Google Analytics is a tool used daily, here at VA. It’s one of the first things we want to see when we welcome new clients and it’s also something we monitor at least weekly for EVERY one of our clients. Google Analytics tells us a lot about your business, your audience, what pieces of content are attracting interest. It can indicate if your marketing efforts are gaining traction or whether a change of direction is needed to ensure a growing return on investments.
It’s an essential tool that measures (among other things) the vitality of your digital assets. Any business with an online presence should take our advice and ensure you’re maximising the benefits that come with using this indispensable tool. Check out our top five “must-do’s” below:
- Enable Demographics reporting
How? The easiest way is to head to the “Audience” section on the left-hand menu once you’ve logged into Analytics. If it’s not enabled you’ll be prompted to switch it on. It’s an easy walk through – just select ‘enable’.
Why? Audiences are essentially your online customers. Creating a picture of who they are using data is essential to; a) make sure you’re attracting the right customer, b) build an understanding of who to target when using audience features across Facebook audience tool and Google Ads.
- Annotate your marketing efforts, ANNOTATE!!!!
How? When looking at any data page inside the analytics interface, you’ll see a small down arrow. If you click on this, the hyperlink “Create Annotation” will appear on the right-hand side. Clicking this will enable you to leave a note. It could be something like; ‘Sent September EDM’, ‘Launched New Product’, ‘Posted New Article about Google Analytics’ etc.
Why? Notes form a guide to check on all the work you put into your website. Annotating data allows for more meaningful retrospective reporting, guiding your future efforts towards things that worked well. We’ve seen our fair share of analytics accounts with inexplicable spikes that were later traced to a well-written article, or new landing page with an EDM link, etc. That evidence is incredibly insightful and helpful.
- Create a ‘meaningful’ goal
How? Once you’re in “Analytics” head to “Admin.” Under “View”, select “Goals”. Then “Create Goal” you’ll have a few options once inside. The internet is rife with information on how to create goals. We’ve found these guides pretty useful; here, here and here. We always suggest ‘meaningful’ goals. For us at VA, a meaningful goal is at minimum, a successful contact point. This could be a phone call or email form submission from a customer. In the case of an online store, look for e-commerce tracking or a subscriber sign-up.
Why? Aside from making sure that your website is contributing to your businesses success, goals are important. They can be used for; creating better marketing campaigns, monitoring your ad budget, measuring return on investment and return on advertising spending, as well offering insights into how to improve your website. A task that should never be truly complete…
- Link to the rest of Google (Search Console and Google Ads)
How? Once inside Google Analytics, head to “Admin”, then “Property” scroll down to “Property linking”. If you’re using a single Google account to manage Google Ads and Analytics, you’ll be able to create a new link group by ticking the box next to the Google Ads account and clicking “save.”
We’d also recommend linking to Google Search Console. Search Console is Google’s tool for measuring your site’s health. It can also be used to track organic keyword performance; clicks, impressions, position ranking and page performance. It’s a nice addition to have inside Google Analytics.
To link Search Console, head to ‘Property’ under “Admin” once more and select the “All Products”. Scroll down to ‘Search Console’, select “Add” and then find your property and save. This guide from Google gives a more comprehensive how-to.
Why? It’s important to collate data in one place, not just for efficiency but also so you can attribute properly. If your goals are converting into customers, that’s awesome. But taking it one step further helps you to improve underperforming channels and also points to where your marketing efforts should be placed.
Pro-tip: Whilst you are in Property, head to “Tracking code”> “Data Collection” and enable “Remarketing”.
- Use it especially Acquisition Channels
How? One of the most frequently viewed areas for us inside analytics is “Acquisition > Channel”.
You can view this area once logged into Analytics by heading to “Acquisition” on the left hand side menu, then selecting “All Channels”.
Why? If you could break down your marketing budget by spending more on the channels that work for you, wouldn’t you want to? Looking at acquisition channels is the beginning of this journey.
Pro-tip: Make use of the “Compare dates” feature, to see which channels are consistently performing vs channels that are deteriorating. You can also use the acquisition channels to identify slowly deteriorating channels and start tweaking that channel’s performance.