Since the introduction of the internet, the way customers interact with businesses has changed drastically. No longer are we bound by opening hours and bricks and mortar. Customers are online, searching, researching, buying and looking for businesses at all hours.
In this new environment, how can a business understand and get to know their customers when they have become a number on a screen rather than an actual person in their shop or on the phone?
The answer is simpler than you think. Google Analytics.
What in Google’s name is that you ask? Let me introduce you.
What is Google Analytics?
To put it simply, Google Analytics is a platform that collects data on user traffic and compiles it into a multitude of reports using a free tracking tool. This allows businesses to track the activity of customers visiting their website. Think:
- How many customers visited the website?
- Where are they located?
- What are the popular visit times?
- How long do they stay on your site?
- What Google search or referring site did they come from?
- Did they make a purchase?
These and other in-depth insights are critical for firstly understanding and then improving the customer’s online experience.
How to use Google Analytics?
Setting up Google Analytics is not hard. Just follow these steps and you’ll be an analytics wiz in no time.
Create an account and add a tracking code
First things first, you need an account. This can be as simple or as complicated as is needed. For multifaceted businesses, there is the option to create multiple profiles within your account to identify different businesses or business units. For smaller businesses, one account should suffice. When setting up an account take time to think about what it is you want to measure. It’s important to include all metrics required at this point as once set-up is complete and the reports start coming in, different data cannot be collected for historical periods, only future.
One fancy new feature of Google Analytics is the Dashboard. This displays summaries of your favourite reports as metrics. Allowing a focus on what’s important to measure for the business. The Dashboard metrics can be displayed as an overview or a real-time report.
To collect this data, a tracking code needs to be added to every page on your website. Google Analytics will provide you with a unique tracking ID which links to your account and instantly shares data from the website when added to the website URL. This can also be used to track individual or unique campaigns in this same way.
Start using the reports
Once an account has been set-up and the tracking code has been installed it’s ready to go. All the reports will be accessible as an overview or in real-time view. These reports can be shared or viewed in more depth to understand specific areas of interest.
So, what are these reports? Well, there are three basic reports which are useful to any business. Let’s take a look at them…
- Audience report
The audience report provides insight into the characteristics of users visiting the website. Providing information on:
This allows a business to understand who the audience is (eg. age, gender, location), their activity on the site, what device they are using to access the site and how they interact with the site (eg. site behaviour, bounce rate, new users).
- Behaviour report
Behaviour reports collect data every time a customer loads a page. This identifies low and high performing content, landing pages (first site arrival), exit pages (when a visitor leaves), as well as how users interact with specific elements of the website experience, for example, download links.
- Acquisition report
Acquisition reports are all about how customers found the page. This report compares the performance of different marketing channels and identifies which channels send the highest quality traffic. When a user reaches the site, it tracks the medium that delivered them, eg. organic or paid. This can be expanded to identify which sites and areas to allocate marketing spend.
It really is that simple. Don’t let all this new data go to waste though. Google Analytics provides businesses with a broad range of metrics that can be used to improve website quality, user experience, sales, marketing strategy and SEO.
There you have it. It’s as easy as buttering toast. However, if you’re still not sure if Google Analytics is for you, or maybe you need help getting through the set-up, no need to stress. At Purple Giraffe our team is well versed in the language of Google Analytics and we’re always here to help. Contact us today and we can help you on your way to becoming an analytics wiz.