Cards on the table, I’ve been in marketing for a lot longer than I’m comfortable divulging (let’s put it this way, there were no “Millenials” around) and in all that time I have NEVER come across a tool as useful, as focused and as relevant to businesses markets and needs as Google Analytics.
So, just because it’s free, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s without value – nothing could be further from the truth – I’ve paid thousands for far, far less accurate, less up to date and frankly less relevant information – and this from some of the best and most highly respected research companies in the game.
Trust me, you’ve never had it so good.
But analytics is a scary and sometime confusing place – the sheer volume of information can be overwhelming and the user interface looks so “techy” that it can put less computer comfortable people off using tit entirely.
Don’t worry – I’m here to show you that it isn’t actually difficult to use at all – follow these three simple rules and you’ll be the master of your data in no time.
But let’s start with the most important question you have to ask yourself every time you open analytics – what are you wanting to find out?
Remember that, as in all things, the tool used is less important than your intended task or goal.
Before using any analytics application, have a clear idea what it is you intend to learn – how will this information help your business do what it does better? Here are a few examples:
- Discover more about your customers in order to know what and how to communicate with them more effectively.
- Discover more about your website – what it is doing effectively, where it is failing, where and how it could be improved
- Discover more about your advertising (both online and offline) – what forms of promotion are working best for your company? Which deliver the most volume of visitors? Which deliver the highest quality of visitors (those who engage best with your site and your business).
When using analytics, it is easy to become lost, overwhelmed or unable to find the data you are looking for – this is very common, even amongst experienced users like me (don’t tell anyone).As I said before, don’t worry! There are three simple rules and to navigating the sea of analytics information without getting lost:
Rule 1: You can reach any information you want within three clicks. It’s true! There, that doesn’t seem so scary does it?
Rule 2: For your fist click there are only four possible options – chose correctly from these and the following two stages in your three click journey should be self-explanatory
Here are your four options:
- Audience – Who are your visitors?
- Acquisition – How did they find their way your website?
- Behaviour – What are they doing on your website?
- Conversions – What are they worth to your business?
Rule 3: ALWAYS COLLAPSE YOUR MENUS!
Okay, what does this mean (and why am I shouting)? Read on…
When you click on your first option from the list above (say “Audience”) a drop-down menu will appear below it.
This will give you some other Audience related options to select from (such as “Geo” to determine the geographical locations your visits are coming from).
Clicking this, in turn, will bring down another list of options (including things like the most common “Language” spoken by your visitors)
However, your list of options will now be pretty long. Really long in fact. And if you keep searching around for other things, other lists will appear and, before you know it, you won’t be able to find your way around any longer.
Many an experienced digital marketer has become completely lost in such endless lists, or has suffered from what is called “selection paralysis” (too many choices to know what to select next) or even forgotten what they came on analytics to find out in the first place!
The solution is very simple, but very important – As soon as you have found what you are looking for, collapse your menus – you do this by clicking on your first choice (in this case “Audience”) which will bring you hack to those first 4 options mentioned above.
From here you can start your next information search from scratch.
This will save you a world of trouble and enable you to confidently return to analytics time and again, each time becoming more and more familiar with the features and locations of this amazing tool.
I hope this is useful information, and I hope you use it to explore the goldmine of useful data that is contained within your analytics.
If you need further information, I get called in by Google, business Gateway and the Chartered Institute of Marketing to deliver free lectures on this type of thing all the time, so just look me up.
You can find me on Lnkedin
or at my business Oncor Video