Marketers are overwhelmed with data, and it’s easy for the most important figures to get lost in the background. This article is intended for ...

How to use Google Analytics in a simple way

Marketers are overwhelmed with data, and it’s easy for the most important figures to get lost in the background. This article is intended for those who want to use Google Analytics in a smart and efficient way. We offer tips about ready-made templates and explain the concepts you need to keep track of.

There is an old saying that goes “I’m wasting half of my money on marketing, but I don’t know which half.” By measuring and analysing your content, you can find out which half is a waste of your resources. Measuring the right things therefore helps you to take better decisions.

Analysis and data are the ‘secret weapons’ that you can use to drive your business forward and protect yourself against competitors. Yet too often, marketers measure the ‘easy’ figures, such as Facebook and Twitter followers. The problem with these figures is that they say very little about how you can improve your content marketing work in the longer term.

Google Analytics is, however, a powerful free tool that provides a potential goldmine of valuable insights – if you know what to look for and how to obtain the statistics. Here is a brief introduction to the key concepts and templates that simplify the task.

Segments, events and goals
“What should I actually measure?” is a question that constantly pops up. The answer of course depends on your overall business objectives and the strategy that your business has developed. However, there are three basic concepts that you need to understand within your Google Analytics account – segments, events, and goals.

  • Segments are specific groups of people that visit your site. The most common segments are new and returning visitors, but there are obviously more.
  • Events are actions that your visitors take on your site, such as clicking on a link or pressing a button.
  • Goals are a series of activities that your visitors have completed on your site, such as subscribing to your newsletter or completing a purchase.

Different segments are important to measure as soon as possible. They give you an insight into how different audiences interact with your website, what content they consume, and where they end their journey.

Take a travel site for example. By tracking two different segments – new and returning visitors, for example – the company can gain a greater insight into the various target groups’ needs and behaviour. Where do they begin their journey? What content attracts most visitors to the site? Where do they complete their purchase? Why do they do this? When collecting data on actual behaviour, you can test your assumptions and change content that does not work.

Analysing the different segments creates a clearer picture of what your visitors are doing on the side. Your task is to track the most important segments of your business goals and optimise the content on the site. Therefore, always measure on the basis of actual behaviour and your business goals. Be prepared to be wrong.

Yet how can you work with segments, events and goals in a more simple and effective way? Fortunately, there are ready-made templates to start from.

Ready-made templates in Google Analytics
There are a number of different dashboards you can import directly into your Google Analytics account. Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics 2.0 and well-known blogger, has created a downloadable dashboard that is well suited for both beginners and professionals. It contains completed segmentation groups and reports. Using these, you can find out who your most loyal visitors and potential customers are. You can also access reports that show you how effective your landing pages and blog posts are, to name a few features.

If you want to supplement Kaushik’s dashboard, you can also consult eConsultancy’s list of useful templates. The main thing here is to choose reports and dashboards that facilitate your daily work, to measure the right things for your business.

Start tracking your key performance
Making use of a completed dashboard can help you sift through all the information available. Choose one or a few parameters that you feel are most important to the business. What do you really want to achieve? Do you want more subscribers, customers or greater brand awareness in social channels?

Be clear about identifying how success will be measured in your company, and then use the numbers to help you reach the final destination. Remember that the numbers only become useful when they turn into insight that helps you to make better decisions.

Finally, don’t let yourself be guided by Google’s algorithms. Always write for the person behind the screen and always think about the target group’s own needs and desires. Segment your audience and tailor content for their behaviour. Your marketing will then become more efficient and profitable.

Everything we measure is growing. What do you measure?

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