Using Google Analytics to report on your measurements

Google Analytics allows website owners to find out who is coming to their site, and what they do there. You can sign into the Google Analytics dashboard to access your current website statistics, but with just a little more effort you can setup Analytics to monitor the goals most important to your site, and send the most pertinent data directly to your inbox. In this post we will run through three tools in Google Analytics that, once setup, will simplify monitoring your site’s traffic.

Tracking your key metrics

Google Analytics can help you track a simple goal such as increasing all traffic by 15 per cent over the month. It can also incorporate several elements for more complex goals, such as increasing traffic from a geographic location such as a country or a US state. This can be helpful in gauging the success of local keyword search campaigns, and with more conventional advertising such as newspapers and billboards.

You can setup custom email alerts for crucial metrics.

Once you know your most critical statistics, you can setup automated email reports to regularly notify you, as well as email alerts that notify you of key changes in a particular metric. Analytics can automatically email reports to you and anyone else you specify on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can even enter a mobile phone number, and configure the system to send a text message when an alert is generated. Automated email alerts let you track the metrics most important to you without having to sign into the Google Analytics dashboard.

Goal tracking

You can use Google Analytics to track specific goals based on the number of times visitors land on a URL, the time they spend on site, or the number of pages they visit. The goals you decide on setting depend on what activities are most important to the success of your website, and can track statistics such as a user registrations or member sign-ups, downloads, time spent on key pages, and the completion of purchases.

A funnel in Analytics is intended to show the movement of visitors throughout the conversion process.

Enhancing goal tracking with funnels

Analytics’ goal tracking also allows you to see various steps of the visitor’s progress towards conversions in detail with what are known as “funnels”. “Marketing funnel” and “conversion funnel” are terms used to describe a process in which interested parties move through a series of steps before they become customers. This concept can be easily applied to a website and its visitors, where the steps can be traced as URLs.

An e-commerce site, for instance, could map its checkout process as a funnel, where putting items in a virtual shopping basket is one step, going to the checkout another step, and finally making the purchase the final goal. Based on the data gathered, you can identify the steps where users abandon the purchase process, perhaps triggered after seeing a higher-than-expected shipping fee. If you suspect that this is what turns your visitors away from completing their purchases, you could add an option on the checkout page that would reduce the shipping price if you add items to your shopping basket to total a certain amount.

The goals of funnels does not have to be a sale, even if you have an e-commerce site. The final step in a funnel could be signing up for an email newsletter, requesting a price quote, downloading a free ebook, or any other action that you may want visitors to take.

If you decide to add setup a funnel to your goal, you have to determine a series of steps or webpages that a visitor will go through before they reach a desired outcome. You can specify as many as ten pages that will serve to map where visitors drop off on their way to completing a goal.

Adding a dollar value

Google Analytics also allows you to assign a monetary value to each goal, which can be used to calculate ROI, average score, and other metrics. One way to determine the value of a goal is to evaluate how often the visitors who reach the goal become customers. For instance, say your sales team can convert about 10 per cent of visitors who request to be contacted into paying customers. If your average transaction value is $400. You might assign a value of $40 (10 per cent of $400) to your “Contact Us” goal.

If properly setup, these goal reports can help you determine if your website is meeting your conversion expectations.

Tracking your key metrics will give your website and your business an important edge, because it will give you data from which to understand how your website is either succeeding or failing, and allowing you the information needed to make informed decisions on how to optimize your site.

2 comments on “Using Google Analytics to report on your measurements

  1. Doug C. on

    Ok, I was hooked by this article, until I got to the end. I guess I must have misunderstood the title – I was looking for information on HOW to set these things up.

  2. David Hamilton on

    Hi Doug,

    Thanks for the comment. We decided not to bog down the reader with step-by-step instructions. These can be found in the embedded links, which I’ll run through:

    1. Setup automated email reports

    2. Setup Google Analytics to track goals

    3. Setup up a funnel for your goal

    I hope this helps!

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