Web Analytics

Google Analytics

Business owners of small to medium business models need all of the leverage they can get. After all, the resources at their disposal are often limited in comparison to corporations. Larger companies have bigger budgets for advertising and data collection. However, what is becoming increasingly clear is that the playing field is leveling out. Google Analytics plays a major role in diminishing this disadvantage.

Web Analytics

Our firm belief is that the success of a website lies with your ability to understand your audience, and how they are navigating the website. The devil, as they say, is in the details. It is often hard for all of us to have an objective view of how we have configured our website because it makes so much sense to us! How can someone see it any different than the way we intended it to be seen? You would be surprised!

Google Analytics lets you know how close or far you are from your business goals and how well you can reach those goals with the design of your website. The challenge in Google Analytics is in how you use it, as it has been… Click To Tweet

To understand your users is essential! It isn’t enough to simply have an online presence. It’s important to understand how people navigate online and how often they do it. So where does it fall in comparison to television? They both top the list…

Digital Marketing versus Television

Websites and digital media in general top the list of where Canadians spend most of their time. Only 5 years ago Canadians said that they spent 74% of their time online, on an ongoing basis, second only to television (TVB; Numeris… Click To Tweet This means that the days of posting your website and walking away are gone, and businesses need to catch up to the new reality. It is an ongoing venture that requires regular monitoring in order to create interest, traffic and elevate search engine optimization (your ranking in the search engine results page).

“Most Canadians spend at least 3-4 hours online every day – shopping, using social media, emailing, banking and catching up on news and current events”

– cira.ca

Understanding Google Analytics

The most significant issue when using Google Analytics is managing it effectively and efficiently. It is easy for new users to become overwhelmed with the magnitude of data at their disposal. However, it’s worth diving into and should be considered your first line of defense. Reports in Google Analytics will let you know how users are engaging with your website. It goes into detail about your audience, including what browser or the device they used to access your website. If users are engaging less when using a certain browser or device, it could mean that your website isn’t loading properly on that particular browser or device. This is your first indication that something could be wrong. Fixing issues as simple as the one above often significantly increases engagement and revenue.

Google Search

Ultimately, your users are the experts in letting you know what works and what doesn’t. With Google Analytics you are able to see which pages or posts are creating the most engagement with your audience. Data available to you include the time spent on each page. The more time your audience spends on your pages, posts, and website will over time, translates into a higher page ranking with Google. The goal when designing your website is to have the user engage in more than one post, page or event (video or white paper download).

Content

This is why posting relevant and ongoing content on your website is crucial to increasing your overall page ranking on Google Search. In the world of marketing, it has often said that ‘content is king’, and it really is. Studies have shown that engaging users through posting new content on a regular basis, consistently will improve the visibility of your company online over time.

Social Media Marketing

Once new content is posted on your website, it is important to share that content throughout all social media profiles. You can draw your audience back to your website regularly through this method. This is one of many tactics companies can use to generate more online interest. What is important to note though, is that Google Analytics can measure how successful you were in drawing people back to your website from your social media platforms. This will let you know what content resonated with your audience on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., and what fell flat. Social media platforms are also considered by Google to be high-quality referrers. A referrer can help or hinder your website, so Google takes this into account when ranking your website. Google Analytics is powerful because it will give you an inside view of who your referrers are.

Website referrer

With Google Analytics you will see a list of websites that have a link to a page on your website. This is powerful information because you can then determine who is directing the most high-quality traffic to your web pages. The quality of referrers is important not only for search engine optimization but also sets the tone for what the user expects to find when they click through to your page. If they feel misled, or that the expectation of what they hoped to find was not there, they will automatically bounce off the page. This can increase your bounce rate.

Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who navigate away from the site after viewing one page

– Janice Guadagno, JG Lea Marketing

A bounce rate of over 50% is considered high. This means that only 50% of those who visit a page went on to investigate another page on your website. The other 50% backed out of the website entirely. It is important to find out why the other 50% was not intrigued enough to continue to another page.

Bounce rates and advertising

If you have a high bounce rate on a landing page that you have selected for an advertisement, newsletter or email, you may have to consider that the ad does not seem relevant to the content on the page, or is possibly outdated. Google can give you some additional insights through A/B testing. A/B testing allows you to create two variations of a web page to see what users find more engaging. Google Analytics tracks it all!

An A/B test is a randomized experiment using two or more variants of the same web page (A and B). Variant A is the original and variant B contains at least one element that is modified from the original.

– Google

Get started with Google Analytics

In order to set up Google Analytics, you will need to add code to your website. Information is collected through a javascript code embedded in the header section of the pages that you are monitoring. This code may need to vary on each page based on your data collection needs. Plugins can also be used within WordPress. Other content management systems typically have an area for the javascript code or plugins. We recommend using Google Tag Manager to add the code to your website. This gives you more flexibility in adding various changes in code to different web pages with much less effort and without compromising your website. It also allows you to keep your Google Analytics code private, and your data clean.

Once the javascript code is installed you can begin to collect a lot of data. The following is a small sample of what is possible:

  • Time on page
  • Pages viewed
  • The order of pages viewed
  • Location of the visitor (city, province, country)
  • Demographics (men, women, age, and interests)
  • Browser/device used
  • Computer system it was viewed on
  • Medium (search engine, social media, email, etc)
  • Referrer (the website that had a link to your site that was clicked)
  • Mobile usage
  • Goals (page view goals, newsletter sign-up, time on the website, etc.,)
  • Filters (ex., can be used to see where users are leaving the website during the check-out process)
  • Bounce rate (views one page only)
  • Campaign information (Google Ads)

This is not an extensive list by any means. It does give you an idea as to how powerful Google Analytics truly is. It gives you the tools to find potential problems that could be costing you thousands of dollars.

E-commerce Goals and Funnels

With an e-commerce website, it is important to ensure that the checkout process is flawless. That there are no errors in the process. A popular tool used in Google Analytics is the creation of the funnel leading up to the completion… Click To Tweet

The funnel is essentially the path of pages the visitor takes to reach the final destination goal. You can track each stage of the e-commerce process leading up to your final destination goal. This gives you an objective view of all pages functionality from the checkout page, to shipping, to final payment.

This is essentially a birds-eye view of the check out process. You can then see where people could be running into problems for the final purchase. If the bounce rate is particularly high on one page in the checkout process, it gives you an opportunity to fix any errors that users could be running into. One common problem in the e-commerce funnel is having the checkbox below the fold of the web page (out of the immediate view) and requires additional scrolling to locate. Something this simple can cause frustration for users and cost you a potential sale. It’s important that the cart is above the fold, is easily viewed on the web page, and does not require additional scrolling.

Data accessibility

The flexibility and data that Google Analytics offers would cost large sums of funds in the past. This data was typically only accessible to larger businesses or corporations who could uncover a treasure trove of invaluable information. Google Analytics offers all of this for free. There is quite a learning curve to using Google Analytics. However, once you get up and going you will have a hard time leaving the Google Analytics Dashboard.

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Author, Clifton, Brian (2012), Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley.

Year published: 2015, Build your audience – Google Analytics, Google.com, www.google.com/analytics/why/, February 1st, 2015

TVB; Numeris Return To Sample Canada Fall 2014; Yesterday exposure. NOTE: RTS is self-reported; ie, based on the number of time persons who complete the survey think they spend with each medium.