Part 2 of 3 — What Information do I get from Google Analytics?
…and what I can do with it
The following is the type of data I find helpful when I am planning, or revising a content development strategy. When I first started using the Google Analytics tool, I sometimes got lost in ‘all’ the data, so I had to decide what information most mattered to me, and focused just on those numbers. As a content developer my focus was on the type of content that drew folks to a site, kept them there, and brought them back frequently. This data is also helpful when testing copy that is structured to encourage site visitors to take action.
- The number of unique individuals who’ve come to your site in a given time period
- If I come to your site 20 times in a week, I still only count as a single unique visitor.
- This statistic is important because it tells you your reach, or the total size of the audience coming to your site
- The number of times folks open your site in their browser
- If I come to your site 20 times in a week, I count as 20 visits
This is important information for a content developer and a site owner/manager — a high ratio of visits to visitors means you’ve got a loyal audience.
- How many pages of your site are viewed in a given period
- If a visitor come to your site 20-times in a week, viewing three pages each time, that individual visitor counts as 60-page views
- Page views are an indication of just how interested folks are in your site
- A high ratio of page views to visits likely means an interested audience
- The bounce rate metric shows how many people hit your site and then leave immediately.
- It is interesting, but may not be immediately actionable.
- If the bounce rate is high, it could affect how Google ranks your page. 34% is about average; if it’s above 50% it needs some work.
By work, we mean analyzing what type of searches that are bringing visitors to those pages with high bounce rates. If folks come to a page looking for specific information, but do not find it, they leave the page immediately. Than indicated that the information is not matching the keywords or phases folks are using in their search. Change the information on the page, how its tagged or categorized to match the phases that are drawing the visitors to the site.
Once you get them to your site, what actions do you want your site visitor to take:
- go to shopping cart
- complete the purchase process successfully
- land on a specific page
- take intended action on the landing page
- watch a video
- fill out a form
- call you
Visitor activity can be tracked, by setting the requested information in your profile settings.
You choose which kind of goal to track: URL destination, time on site, pages/visit, etc.
The reason to set up a goal is developing the sales funnel, which is important if you take orders online.
A goal funnel is a process that measures how successful you have been in reaching a stated goal, such as: how many people click from home page to the order form, and then make it to the confirmation form.
The data will show how many people don’t complete the “funnel” and where they leave the process.
How many dollars were spent, where the orders were places, the type of purchase that was made, etc.
You will see:
- conversion rate (how many people convert, or pay you money),
- how individual visitors spend,
- the SKUs (what is purchased),
- · where the sales are coming from — did visitor come directly to the site, or did they get there through search request.
This type of analytic information helps track how effective the site content is and what people are buying.
The GA dashboard can be customized with the content you most want to track.
Referring Source — found under Visitor Segment Performance:
Identifies where site visitors are coming from. You can use the Analysis Button to drill further down, viewing keywords searched, etc. Additionally, you can see which sites, such as Facebook, or Twitter, are driving traffic to your site over time. This particular metric is good to track look at week by week. It give you a sense of how effective any social medial campaign is, and if it effecting sales.
This allows you to slice the data in any way you want, pulling different metrics however you want.
You can see:
- mobile traffic;
- just the blog (with keywords, traffic sources, etc);
- you can look at all data from Facebook;
- all the traffic for a specific order type;
- people who return to site; and so on.
It requires Boolean (and/or) considerations: e.g. traffic source AND recurring users. Feel free to play with the advanced segments and see what you get; you can’t break anything.
Traffic Spikes and Server Usage:
Google Analytics can show a spike in traffic that came from a blog mention, or a link from a high value site.
It’s worth noting extreme traffic spikes because they can effect server considerations.
Server administrators can use an iPhone app called ‘Analytics Pro’ to watch metrics on a daily basis.
It’s a good idea to have the GA code in the footer of your site, and even better to have it be asynchronous, which helps optimize page speed. However, it may cause some discrepancies, because the full page has to load and the script has to activate, or that visit isn’t counted. Both the Google Analytics for WordPress and Web Ninja plugins put the code at the bottom and do it asynchronously.
“What Information do I get from Google Analytics?” is part three of a three part Hands On WordPress Series, How to use Google Analytics on your Website.