You Could Be Losing Out By Not Making the Most Of Google Analytics

We all know how amazing Google Analytics can be. It allows you to make data driven marketing decisions to ensure your business succeeds. On the other hand, if you are not using Google Analytics or another analytics programme and instead pursue a ‘spray and pray’ methodology to marketing, you could be losing out on thousands of pounds.

In this article I will demonstrate ways businesses are failing to make the most of this fantastic free programme. There will be a mix of quick tips which are super simple to rectify and also some ideas of how to make your account more advanced, for which you will need the help of Google Analytics Consultants.

Ecommerce Reporting

It is amazing how many smaller ecommerce sites are not using ecommerce or advanced ecommerce reporting in Google Analytics.

There are three ecommerce reports…

The product performance report: this allows you to see which of your products are selling the best. Here you can discover which channels are good at driving sales for a particular product, allowing you to make the right future decisions. You can also categorise products and see which type of product is bringing in the most revenue for your company. This data will ensure you make the right merchandising decisions.

The sales performance report: this provides a breakdown of the dates in which you brought in the most revenue.

The transactions report: this is a list of transaction ID’s for all orders. Here you can dig into each order and see which items are often purchased together. This allows you to cross promote to your users, products they will love.

Once you have enabled ecommerce[AT1]  tracking and added the tracking code to your site you will start to see data in your ecommerce reports. The reports can be found in the conversion section of Google Analytics. The initial setup is complicated, so it’s worth investing in Google Analytics consultants if you decide to start tracking ecommerce.

Events report

Another really useful feature of Google Analytics is event tracking. This allows you a non-page view approach to tracking activity. For example, you can track widgets, flash, video plays and downloads.

Why is this useful?

Well setting up events allows you to more fully understand what your users are doing on site. Whether this is how long they spend watching a video or whether they choose to download something. By aligning your events with your key business goals you can easily measure how successful your website currently is and take the right steps to increase your conversions, monetary or not. Events are a far more advanced feature of Google Analytics and good Google Analytics consultants will be able to help you set up the best events for your business.

Multi-channel reports

Multi-channel reports, found in the conversions section of Google Analytics, are useful for understanding assist interactions. These are interactions with your sites which do not come directly before conversion, but still assist the process. This allows you to understand how your marketing activities work together.

It is essential you understand how your marketing is working and which methods are best for which stage of the buying or conversion process. This will allow you to make informed decisions about your future marketing efforts.

To see data in the multi-channel funnel reports you first need to set up goals, ecommerce or both. Google Analytics will automatically create channel groups such as direct, display advertising, organic and referral. It is recommended that you customise the default settings to better fit with your marketing activities.

Goals and Goal flow

It is really important that you set up goals in Google Analytics as this provides you with conversion data. This will provide you with solid data to understand how your marketing activities are working. It is possible to set up goals without the help of Google Analytics consultants, but hiring them will ensure that you are reporting on the right data for your business.

Setting up destination goals also allows you to create a goal flow report. This allows you to visualise the process customers take towards reaching your goals. By clicking on any of the nodes in the funnel it is possible to see the percentage of people who, at that point, dropped out of the funnel. This indicates the parts of your site which could be improved.

The table version of the report is also really useful and breaks down the funnel metrics into dimensions. Clicking into one of the rows in this report allows you to highlight the pathway of one segment of traffic, allowing you to visualise whether your conversion success differs by device type, traffic channel or location.

Demographics not enabled

It is absolutely essential that all marketers understand their target audience. Fortunately it’s really simple to do this using Google Analytics. By enabling demographics in your account, (simply click into property settings and toggle the appropriate button) you can gain a whole wealth of information about your website users. Some of the information is questionable and should be used with a pinch of salt, especially the stuff about interests. However, a lot of the information about location, age and gender is really useful. Location especially can help you make the right decisions of where to target your PPC campaigns.

Custom reports and dashboards

Custom reports in Google Analytics are useful for allowing you to quickly access the data which is most useful to you in a simple format. There are three custom report types; Explorer, Flat Table and Geo Type. Custom reports also have the same features as all other Google Analytics reports.

Custom Dashboards provide an overview of how your properties are performing by displaying summaries of different reports, as widgets, on a single page. This allows you to easily see correlations within all of your data. Like with custom reports you are able to use the specific metrics and dimensions in your widgets and you can even choose a mix of historical or real time data in your dashboard.

Google Analytics consultants will be able to create optimum reports and dashboards for your business goals, although you could also have a go yourself.

Behavioural flow

The behavioural flow report is a handy report which allows you to visualise the path that visitors travel from one page to the next. The report can be found in the behavioural section of Google Analytics. By clicking on a path you can easily see just that section of traffic. This allows you to understand your users experience before they left.

The data found in the behavioural flow report is important because it allows you to spot UX issues on your site. For example, if there is a particular page where people regularly drop off, it is a clear indication that this page needs work. It goes without saying that excellent UX is absolutely essential.

In order to see data in the behavioural flow report you need to have already set up events. Setting up events is more advanced and requires developer assistance. For more information about events see the point above.

Site search

If you already have site search on your website (if you don’t you should get it) then it is fairly simple to enable site search tracking in Google Analytics.  Just enable site search within your property’s view settings, remembering to put in your website’s search query parameter in order to exclude it. You can find more information about how to do this from Google.

By looking at what people search for, you can identify missing or hidden content on your site. You can also discover if people are searching for several things, one after another, suggesting that something on your site is difficult to find.

Measuring campaigns

This is again another really simple Google Analytics tip. Although Google Analytics does have some capability to analyse where your traffic is coming from, most of the important information has to come from UTM parameters which you set and apply yourself. Fortunately, Google has created a great tool which will allow you to make UTM parameters in seconds. Simply input the medium, source and campaign name for your campaign and you will be given a custom URL to track your campaigns.

Without UTM parameters it is basically impossible to keep tabs on your marketing strategies to find out what is working and what is not.

Google Tag Manager

If you haven’t already installed Google Tag Manager on your website, you should be asking yourself, why not!?

Google tag manager will save you loads of developer time and money by giving you the flexibility to tweak simple tags without a developers help. Your tags are also kept well organised and are all archived meaning you can roll backwards to an old version.

Download Google Tag Manager today, or get Google Analytics consultants to help you out.

To Conclude

Google Analytics is an amazing tool which is allowing businesses everywhere to improve their marketing and increase their revenue.

If you feel you are not making the most of Google Analytics then isn’t it time you thought about getting in touch with Google Analytics consultants to make sure your business is streamlined and data driven?

Ed Brocklebank (aka Metric Mogul) is an analytics and digital marketing consultant. He helps business of all sizes become more data-driven through measurement, strategy and activation. He works as a Strategic Analytics Director at Jellyfish in London, as well as delivering training on behalf of Google and formerly General Assembly.