Google Analytics & Other Website Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful website analytics package. The problem is that most people use web analytics as a statistical tool only. They never discover the true value of Google Analytics, or other website analytics packages.

How do you use website analytics to address your performance gaps?

Google Analytics and other website analytics packages are the most underutilised form of free business intelligence and facts out there – and the data is free and constantly building!

Set up correctly, web analytics can also help you integrate your marketing efforts to your sales team. Giving them only high interest and qualified leads to follow up on. This alone can boost the Sales Department impressions of the Marketing department.

These tools can give you insights into your marketing and business that has never been available in the past. Marketing and associated strategic planning is no longer a smoke and mirrors exercise, you can now be armed with the facts for the decisions you need to make.

A client summed this up quite nicely when they said to us “We know half of our marketing budget doesn’t work, we just don’t know which half!”

When considering your website analytics it is important to firstly know what you are looking for. A good start for most is to set up your dashboard to monitor your Visitors, Traffic Sources %, Bounce Rate, Acceptance Rate and Conversion rates.

Without visitors to your website there is not much point in investing in anything else with your site, or even building one for that matter. How many visitors do you need to reach the internet marketing strategy goals you have set?

That depends on how many leads and sales you need to grow your business. The accepted rule of thumb is to expect at least one sale for every 100 visitors to your website. This goes for whether you are trying to generate leads or sell products directly on the web.

Some of the best websites on the internet do not get more than 3% conversion rates from unique visitors.
Traffic Source % is important to measure because it can tell you if you have a balanced internet traffic driving strategy. It can also tell you what marketing spend is giving you the better return, online and offline.

Google Analytics and other web analytics packages normally give you a high level view of Referring Sites, Search Engines and Direct. You should aim for each area to drive a third of your traffic.

"Referring Sites" is a measure of visitors who come from clicking a link on other websites to your website.

"Search Engines" is a measure of visitors who find you via search engines like Google, paid and free search results.
 
"Direct" traffic is a measure of people who either typed your website address directly or click on a link that is not in a website. For example, you could have a link in a pdf document that someone is reading or some email marketing traffic comes up as a direct visitor to your website.

"Bounce" rate is sometime confused with Exit rate. Wikipedia has a detailed description of bounce rate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounce_Rate . Your Bounce rate is the percentage of initial visitors who don’t visit any other pages of your website. You should aim to keep your bounce rate below 30%.

Remember that Google Analytics and other Website Analytics packages can measure bounce rate differently to each other.

Acceptance rate is your measure of people buying in to the messages you have written. It can be measured in page views or time on your pages or website. A better way is to measure acceptance rate via progress through your defined sales funnel.

A sales funnel is a series structure of your content so your messages are delivered or read in a certain order. It is a bit like a sales person leading a prospect through a face to face sales process.

The sales person leads them through easy questions and information, leading them ever closer to a sale.
 
The sales person is always qualifying and looking for the sales hooks to be able to close a deal or get the prospect to the next step. Your website should mirror the same, in effect replicating your best sales person.

Your sales funnel needs to be defined in Google Analytics or whichever website analytics package you are using. It is a common mistake to setup sales funnels as just measuring the end goal or a page. Google Analytics has up to 10 individual sales funnel pages options for a reason, use it.

Conversion rates are normally the strongest measure against your business results. Typical conversion rates are:

  • 1% for online sales 
  • 10% enquiries for lead generation sites 
  • 30% enquiries for locally focused businesses 
  • Upwards of 10% for subscription rates

When you set up your sales funnels mentioned above, they normally end with your “conversion page” which is normally a thank you for subscriptions or enquiries.

They can also include content pages. For example your primary goal might be to have people watch a video that goes for 30 minutes. Convincing them to watch such a long video might need some strong persuasion. You could then monitor time on the video page to see if they actually watch it for its full length.

These are all great statistics, what happens when there is a performance gap?

This is where the power of Google Analytics and other website analytics packages generate the most value for business.

Dissecting visitors by area, geography, entry pages, keywords and many other variables can help you interpret what are causing the performance gaps in your results. Straight statistics packages do not allow you to do this, missing the power of relating key facts side by side to give you the insights needed to improve conversions – leads and sales!

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