How to Use Google Analytics: Our Top Tips

Al: Okay so welcome back to coffee table top talks with Optix Solutions, I’m delighted to be joined by Mr Thomas Haynes from the digital marketing team here at Optix Solutions. I wanted to talk to you today really about an area of your expertise which is analytics. Analytics is essential in any website otherwise how do you know how well your website is doing unless you look into these stats? It’s the kind of thing you help our clients with on a daily basis so you obviously know a lot about it but I want to focus on the basics initially today and we’ve only got a couple of minutes so I’m just going to fire a couple of questions at you. What are the top 2 or 3 things to focus on to getting a good analytics set up?

Thomas: The main thing is not to just focus on traffic. A lot of people when they first start using analytics will just look at how much traffic they’ve had each month and that’s the only real metric that they count. There are metrics that are a lot more useful in terms of measuring your success and working out where to spend your time and effort.

Al: So for the benefit of the guys out there a couple of them maybe?

Thomas: The first thing you should do is make sure you have got some goals set up on your account.

Al: Ok, so what’s a goal?

Thomas: A goal is a way of tracking a successful visit to your site, so if you’re doing e-commerce, it might be a sale or if you want someone to sign up to your newsletter, that might be a goal that you put in place.

Al: Does a goal need to be at the end of a process, does it need to be triggered by something?

Thomas: Yes, there are various different ways of triggering goals but it is the last stage of the process.

Al: And then you can monitor how much of that traffic you were talking about at the beginning is turned into those goals at the other end of the funnel.

Thomas: Yes and you can see which types of traffic are performing best for you from different activities and sources.

Al: Meaning then you know where your marketing money is going and what’s working and what’s not. Ok that’s really interesting. What other things do you think people should look out for?

Thomas: You need to look at your referrals, so as well as looking at your traffic from search engines, you also need to be looking at which sites are sending traffic to you.

Al: Any reason why that’s important?

Thomas: It’s really useful for instance if you are using social media, analytics will pull out social referrals specifically so you can see how activity is working for you, how many visits each different place you are showing content on is getting and then how much traffic that is providing you with.

Al: Am I right in saying there are a number of clients that might be paying for advertising on other websites – they might be doing a one off campaign with an industry magazine website and they want to know that the money they have spent on that advert is actually worth it in terms of the traffic it’s generating and that’s where you find that out?

Thomas: You would find that in referrals, but you could set up specific campaign tracking that will give you just that information.

Al: Oh wow, ok, well let’s leave that for another day. Is there anything else specifically that people should look at?

Thomas: A good metric is bounce-rate. So, when a user visits your site, if they don’t interact with your site at all and they click back or they close your site straight away then that counts as a bounce.

Al: Okay so just to take someone through that: they might go to a search engine, type in something, find the link to your website, click it, go to that page, then close the browser afterwards, and that essentially is a bounce. Do we see that as a bad thing?

Thomas: We normally look at it as an indication of how well the content is performing. It’s not always a bad thing; it might be that the user visits your site on their phone, finds your phone number then gives you a call. They will have appeared to have bounced but are actually still interacting. Generally speaking a high bounce rate is a sign of content that users aren’t really interested in or isn’t giving them what they want.

Al: So we’re talking: bounce rate and conversions based around goal setting and if you get those kind of things right you’re probably going to be a bit further ahead of other people and obviously the referrals you mentioned earlier as well. Thank you very much for coming in to talk to us today and that’s it for today’s coffee top talks.

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