Deep Diving into Google Analytics: Part 2

We discussed some of the questions you can answer with Google Analytics data in our Deep Diving into Google Analytics: Part 1 blog. In this 2nd part of the deep dive, we’ll look at how you can use this data to check if your digital marketing efforts are driving profit for your business.

How do I know if my digital marketing efforts are driving profit for my business?

Google Analytics allows you to set goals that represent a conversion on your website. Once this is set up, you can go to “Conversions” in the left navigation to see how your goals are performing.

To set up goals, go to “Admin” in the left navigation. Under “View,” select “Goals” and click the red button that says “+NEW GOAL” at the top. There are many goal types to choose from – Google Analytics offers quite a few templates, but you can also create something completely custom. Some examples of goals that reflect profit would be “Place an order” or “Schedule service,” but there may be additional goals you’d like to track too (such as email/newsletter signups, filling out a contact us form, etc).

Here’s an example of setting up a goal for “Place an order”:

Step 1: Select the correct goal template, “Place an order,” under the Revenue section.

Google Analytics Goals

Step 2: Set up the goal description and type. For this example, we’re going to use “Destination” as the goal type because our website loads to a “thank you” page after someone submits an order.

Google Analytics Goals

Step 3: Set up the details of the goal – this is the information Google Analytics needs in order to register your goal’s conversion. For this example, we entered the URL string that represents the “thank you” page. Once we completed the set up, we used the “Verify this Goal” feature right above the Save button to ensure the goal was set up correctly.

Google Analytics Goals

To learn more about setting up goals, check out these guides:

Google Analytics Goal Tips

Create, Edit, and Share Goals

I’m looking at the same data every month – is there an easier way to view it?

Yes there is! Depending on the information you look at, your Home screen (at the top of your left navigation) may have everything you need. If it doesn’t, you can select “Customization” in the left navigation, and then “Dashboards.” (Note: Google does have a new tool called Data Studio that allows you to visualize your data. If you’re going to be presenting data or want to create an interactive report, this may be your best option.)

The Dashboard feature allows you to pull data from the different sections in Google Analytics into one windowpane. You can choose a Starter Dashboard that provides a starting point or you can start with a Blank Canvas. To learn more about how to customize and utilize your Dashboard(s), check out these resources:

About Dashboards

Create and Customize Dashboards

 

As you’re becoming more familiar with the platform, you may realize there’s a lot you can do with this tool. To learn more about other ways to utilize Google Analytics to your advantage, we recommend Google’s Analytics Academy. Be on the lookout for our next blog explaining another important Google tool: Search Console. We’ll also delve into more social media-related content too!

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Deep Diving into Google Analytics: Part 1

Google Analytics provides you quite a bit of data, but how do you use it to make informed decisions about your business? Let’s look at some of the questions you can answer with the data, in addition to other features you can enable with Google Analytics.

Who are my customers? Who’s visiting my website, and how are they using it?

A couple sections in Google Analytics are relevant to learning more about your audience. In the left navigation, you’ll see Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior. The Audience section will give details about the demographics and interests of your website users. The Acquisition section will tell you about how those website users made it onto your website. The Behavior section will tell you where your website users first landed on the website, which pages are most visited, and how they utilize the website.

  • Audience
    • Use the Demographics section to determine how to target your audience. Tailor the content, advertising, and look of the website to your main users. For example, if your users are predominantly male, ages 18-34, you’ll want to have a modern looking website that’s easy to navigate. Offer multiple ways to contact your business (contact form on site, text, call, etc). You’ll also want to have an active social media presence.
    • You can use the Interests section to tailor your content and advertisements. For example, if a majority of users is sports fans, incorporate major sporting events into your marketing campaigns. Offer a deal on TVs before major events. If your users love food, collaborate with a local favorite restaurant and offer a discount or coupons for that restaurant when they purchase from you.
    • You can use geographical locations (in the Geo section) to inform your advertising decisions. If you’re planning to expand your business to other locations, this information can be beneficial as well. If you notice you’re not getting much traction in a particular area, you can add website content and ads to target those areas.
    • Google Analytics also breaks up your users based on new visitors vs. returning visitors (in the Overview section). This information can help you determine if you need to do more to bring in new customers or implement strategies to maintain loyal, returning customers.
    • Use the data about devices to influence your marketing strategies and website layout. All websites should be mobile friendly (Google gives priority to mobile-friendly websites), but if you notice a majority of your users are using mobile devices, you’ll want to add “Call Now” links in addition to structuring your page layouts to mobile users. Look at your own website from a mobile device to see if it’s easy to use.

 

  • Acquisition
    • Use the Top Channels data (direct, organic, email, referral, etc) to determine which avenues of traffic you can improve. For example, if you aren’t getting much organic traffic, then you’re not showing up in searches for your products/services. Consider optimizing your website for search engines so you show up in search engine results pages (SERPs). If you regularly email your customers, but you don’t get traffic from it, test some alternative email designs, subjects, and content to improve it.
    • Use referral data to see which third party websites drive the most traffic to your website. Consider reaching out to those websites to include more backlinks to your website or contact similar websites to link back to you. (Pro Tip: Are you trying to figure out all the places a referral mentions you on their website? Go to Google, enter “Site:[URL] [Your Business Name]” into the search bar, and the SERPs will only bring up results from the website you entered.)
      Google Analytics Data
    • Note: You can link different Google tools together, such as Google AdWords and Google Search Console. If you’ve linked your accounts for these tools to your Google Analytics, you can view some of the data it pulls in under Acquisition. We’ll have a blog detailing how to link your Google tools together in addition to going over the benefits of each, but in the meantime, go here to learn more about these features:
      Linking Google AdWords to Google AnalyticsLinking Search Console to Google Analytics

 

  • Behavior
    • Under the “Site Content” section, select “Landing Pages” to view pages your website users land on. You can narrow this data down even more by using the “Secondary dimension” drop down to show where the traffic on each page came from.
      Google Analytics Data
      In the dropdown menu, click the arrow next to Acquisition and select Source. This new column will show you where your traffic is coming from. You can click on a specific landing page to focus on the data for that one page.
    • Under this same section, select “All Pages” to view your top visited pages. If you’re looking for the performance of a specific page, you can search for it in the search bar above the data table (to the right of the Secondary dimension drop down). Search by the URL or a specific word in the URL. Use this data to determine which pages you need to improve.
    • Check your Site Speed too. Having a fast-loading website is critical to website performance and conversion rates. To give you an idea of a baseline, if your website loads in 2.9 seconds, it is faster than approximately 50% of the web. The faster your site speed, the better – customers are less likely to leave your website if they can find the information they need quickly.

 

Are my website users using the search bar or navigating through the website to find info?

Google Analytics has a Site Search* feature (listed under Behavior) that tells you which terms your website users are searching on your website (*this is only relevant if you have a search bar on your website). This feature has to be set up separately – it requires you to give some additional info to track the search queries.

To set this up, you’ll go into the Admin section (in the left navigation). Under “View,” you’ll select View Settings at the top. Under the section called “Site Search Settings,” turn on “Site search tracking”. You’ll need to include something called a “Query parameter” – when someone searches something on your website, the URL that shows up will have a series of letters that designate it as a search query (instead of a normal page on the website). These letters should appear before the “=” in the URL, but if you’re unsure, you can contact your web developer.

For example, if someone goes onto our website and searches “red atom,” our URLs designate a site/query search with the letters “qs”. Therefore, our Query parameter is “qs”.
Google Analytics Data

Google Analytics Data

Once this is set up, it will start tracking your searches from that point forward (it won’t pull back data). This data can give you an idea on whether your site search functionality is working well, and it can help inform your marketing strategy on top products/services your website users are looking for.

How much of my website traffic is my own employees? Doesn’t this skew my data?

You’ll want to filter out your internal IP addresses to prevent your own employees from skewing your data. Create a new filtered view to do this – you always want to keep a completely unfiltered view of raw data. To learn how to set up a new view, go to “Admin” in the left navigation and select the blue button that says “+Create View”.

Select “Website” and choose a Reporting View Name that differentiates this new view from your unfiltered one (which could be as simple as “Filtered view,” or something more specific, like “Filtered IPs”).
Google Analytics Data

Set the Reporting Time Zone and click “Create View”. The top of your Google Analytics window should now say the new view. If it doesn’t, click the downward arrow and select this new view to begin setting up your filters.

In the same area of the Admin panel, select “Filters” under the View section. Click the red button that says “+ADD FILTER”. Set the Filter Name to something like “Exclude Internal IPs” and select either option: “Predefined” or “Custom” under the Filter Type. We have ours set up as a custom filter because of how many IP addresses we need to filter out, although you can use a predefined filter.
Google Analytics Data

Choose “Exclude”. Under Filter Field, choose “IP Address” from the dropdown menu. For the filter pattern, you can enter one IP address. If you want to list more than one, you have a couple options to do so. Check out this guide to learn the best option for filtering out your internal traffic from more than one IP address.

 

Ready for more? Check out part 2 of our Deep Dive into Google Analytics!

Google Analytics 101: Navigate and Track

Now that your Google Analytics account is set up, it’s time to start tracking the metrics that matter. Google Analytics is overflowing with data, so it will take time to learn your way around. There are many ways to learn more about this tool – not only can you hover over the data sections to get more information, but Google also offers a free “Academy” for each of their tools where you can take courses to learn about them. Here’s the Analytics Academy: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/

Navigation

Let’s start by breaking the Google Analytics navigation down. Most of what you’ll need runs down the left side of your screen:

Google Analytics vertical navigation

Your Home screen gives you a brief overview of how your website is performing. This is an easy way to track some of your most important metrics. The other sections of the left navigation offer you a view of additional details.

Customization allows you to make custom dashboards and reports – once you determine the metrics you find most beneficial to your business, set up a dashboard and/or report customized to you.

Real-Time gives you current data for active users on your website. Learn more about the uses of this feature, along with its limits and caveats, here.

The Audience section is where you’ll find all the information about your website’s users. You can learn more about their interests and demographics too, which allows you to better strategize your marketing.

The Acquisition section gives you data on how users got to your website. Find out which channels your traffic is coming from to know where you can improve.

The Behavior section gives you data on how users behave on your website. This gives you an idea of how they move through the website, along with which content/pages perform the best.

Conversions is a more advanced section of Google Analytics. You can set up goals to track how many of your users complete a particular action on your website (such as filling out a form or placing an order). To learn more about creating goals, click here.

The Discover section is a learning space similar to the Analytics Academy. You can find a lot of information about the tool, in addition to learning more about other tools you can utilize to better your business (such as AdWords).

The Admin section is where you’ll manage all your settings for your account, properties, and views. We’ll go over these in more detail below.

Metrics to Track

*Note: Make sure to set the relevant date range in the upper right corner. You can also compare data to other time periods.

  • Audience > Overview
    • Users: the number of people who have been on your website in the specified date range.
    • Sessions: the period of time a user is actively engaged on your website in the specified date range.
    • Pages / Session: the average number of pages viewed during a session in the specified date range.
    • Session Duration: the average length of a session in the specified date range.
    • Bounce Rate: the percentage of single-page sessions that a user did not interact with the page. A bounced session has a duration of 0 seconds.
    • *Language: If you’re a retailer that works with customers that speak multiple languages, it may be beneficial to consider including other languages on your website if you haven’t already. Use the Language section of data to determine how many of your customers use English vs. another language.
  • Acquisition > Overview
    • Top Channels: the breakdown of where your website traffic is coming from. You can get more details about these channels by going to All Traffic > Channels. Knowing where your traffic is coming from and how that traffic channel is performing can help you determine where you need to improve your strategy moving forward.
      • Direct: these people have entered your website URL directly into their browser without clicking from any other source OR Google isn’t able to track the traffic channel (such as clicking a link in a Word doc, instant messenger application, or a mobile app).
      • Organic: these people come from search engines, clicking on your website within the search results, not the ads (ex: Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc). Improving your website’s SEO can help improve organic traffic.
      • Email: these people come from emails that have links to your website. This can indicate how your emails are performing.
      • Referral: these people have come to your website from another site or referral source that has linked to your website (ex: a news source does an article about your business and links to your website in its online publication).
      • Social: these people come from social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Being active on Facebook helps build a rapport with the community, plus it can bring traffic back to your website – make sure you have your website in the “About” section of your social profiles and link back to your website when relevant.
      • Paid: these people have clicked on a search ad (CPC, PPC, or any form of paid search advertising) that brought them to your website. This can be an indicator of how well your ads are performing.
      • Display: these people have clicked on a banner or display ad (some type of graphic paid ad) that brought them to your website. This can be an indicator of how your ads are performing.
      • (Other): this category isn’t as common unless you’re setting your own tracking parameters. Traffic is placed in this channel if it doesn’t match any of the other channels above.
  • Behavior > Site Content > All Pages: this gives you a rundown of the most visited pages on your website within the specified date range. (It may also be worthwhile to check out Site Speed > Overview to make sure your website pages are loading in a reasonable amount of time. If a website page loads too slowly, not only will Google penalize you in the search results pages, but it could also result in customers leaving your website and going to a competitor. If your website is loading too slowly, you’ll need to get with your website developer to improve site speed.)

Admin Panel & Structure

Google Analytics account hierarchyThink of these as a hierarchy.

The account is simply what you sign into to manage all your properties. Therefore, if you make a change to any account settings, it’ll apply to all properties and views. Properties are websites. You can have multiple websites that you manage under one account. If you make a change to a property, it will only apply to that one property and its views. A view is a set of specifications for tracking data – at set up, your account will have a completely unfiltered, “all traffic” view, but you can opt to create a new limited view based on the data you need. For example, you could filter out your internal traffic or create a view of all traffic coming from a specific geographic location. (*Note: Always keep an unfiltered view – if you opt to filter your traffic, create a new view).

Believe it or not, there’s still a lot more you can do with Google Analytics data and tracking. Don’t be overwhelmed! There’s a learning curve to using Google Analytics, and the more you familiarize yourself with the platform, the easier it’ll get. Check out our next blog, which goes over delving deeper into the data and tracking more elements on your website (such as site search).

3-Step Google Analytics Set-up

First, let’s go over why using Google Analytics to monitor your website is important. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that does all the hard work for you. It collects a lot of data about the users on your website to help you determine how to best market to your customers. It can also help you figure out where you can improve your business. Learn about some of the most helpful metrics you can track in our Google Analytics 101: Navigate and Track blog. Plus, it’s completely free to use – yes, completely.

Setting up your Google Analytics account is really simple – you don’t even need a Gmail account to use it! However, if you do have a Gmail account, we’d recommend using it so everything is linked together under the same email address. Any Google platform can be “linked” together (Analytics, AdWords, Google My Business, YouTube, etc), which simply means you’re using the same email and password for each platform. And if you’re already signed into one, you’ll automatically be signed into the others by default. Having them linked under the same email address makes it a lot easier to fully manage your business and the associated accounts.

Step 1: Go to analytics.google.com to set up your account. Fill in the fields for your new account.

New Google Analytics Account

Step 2: Click “Get Tracking ID” – the “UA-“ code is your tracking ID, but you’ll need to use the full code in the “Global Site Tag” box on your website (see Image 1 below). If you have someone who manages your website for you, send them this entire code (we recommend pasting it into a “Notes” file and sending it over).

If you’re doing it yourself, it will depend on the website platform you’re using. Ultimately, it needs to go into the <HEAD> code of your website. Many website platforms (such as Wix or WordPress via a plugin – see example in Image 2a and 2b below) have a designated area to put the code or ID that will automatically apply it across your whole website.


You May Also Like: Social Media 101: What Retailers Need To Know


Image 1:

Google Analytics Tracking ID

Image 2a:

Wordpress Plugin

Image 2b:

WordPress plugin with full code

Step 3: Once the code has been added to the website, you can “Send test traffic” (see Image 1 above) to test if the code is working properly OR you can wait a day or two to see if data comes through correctly. To check the data after a couple of days, go to the Audience section of your account. Select “Overview” underneath it and see if there is any data showing up. (*Note: You can alter the date for the data in the upper right corner; hover over the section titles to get a box that defines that data).

Google Analytics Navigation

To learn more about Google Analytics and the important metrics you can track, check our next blog, Google Analytics 101: Navigate and Track. We’ll show you how to navigate the tool and find the metrics you need to better your business.

2013 Marketing Resolutions

There is no doubt that December can be an overwhelmingly busy month –with the hustle and bustle of the holiday’s, family gatherings and more, chances are you let your Marketing and Advertising plan fall to the wayside.  In this week’s post, it is our plan to help you with your 2013 Marketing Resolution.   Whether you want to simplify, revamp or retain your current customer base, we’ve compiled the best and most realistic marketing tactics you can implement this year.

SOCIAL MARKETING SMARTER, NOT HARDER

Here at DOW Electronics, we have several social media and online accounts, which can be tough to manage, especially if you cannot or do not want to sit in front of a computer all day. It’s been around for a while, but HootSuite is an easy, and free, fix to this problem.  HootSuite allows you to set up one program and add all your social media feeds, so you can post, respond to messages and answer customer questions all from the same site, freeing up substantial time.  You can also schedule messages in advance, so you can set your posts the night before, for after hours or even on the weekends, allowing you to spend less time worrying about finding time to post on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more.

CONTENT IS KING

It’s been said before, but it has never been more important.  Everyone, including your client base, is constantly bombarded with information, especially now in the digital age.  If the content you are putting in the market is not relevant to your audience, you will be passed over without a second look.  This not only means giving your clients the information they need, like training videos or tutorials, but also updating old or obsolete job aids and training items to be current.  Check your website to make sure everything is up-to-date, and do the same for any social media or business profiles. Old material looks unprofessional and like you’ve stopped caring, so updating your materials will not only be a benefit to your customers, but will also show them you are the professional they can turn to.

GO MOBILE AND GET LISTED

Almost everyone has a smart phone or tablet these days, so if you haven’t thought about supporting mobile access to your website, you should be.  This is the perfect opportunity to reach new customers in your area as people are foregoing traditional ways of communications (land line phones and dial-up internet), and switching to a smart phone or wireless device for everything.  Consider new families that move to your area – how will they find you if they have yet to set up internet or phone lines to call around?  Of course, they will turn to the instant connection on their device, and if you aren’t there for them to review, again, you will be passed over, and won’t even know it.

One site that will help your mobile marketing and online profiles is GetListed.org.  Getlisted.org was launched in 2009, and allows small business owners to regulate their online presence.  This easy to use, and free, online tool lets you claim your business listings on Google, Yahoo, Yelp!, FourSquare and more, thus increasing your search engine optimization.  You can also update business information and photos, creating a complete profile, which is more likely to be looked at.  So, now when those new families are moving in and searching for a cable or internet provider on their smart phone or wireless device, your business information is included, no matter what search engine or social media site they are using.

EMAIL MARKETING

One of the best ways to constantly reach your current or potential client base is email, but when was the last time you updated and cleaned up your email list?  Take the time to clear out the outdated information so you are only putting resources towards those who you know want your information.  Also, create an opt-in form on your website to draw in any potential clients, and maintain contact with past or current clients. Additionally, use email for more than just promotional and sales emails – company updates, press releases and community news will not only give your business personality, but will also show you are looking at the bigger picture within your organization.

Now that you have some ideas for your 2013 Marketing Resolution, it’s time to put them in place!  Start digging around and see what you can start changing now, and schedule the rest to be completed within the next couple of months, that way you are ahead of the curve and updated before 2014 rolls around!  Which of these tips will be the easiest for your business to implement?  The hardest?  Let us know what you need help with, or your feedback – we’d love to hear it!

Are you ready to get listed?

We look to the internet for everything from movie listings to shopping  and everything in between, so it only makes sense that if you own a business you should be listed online. In the past I have written about claiming your Google places listing, but I wanted to bring to your attention a website that will help you bring your business presence to a multitude of online directories. It’s called getlisted.org, and it’s not only really simple to use and free, but it’s a great tool for establishing an online presence for your business and increasing the search engine optimization of your website.

All you have to do is type your business name and zip code into the fields on their home page and click “Check My Listings.”

getlisted.org search

Screen capture; credit: Jessica Grybek / Dow Electronics

After you click that little button, the website pulls your address and business information and goes to work checking about a dozen different websites for your business (you may have to correct this information a bit– the address that generated for us was wrong). It tells you whether or not you are listed there, if the details match the ones they’ve got , and gives you a link to claim the listings that you haven’t claimed!

Screen capture; credit: Jessica Grybek/ Dow Electronics

I mentioned that you may need to correct your business information if the website pulls the wrong information. To do this, just click the “Accuracy” tab on the left of the screen and fields will appear on the right side where you can correct your information (both outlined in red).

Once you have corrected your information, click the “Re-scan Using this Info” button and the website will do a new search. When we corrected our address, we got much better results.

From here, you can click the buttons to the right of each listing to go to each website and claim your listing. If you’ve already claimed a listing, you can click the link to be taken to the website and make updates, or if the website isn’t sure whether or not you’ve claimed your listing you can head over to make sure!

By clicking the other tabs beneath the Accuracy tab, you can see your business’s full listing on each site, reviews from those sites, and a To-Do list to let you know which listings have been claimed, which haven’t, and what they are missing.  The site isn’t really offering you anything you couldn’t do on your own, but it makes the process way easier for you– one-stop shops are something I’m a big fan of :). Think of it like a dashboard for your online directory listings. With getlisted.org, you can just go down the list to make sure that your business is optimized on the web and anyone who looks for you will have no trouble finding you.

As you can see, I have a lot of work to do claiming our listings out there on the world-wide web, and I suggest you get started as well! Let me know what you think in the comments below.