We recently laid out some foundational steps on how to set your Google Analytics account up for success. In this follow-up post, we want to build on those initial steps and help you better understand the features and reports available to you.
On a general level, Google Analytics features and reports give you a richer sense of how users interact with your website or application and, in turn, drive smarter decisions. By prioritizing the use of certain tools within the platform, new and seasoned marketers alike can garner meaningful insights on where there’s room for optimization and growth.
Backed by the goal to improve a website’s SEO performance and technical health, Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool website owners and managers can use to monitor and maintain their search presence. On its own, GSC provides detailed information about the websites that link to you the most, your highest traffic keyword queries, mobile usability issues and more. When you link that information to Google Analytics data, you can pair pre-click and post-click website engagement for an end-to-end view.
As an example, a GSC report in Google Analytics identifies your top-ranking landing pages in organic search results but shows a lack of engagement once the user lands on the page. This can be a catalyst for revisiting the messaging and design of the page. On the other hand, landing pages with high engagement may not be ranking well in Google search results, which could drive updates to the page’s keyword strategy, structured data and metadata.
While it may not come as a big surprise that website visitors are quick to abandon sites with long load times, it may be surprising how much difference mere seconds can make. According to Google, as page load time jumps from one to three seconds, the likelihood of a bounce increases by 32%.
From the Site Speed report in Google Analytics, businesses can gather intel on how fast visitors can view and engage with website content. With the ability to drill down into detailed variables like geographic area and browser types, you can have a clear path for making highly-targeted improvements to user experience.
For instance, a Site Speed report’s results may reveal that page speeds are slower in Safari than they are in Google Chrome. You can use these insights as a push to deliver streamlined versions of high-ranking website pages to combat these long loading times.
When mapping out the buyer’s journey, or a buyer’s path to purchase, a key takeaway is identifying how to structure your website to guide engagement and avoid dead ends. While the buyer persona discovery process helps you make assertions to guide these efforts, the Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics allows you to see how this journey pans out.
From the Behavior Flow report, businesses can visualize the common paths visitors take on their website, from the page where their website journey starts to the last page they view before exiting the site. While reaffirming the value of website content and links that are effectively moving prospective buyers from one website page to the next, the report insights also help identify specific pages where visitors are dropping off the site. For pages where drop-off rates are high, running an A/B test can help identify if stronger calls to action or a modified content layout impact the user experience in a positive way.
As you analyze the website data in Google Analytics, it’s only natural to think about who it is that’s visiting your site and contributing to these metrics. Demographics reports help provide context around this topic.
At their most basic level, Google Analytics’ demographic reports provide a high-level overview of your audience’s age and gender based on the distribution of site sessions. From there, you can drill into acquisition, behavior and conversion metrics for specific age groups and genders — as well as assess interests based on their online activity.
While this demographic data can influence the content on your website, it also fits seamlessly into targeted ad efforts as well. Using the same age, gender and interest categories as Google Analytics, Google Ads can be tailored and refined to target the segments with higher conversion rates and make the most of your paid media budget.
Google Analytics is filled with features and reports to support and inform your marketing efforts. The key is to know which ones deliver the most value, and how to put that data to use. From the examples featured above, we hope you’ve gained helpful insights on how to leverage Google Analytics to improve search engine performance, your website’s user experience and the impact of your marketing campaigns.