THUNDER BAY – ENTREPRENEUR CENTRE – As a business, you need to know how to make most effective use of your resources. When it comes to your marketing, you will need to determine which tactics yield a high return and where you can eliminate non-performing strategies.
Your website should have goals – conversions, traffic, users, etc. Analytics software provides concrete data as to how many people are looking at your website, where they came from, and what they want to see. Google Analytics is the most widely used web statistics software on the Internet. It’s also free, so if you’re not using any analytics software to monitor and measure your website’s performance, sign up now.
The Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre’s Digital Resources and Outreach service helps small businesses find new and better ways of marketing themselves to reach the right people and boost their bottom line. Call (807) 625-3452 for a free appointment.
Ryan Moore is a Google-certified analytics professional. His android enthusiast blog attracts some 40,000 monthly users from all over the world. He advertises with Google Adwords, posts to social media, runs contests, and networks with other bloggers and tech companies to get traffic to his website.
“I have to monitor the reports I get from Google Analytics to help me make decisions regarding my advertising and content strategy. Google Analytics tells me how users are finding my website and what they’re looking at, and provides insight into what kinds of people they are. It’s easily the best tool I have that assists me to run a successful blog.”
Ryan lends his Google Analytics expertise to give us an overview of the best metrics to watch.
- Users How many?
Check out your views (under Audience Overview) to get a general idea of how many different people visited your website and how many pages were viewed by those people. Compare those stats with previous time periods and watch for any spikes or dips. Is there something different you did to create that spike in traffic? Determining the possible reasons for those fluctuations can help to shape your future decisions regarding your website and the content you publish.
Ryan especially monitors traffic to measure the success of his advertisements. “When I find that an advertising campaign matches up with a huge traffic increase, it tells me that those ads were successful and I’ll be more likely to advertise that way again. If I don’t see any changes in traffic as a result of my advertising, I will try doing something different with my ads.”
Acquisition How did they get here?
Google Analytics can pinpoint exactly how your users got to your website, whether they were referred through another site, found it through a search engine, or came to it directly.
Furthermore, you are able to see which website referred them and which search terms were Googled to return your website as a search result. This insight is extremely valuable, helping you to determine which of your social networks get you the most traffic, what other websites are saying about yours, and how Google has categorized your website’s content.
“When I have traffic coming from a referrer website, I will go to that website to see what was said and decide what I can do to make that happen more often. I also look at acquisition to find out which social networks my audience uses the most, and focus on reaching them through those networks.”
Behaviour What are they doing?
Have a look at what your users do on your website. Statistics such as the bounce rate, most popular content, average session duration, and pages per session let you know what your audience is looking at and how much time they typically spend on your website. A high bounce rate (portion of single-page visits) might mean that your home page is not engaging. Conversely, if you are able to hold your audience and they spend a bit of time navigating your website, it is a good indication that your content peaks their interest.
“If I write about a particular topic, and get a lot of hits on that blog post, it tells me that my audience is interested in it, so I will continue to write about that topic and other things related to it.”
- Demographics Who are they?
Your audience may surprise you. Scroll down to the Demographics tab in your Audience Overview. Is the gender and age of your audience what you expected? Your Audience Overview will also tell you where they live, the browser they are using, as well as their interests based on their online activity, providing valuable insight into what they want to read about and see online.
“It’s important for me to know who’s in my audience so that I can tailor my content to suit their interests and keep them coming back to my blog,” advises Ryan.
Google gets this information from a third party cookie that tracks user activity online and predicts the gender, age, and interests of users based on this data. Although useful, it is important to take the time to understand where this information comes from if you are going to factor it into your marketing decision making.
Ryan will be delivering a workshop on November 24th at the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre on Google Analytics that teaches you how to understand and utilize these metrics to improve your online presence. Check out our free workshop series for complete details.
The Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre (EC) offers FREE and confidential services to help small businesses start up, expand, and succeed. The Entrepreneur Centre can assist with writing a business plan, securing funding, marketing your products and services, and accessing other available resources in the community. They also provide free workshops and training seminars to equip and empower small businesses to perform the best they can. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (807)625-3960 or visit www.EntrepreneurCentre.ca.