Analytics tools have become commonplace and more marketers are expected to collect and analyze data. However, many stop their efforts with the data that’s easiest to get. These so-called vanity metrics offer a limited view of marketers’ effectiveness.
Google Analytics is everywhere, but not all marketers are leveraging it to their advantage. Dig a little deeper into the numbers. With extra effort in Google Analytics, you can evaluate campaigns, increase revenue, and optimize your website.
Here are five important tips you can use to make the most of Google Analytics:
1. You can’t optimize without data
Optimization doesn’t happen by guessing. Unfortunately, 40% of marketers make decisions using instinct, not analytics. What kind of things can you optimize? Just about anything: headlines, graphics, forms, or buttons.
Leverage Google Analytics experiments, which are A/B tests that let you determine—with data—which versions are converting more customers. When you set up Google Analytics to track and measure your results, you will be able to prove whether your campaign is actually resulting in ROI.
2. Vanity metrics are out, actionable metrics are in
Who doesn’t get a little shiver when their page views are through the roof? As interesting as they are, page views don’t really help you to take action on your data. According to a recent analysis of Google Analytics, actionable metrics are those that impact conversions and revenue.
For example, bounce rate is an easy statistic to find but it doesn’t give you the whole picture. Bounce rate by source, on the other hand, can indicate how well-qualified your traffic is from an individual source. This knowledge can help you make important decisions about your marketing spend.
3. Calculating ROI isn’t an option, it’s a requirement
Only one-third of marketers calculate ROI, which means the majority of marketers are not sure that their efforts are paying off. With analytics, you can take the wishing and hoping out of the equation. And who doesn’t want to prove that their marketing campaigns are impacting revenue?
ROI calculation takes a few steps to set up, but the payoff is huge. Setting values to your goals will show you which customer actions result in the most revenue. Once you know that, you can optimize your page with ROI in mind.
4. Give credit where credit is due
A user might check you out initially through a Twitter post, come back later via organic search, and make a purchase from an email. If you only pay attention to the customer’s last interaction, you might not attribute accurate value to your social or SEO presence.
It would be much easier (and more lucrative!) if customers visited once and made a purchase. Unfortunately, that’s a dream instead of reality. Since Google Analytics lets you track assisted conversions, you can monitor which channels are impacting customers as they move through your funnel.
5. Make UTMs your BFF
Google Analytics has some handy tricks for tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns. Whether you are using social media, email, PPC, or another type of promotion, you can track the sources individually in Google Analytics.
UTMs help you drill down into which channels are providing you the best traffic. Let’s say you use Facebook and a guest blog post to drive traffic to a landing page. Using UTMs allows you to tag your URLs with a code that will record how successful your individual sources are.
Don’t be tempted to collect every speck of data that is available. Numbers for numbers’ sake isn’t better, so be thoughtful about which data is most helpful to your business.
Setting up Google Analytics to collect data is only the first step. No analytics tool can do the analysis completely for you. Most importantly, always build in time to look at the data so you can draw actionable conclusions.
About the Author: Chris Lucas is Vice President of Business Development for Formstack, an online form builder that helps users of all industries better engage with their customers and manage data.