Google Analytics is the easiest way to get smarter about your website. Google analytics can tell you things like where your visitors are coming from, how long they stayed on your website, how many pages they viewed, and what devices they used to view your website. Google analytics is an incredibly robust tool, so why does it confuses the crap out of a lot of small businesses?
I can relate to the poor small business owner that has just gone through all of the trouble to get a website up only to install this powerful digital analytics tool and be completely lost as to what the tool actually does. Web analytics tools are supposed to provide insights to improve your business. Google analytics has gotten to the point where it tells you everything and anything it can about your visitor. This is great, except that most it becomes noise.
Below are two ways to use Google analytics to improve your website.
1. Add Event Tracking – If you have a website that has products, a shopping cart, or files to download you need to add event tracking to Google analytics. Google analytics doesn’t track things like visitors adding things into your shopping cart out of the box. You have to custom implement these things into the code of your website. If you ever want to know the answer to things like, “How many people added things into the shopping cart?, How many people clicked on the register button on the homepage?, How many people downloaded my free ebook?, or How many people clicked on the product enlarge button?” you will need custom event tracking added to your Google analytics tool.
*Bottom line: If you offer products on your site, whether it is a physical good or an electronic good that requires visitors to click on a button of some sort you need this added so you can access the event tracking report under Behavior > Events in Google analytics. This will tell you how customers are interacting with your products online which is 10000% more meaningful than giving you a report on how many page views your site has gotten.
2. Add Ecommerce Tracking – What if I told you that there was a way for Google analytics to track how well products were selling over time? Would you also like to know which product was the best seller, what your average order value was, and where your most loyal customers came from? Wouldn’t you want to put forth more special effort in acquiring more customers if you knew that visitors who came from a certain city had a lot more buyers for your top product?
*Bottom line: If you answered, YES, to any of those questions than you NEED to implement commerce tracking in your Google analytics tool. If you want to understand what makes your website tick then this is a requirement and not an afterthought. You can get intelligent insights and data about your business instantly rather than having late night data entry parties.
Once you implemented this into Google analytics you can access the ecommerce reports under Conversions > Ecommerce.
**Bonus tip: If you really want to get extremely intelligent about your business then you will also need to setup goals. Setting up goals allows you to track how well your visitors complete certain steps. For example, if visitors had a 3 page checkout process than you would need to setup goals that identified step 1, step 2, and step 3 (complete). Google analytics will tell you if there are problems or bottlenecks through the checkout process. If a lot of people are dropping out between step 1 and 2 then perhaps it is time to identify potential reasons for the poor performance.
Do these tips help? Do you have your own essential ways to use Google analytics? Let me know your thoughts and comments below.