If your business isn't using Google Analytics to examine its digital marketing practices, you're probably behind the curve on optimizing for the online market. Analytics has become a major tool for brands trying to expand their reach, spur engagement and increase revenue through online outlets, and Google Analytics is the foundational application that most other analytics programs are designed to complement.
For brands new to this tool, though, figuring out how to use Google Analytics can be daunting. While the initial draw of Google Analytics is that it's free, it's also an easy-to-navigate introduction into the world of analytics, making it a great starting tool for companies.
With this platform, you can evaluate your campaign success according to simple metrics that offer digestible insights into what's going well and what needs improvement. Here's a quick rundown of its benefits and best practices.
Why Google Analytics Can Help You
Some essential components of digital strategy are tough for new businesses to conceptualize. It takes time and experience to learn how to best judge the competitiveness — and therefore value — of marketing tactics. Important metrics, such as referral rates, page clicks and conversions, may seem simplistic, but they're critical to understanding what's going on with your digital campaigns.
By using Google's simple tools, you can refine campaign elements to make them more efficient and successful. For example, you can choose keywords based on the platform's feedback on their competitiveness, and you can examine referrals to see which channels are performing well and which ones are falling short of expectations. All this data comes together to help you make more informed decisions.
How You Should Use It
The simple answer: optimization. When you get feedback through Google Analytics, use it to refine and enhance your current practices. Investing more into high-traffic referral channels and taking funds away from low-performance avenues is one method of optimization. You can reconsider the links on your website to facilitate site navigation, lead generation and conversion opportunities. Certain keywords can be dropped from your paid search campaign, and others added, to get you the best bang for your buck. Social Media Examiner notes that you can use the Audience tool to research your readers' demographics.
These are simple insights, but for brands new to digital marketing, they are a vital first step.
How to Build Off the Basics
Eventually, as your business takes off and the returns from analytics justify greater investment, you'll want to go beyond Google Analytics as your sole platform for insights. There are many paid platforms with plenty to offer and unique approaches to insight generation that may suit your business better than Google's one-size-fits-all tool. Invest wisely, and use those tools to further optimize your approach. But even as you graduate to higher-level tools and personalized approaches, continue to use Google as a foundational tool for your online strategy optimization.
Once you know how to use Google Analytics, it's worth your time to check in frequently for a basic overview of your progress. The platform may not offer niche guidance, but it lets you look at the big picture and reduce your campaigns to their simplest performance metrics. That simplicity can give you an important fresh look at each campaign's performance.