Look into It: Analyzing Your Marketing Efforts
Harnessing and using the power of Google Analytics
Marketers know that inbound marketing is a beautiful thing. The problem is proving it to customers, clients, and upper management. Many marketers unconsciously groan or roll their eyes when asked about analyzing their efforts. They were hired to write prophetic prose and create beautiful graphics, not pull reports and track percentage revenue increase over time.
It’s not that marketers are incapable of providing analyses of their work. The truth is, it’s difficult to track marketing ROI. Many marketing activities, especially the inbound ones, aren’t straightforward revenue generators.
Blogs are written to spread general brand awareness. Emails are sent to get customers to download a white paper. Case studies are created to educate potential clients. Sure, these things can lead to a conversion or sale, but it takes about eight interactions, on average, for someone to become a customer. So, it could take a minute.
Marketing efforts are becoming more targeted and nuanced as customers demand personalization and enhanced experiences. So as much as marketers may despise analysis, it’s becoming more important than ever to master. You have to understand how your customers are hearing about you, what’s resonating with them, and what’s encouraging them to take action so you can shape your marketing plan accordingly.
One of the most comprehensive tools out there is Google Analytics. This platform tracks all of your online efforts to give you the best chance of understanding your business’ place in the market. This includes your website, social media, SEO, and paid search ads.
Anyone who has dabbled in Google Analytics will tell you that it’s a rabbit hole of endless information … in a good way. The platform is so robust that managing it could be a full-time job on its own. So let’s start with some of the best terms and reports to know to get you up and running.
Google Analytics lingo
Visitors: Visitors are people that visit your website, get it? Cookies placed in a visitor’s browser by a tracking link on your website can tell who visits. Everyone loves cookies, especially marketers.
Session: A session is a series of actions someone takes on your website within a given time, normally 30 minutes. This could include clicks to other pages, downloads, and page views.
Page views: A tracking code on your website can tell when your site is loaded in a browser. This is considered a page view. If someone refreshes the page or goes to another website and wanders back to yours, that is counted as another page view.
Sources: Sources are the origin of your website traffic. This will show up as a specific website like Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.
Mediums: Mediums are how the customers get from the source to your website. You will see this appear as referral, organic, CPC, social, etc. One source can use multiple mediums to bring customers to you, so a visitor from Google can click on a paid listing and be sorted under the CPC medium. They can then click on an unpaid listing and be sorted under the organic medium.
Channel: Channels are groups of mediums. The idea behind channels is to give you a big picture understanding of your website traffic. Some of these include direct, organic search, social, referral, and display.
Bounce rate: This is the percentage of people that come to your site and peace out. They don’t interact with anything on the page or click-through to anything else. Maybe they clicked on your website by accident, or maybe they just didn’t find what they needed.
Goals: Remember in the beginning when we said that marketing efforts are difficult to track because they aren’t all revenue-based? Google’s got your back. You can set up goals in Analytics to track customer’s desired behaviors on your website such as newsletter sign-ups, downloads, and page clicks.
Conversions: This is the fun one. A conversion is reported whenever a visitor completes a goal. Conversions can occur when a visitor makes a purchase on your website or whenever they fulfill any of the goals you set up in the platform.
Reports galore: Take a deep breath before diving into Google Analytics reports because they will make your head spin … again, in a good way. It’s exciting and terrifying at how much information there is to sort through and use. There are a few basic areas that businesses and marketers should focus on – acquisition, audience, and behavior.
Acquisition: The acquisition reports are where you can find all the lovely info about sources, mediums, and channels that we mentioned earlier. Acquisition reports will give you the details in one place so you can dive into how people are coming to your website.
The overview report can show you the big picture, but you can get down into the weeds by clicking on All Traffic >> Source/Medium to break out each source individually. You can even add Secondary Dimensions such as user type or demographics on top of that to really dive deep.
Audience: Businesses love to analyze the audience reports. It’s the information they’re dying to know. Who are your customers? What’s their background? And what are their buying behaviors?
Inside the audience reports, you’ll find data about your visitors’ age, location, gender, interests, and even what devices they’re using to find you. You can segment your reports to look at the audience coming from specific sources. You can also create specific audiences to use in your paid ads.
Behavior: It’s great to know how people are getting to your website, but what are they doing once they get there? This is where the behavior reports come into play. This data tells you page views, session length, bounce rate, clicks, and downloads on specific website pages. Behavior is vital to help you understand what on your website is speaking to customers.
Analyze, analyze, analyze
In case it’s not obvious enough by now, we’ll say it again. Analyzing your marketing efforts is really important! And it’s OK to struggle and feel overwhelmed. In fact, 42% of marketers say proving the ROI of their marketing activities is one of their biggest challenges.
The frequency with which you check this data and the depth you can get into it depends on the bandwidth your marketing department has to dedicate to it. If you are a one-man band, you might be able to get to Google Analytics once a month if you’re lucky. If you have a marketing team with dozens of people, you might have an analyst solely dedicated to the platform.
By understanding your customers, their behaviors, and how they’re interacting with your digital presence, you are becoming a more effective business. By analyzing your activities, you can see what’s working and what’s not. Then, you can do more of the working stuff and less of the not working stuff. All of this data should impact the business decisions you make.
Google Analytics is truly an amazing tool for any organization. If you’re concerned about cost, did we mention that it’s free? This is a very surface-level introduction to the platform, but you can see already the power it has.
One of the best ways to see impressive analytics reports is to boost your website content. If you are looking for help with content creation, social media, landing pages, etc., let us know! We’d love to get to know you and see how we can sprinkle some bacon on your digital presence.
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