface go the admin panel in the top right of the screen, click on properties and click ‘Create New Property‘.
After you’ve selected what property you’ll be tracking (most likely a website) go to the bottom and click get Tracking ID. After you’ve done this either place it before the closing </head> tags within your website code or if you’re using WordPress install a plugin that lets you easily add the tracking code.
Defining Business Objectives
Now you’ve got your code up and running you should really take the time to know exactly what your business objectives are. Your goals will vary wildly depending on what type of business you are. If you’re an ecommerce business your objectives will to be increase the sales and revenue your website receives. If you’re a lead generation business such as an accountant/ lawyer you’ll want to track form submissions on your contact page. If you’re promoting an event you’ll want to see how many people have signed up for your newsletter and promotional material. Just to recap:
Ecommerce – Retail Sales
Lead Generation – Form Submissions
Event Promotion – Newsletter Sign Up
As you can tell these are just three possible scenarios but you’ll really need to know what’s most important, so you can track your results, and understand how well your website is contributing to your business.
Setting Up Goal Tracking
After you’ve defined your business objectives and know exactly what you need your website to do to contribute to revenue, you’ve got to make sure you know how to track it. To track your goals go to the admin panel and click on goals. Once you’re in the goals section you’ll see options that look like this:
As you can see from the above you’ll have a variety of options to choose from, which is why it was important to understand what your business objectives are. If you wanted to set up a goal of a contact form submission you can select that from the goal above. However after you’ve done that you’ll have to assign it a category, action, label and value (often how much a form submission would mean to your business). This guide by Matthew Woodward is a good guide on event tracking.
However if you want to understand the basics look below:
Category – What exactly happened on your site? (Form Submission)
Action – What service did they sign up for (Accountancy Audit)
Label – What else you want to track (The specific webpage they came from)
Value – How much was this action worth to you (ex. £25)
Understanding Which Channels Are Working
When you get goal tracking set up you’ll then have greater understanding of which marketing channels are working. To see which channels and websites are driving most of your revenue click on the Acquisition and channels tab on the left hand side (illustrative picture below):
This data should then let you see exactly which channels are driving traffic and goal completions to your business. There are many things you can do with this data. The first thing is to ensure that your visitors are engaging with your website content. This means as a whole you’ll want a low bounce rate (the amount of visitors that land on a page and leave straight away), and a high average visit duration. These two metrics are often signs of stickiness and mean that your visitors are interested by your website and staying.
Amazingly many small and medium sized businesses don’t dig into analytics and really find out what’s working. They just look and report on how many visits they’re receiving or worst of all not even doing that. To change your business for better you’re going to have to see which areas are providing a good return on investment and which channels are performing badly. One example of this could be that you’re spending all of your time on Twitter but Facebook is driving all of your conversions, this could indicate a better reason to invest in Facebook.
Analytics also provides a great case for testing your website and getting the most bang for your buck. This means taking out rigorous user experience testing and doing conversion rate optimisation tests on your landing pages. You may find that pages that are laid out a certain way are converting higher than the others. This could provoke you to change aspects of your landing page to see an increase in goal conversions. In most cases you will test these things:
- Button Colour, Location and Size
- Page Layout
- Social Proof Indicators (Testimonials)
- Checkout Pages
- Types of title wording
- Website Navigation
Finally reporting is the big one. When you’ve just spent £500 – £2,000 a month on outsourcing SEO or spending that amount on running a display campaign you’re going to want to know whether you got a return. Thankfully Google analytics makes it very easy to do so.
In a very simple report these are the things you should include:
Traffic Via Source – I.e was it direct, from a search engine, via social media, a referral or an advertisement?
New Vs Returning Visitors – So you know whether people are coming back to your website
Top Landing Pages – Which pages produced the most visits from an initial view
Biggest Goal Producing Pages – So you can see which pages you should push most internally
Keyword Rankings to Landing Page - Might not be part of Google Analytics but is useful for your search efforts and knowing which keywords are driving traffic.
Besides tracking the metrics above you should also dig into your audience to understand what city they are from, what browser they are using and what percentage of your users are using mobile or tablet (very important if you don’t have a responsive website).
Read this web analytics guide and refer back to it whenever you might be in need of inspiration for insights into your web strategy. To complement this guide digiresults is giving away a free consultation / web audit for small and medium sized businesses. Whether that’s analytics or SEO consultation.