October 29, 2013|
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that allows organizations to measure the performance of their websites and gauge the effectiveness of their digital campaigns. While the basic Google Analytics capabilities of tracking visitors and pageviews are generally understood, there are other more advanced techniques worth implementing that allow for webmasters to better understand their audience and evaluate how effective a digital strategy is at reaching them.
In this article, I present 5 Google Analytics tips that you can employ to monitor your website and track your digital campaign’s progress.
1. Goal Conversions
Whether you work for a non-profit focused on generating online donations, or own a small business which utilizes its website to sell goods, much of your digital strategy is probably (or should be) focused on guiding website visitors to engage in a specific action.
The best way to track website conversions around a specific action is to set up and monitor Goal conversions in Google Analytics. To start setting up your Goals, follow these steps:
- Navigate to your Google Analytics standard reports
- Click on the “Admin” button in the top right
- Click on “Goals”
- From one of the Goal sets, click “+ Goal”
Once on the Goal creation page, you are able to choose from one of four different Goal types. The four types of Goals are:
- Destination- A Goal is recorded when a visitor reaches a specific URL like an email subscription thank you page or shopping cart.
- Duration- A Goal is recorded when a visitor stays on your site for a certain period of time.
- Pages/Screens per visit- A Goal is recorded when a visitor views a specific number of pages or screens.
- Event- A Goal is recorded when a specific action occurs. An event can be clicking on a specific button or downloading a file.
Once Goal tracking is set up, you will be able monitor how effective your digital strategy and website user experience affect conversion rates. From donation forms to online petitions, when a strategy is put in place around driving user action, goal conversion tracking should be utilized.
2. A/B Testing
The purpose of A/B website testing is to serve your website’s visitors with different versions of a page to determine which version will result in more conversions. In these tests, a control page is set and a variation(s) of the original page are created to test against. Google Analytics offers a very powerful A/B testing platform featured called Content Experiments that allows for easy testing and tracking. These Content Experiments are especially useful for testing and optimizing donation forms, landing pages, and emails signups.
You may set up your first Content Experiment by following the steps below:
- Navigate to your Google Analytics standard report
- In the left menu, select “Behavior”
- Click “Experiments” to start your first A/B test.
Once the Content Experiment has begun, you are then able to track the number of visits, conversions and conversion rate of each experiment page. By consistently running iterative A/B tests, you will be able to to make incremental improvements to pages to optimize their structure, language, and aesthetics to maximize conversion rate.
3. Google URL Builder
Digital campaigns are often run through multiple sources. Whether you are running an Adwords campaign, promoting display ads, or sending out targeted email marketing messages, it is important to be able to quantify each advertising activity’s performance.
By using Google’s URL builder, you are able to add Custom Campaign parameters to your URLs to determine exactly what advertising placement directed visitors to your website and the conversion rates on those visitors.
To start creating Custom Campaign URLs, navigate to the Google Analytics URL Builder and follow these steps:
- Enter the link you want to use to take visitor to your website.
- Add the three main parameters that you’ll want to track.
- Campaign Source: This provides Google with the source of the traffic such as search engine, newsletter name, or news site that is running your display ads.
- Campaign Medium: This identifies the medium of the URL such as email or cost-per-click (CPC) ad.
- Campaign Name: This is used for keyword analysis and provides Google with the specific name of the campaign you’re running.
- Click on “Submit”
- Copy the link that you just generated, and use it for your online ads or in the marketing emails that are being sent.
By using Custom Campaign URLs, you will be able to identify exactly who is converting from your online advertising strategies.
4. Goal Funnel Visualization
While measuring Goals is important, monitoring the steps required to reach a particular goal can be just as crucial. Goal Funnel Visualization allows you to observe how the steps to a Goal are performing and identify where visitor are lost on their way to completing a goal.
So let’s say you want to measure how effective your non-profit’s donation process is. First, you must create a new Destination Goal using the donation success page as the URL. From there, you add the steps to reach that Goal (Campaign page, Donation page, Credit Card information page, Donation success page). With the steps in place, you will be able to see where visitors are potentially leaving the donation process. Maybe you are losing a lot of traffic at the Credit Card information page which could signal you need to take a fresh look at the page layout to make it easier for users to donate.
You may view your Goal funnel by following the steps below:
- Navigate to your Google Analytics standard report
- In the left menu, select “Conversions”
- Click “Funnel Visualization”.
5. Ecommerce Tracking
Very important to business and organizations who received donations, Google Analytics offers powerful Ecommerce tracking that allows you to pull in revenue numbers directly into your Google Analytics account. By using Ecommerce Tracking, you will be able to determine the following information about your website visitors:
- Products –Through Ecommerce tracking, you can determine which products users are buying, the quantity of products purchased, and the revenue generated.
- Transactions- You can sort data on a per transaction basis to view the revenue, quantity, tax and shipping details of each transaction.
- Time of Purchase- This may be used to identify the time or visits required for a visitor to purchase an item or donate.
Through the use of Ecommerce Tracking, it makes it simple to make strategic decisions on what products to offer, product pricing, and deals to potentially offer.
I hope you find these techniques useful in monitoring the effectiveness of your digital campaigns and tracking traffic to your website. Do you have any questions or opinions on Google Analytics? Drop us a line, we’d love to chat.