Despite the fact that January is almost behind us, many marketers are still deciding what to do with newly minted budgets for the coming year. With an ever-evolving menu of online marketing and internet strategy options to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start the planning process and how to make sure that the chosen channels will truly serve the marketing objectives and goals for your business.
One of the best ways to begin formulating an effective strategy for the coming year is to take a moment to evaluate the previous year’s web performance in order to identify trends that you’d like to continue or would prefer didn’t take place in the coming year.
But we all know that Google Analytics can be a bit daunting, especially for a marketer that doesn’t spend a ton of time in its information-dense user interface.
To help you evaluate past performance in order to set a strategy for 2014, we’ve identified five telling Google Analytics metrics and provided a few key takeaways, plus recommendations for actually using the data you unearth to invest in online marketing channels that result in positive gains for your company in the coming year.
A few of these reports require you to have set up goals and other functionality beyond the basic Google Analytics code. For guidance setting this functionality up, you can contact our Online Marketing department for a consultation.
5 Google Analytics Metrics to Guide Your 2014 Online Marketing Strategy
The Mobile Overview Report
With each passing month, new studies are released that show that 2013 was a year for huge growth in mobile web browsing as devices became more accessible, got faster and wi-fi became more readily available.
To access this report, you need to understand your visitors’ device preference. To do so, expand the “Audience” tab in your Google Analytics Reporting dashboard and select Mobile, then Overview.
Once you have generated the report, compare the three types of devices in terms of the number of visits (B2B companies might see a higher percentage of Desktop visits while blogs, local businesses and even retailers can expect to see a higher percentage of Mobile visits), Bounce Rate, and Average Visit Duration.
Is your Bounce Rate significantly higher and Time on Site significantly lower on Mobile compared to Desktop? In 2014, consider re-evaluating your mobile strategy and invest in a Responsive Design for the coming year.
Due to an update in Google Analytics reporting formats that took place this summer, this particular report will only go back as far as July 2013.
However, looking at the past six months with this report view can provide a treasure trove of information to help you decide which online marketing channels generated the most visits, pageviews, and conversions on your site.
To access the report, expand the “Acquisition” tab in your Google Analytics Reporting dashboard and select “Channels.”
Once you’re in the report, be sure to toggle the Conversion selector at the top to show your most important conversion points on-site (this requires that you have previously set up Google Analytics Goals). Then, take a look at which referral sources drove the most conversions and resulted in the highest conversion rate. Use these numbers to inform your investment in various online marketingchannels for the coming year.
Site Content All Pages Report
Knowing which content on your website is seen by the highest number of people is incredibly important when thinking about your marketing strategy. Whether it’s your “About” page, a service page, a product detail page, contact page or even a wildly successful blog post, knowing what brings people to your website is the first step in getting them to stay and convert.
To access this report, expand the “Behavior” tab in your Google Analytics Reporting dashboard and select “Site Content,” then “All Pages.”
To use this report, make note of the top pages on your site by page views. How many of the top ten are pages that could potentially persuade someone to make a purchase? How many are more informational than transactional? Which have high Average Time on Page? Expanding this report to include the Top 25 pages can be very helpful as well.
From this report you can gain valuable insight into the effectiveness of your SEO campaign as well as what content types and topics resonate with visitors. From this report, you can generate new ideas for a Content Marketing strategy or even identify flaws in your navigation (for example, a really popular page takes three clicks to get to – can you make it more accessible?) that would merit dedicating budget dollars toward hiring a web development partner.
Site Search Results
While not all sites have enabled Site Search or are not yet taking advantage of it, the sites that do have this feature are opening themselves to great insight into what visitors are looking for when they land on their site, especially since Google is no longer providing keyword data from Organic Search visits.
To get the most value from this report, go through your site’s terms for the past year and see if you can identify a trend – are your visitors looking for a service you haven’t made accessible from the home page? Are they returning to find a post they read previously?
Then, to take these insights a step further, apply them to the conversion process. Identify ways to get visitors to opt-in to get additional information on popular topics. Add a call to action to contact you for the full solution.
From these insights, you may find yourself in search of a Content Marketing,SEO or Email Marketing partner to help you harness visitors and encourage them to come back for more.
Adwords Campaigns Report
This report will only be available to those running campaigns through Google Adwords that have linked Analytics and Adwords accounts to share data between them. This report is an oft-forgotten way to tie your advertising efforts directly to results on your website. The Campaigns report allows you to view on-site conversions and behavior by Campaign, Ad Group and even Keyword, helping you to identify which keywords are contributing to achieving your overall goals the most.
From the insights generated by this report, you’ll be able to decide where to allocate daily budgets and which ad groups to focus on for the coming year. You may even determine that more of your online marketing budget should be dedicated to pay-per-click or search engine marketing campaigns.
Pulling It All Together: The Value of Analytics in Marketing Decision-Making
Google Analytics becomes increasingly valuable as a marketing tool only when you take the time to look at the data, draw insights and take action from them to affect change for your business, site visitors and customers. Informed decision-making through in-depth analysis of web analytics is a critical for businesses to continue growing and making connections with customers online.
Interested in a Google Analytics consultation? SteadyRain’s online marketing specialists can provide an in-depth look into your web analytics to help you make informed decisions in 2014. Contact us today.