Getting more out of Google Analytics with Adam Henige – April Luncheon Recap

May 4th, 2015

by Marjorie Steele

Our April luncheon, featuring Adam Henige of Netvantage Marketing, was a roaring success! Adam discussed how to get more out of Google Analytics, providing a good mix of high level insights and actionable steps virtually any marketer can take to step up their digital marketing game.AMA-8725

You can view the slides for Adam’s presentation here. In the slides, Adam provides step-by-step instructions for implementing some of the tracking that’s summarized and mentioned below, so be sure to check the slides out to dig deeper.

Set your goals

Whether you’re tightening the bolts or setting up website tracking from scratch, the first step is the same: establish your goals. Examples Adam provided include:

  • sales goals
  • signing visitors up for an emailing list
  • having visitors fill out a contact form
  • send visitors to an affiliate site
  • have visitors share or email a page
  • have visitors download a document
  • engage visitors on certain pages, or for extended periods of time

Each of the goals listed above can be carefully tracked within Google Analytics. While it’s not always possible to track sales directly from the website (outside of ecommerce settings), there are many valuable user interactions which can be tracked, which give a good sense of how the website is contributing to the bottom line.

To meet these goals, there are several ways Google Analytics can be set up.

  • track purchases using ecommerce settings
  • track destination pages/”thank you” completion pages
  • trigger an event
  • set goals for surpassing a metric
  • connect Google AdWords
  • track the success of off-site campaigns by creating unique landing page URLs, and using Google URL builder to track all activity to that page.

Find Adam’s instructions for implementing each of the above tracking settings in his slides.

First goals, then segmentation!

With goals established and the tools in place to track them, you can start segmenting your audiences to better understand how to serve them.

For example:

Problem: Leads are up throughout the website, but you don’t know why.

Solution: Drill down into the segment of visitors who convert and compare this group’s acquisition and behavior to past performance and other visitors.

Problem: Social and organic traffic have been driving more visitors – but why?

Solution: Make a custom segment for visitors who have converted and come from organic traffic, then add relevant conditions. Within this segment, you can look at:

  • Behavior > Site Content > All Pages – where content are people viewing?
  • Audience > Geo > Location – what region are visitors coming from?
  • Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages (more search action?) – what pages are visitors landing on? If more activity is coming from a new landing page, what keywords are causing it?

Other key ways to segment and evaluate your analytics include:

Analyzing keywords using Google Webmaster Tools. This will tell you which pages are getting the most search traffic, and what keywords people are using to find you. This is a great way to make sure people are finding the information you want them to, and that what people are looking for matches what you’re providing.

Keep chasing the data. Keep asking why, what, when and how until you come up with some actionable, educated decision based on the data. For example, is a new keyword driving traffic that’s converting? Make more content related to that keyword, or even start a paid search campaign around that keyword.

Replicate success and diagnose pages that are struggling. Take the lessons learned in previous campaigns, synthesize them and use them to improve future campaigns.

Identify your best traffic. For example, if a client says “where should we be spending our money marketing our website? We’re spending money on social – but I’d rather just get direct traffic,” you can drill into traffic source mediums, look at the relevant goal set, and perhaps identify that while direct traffic doesn’t convert very well, organic and email traffic do convert well. You can bring this concrete data to the client to show that direct traffic isn’t the most profitable way to invest in their website.

Analyze on-page performance and engagement. Cross-checking your website’s performance against your goals will help you understand what’s working and what’s not. Use concrete data to find these answers, starting with specific on-page engagement metrics. Red flags that indicate pages need some help include:

  • high bounce rates
  • a high entry/low conversion rate
  • a high page view/low conversion rate
  • high exit rate

In other words, if people are hitting your page then leaving immediately, or not buying, you want to dig in, find out why and fix it.

Data analysis and automation

Last but not least, Adam provided some helpful tips for managing Google Analytics’ data. He encouraged Excel marketers to experiment with exporting analytic reports into Excel spreadsheets, where we might be more comfortable manipulating the data. He also demonstrated how custom reports can be set to run and be emailed automatically on a weekly or monthly basis.

For the nitty gritty details, be sure to check out Adam’s presentation slides.

And be sure to register for our big May event. We’re partnering with AAF West Michigan and aimWest to bring West Michigan businesses a half-day event titled “Everything is Connected.” From creative elements and messaging through technology, measurement and strategy, attendees will experience in-depth exploration of how marketing efforts are planned, created, displayed, measured and analyzed. Industry professionals of all positions are encouraged to attend. Register online here.