Website Analytics isn't new. The software has been around for awhile, but little was invested to improve on reporting features for the longest time. Then Google Analytics came onto the scene. Long-story-short, Google Analytics was first released in late 2005 as a product aimed at marketers with information and reporting features that would help businesses make informed decisions on the direction of their website and their online marketing efforts. Google Analytics is free to use, but generally takes you or your website design / development team an hour or two to install fully.
Last week I had the pleasure going through, in detail, some of the features and reports within Google Analytics with one of our customers...
I am quite familiar with Google Analytics, but recently DotCom Media has instituted a new policy of performing Quarterly Website Reviews with all of our customers. After almost 20 years in media production and helping businesses get their stories out to their customers, this is a real opportunity for us to measure the results of our work together. The service is free of charge and it adds tremendous value to the cost of our services while strengthening our relationship with our customers.
Whenever we start a new custom website design and development project, goals are set which help us determine the strategy and the requirements for the project. At the outset of our quarterly website review together, the client and I went back to those initial goals. We wanted to focus our time within Google Analytics on reports that would help us determine whether or not the goals of the project were being met. Then we would know whether or not the strategies and requirements for the project were correct and the solutions we delivered were working. Based on the initial goals, the key identifiers or reports we focused on within Google Analytics were as follows:
This is the initial view within Google Analytics. All of the sites that we manage on behalf of our clients are listed here, analytics for all of our websites can be accessed from this view. Here we can quickly see whether website visits, average time on site, and bounce rate are up or down. We can measure this by day, week, month, or year (depending on how long a website has been using Google Analytics) with a click of a button. Clients have full access to their individual website analytics reports whenever they like through their own Google username and password.
This view provides greater detail on the above and allows us to be more specific with the timeframes we wish to measure. We selected 3 months, 1 quarter, so we could make comparisons to past quarters.
From the Dashboard we access the Traffic Resources Report. Here we were able to view where the visitors are coming from on the web. Referring sites, search engines and direct traffic can all be measured here. The client is promoting their business and website through Facebook and Twitter, so it is important to see how much traffic these 2 referring sites provide.
Although this feature is not critical to this client's goals, it's a cool feature to check out nonetheless. This feature allows us to view where their website traffic is coming from - physically. First we viewed traffic from countries, then we were able to drill down to cities. As an interesting side note, Google Analytics and the Map Overlay feature provided our client with data that can be used to identify opportunities for more traditional marketing efforts and which cities to focus those efforts in.
Always returning and jumping off from the Dashboard, we then accessed the Content Overview Report. This is probably the most important reporting feature within Google Analytics for our client. This report shows us how viewers access content, how they navigate through the website and which pages are the most popular. As a membership-driven business, driving leads and converting them to members is a goal for their business and their website. We are quickly able to determine that their membership page is the 4th most popular page on their website. We are able to find out how viewers are getting to that page and where potential members are jumping off during the process of getting to that page. We are also able to see that a call to action that asks potential members to “refer-a-friend” (taking up prime real estate within the website) links to a page that is the 23rd most popular page within the website. It is determined that the call to action is not working and we can now go about using that real estate to drive more traffic to the membership page.
Because of the competitive nature of their business the client cannot be named, but this information proved to be very valuable to their business and website strategy moving forward. If you have questions or comments, or would like to know more about the features of Google Analytics and how it can be implemented to benefit your business, please contact us.
About the author:
Dennis Powers is the Sales & Account Manager for DotCom Media. Dennis has been involved in media production for almost 20 years. He has media production experience in virtually all formats including web and print. [email protected]