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How to Decode Google's Web Analytics and Dig up Valuable Insight

Posted by Brooke Huntley on February 12, 2019 at 9:42 AM

iStock-905819004If you aren't using Google Analytics to inform your online marketing strategy, it's time to start. This foundational tool is free, easily accessible and loaded with valuable data. Even if you're utilizing other Web analytics tools, Google's offerings are too useful to ignore. But be careful to not overlook reporting from other media platforms like Facebook. Not all platforms measure performance in the same way, but here’s a quick guide for Facebook vs. Google Analytics. The data interpreted through Google Analytics exists in layers, similar to bedrock accumulating on top of itself. Although the surface has plenty of insights, drilling deeper into the data can prove more revealing and provide smarter guidance for your digital strategy.

In most cases, you'll want to use a two-pronged approach. To some degree, the top-level insights brought by basic site performance metrics are illuminating enough to improve campaigns on short notice, but to uncover deeper, more complex and meaningful insights hidden in the data, you need to dig a little deeper.

Understanding the Top-Level Metrics

The basic metrics offered by Google Analytics serve as a good starting point for improving your marketing strategy. If you aren't familiar with these metrics and what they say about your site, Google makes it easy to study them and learn. Bounce rates, site-visit lengths, unique visitors and pages per visit are just some of the metrics measured, and they all show how consumers use your websites.

Do they offer the full story? No, but they're certainly useful. For example, if you're seeing high bounce rates on a certain page, it could be an indicator that something's wrong with the content, possibly deterring your audience's engagement. That isn't always the case, but analytics do point us to areas of websites that might need a closer look. High-performing ads have qualities that can be isolated and identified through A/B testing of different ad versions, and by identifying the features working best (such as colors, CTA language and images), analytics can advise marketers on how they should design ad content in the future. 

That's a scenario with a fairly simple outcome, but other instances can be more nuanced and tougher to solve. In these cases, a deeper dive into your marketing strategy may be in order.

Going Beneath the Surface

Within Google Web Analytics are highly detailed reports, and although they may mean nothing to the average eye, they can offer valuable information to those with greater skill at reading them. An analytics expert can use these reports in concert with third-party analytics tools and data to examine consumer behavior and reveal new insights.

For example, your brand's performance could be examined alongside industry data to see where you're falling behind the average of your competitors and why. Analytics experts can also run the same data through several analysis tools and use each to reveal different information. Some tools will be better at using data to build comprehensive profiles of your typical website visitors, while other tools specialize in measuring the interactions that indicate potential conversions.

These are all valuable insights, and they're often locked away within the reams of data your brand collects. Understanding how to use these tools to extract as much information as possible from your Google Web Analytics data is critical to transforming your business. For help digging deeper, just reach out. Our digital marketing experts are happy to help.

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Topics: Analytics, Google Analytics

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