The type of things it can tell you include:
- How many people visit your website
- Where in the World do they visit from
- How in the World do they visit from
- What pages do they look at
- How long they stay on a page
- At what stage/ page do they leave your website
- What they use to visit your website
- What they click on
- Who’s even visiting and what they like
You may have read that list and thought ‘yeah, interesting but how the heck will knowing any of that affect my business, get me more customers and increase my profits’ and I’m going to tell you… So let’s break each point down…
How many people visit your website
This isn’t just about knowing the sheer number (although if it’s really low, that will tell you something is seriously broken or wrong and you should fix it pronto) but it’ll tell you when you get most of the website visitors. From here, you can work out what times of the day or seasonal trends your website has- if you sell a product on your website, maybe offer a discount code based on the peak or lower seasons to promote purchases at the right time. Or if you need to make changes to the website and bring it down, don’t do it when your website is at its busiest period- hold off until later.
Where in the World they visit from
Are the visitors coming from one area of the UK or another country or even another continent to what you expected- maybe there’s an area of the World really interested in your website that you should start looking at expanding too. If you’re a local business/ organisation and you’d expect to be getting visitors from that area, you can see if this is actually the case or if work needs to be done to target the local traffic.
How in the World they visited from
If you’ve got social channels, Google Analytics can be a fantastic tool to tell you which ones are most popular and if your work on those social channels is working and directing them to your website. Even though Google Analytics is by Google, they’ll also tell you what other search engines direct people to your website or if they even come directly. If you’ve created a marketing campaign that’s directing users to a specific landing page, within Google Analytics you’ll be able to see if that campaign has worked and (if so) where they go next within your website. It’ll tell you the level of engagement your website is getting from all the other marketing work you’re doing (that’s directing people to your website.)
What pages they look at
It’s lovely to see what pages are popular- you can (hopefully) see that the pages you want to be popular are gaining lots of traction, but equally, why page X isn’t getting any visitors when it’s a key page… maybe it’s got a small number of visitors (or even worse, none)… that might tell you that something about the page is broken- maybe it’s not set up correctly or your SEO (search engine optimisation) needs to be tweaked.
How long they stay on a page
The area that notes how long someone is on a specific page of your website is called the ‘bounce rate’ and having a high one (as in they’re not on the page for long) is not always a bad thing. Some pages actually want a high bounce rate e.g a contact page where you want people to find your phone number and simply call you- there’s nothing else on that page they need to be reading. However, if there’s a page that has a lot of detail and you’d expect people to spend a minute or two reading it, it should have a lower bounce rate, and if not, it can point this out to you so you can go and make some changes and make it better.
At what stage/ page do they leave your website
It’s wonderful to know where your website visitors come from, but it’s just as useful to know where your visitors leave. If they’re jumping ship on a page you wouldn’t expect them to, Google Analytics is useful for your business as it can tell you this. If you’ve set up ‘Goal Conversions’ (tracks all the actions needed in a process e.g completing a purchase) it can tell you how many visitors got to what stage of that process and what number completed the action/ converted into a goal. If a large proportion are leaving at stage 3 of 5, look at stage 3 deeper and work out why they’re not moving onto stage 4. Google Analytics allows you to see that stage 3 needs your attention, but without it, you’d be clueless there was any issue at all.
What they click on
If you’ve got specific pages that can only be accessed a certain way (e.g by clicking a particular CTA (call to action), Google Analytics can tell you (if you set it up) how many visitors are performing this action and visiting that specific page. This type of situation works great with the Goal Conversion function (mentioned in the above point).
What they use to visit your website
Marketers and Web Developers talk all the time about ‘Mobile Responsiveness’ and whilst this is becoming one of the biggest factors when it comes to ranking well on Google (SEO), it’ll tell you if your website should actually be made mobile-first or with desktop in mind e.g if the large majority of your website visitors are using a mobile device to access your website, (and it can even tell you which ones based on screen size and browser), then you should be making your website work on that as a priority. Google Analytics is especially useful for your business as it can be a great tool when working out if effort and time should be spent building your website to work on a specific desktop/ device/ browser etc if it’s not even getting much traffic.
Who’s even visiting and what they’re like
Ever wondered who is visiting your website and what their demographics are (age, sex and interests). Using this data, you can see if your website visitors are actually your ‘ideal users’ and the customers that matter and if not, work out why or how to change it so they are, or even create a new ideal user because they are your actual users.
Now, before you get worried about your own data and the footprint that you leave on other websites, please don’t go thinking Google Analytics is a crazy spy software that can tell you the exact details of person ABC and how to get in touch with them; all the data it lists simply describes a person, it doesn’t provide any identifying data (such as name, phone number, Facebook account) etc.
Ultimately, Google Analytics is incredibly useful for your business and it’s a fantastic piece of kit that every website owner should be using. It can tell you so much information about your business and its website. But, it’s what you do with the data that matters the most. Don’t simply collect it and do nothing with it, read it, understand it and harness it- take it and make your website better and constantly improve and evolve your website, after all, it’s your shop front/ first impression to your customers.
If you found this information useful and you’d like to know more, Freya often shares more Google Analytics tips and tricks on her website www.FreyaHelps.Me https://www.freyahelps.me/blog/