If you own a website and you do not currently have Google Analytics set up, you are missing out on very valuable data that could play a pivotal role on how you approach your digital strategy. The goal of this article is so that can you have a greater understanding of Google Analytics and how you can utilize the data to better understand your visitors behavior on your site.
Google Analytics is a free software from Google that allows you to track virtually all site data. This includes the amount of visitors to your site, the average time they spend on your site, how many pages they visit, and bounce rate, just to name a few. When you add e-commerce to the mix if you are offering products on your site you have the ability to track product performance, revenue, and pay per click (PPC) campaigns when it is linked to a Google Adwords account.
All of this data can be segmented by certain dates so you can track these key performance metrics (KPIs) throughout different periods of time to see if you are bringing in more users from the previous week, month, year, etc.
As a business owner, you want to track where your traffic to your site is coming from. Is it coming from referral links, social media, paid advertising campaigns, organically, or direct? With Google Analytics, you can track exactly that.
Take a look at the data from one of the clients I manage. They are in e-commerce, and it is extremely important for us to see where their traffic is coming from, and how well that traffic is performing.
Let’s break down what these different rows and columns mean so you can better understand the data.
Users: Users simply refer to the amount of users that visited your site throughout whichever time period selected.
New Users: These are users who are visiting your website for the first time. Google catches their IP address to filter out new vs. existing users.
Sessions: Sessions refer to the amount of times your users have been to your site. As you can see the amount of sessions exceeds the amount of users, which means that our users are visiting our site more than once throughout the week.
Bounce Rate: Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors to your website who navigate away from your site after only viewing one page. For this week, we had a bounce rate of 7.66% which means that 92.34% of users visited more than one page of our website. Having a low bounce rate is crucial, and if you have a bounce rate of over 40% (which is sort of a standard) then that means that you should consider making changes to your website to entice visitors to stay longer. This is the most important key performance indicator in determining the overall performance of your website.
Average Session Duration: Average session duration tells you how long on average your visitors are on your site for. As you can see for this week our users spent an average of 4 minutes and 44 seconds on our website, which we are pleased with because this most likely means that they are visiting multiple pages, and ultimately making a purchase. You can notice a correlation between high session duration and low bounce rates as well as low session duration with high bounce rates.
Transactions: This is fairly self explanatory, and it refers to the amount of purchases that were made on the website. This week we had 86. The client was very happy!
Revenue: And last, revenue. Revenue refers to the dollar amount of all the transactions. This week we generated $4,236.89 in revenue for that one client.
Understanding where your traffic is coming from is essential in configuring customer acquisition. The more sources of traffic the merrier, and let me break down for you what these traffic sources mean:
1) Paid Search: Paid search refers to paid advertising campaigns that we run on their behalf through Google Adwords. As you can see, most our of client’s traffic comes from paid search so it is vital to set up scalable and profitable campaigns so that they can see a return on ad spend (ROAS). You know how when you search for something on Google and an ad pops up? That is what paid search is, and it is the best way to drive consistent, relevant traffic to your website knowing that your visitors are interested in the products or services you have to offer.
2) Organic Search: Organic search traffic refers to traffic that comes from Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP), which does not include paid search. The best way to generate traffic organically is through using search engine optimization techniques to rank higher on Google’s search engine through keyword-rich blogs, having backlinks (having other websites link back to yours), and making sure the metadata on your site is in line with Google’s Search Quality. Take note that building traffic organically does not happen overnight, and it takes consistent repetition of the techniques above to continually rank better on Google.
3) Direct Traffic: This is the most simple source of traffic- it is when someone types your web domain into the search bar.
4) Social: Social traffic refers to when someone visits your website through one of your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube). Social traffic is extremely relevant because you know that your visitors already have a good understanding of your products or services before they visit your site. Highly engaging content on your social media channels is the best way to generate social traffic to your site.
5) Referral: Referral traffic is traffic that is generated through other websites. A great example of how referral traffic could be generated is through a press release. If your business uses services such as PR Web announcing some sort of new product, service, or any type of upcoming news that links back to your website that would be a referral link. Remember how I mentioned backlinks before? When visitors view your website through backlinks on another domain, that would count as a referral.
6): Display: Display kind of goes hand in hand with paid search. Let’s say you have a paid advertising campaign up, and a user goes to your website but does not take an actionable step such as a form fill or purchase. You can use Google Adwords to set up a re-marketing campaign on Google’s Display Platform, which covers 90% of sites on the internet. This would be an ad image or video that you would see on a totally non-relevant website promoting your own site. These do not convert well to clicks or sales, but it is a good subliminal tactic to keep your website in the back of potential visitors minds.
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