For many small business owners Google Analytics either seems a too much effort for little reward. It can cartainly come across as daunting for some. But if you jump in and start testing out this handy analysis tool you’ll quickly get a feel for the basics. Before long, you’ll be measuring all sorts of metrics on your website and have a much better understanding of what works and what doesn’t on your site. To get you started, here are a few getting started tips when using Google Analytics.
1. Consider Different Timeframes
By default, Google Analytics displays statistics from the last 30 days which provides a good idea of how you’re tracking short term. It’s important to extend that timeframe out to 6 months, 1 year and even further to gauge longer term trends.
2. Don’t just analyse top level data
Google Analytics makes it possible for you to gain a real insight into how people behave when they’re on your website. You can easily view your homepage’s bounce rate and whether that rate is trending up or down over time. However, statistics can be deceiving. It’s crucial that you drill down into segments to get a better feel for what the data is telling you. For example, instead of just looking at overall bounce rate, drill down to determine the bounce rate by age or georgaphical location. Are there certain segments that are more likely to bounce from your page and if so, can you do something about it?
3. Understand your conversions
If you’re only measuring your website’s success on a metric like unique visitors you’re not getting the full picture. For most websites, it’s not the number of people who arrive on their website that is the big win, it’s the number of conversions. A conversion could be considered a newsletter signup, visiting a specified page, an eCommerce sale or any other action you specifically want your visitor to undertake. Using Google Analytics you can track your conversions by setting up a Goal and finding out how your customers behave.
4. Understand Technology
Consumer technology preferences are constantly on the move. There is a clear trend towards mobile devices whilst desktops are becoming less favoured. Choice of browser has also changed significantly over the last 5 years. It is important, however, that you have a good understanding of how your visitors are viewing your website. Is your target market a hip, younger crowd that embraces the lastest technology? Or perhaps an older demographic that is clinging to technology from the 90’s? By understanding your audience you can tailor your online content to meet the technological demands of your audience.
It’s time to get your hands dirty
Don’t be afraid to have a crack at Google Analytics. Yes, there is incredible depth to this analysis tool and it is powerful enough to provide extremely insightful data. But the beauty of Analytics is that is is also designed with the complete beginner in mind. Have a go next time you have a spare hour, you’ll probably gain some insight into your customer that’ll help you achieve your business goals.