It is very likely that you have Google Analytics installed your website, but just as likely that you don’t what to do with all this data.  Here are 10 Top Tips for how you can use Google Analytics to improve your Internet marketing, and understand what is happening on your website.

Google Analytics is the industry leader for small business websites, with 86% of businesses choosing to use Google Analytics as their web metrics software.  Analytics may be widely installed,  but many businesses are failing to take advantage of the information it offers.  A staggering 82% of online retailers are using Analytics incorrectly. (source: econsultancy)

The main barriers to using Analytics correctly is quite simply lack of skills, and lack of resources. Thanks again to econsultancy for this data:

Barriers to using Analytics correctly


I’m a great believer in taking small steps in order to make big changes, so here are some simple ways that your business can start to use Analytics more effectively. If you need help doing these tasks, then get in touch and a Google Analytics Qualified member of Team Hallam can help you out:


1. Set up your goals

When a visitor comes to your website, you want them to do something. This action might typically be sign up to your newsletter, buy something if you are an ecommerce website, download a PDF for a product factsheet, or fill in a questionnaire. These activities are called “goals” and by setting up your goals then you will give real meaning to your analytics. Not only will you be able to report the fact that you had new email subscribers this month, you will also see how they how they discovered your website. And quite simply, without goals, your analytics loses purpose.

2. Set up your dashboard

Many analytics users find the amount of data overwhelming, and often don’t understand or need all the data that is being presented to them. You can cut your analytics down to size by setting up a dashboard that contains the essential data you need to manage your organisation. A typical marketing dashboard might contain a list of where your visitors are coming from, showing you the keywords they used in the search engines, as well as a list of referring websites. It will also contain information about your most popular content, some basic data about your visitors, and a summary of your goals. If you are running a particular campaign, then you could have a separate dashboard to report on its effectiveness.

3. How customers discover your business: Branded vs non-branded traffic

We all have our loyal customers who buy from us on a regular basis. But businesses are always looking to reach new customers, and search engines are a primary way new visitors can discover your website. What phrases would your target customer use if they did not know yet that you exist? You can set up a report in your analytics that will show you visitors from the search engines to your website using phrases that do not contain your company or branded name. Typical non-branded phrases for Hallam are “internet marketing agency” or “search engine optimisation Nottingham.” You can use this data to see if your site is getting found in the search engines, and indeed if these visitors then complete the goals you identified.

4. Exclude your own traffic

Your analytics only wants to report your visitors’ activity, and not count the time you spend visiting your own site. You can configure your analytics to exclude your own visits to your website, and indeed to exclude the visits from your web development team.

5. Video Event Tracking

Video plays a significant role in many businesses’ content strategies. You want to be able to report how many people watched and interacted with your video content. Analytics allows you to report events such as pressing the play, pause, and rewind buttons on your video player, as well as recording the time spent interacting. Setting this will require the assistance of your web developer, inserting tracking code into your web pages.

6. Internal Site Search

Once a visitor gets to your website, they often can clearly demonstrate what they want by entering a phrase into the search box on your website. Analytics can track these searches, and show you the valuable information of what your visitors are searching for. It will also show you what they did after they searched: how many more pages they looked at, how much longer they stayed on your site, and if they completed any of your all important goals. You need to turn on the site search tracking, and unfortunately this cannot show you search activity that happened prior to turning it on.

7. Set up your Social Channels

Analytics is getting better at tracking social media activity, and you can configure your analytics to know which social accounts (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc) are yours. Not only can you report traffic to your website coming in from your social channels, but you can also now report on how effective your social activity is in assisting conversions. As an example, how many visitors from your Facebook page came onto your website, and looked at specific product or service pages.

8. Campaign Tracking

Your digital marketing campaign will include a range of activities: email marketing, placing links or banners on other websites, pay per click advertising, social media updates. You can customise these links to contain additional campaign information so that you can measure which activities are worthwhile and generating good results for you. For example, if you post an update to a particular Facebook or LinkedIn group, then by using a specific campaign URL your analytics will help you to understand which audiences respond to your content the most.

9. Cross domain tracking

Many businesses have content spread across multiple domains: you have your own website, your products or services being sold on a third party website, and a blog hosted on a external hosting servcie. Your analytics can track across multiple domains. This will require the assistance of your web developer, as well as help from the owners of the third party website. Quite simply, they will customise the tracking code in order to correctly track visitors as they move between the sites.

10. Check ALL your pages are being tracked

It sounds simple, but every page on your website must have the tracking code installed for the reporting to be accurate. Leaving off the tracking code is an easy mistake to make. Double check all your pages are being tracked correctly using an automatic site audit tool.


Additional Reading

See our entire category of Analytics blog posts

Google Analytics:  Top Tips

This article by Susan Hallam was original published in the Journal of Arts Marketing.

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