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Google Analytics: Understanding What to Measure and How to Use It

February 27, 2014 No Comments

Featured Article by DJ Muller, president and founder, WebLink International

Analytics are driven by numbers, and numbers drive knowledgeable business decisions. From setting SMART goals to allocating monthly costs to measuring and monitoring the success of an advertising campaign – numbers, and analytics, matter.

Luckily, in today’s technology-driven environment, businesses have an array of analytical tools that provide them with the insights that they need to guide them in implementing a wise decision making process. However, often professionals become so caught up in the analysis of the numbers, that they unintentionally overlook what metrics are the most important to measure and how they can use the information that is derived to make educated, well-informed decisions.

Google Analytics is one tool that can help your business determine how consumers are interacting with online content. While it may be evident that metrics such as number of visitors, visitor demographic information, number of page views and number of conversions provide basic statistics in respect to the overall performance of your website, using the more advanced measurement tools will provide you and your staff with the insights you need to improve enhance your online presence.

Here are the top four metrics your business should be measuring and monitoring in Google Analytics:

  1. 1.      Audience Location.  The audience location metric allows businesses to geographically pinpoint website content reach. Measuring and monitoring this tool will help determine if you are reaching intended and targeted audiences, reveal potential emerging markets and expose key differences in consumer behavior based on geographic segmentation variables.

 maps Google Analytics: Understanding What to Measure and How to Use It

For example, the depicted images above display that city metrics show an organization located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is receiving almost half of its traffic from areas located outside city limits. By identifying larger areas of concentration, which are represented by the larger blue circles, this business can identify potential emerging markets and subsequently implement strategic marketing tactics to penetrate these locations.

You can also use the audience location metric to customize website marketing content based on geograhic location, measure the success of current advertising intiatives and strategize future product development and new product launches based on customer demographics.

  1. Mobile Traffic Behavior. With mobile site searches nearly doubling from 2012 to 2013, the importance of measuring and monitoring your mobile website traffic is critical to ensuring that you are efficiently interacting with your target audience.

You should use the mobile traffic behavior metric to compare your site’s yearly mobile traffic growth. A high growth percentage will indicate that you need to foster the future development of your mobile website to improve user friendliness.

Remember that high mobile traffic growth does not always mean that your site is mobile friendly. Metrics including time on site an Average Visit Duration can be indicative of overall user experience. If Smartphone and tablet users are spending less time on your site, you should actively seek out the reasons as to why these metrics are decreasing and take the necessary steps to improve site optimization for these devices.

  1. Site Content Trends.  By measuring the performance of any given webpage over a period of time, you will be able to identify and show trends in your website content.

today graph Google Analytics: Understanding What to Measure and How to Use It

To optimize the content on your site, you should complete a year-over-year comparison to reveal trends that correlate to specific seasons, events, promotions, etc. Using this metric, you can then identify when website traffic is down and consequently recreate and/or change existing content to increase customer interaction.

  1. Page Bounce Rates.  As one of the most commonly misused metrics, understanding how to interpret your website’s individual page bounce rates is critical to understanding the level of engagement of your audience.

Many users don’t know that depending on the purpose and content of any given webpage, a high bounce rate could indicate a low level of audience interaction and engagement. For example, if your site’s homepage is designed to inform customers about important product developments and new product launches, but has a bounce rate of 82 percent, then the existing content is effectively fulfilling its purpose.

Non-performing pages need to be transformed with calls-to-action and interesting content so that you can heighten audience engagement. Additionally, it is important to remember that landing page bounce rates more accurately measure the performance and success of individual pages in comparison to the overall site page bounce rate.

In short, Google Analytics is an invaluable tool that will help to provide you with the insights you need to connect and interact with your audience. By understanding both what to measure and, more importantly, how to effectively use the information that you can collect, you will have the capacity to make better-informed business decisions and ensure that you are on a strategic path to achieving consistent and reliable growth.

Muller Headshot 150x150 Google Analytics: Understanding What to Measure and How to Use It

DJ Muller is president and founder of WebLink International, the creators of WebLink Connect™ the innovative, insightful and intuitive association management software with superior customer support. WebLink empowers hundreds of trade and professional associations and more than 500,000 small and medium businesses to help them acquire and retain more customers. Learn more at weblinkinternational.com.

 

DATA and ANALYTICS , SOCIAL BUSINESS

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