Google Analytics 101

Digital Marketing for your business

Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most powerful tools you can connect to your website, and the best news, it's free. Explore what Google Analytics is, why you need it, and how to understand the basics of it.

Key learning outcomes:

  • Understand how to access your GA data
  • Be able to navigate the portal and know where to go to access information
  • Know the important metrics to look for and where to find them
  • Have identified information on your website audience
  • Know how long visitors are spending on your site
  • Understand whether your visitors are finding your from a desktop or a mobile device (and why that's important)
  • How to simplify the reports even more using free software

Presentation: Google Analytics 101

Google Analytics 101 

Hello folks, Tracy Sheen, The Digital Guide with you. I'm here to talk about Google analytics.

What is Google Analytics?

I want to talk to you about Google Analytics for your Queensland business. To start with here is a relevant quote:

"The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight."

That's what we're going to talk about - Google analytics is all about understanding the data. If you get the data, you’ll nail your marketing. Back in the day when I started marketing, it was a bit of hope for the best. What way was the wind blowing? Modern marketing is about figuring out your data and you'll know exactly who your clients are, where they're coming from and what's going on.

At it's core, Google Analytics is just a web analytic service. It's offered by Google, so you know it's going to give you the good stuff, because it's pulling the data that Google has on your site and on comparative sites and letting you know where you're sitting and how you're tracking. Google Analytics tracks and reports on your website data. If you don't have Google analytics, the first thing I'm going to say to you is go and Google, “Google analytics”., Google analytics, download it and connect it to your website. Because you'll need a couple of months for you to start getting some good data. Further on I'm going to show you some of what that data looks like.

Why is Google Analytics important for Queensland businesses?

Why do you need Google analytics? You can't change what you don't measure. If you don't know how many people are visiting your website, you can't fix it. If you don't know what pages are ranking on your website, you can't fix it. If you don't know how long people are spending on your website, you can't fix it. If you don't know how quickly they're bouncing off your website, you can't fix it.

You can't change what you don't measure. So don't be afraid of the data. Embrace the data. Data is your friend. Start figuring out what you need to know. And that's what we're going to talk about.

What metrics can you measure in Google Analytics?

So what are the metrics that you can measure? And what are the metrics that you should measure? Often when people first start with Google Analytics, they getting really kind of data hungry, and they start measuring everything. There's no need to do this. There's a few really simple things, that if you can get your head around, your marketing will become like a laser beam. You'll know exactly who you're talking to, how long you're talking to them for, where they're coming from, and you’ll get really targeted with them and know what types of content and things that you need to put out to entice and embrace those people.

Here is a summary of the metrics that you can measure:

How many people visit your website?

This one is important. I'm not going to put a hard number on how many people should be visiting your website, because I don't know you and I don't know your business. But you need to know that it's growing. You want more people to be coming to your website month on month.

How long are people staying on your site?

The next thing you want to know is how long are people staying on your website. Google has this thing called Dwell Time. At its essence, that just means how long is someone hanging around your site. Google likes it when people spend about three minutes on a site. If they can hit that magic number, Google recognise your site as a place of authority and they start pushing you up the rankings. Videos, blogs, and audio are all good types of content to increase your website dwell time.

Which pages are the most popular?

It's most likely that your home page is your most popular page on your website, as that's the first page people land on when they come to the website. After that, it'll probably be your ‘About’ page, because people want to know a little bit more about the company and the people that they're going to work with before they buy. If they haven't jumped off your site, the next one they'll go to is usually your ‘Services’. So what are you offering? What packages do you offer? What services, what products do you offer? You need to know what pages are driving the traffic for your site so can see the pattern building up here.

Are people using desktops or mobiles?

The next one you want to know is are people using desktops or mobiles or tablets. If they're on a mobile, you need to be thinking about the way that you're designing that site. You want a lot of white space, so people can scroll through and it's easy to read and it's easy to navigate. If the majority of people are on a laptop, perhaps you can have something (website display) with a little bit wider vision to it.

NOTE: Google loves sites that are optimised for mobile first. That means that if a client is picking up a mobile phone, they can still view your site and they're getting all of the information they need. Everything is super easy to read, super easy to navigate, and everything's looking beautiful.

The geography of your website visitors

You’re probably asking “Well, why is that important?” I'll tell you why it's important. What if you're a jewellery designer in Moreton Bay and all of your traffic is coming from the Philippines. Are you shipping jewellery to the Philippines? Should you? If you know that you're getting a big chunk of traffic from the US, or the UK, or the Philippines A) there's an untapped market there that you should be talking to, or B) you need to figure out why content is being viewed in places that are irrelevant to your business.

The loading speed of your website

The last one you want to check is the loading speed of your site. Now I don't know about you, but I have the patience have a gnat. If I go to a website and I have to wait over five seconds for the site to load, chances are I've jumped off. If your website is not loading within five seconds, you've lost them. You need to know how quickly your site is loading, not just from a desktop or a laptop, but from a mobile as well.

How many people are visiting your site?

Let's talk a little bit more about the number of visitors that you're getting to your site now. Refer to the presentation download to see an example of measuring how many people are visiting your website. You want that nice rise in the traffic. You're going to be looking at the number of users and the number of new users.

What Google is looking for here is the IP address of someone visiting your site. You need to know if there are new people coming to your website or are they returning clients. Ideally you want a bit of both. You want to know that you have an engaged tribe who are referring your website to potential new clients or to their friends.

The magic formula: 7-11-4

Google did this amazing piece of research in 2011 called - the zero moment of truth, or ZMOT. What they figured out is this. 7-11-4. Three magic numbers.

It takes people about seven hours, 11 pieces of content, across four platforms, before they'll spend money with you in a B2B business. Seven hours, 11 pieces of content, four platforms. If I put a blog out on a website, and it takes you three minutes to read that blog, then that goes towards my seven hours of content. It's also going to go towards one of the sessions on my website. They then listen to a podcast. They hear about me spoken about in a network event. It all builds towards that 7-11-4.

Four platforms can include website, social media, podcasts, video, or networking event. There are so many different platforms available now. Once again, 7-11-4. They are the magic numbers. You've got to kind of etch that into your brain because when you're starting to get familiar with your data, by taking a really quick look at this magic screen, it will start making sense.

Pages per session

A helpful metric is also how many pages someone is visiting per visit to your website. Why is this important? It goes back to dwell time that we referred to earlier. This is that three minute magic number that Google's looking for. If you can see that people are watching roughly two to three pages, you can kind of do a quick bit of math. If they're spending 30 to 60 seconds per page. You're not quite at that three minute stage. Ideally you want to have it well above the three minute so you getting that authority tick from Google to say this site is developing really good content.

Why is Bounce Rate important?

The other key metric that you need to know about is your bounce rate. Bounce rate is important for different industries for different reasons.

Essentially what a bounce rate means is how quickly do I land on your page and then bounce off. Now where this is important is if they're landing on a page and they're grabbing your phone number, or your email, or a contact form, and they're bouncing off. In this case this is probably okay, because they're reaching out to make contact with you.

If they're bouncing onto your page, because your site looks like someone else that they thought they were going for, then you just want to make sure that you're getting that bounce rate number down.

How to get people to spend more time on your website

Next we want to look at how long are people staying on our site, and how we are going to get people to spend more time on our website.

This is where you’ve got to know your clients. Are they young? Are they old? Are they male? Are they female? Everybody wants different sorts of content. When you're looking at your Google Analytics and starting to work a little more on your website, start to think about different ways, and different types of content, that's going to help you hit and exceed that three minute number.

Adults, (just like kids) all like to learn in different ways. Think about your audience and think about designing different sorts of content that's going to hit the different kinds of learning styles.

Different content types can include:

  • Blogs and articles
  • Imagery
  • Infographics
  • Audio
  • Video

You want to be able to produce and show your content in a way that is enticing for your clients. A quick hint is to take one piece of content and create it in a variety of ways.

The importance of a mobile-first website

We previously touched on the desktop vs mobile. One of the metrics you can find on Google Analytics is what are people using to visit your website - desktop, mobile or tablet. Unless you have a huge swing of people that are just looking at you from a laptop, always consider designing everything for your website - Mobile first.

The reason for this is that Google ranks mobile first website designs highest. If somebody can pick up their phone and access your site and see everything they need, read everything they need, watch everything they need, and get all of the information that they need then Google will give it a huge tick. Always consider making your site, Mobile friendly.

What to do with all that Google Analytics data

Now what do you do with all that data? Let's go back to the start. You can't change what you don't measure. The reason you're collecting this data is so you can improve your site and make it a nicer experience for your clients. This enables you to understand where they're coming from; know where geographically they're coming from; and build additional content to suit your audience.

In the presentation download there is an example I prepared earlier of what a Google Analytics account looks like. At its very core, this is what your home screen will look like. If you can get familiar with this site, even if this is where you start (and I suggest this is where you start) this will be a really good indicator for you to watch the number of users and other metrics we've previously touched on.

What to do now

Download Google analytics if you don't already have it. It is relatively simple to connect. If this is difficult, my suggestion would be to make friends with your local web developer and ask them to connect it. Then start to monitor the information that is coming through.

You should always be looking to improve in one area. Whether it's more people visiting the website, more people hanging around on the website, reducing your bounce rate, or something else. Get it connected. Start understanding your data, and use this to improve and grow your business.

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