Previously, we’ve tackled some of the basic Google Analytics metrics worth tracking. Now, it’s time to dive a bit deeper into some of its features that will help power your site and ensure you’re getting all the important information you require.
As a web analytics service, Google Analytics provides insights about your business, marketing efforts and website. We’ve rounded up six of the best Google Analytics features that will transform your approach to all three.
1. Use Custom Dashboards
When you’re using Google Analytics, you want to make sure you’re spending your time analyzing your data, not setting everything up. Save time and create your own custom dashboard with only the metrics you consider to be the most important, such as active visitors, new vs. returning visitors, traffic sources, organic keywords, social referrals and top content. From this, you can create a report based on these metrics and you won’t have to dig through Google Analytics each time to find this information.
2. Enable Audience Demographics
Knowing the ins and outs of the audience is imperative to your success, and it’s especially relevant to the success of your website. In Google Analytics, select the option to enable Demographics and Interests and make this information available to you. Doing so will allow you to break your audience down into five categories: Age, Gender, Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments and Other Categories. This can help you answer some pressing questions like who your customers are and what they’re interested in, which then affect the content of your website.
3. Refer to the Behavior Flow Report
According to Google, the Behavior Flow report “visualizes the path users traveled from one page or Event to the next.” In seeing a visualization of your users’ paths, you can determine what is or isn’t working on your website and whether or not there are any issues you may be having in terms of content or conversions. Perhaps your report will show that users are dropping off on your contact page without actually filling out a form. Knowing this will help you see where people are exiting your site and troubleshoot accordingly.
4. Take Advantage of Site Search
If your site already has a search function, why not allow Google Analytics to track what’s being searched by your site visitors? Connecting Google Analytics to your internal site search gives you the power to access every single search term users have used to search within your site. When you know the search terms and keywords, they can inform the structure of your site and help you improve the content on it. Perhaps a popular search term is “hours.” This may lead you to realize that your hours of operation are nested too deeply in your site and that you need to move them to a higher level.
5. Set Up Goals
Goals in Google Analytics lingo refer to conversions, completed actions that users have taken and you’d like to track—whether it’s signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. And we all should know and understand now that conversions are very important when it comes to a successful website. Set up goals that can be tracked to help measure your website’s success and to determine whether or not conversions are feasible.
6. Track Your Campaigns
Google Analytics gives you the power to measure the performance of your different campaigns, whether it’s an email marketing campaign, a social media campaign and so forth. All you need to do is create campaign URLs using the URL builder tool and you will be able to start tracking them. With this feature, you can see the traffic that different campaigns are receiving (or not) and then make adjustments to your messaging, overall content or design to ensure that they are on the upswing.
Although it may seem daunting at first, Google Analytics is something that all business owners and marketers need to have in their toolkit. Knowing how your website is performing is just as important as your in-store customer service. Follow our tips and you’ll be an analytics pro in no time.
Over the course of October, we’ll be diving into all things Google Analytics. Stay tuned for more!
Brian Penny is an SEO and Google Analytics expert.