Ben Hocking, MSc Digital Marketing Management student
Do you have a website without analytics set up? Rather than using guess work to try and evaluate your digital presence, using Google analytics can provide you with everything you need to know about your digital marketing performance. From what your customers do and who they are, to how they got to your website and what they buy, Google analytics are essential in any marketing environment in order to improve performance. Let’s look at some of the key ways in which Google analytics can improve your digital marketing performance:
Know who your customers are
Google analytics collects data on the visitors to your site, such as age, location, gender and interests, as well as how they are accessing your website. This information is greatly beneficial in working out the customer personas of your market segment as well as showing you who isn’t purchasing from you. You can also see information such as how they use your site and how long they spend on the store, allowing you to identify any weak points in the customer experience and improve your performance. Recent changes in 2018 have also introduced the ability to create an audience of customers purchasing repeatedly from your site and create comparisons with frequent visitors who do not buy from you, bringing the features of Google analytics in line with other offerings like AdWords.
Find out which campaigns are most effective in increasing traffic and conversions
When evaluating the success of a campaign, Google analytics will allow you to track exactly who uses your website as a result of any individual piece of marketing content. Being able to see everything from click-through rates of ads to actual conversion rates, being connected to Google analytics will allow you to target your marketing budget at the better performing sections of your marketing campaign and reduce your spending on the areas that just aren’t seeing the same kind of performance. Not only does this maximise the effectiveness of your digital marketing communications, but it allows you to spend your budget more efficiently. This is ideal for everybody, from the small business owners with a budget where every penny is crucial, to international companies where one small tweak can save thousands for the business. Another recent addition that improves the effectiveness of Google Analytics even further is that the program is now able to analyse historic data to find key variables and patterns from your high-value consumers, allowing it to identify any visitors that that are most likely to convert in the future and in combination with predictive analytics, allow you to develop a future conversion probability in prospective visitors.
Use Google analytics to improve your SEO performance
Search engine optimisation is another feature in digital marketing that is crucial in determining the performance and growth of your business. By increasing organic traffic to your business, you can increase your conversions and performance without spending a penny on advertising. So how can Google analytics help? By knowing the demographics and interests of the visitors to your website, you can easily create targeted content to gain visibility during search results. You can also use Google search console in conjunction with your analytics to see which search terms are bring the most traffic to your website and see actual data of the click-through rates and bounce rates from these searches, allowing you to adapt and increase the relevance of your website from this information. Being able to see the bounce-rate is particularly important for your pay-per-click advertising, as a high bounce rate can drain your advertising budget very quickly.
What can’t Google analytics do?
While Google analytics can tell you the who, how and when, it can’t work miracles when it comes to the why. You can have all the data in the world about the number of people who take a look at the website and buy or don’t buy, but other than using a certain degree of trial and error with underperforming pages, you won’t be able to discover the thought processes of the customer journey using Google analytics alone.
Another limitation of Google Analytics is that while it is able to track clicks on links and movements between web pages, it cannot track mouse movements or see what a user may be looking at on the screen. This limits how effectively it can track within the same webpage, though this opens up potential to expand analytics through the use of mouse-tracking software.
Again, when using analytics to improve your SEO performance, it can only tell you whether your marketing communications are working in improving your website traffic and search engine positioning but cannot tell you the cognitive processes and decision-making of the consumers themselves, for good or bad. Because of this, while Google analytics is a key tool in the arsenal of digital marketing weapons, it isn’t the miracle answer to all of a marketer’s problems.
Are Google analytics the answer?
So, when looking at the wealth of benefits of using Google analytics, including a plethora of other benefits too numerous to mention in one article, it’s obvious that using this platform is absolutely necessary to gain a full understanding of the consumer base of the business, and is a key component in maximising the efficiency and effectiveness of targeted marketing communications.