An Introduction to Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the Internet’s leading website statistic monitoring program. It is provided free by Google so web marketers can use the data to measure results from Google AdWords and so Google can watch web data from millions of websites. This has worked very well for Google, now one of the world’s most successful and valuable companies. In return, Google Analytics has become a valuable resource and a key business and marketing indicator for many companies. Google believes that once digital marketers can see the data, they will work to get more traffic to their website through AdWords, which provides revenues for Google.
Google Analytics as a Key Performance Indicator
The Google Analytics data tracked from your website is a key marketing indicator, and will help you understand market share, how your brand is interpreted, the composition of your target market segments and much more. Business leaders should review this data on a regular basis and compare it to other key indicators. Just reviewing the data and asking questions is extremely valuable. Here are a few of the most important Google Analytics stats to keep an eye on.
- Unique visits
- Bounce rate
- Pages per visit and time on the site
- Traffic sources
- Content visits
- Mobile visits
- Conversion monitoring
As was mentioned in the previous blog posts, set goals for each of these key stats. Don’t make the mistake of turning these reports over to your IT department or others on your team to analyze, without reviewing and understanding the data yourself as the business leader. This information will help you make better decisions and drive marketing results, as the reports are the guideposts for the success of the strategic digital marketing strategy. You can bet your competitors are watching this data on their website.
Google Analytics as a Leading Indicator
Google Analytics data is a leading indicator and can help you see trends in your business before they impact your bottom line. Google Analytics is a great tool for monitoring market share based on website visits and conversions. Because of the growth of pull marketing, where prospective customers research in anonymity on the Internet before making contact, it is possible for companies to experience market share losses and not know it is happening until it impacts revenue. Watching your web stats allows you to see these trends and modify your marketing strategy as needed.
The best and most straightforward way to see the date from Google Analytics as a leading performance indicator is to think about website visitor trends. In most cases, traffic increases to your website are an indicator sales are growing and traffic declines indicate a loss of potential customers. (Of course, seasonal variations and one-time events can impact these trends.)
Google Analytics is a leading indicator in many areas, including the content preferences of your target market, use of mobile devices, links from other websites and much more. A well-informed and strategic business leader will include website data in key indicator reports.
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is an essential part of your search engine optimization (SEO) work and should be linked to Google Analytics as a key tracking tool. The focus of Webmaster Tools is SEO and getting found in Google search results. Webmaster Tools also known as the Google Search Console is important for Google in their goal of preventing spam websites from being found in their search results. It is important for web marketers so they can see the keyword phrases used to pull up their website in Google. As of this writing, much of this keyword data is being blocked in Google Analytics. It appears that Google does not want to provide the information for free and would rather have web marketers use their Google AdWords program to see search impressions and gather keyword data. Webmaster Tools allows you to see the communications between your website and the Google search engine. Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics are two of the most important online tools needed to drive results from strategic digital marketing.
Most business leaders do not regularly review their web stats and this is a mistake. It can lead to poor decision making and an inability to notice market share losses or other key business trends as they are happening in real time. For example, a significant increase or drop in website traffic will impact company sales. This data is easily found in Google Analytics along with much more valuable company information. Make the time to review your website stats and learn how to act on this valuable, free data coming from Google.
- Review Google Analytics data from your website on a weekly or monthly basis.
- If needed, have these reports e-mailed to you or printed and on your desk.
- If possible, attend strategic digital marketing meetings with your sales and marketing staff on a regular basis and ask questions about Google Analytics stats.
- Link Google Analytics to Webmaster Tools and AdWords.
- Develop Google Analytics into a leading indicator for your business.
- Ask questions about trends seen in your web data and use the information to make better strategic marketing decisions for your company.
Thomas Young is the CEO and founder of Intuitive Websites. He is an author, speaker and digital marketing consultant. Order Tom’s book “Winning the Website War” to get more digital marketing insights.