Does your small business “sort of” use Google Analytics? Maybe you’re set up with an account, but unclear on how to unravel data from the vast amount of complexity? If so, you’re not alone.
Google Analytics (GA) holds all kinds of power. Unfortunately, this includes the power to intimidate newcomers. But once you get the hang of it, it’s easy. Fun even. It takes a while to master, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some pretty valuable data the first time you use it.
Below, I’ll take you through a few steps in GA that I know you can handle. Afterward, you’ll be able to focus your marketing efforts for greater impact. You’ll be on your way to adding more customers and revenue, and experimenting further with GA. Let’s begin.
The Simplest Math of All Time.
I love this quote. “Math is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.”
But let’s take it a step further. What if simple math could make simple things simpler still?
Or in other words, what if something was not merely easy as pie, but easier than pie? Easier than even pie! A gradation of ease beyond pie-level. That’s what I’m asking you to do here. Ready?
Divide by two. Split your traffic channels into two categories. 1) High quality 2) Low quality.
Done. By assigning a quality level to your traffic channels or landing pages, you can see which are good and which are bad. From there it’s but a short leap to knowing whether your marketing is working.
Here’s an example. I was discussing a GA report with a customer, and we saw that most of her web traffic had been coming in from social media. She spent three hours a day generating this traffic. It sounds like it’s working, right?
Wrong! After grading traffic channels into high and low quality, we saw she was wasting fifteen hours a week on social.
Meanwhile, she was neglecting her referral traffic. Kind of a silly thing to do, since it was bringing in a small group of people who actually bought her products.
The Shortest Qualitative Analysis of All Time
I want you to do the following right now. It’s a somewhat simplistic but quick way to divide your traffic into “good” and “bad” quality.
- In Google Analytics, set the time period to your last three months.
- Under Acquisition in the sidebar, select “Overview.”
- Note the averages for bounce rate, conversion rate, pages per session, or other metrics that matter to you.
One last thing. On this same page, set the period in GA to your latest week or month, depending on how active you are online. Note which channels have metrics that are better or worse, relative to your longer term averages.
The channels that are over-performing are attracting “high quality” traffic to your website. The under-performing channels are “low quality.”
There are more accurate ways to measure quality, but for now, we’re sacrificing precision for a high-level view of your audience, and how GA works in theory.
Spotting the Growth Opportunities
When you notice a high-quality channel, it’s common sense that you’ll want to grow it, especially if the traffic volume for that channel is small compared to overall traffic. For example, if your referral traffic makes up 10% of your overall traffic but it’s high-quality traffic, congrats, you’ve uncovered a huge opportunity! Cultivate more referral traffic, effective immediately.
“Should I Grow the High-Quality Channel, or Optimize the Low-Quality Channel?” Yes.
Here’s where it gets fun. If you find that a traffic channel is low-quality (like social media in our example,) you can either 1) re-focus your energy on the high-quality channels, or 2) choose to optimize the low-quality channel, which means taking steps to improve your visitor experience for that channel.
Of course, you can do both. The beauty of this is that it’s a process that never stops. As you optimize a low-quality channel, it becomes ready for growth. And each time you grow a high-quality channel, you’re efficiently increasing your bottom line.
Once you cozy up to Google Analytics in this way, you’ll discover which channels you can optimize and grow. This step will help you focus your marketing efforts. And it very well may be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Author: Dean Levitt is the founder of Teacup Analytics. Raised on a 30-acre farm in Knoppieslaagte near Johannesburg, South Africa, Dean Levitt moved to the US in 1999 to pursue a career in music. While growing his previous company, Mad Mimi, an email marketing service acquired by GoDaddy in 2014, Dean realized that analyzing Google Analytics data could be way simpler. Dean founded Teacup Analytics to help bloggers and small businesses easily understand their audience and site performance.