If you have developed a website with great content, a user-friendly mobile version and linked it to your social media channels, you’ve done a great job. But there is still one thing to do: use one or more analytics tools to study how users react to your content. The creative and sharing phases are meaningless if you are not able to quantify visits to your website and get information about user behaviour. There is a great tool which is available to everyone who’s got an online presence: Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free analytics platform provided by Google to help businesses, brands and bloggers understand the nature, quantity and quality of the traffic driven to their website. Despite this, many companies still struggle to understand how to use such platform effectively. This is an important issue, because if you’re not able to read data from Google Analytics, you will miss opportunities to better target your audience and to improve your website constantly. We understand that reading through graphs and figures doesn’t appeal to everyone but, with some help, you can get the gist of it.
Get to know Google Analytics’ structure
Google Analytics is divided into eight main sections: Dashboards, Shortcuts, Intelligence Events, Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions. Don’t’ worry, you don’t have to remember them all: what you should familiarise yourself with are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) coming from three of those sections: Acquisition, Behaviour and Audience. These are the tabs collecting the most important data for marketers, so it’s already a big step if you get to learn how to read them.
Acquisition tab to inform marketing decisions
By going into this section and clicking in Overview → All traffic, you will get information on how people land on your website. You will be able to see if most of your users come from direct traffic (when people go straight into your website, so their intention in the first place is to find you), organic search (people come across to your website because you did a great SEO job and it’s one of the first to come up as a result when people type keywords in) or get redirected to your website from social media.
The channels are listed in the tab in order of driving power: the first result you see is the channel that drives more traffic to your website.
Obviously you can draw your conclusions from such data and take decisions: you could invest in improving your SEO to attract more traffic from organic search or boost your Facebook campaigns because they seem to get good results already. If you want to increase your direct traffic, you can invite the people you know to type in your URL directly in their browsers. If you want to encourage traffic from other socials, you can plan your posting in such a way that you post content regularly and frequently. Again, you can count on a valuable set of data to inform your decisions on future actions and spending.
Behaviour tab for web development strategy
This section indicates how long people spend on your website, which pages of your website are more appreciated and how users interact with your website. You can click on ‘Content Drilldown’ , which gives you an overview of which pages of your website are more popular. If you are writing different kinds on content, eg. marketing content, freebies, blogs, landing pages, you will see which one is attracting more readers. You can also see how users are moving within your site, eg. which page they decide to go to after they arrive at a landing page or visit your homepage. Observing data in this section will allow you to make web development decisions that relate to content production: you want to produce more of the content that is successful and drives more traffic.
Audience tab to help you address your users
This helps you to understand your users’ demographics. You will find out about their gender, age and location. But this tab also has many subsections, so you can discover even more: their browsing habits, which devices they use etc. So, you might find out that your content is very popular with ladies, or young professionals or creative artists. Once you have this information, it would not make sense to write indiscriminately to try and please everybody: you know who is by your side, so make an effort to address that target: start to write putting yourself in their shoes and choose your words carefully.
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