Ok, so you have a website for your small business. That is step #1. Step #2 is to make sure your website is gathering data for you about your website visitors. You might be wondering why you would need to gather information about these people. It is because data matters! Finding out as much information as you can about your website visitors will help you shape the strategy of your business. It will tell you which marketing strategies are working, which are failing, and how to better reach your customers. Without website analytics tracking, you are literally shooting in the dark just hoping whatever it is you are doing in the online world is working. Data driven marketing is what we do at Mountain Mojo Group. Join us as we dig deep into Google Analytics and more!
Google Analytics and Marketing Data Tools
Here is your introduction to Google Analytics! We recommend that all our clients install Google Analytics into their website to be able to track their website analytics. What do we mean by that? When Google Analytics is installed on your website, you are able to gather information about your visitors including:
- How people find your website. This includes whether they come from an organic search, social media, other websites, paid ads, etc.)
- What people do on your website. We want to know what pages they click on and how long they are on each page. This shows interest and also you can find out if there are certain pages that cause a visitor to leave.
- Demographics such as gender and age. Another great feature is geographical information so you will find out what state and even what country they live in.
- Tracking conversions. You decide what a conversion is and with Google Analytics you can track that measurable. The conversion you choose may be subscribing to a newsletter, filling out a contact form, or making a purchase.
Once you start tracking this data, you will seriously wonder how you ever went without it in your online marketing plan! There are several different marketing data tools we recommend utilizing including Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Search Trends, and Google Keyword Planner. To be successful you have to be data driven. By incorporating these data trackers, you will learn, adjust, improve, and take digital marketing of your business to the next level! Our data-driven marketing approach at Mountain Mojo Group includes all of this and more!
Introduction to Google Analytics
Google Analytics should be the first thing you have installed in your website as soon as possible. This is the number one most important data management tool for website analytics. We dive deeper in other sections about Google Analytics specifically, but just know if you do one thing after reading this blog, get Google Analytics installed in your website immediately! You need to gather information about your current website visitors to know where you are currently as a business to then create a digital marketing plan that helps you get where you want to go!
Introduction to Google Search Console
Google Search Console helps you understand and improve your website’s presence in Google Search results. Google Search Console helps you confirm Google can find and crawl your website, fix indexing problems, view Google search traffic data, receive alerts when Google has an issue with your site like spam or indexing, show you which other websites link to your website, mobile responsiveness, and more! If you have a website, you need Google Search Console!
Introduction to Google Search Trends
Google Search Trends is exactly what it sounds like: find out what the world is searching for! This website provides access to a sample of actual searches made in Google that are anonymized (no one is personally identified), categorized (organized based on search query topic), and aggregated (grouped together). You can filter the data in two ways: (1) real-time – meaning within the last 7 days and (2) non-real-time – which can go back as far as 2004.
Introduction to Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is also exactly what it sounds like: find out how often certain words are searched for in Google and how those searches change over time. This is valuable marketing data for SEO on your website but also extremely useful for running paid ads on Google. Google Keyword Planner will also give you suggested bid estimates for each keyword so you can plan and execute your data driven advertising strategy.
How to use Google Analytics for Marketing
So, we already shared how Google Analytics works by automatically collecting data about all your website visitors, but a second important marketing function is the ability to pull this data and organize it into a report. Google Analytics reports are important to keep for your business so you can track your digital data driven marketing trends over time. At Mountain Mojo Group, we recommend creating monthly reports so you can look back and compare month-after-month, year-after-year. You can either choose a pre-set report created by Google or build a customized one where you choose the dimensions and metrics. Not sure what a dimension or metric is? Don’t worry, keep reading! We break down all of Google Analytics terminology for you below so you will know how to not only navigate Google Analytics but also make sense of the data that is gathered from your website and organized into a report.
Google Analytics terminology:
In Google Analytics, a “user” is a visitor who has initiated a session on your website, which is really just a tech way of saying they visit any page of your website. A user can be new or returning. Google Analytics does differentiate between new and returning by analyzing the user’s browser cookies.
In Google Analytics, “dimensions” are a descriptive attribute or characteristic of data. You get to choose which dimensions matter when you create a report of your website data. A dimension could be geographical such as listing the cities from which your website visitors are from, or a dimension could be the browser someone was using when they visited your website (such as Chrome or Safari).
A Google Analytics “metric” is a unit of information that tells you how a part of your website is performing during a specific period of time in the past. Examples of metrics include users, bounce rate, sessions, average session duration, percentage of new sessions, sessions by channel, pages viewed per session, number of goal completions.
In Google Analytics, a “bounce rate” is exactly what it sounds like, when someone bounces off your website quickly and that rate is calculated for all users. More technically, it is the percentage of all sessions on your website in which users viewed only a single page. They do not interact any further with your website other than visiting where they first land.
In Google Analytics, a “session” is a group of user interactions within your website that take place within a given time frame. One session by one user could consist of multiple page views, interactions, and e-commerce transactions on your website as the visitor clicks through multiple things. A single user can open multiple sessions as those can occur the same day or over several days, weeks, or months. There are two ways a session ends: (1) time based: either after 30 minutes of inactivity or resetting at midnight, or (2) campaign change where a user arrives because of one campaign then leaves and then returns from a different campaign.
Google Analytics Traffic Channels:
Ever wonder where your website visitors came from? How they found your website? That is where Google Analytics comes in, to give you all that data! Traffic channels are a group of sources that are combined to show you how your website visitors arrived at your website.
Google Analytics defines “direct” traffic as those website visitors who arrive on your website by either typing in your URL or through a bookmarked tab. If Google Analytics cannot recognize the traffic source, direct is also the default categorization.
Website visitors who arrive via “organic search” are those who used a search engine such as Google or Bing to search for either your exact business or your industry. Think about when you are searching for something and you type into the search bar then click on a website. That is organic search traffic.
Google Analytics classifies “paid search” traffic as those website visitors who arrive via PPC campaigns run in search results. So when someone searches in a search engine like Google and then they end up clicking on an ad which takes them to your website, that is paid search traffic.
Google Analytics considers “referral” traffic to be website visitors who come to your website from sources outside of its search engine. Examples are when someone clicks on a hyperlink to a new page on a different website or if someone clicks from Facebook to your website.
The Importance of Google Analytics and Data in Digital Marketing
Data is everything and Google Analytics is the king of data in digital marketing. The first step is gathering data about your website visitors currently (who they are by age, gender, location, how they arrived at your website, the most popular content on your website, your conversions, etc.). As a business owner, you want to understand your current website visitors first, then attract more without losing the existing ones. By focusing on the content that is performing the best, you will be able to then focus on channeling your website visitors to those specific pages using CTAs, purchase links, updated landing pages, and so forth, streamlining the user experience to help boost your website engagement and conversions. When your website’s engagement increases and you gain more customers this increase in organic traffic will also boost the SEO of your website. Website analytics also allows you to track your top referrals, the source for the most traffic to your website, and then you will be able to focus your efforts on those channels and see where there is room to improve others.
Google Analytics Certification – Analytics Academy
Did you know you can get a Google Analytics Certification? Analytics Academy has online courses for business owners that are free! You can learn more about Google’s measurement tools so you can grow your business through data driven marketing that is organized and you actually understand. Gathering data is great and is the first step, but if you cannot understand what you are looking at, then that data is not serving you and your business. Just so you know, the certification process involves taking courses and passing an exam. There are four main courses you will want to take to help you prepare for the exam to get your certification:
- Google Analytics for Beginners
- Advanced Google Analytics
- Google Analytics for Power Users
- Getting Started with Google Analytics 360
Definitely take notes so you can study for your exam after taking these courses. The test itself is 90 minutes to answer 70 multiple-choice questions. You cannot pause the exam and you must get 80% or higher to pass. If you fail you can retake the exam.
As a small business owner, you’re busy working on your business. While you can dive deep into the digital marketing world on your own, we do advise hiring an expert to take care of your business marketing solutions for you. You focus on what you do best – your business – and leave to us what we do best – the data-driven marketing.
At Mountain Mojo Group, we geek out over all the data! Are you feeling like you’re drowning in all the data management platforms? We get it. Let us help! Contact us and we will put some mojo in your marketing! We are Flagstaff, Arizona’s local go-to creative marketing solutions agency but we have clients all over the United States as well. We love helping other local small businesses find their mojo and disrupt their competition in the digital marketplace!