We’re obsessed with data and using that data to make informed marketing decisions. However, anytime we mention Google Analytics, we’re often met with confusion, fear, or (perhaps worst of all) apathy.
You don’t need a Google Analytics certification to understand who is coming to your site, how they’re getting there, and what they’re doing once they get there. Track these six metrics regularly to better understand your users and make better marketing decisions.
There’s a chance you could guess some of the data you’ll discover by using Google Analytics, but we promise you’ll see some surprises. It’s a bit like MTV’s classic reality show, The Real World. “You think you know, but you have no idea”… this is your site data.
1) What Do People Do On Your Site?
How to find it: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
What you can learn: This metric measures how many times the pages of your site are visited in a given period and demonstrates where you’re providing the most value. That type of content can then be re-created to theoretically improve the site further. You may also be able to extract what the most popular aspects of the organization are, whether it be a product, location, or service.
2) Where Do People Enter Your Site?
How to find it: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
What you can learn: A landing page is exactly what it sounds like—it’s where users land when they first get to your site. Your top landing page will likely be your homepage. But what are the other pages in your top five? Are you actively driving traffic to any of those pages?
3) Are People Actually *Reading* Your Content?
How to find it: Audience > Overview
What you can learn: Average session duration measures the amount of time users are spending on your site and on individual pages. If you have a content-heavy page, such as a blog post or white paper, you want to see an average session duration of at least a minute or two. This metric matters less in certain industries, like e-commerce.
4) What Path of Pages do People Follow?
How to find it: Behavior > Behavior Flow
What you can learn: If you’re numbers-averse, this is a perfect metric for now. As far as Analytics goes, it’s a beautiful visual. Behavior flow shows you where users are landing, where they go from there, and when they drop off. You can click each behavior to see the full flow. This shows you a lot of data at once, so take time to play around it with to see what you can uncover.
5) Where is Your Traffic Coming From?
How to find it: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
What you can learn: The channels section is broken down into four key categories: social, direct, organic search, and referral. (If you’re running paid advertising campaigns, you’ll also see paid search and display as a category). Understanding how a person gets to your site is a critical piece of data you can use in making future marketing decisions. You can also get a more detailed look at how traffic gets to your site under “Referral Sources.”
6) Mobile vs. Desktop?
How to find it: Audience > Mobile > Overview
What you can learn: It’s 2019 and we like to assume everyone’s website is optimized for mobile, right? Right, guys?! This metric shows a breakdown of users coming from mobile, desktop, and tablet. Though tablets are crazy popular, they only make up an average of 10-15% of site users across most industries. More and more site traffic is coming from mobile each year. It’s important for you to keep an eye on this metric and then ensure your users are having a great experience, regardless of device category.
Ok. What should you do now that you have the data?
Your highest trafficked pages show you which pages on your site are providing the most value. For example, if a blog post about a certain topic is performing well, consider writing a follow-up post around a different aspect of that topic, or a series. If that blog post consists of evergreen content (meaning it’s not related to a specific timeframe, season, event, etc.), bring it back to life on social media or in your email campaigns with a new caption or photo.
What users aren’t doing on your site is important, too. Review the pages on your site that see the least traffic. Try tweaking page content, title, and SEO keywords and see if there’s a shift in your traffic. Referring back to the behavior flow, see where users are dropping off, or exiting your site. Are you seeing a mass exodus on a particular page? If so, what’s causing that?
Data-driven decisions make for good marketing. Make sure you, or someone on your team, checks these analytics monthly and don’t let Google Analytics intimidate you.