Tue, September 28 2010

Google Analytics: Cool charts but what do they mean?!

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

This is the title of a presentation by Google’s Matt Walton that I’m blogging here at Artez Interactive.  Here are the highlights of how Google Analytics helps us find out things that really matter: Who are our visitors?  How are they finding and coming to our site?  What did they do on our site?  Why does my site exist and did our visitors meet those objectives?

It’s easy to drown in data— Google says to look for the data that tells you something actionable:

1. Measure your site’s effectiveness by monetary and non-monetary goals:  Look for how many times a visitor comes to your site before taking an action.  If you put in your cost data (like how much you spend to get visitors), you can look at ROI: are you getting back what you’re investing in attracting visitors?

2. Measure online campaign performance:  Look at the impact of your Google Grants Adwords, email marketing and social media outreach results. For example, when you send out an email, use a URL builder with metadata in the links to your site.  (It’s very important to tag your URLs, folks!)  Then Google Analytics will tell you the results of that campaign—and you can compare it to other campaigns.  Did people click?  Did they take action?  You can check it out.  Also, you can track traffic from your organization’s Facebook page or Twitter.

3. Understand if you’re reaching the right people:  Google Analytics will tell you if you’re hitting your key audience geographically.  It will tell you if you’re serving your intended audience.  Most of your visitors likely come from search engines.  Google will tell you what keywords people are using to find your site.  Also look at who is sending you traffic.

4. Improve your online performance: Reduce bounce rates—ie, people coming to your site and immediately departing.  Or, in more colorful terms, the bounce rate is the percentage of users “who go to a web page, puke and leave,” said the presenter, quoting an unnamed blogger.  If you have a high bounce rate on certain pages, they probably need changing.  Or maybe the keywords your using on your Adwords are sending people who were looking for something else - in which case you want to rethink your Adwords.  Then using funnel reporting, look at where you are losing the people who do not bounce.  At each step of their visit, what is happening?  Are people staying with you until they donate or take action?  Where do they drop off?  This can provide clues to where to improve your visitors’ experience.  Maybe visitors have privacy concerns or get stuck on a login—adjust and see what happens!

He recommended more resources:

analytics.blogspot.com
Kaushik.net

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