Harnessing the power of Google Analytics

Nate Silver correctly predicted the electoral college results of all 50 US states the 2012 Presidential Election. His blog was the most visited page on the NY Times website during the election. This would make him the world’s leading political analyst, except he is a statistician. Despite stinging criticism from journalists and politicos who called him a ‘joke’ and his skill a ‘numbers racket’, Silver’s success shows that data does not lie.

If data can predict something as notoriously difficult to call as voting patterns, then figuring out people’s habits online should be easy. And it is when marketers make use of the analytics tools now available. Many social media sites have analytics features built in that businesses can access to track traffic to their pages.

The leading light in web analytics for marketing is Google Analytics. There’s so much information at your finger tips if you know how to use it. We at ChatterHound hold training workshops to help businesses use Google Analytics to make their online marketing more effective.

Contact us if you’re interested in learning how to track your online campaigns and make the most out of your website.

Why use Google Analytics?

Google Analytics logoSearch engine optimization (SEO) and keywords have become central to any digital marketing strategy. But they only work when you have an insight into how people actually use your site. Using Google Analytics is the best way to achieve higher organic listings and more conversion on Google AdWords.

Google Analytics is the leading tool for monitoring traffic to your website. It provides a wealth of information about visitors to your site. However, many businesses struggle to interpret Google Analytics reports.  Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

Social media referrals

Google Analytics reports can track whether you get more traffic from Facebook. Linked In, Twitter, Google + or Pinterest. You can then use this information to decide on which pages deserve more effort.

Screen shot of Google Analytics showing pie chart

AdWords campaign tracking

If you’re a Google AdWords customer the reports will show you what people do on your website after they click on your ad. This is central to measuring conversions.  Google Analytics show you whether your landing page is converting customers. If it’s not, you can change it.

Mobile

Google Analytics shows which mobile devices are used most to access your website. You can then specifically tailor your mobile marketing efforts.

 Pages

Google Analytics tracks which pages are more popular that others. Perhaps a particular blog post, product or service is getting a lot more attention than the others. You can measure this and respond accordingly. This is very useful if you rely on content marketing.

 

Word cloud with keyword as the search term

Keywords  

Google Analytics can show you which terms people are typing into search engines to access your website. This is invaluable for SEO as you can tell whether your keywords are right.

It’s important to set time aside regularly to properly read Google Analytics reports and review anything on your site that is not serving your business or organisation. 

Using analytics in marketing

Graphic showing a left/right brain

Marketing needs creativity and analysis

 

Times are changing –  marketers are no longer just creative types with copywriting skills and social media know-how. We also need to understand how to use web analytics.

This is not the enemy of creativity it may appear. Applying analytics can help track campaigns, allowing you to try different avenues and only repeat what works.

Today I read some handy tips for creating an analytics-driven marketing culture that Chatterhound recommends for progressive marketers.

 

 

Google Website Optimizer replaced by Content Experiments

If you’re looking to increase sales via your website, then you’ll know that driving traffic to your site is only half the battle, you then need to optimise the landing page in order to convert the visitor. Sometimes it can be something as simple as the positioning of an action button, or the colour of the button that can make all the difference.

Google announced during the week that they were saying goodbye to Website Optimizer and replacing it with Content Experiments.

If you haven’t used Website Optimizer, it was a tool that could be used to test out various versions of a landing page to see which would yield the best results. Visitors would be randomly served one of the versions of the landing page when they visited your site, and over time, you would be able to permanently switch to the best version of the page. The tool was originally released with support for multivariate testing, and then the easier to configure A/B split testing.

The new Content Experiments can be accessed via the Content menu in the Standard Reporting section of the Google Analytics dashboard.

Clicking on this menu item brings up the starting dialog. Upon entering the name of the page you want to test, you can “Start Experimenting”!

While the experiments are generally supposed to be used to test different versions of the same page, we decided we would test whether it would be better to send visitors to our site to the video page or to the blog page.

On the next page of the wizard, you get the opportunity to link the test to one of your Goals within Google Analytics (in our case, the goal is signups to our Beta).

The next bit involves adding some code to the pages (Javascript is used to redirect visitors to the correct page when they land). You can add it yourself, but if you need to get someone else to do this, Google have made it very easy for you! They’ve built an email into the wizard that you can send to your developer or webmaster. This bit is so much easier than the old Website Optimizer.

When you click Next, Google validates that the new code is installed properly on the site, but you can also skip this step if you need to wait for your developer or webmaster to make the changes.

Finally, you get to run the experiment!

It really is that easy (so much easier than Website Optimizer). All you need to do next is wait for some traffic to hit your site in order to assess which page is best. We’ll follow up with a post reviewing the results of our experiment.

Real-Time Google Analytics

We’ve been giving the new Real-Time version of Google Analytics a test run for the past few weeks. Before the new version, as announced on the Google Analytics Blog, users had to wait 24 hours to get their analytics data, unless they went for one of the many paid real-time analytics services instead.

We can’t quite remember what life was like without it. Now it’s possible to check in real-time that everything is working when we’re setting up analytics on a site. You could do what we’ve done and set up a dedicated monitor in the corner to display analytics for your site, but then you’d never get any work done!