Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and pannawat

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and pannawat

What is Google Analytics?

The term marketing analytics can be intimidating, especially to a small business owner. Google has taken the fear factor out of website performance analysis with their streamlined Google Analytics service. The product collects visitor data for your website and compiles it into a report that offers insights into the habits of your customers.

The Google Analytics service is designed to simplify the way small businesses monitor their online performance and increase their competitive edge all for the wonderful price of FREE.

Why use Google Analytics?

It all starts with the traffic to your website.  Driving traffic to your site is one thing, but understanding it is a whole other endeavor. Websites are accessible 24/7 meaning that potential customers are able to visit your site at any given moment and provide you with important data about their habits.

Google Analytics is a tool that gives you a thorough understanding of your customers’ behaviors. It can tell you when your customers visit your website and how often. Making strategic business decisions is always better when the whole picture is available. This service offers a user-friendly and comprehensive system that any small business can add to their marketing toolbox.

Which metrics should I be looking at?

Google offers some 230 metrics to choose from when creating a custom report. Standard Reporting is the most straightforward and user-friendly option that covers audience, traffic and content report metrics. Every business is different, however the following is a list of the top five metrics that all small businesses can gain useful information from.

1) Audience Location:

This metric reveals the geographical location of your website’s visitors. Using this metric, your small businesses will gain insights for making important decisions in respect to targeting both existing and new markets. This metric may reveal that you are advertising in the right area or that a new emerging market opportunity may exist.

2) Audience Engagement:

This metric shows how effectively you are capturing your audience’s attention. To do this Google analyzes a few key data sets: visitor visit duration, number of page views and number of pages accessed. It is important to note that the content of your website affects the visit duration. For example adding more content and placing calls to action on a page entice visitors to stay longer. This metric can also be used to determine what content is appealing or unappealing to your visitors.

3) Traffic Sources:

Traffic source information can help you devise a strategy to optimize the number of visitors to your site. This report details how many people visited your website and what way they accessed it. The different sources of traffic include search traffic, direct traffic, social media, referrals and organic search. This metric can be very useful when deciding how and where to market your website. Encouraging your target market to visit with the right kind of content and keywords is incredibly important.

4) Organic Search Traffic:

This metric goes hand in hand with search engine optimization (SEO) because it shows the key words visitors used to find your site. When a visitor finds your site organically it means that they did not use your specific business name but rather a question, product type, etc. to find it. Driving traffic because of the needs of your customer or services they are looking for is a key factor in growing your website’s business.

5) Social Media Traffic:

Social media is incredibly important for driving traffic and this metric shows how effective your efforts are. It breaks down the source of each social media referral (which site or posts are getting the most responses) and helps you evaluate your current media strategy.

By simply measuring and monitoring the right metrics, your small business has the ability to implement lasting growth strategies. Google Analytics is a great way to build your business and a friend who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is when it comes to your business strategies. For more information visit the Google Analytics site and or read the following articles:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-tools/top-tens/ten-ways-google-analytics-can-help-your-small-business/article18553430/

http://www.add3.com/insights/google-analytics-part-2-standard-reports-key-metrics/

http://www.vtldesign.com/inbound-marketing/seo/five-google-analytics-metrics-every-business-should-run/2/

Mackenzie Priest

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