Google Analytics is at the heart of any digital marketing strategy. To be a data-driven marketer, you’ve got to have the right data. And Google Analytics offers the opportunity to track all visitors’ behavior across a site. Combined with Google Tag Manager, Analytics can also track conversions such as button pushes, file downloads, thank you pages etc. Monitoring user behavior on-site and separated by traffic source, location, time of day, device etc. is the key to effective budget allocation. Knowing which users convert best on which channel is a huge boon to digital marketing managers and can shape future advertising strategies.
What Does a Google Analytics Consultant Do?
Straight out the box, Google Analytics is a pretty useful tool. Once implemented on site, the GA pixel tracks user behavior and has provides traffic source data. A Google Analytics consultant will be able to add extra effectiveness to the package. To be an effective data analyst requires a mind happy with numerical tasks. On top of this, an in-depth knowledge of Microsoft Excel and its more advanced features such as VLOOKUPs, SUMIFS and pivot tables is essential. Your GA consultant should have both these attributes, and will be able to create meaningful reports. Conjoining conversion data from GA with cost data from different advertising channels often requires some advanced level Excel know-how. But the results are well worth the work it can take to set up.
Best Google Analytics Features
Which features of Google Analytics are most useful very much depends on the site in question. However, I thought I’d run through some of my favorite features.
Being able to track social media traffic alongside Adwords traffic, display traffic, direct traffic (where the URL was typed into the address bar), organic traffic (came through a search engine) and any other traffic your site is generating is very useful. It might show that display traffic has a high bounce rate, indicating that it is not targeting the right users. It could indicate that a lot of traffic is being generated off a certain organic search query, and the site might need more content in that area. Analytics can even show that another website has posted a link to yours and that is the source of the increased traffic since Tuesday.
Without Google Analytics installed on a site, we have no idea where the visitors to the site are located. With Analytics installed, we can see exactly where visitors are located, to the nearest city. If a site is offering a location-specific service, this can be valuable information. If visitors are only valuable if located in Vancouver, and 70% of visitors are from Toronto, it indicates that more work needs to be done building Vancouver-specific keywords. This site for instance has lots of references to Vancouver, to indicate to Google that my business is Vancouver-based. This tends to result in higher rankings for people searching in Vancouver and who require a locally based digital marketing consultant. If there is a lot of traffic from another city, maybe a new outlet in that city is worth building. Or at least acknowledging that city in the site content.
One of the most interesting reports in GA is the user flow report. Using this report allow us to see how users find their way around a site. It can show what the most popular landing page is and where people are most likely to navigate to from there. It can show what the most popular path to conversion is, and also which page most people are dropping off the site from. All of these bits of information are vital to allow us to improve the user experience of the site. They allow us to see where we need to make site improvements, where we might need to steer users toward our desired page or where a more obvious link, button or navigation is needed.
Why Hire a Google Analytics Expert?
GA offers a huge selection of tools which can be immeasurably useful in the right hands. To the inexperienced, Analytics can look daunting, and the ability to extract useful data can seem limited. For this reason Google offers a Google Analytic certification. This indicates that a consultant has a reasonable level of expertise, though of course nothing can replace years spent using it. An expert will be able to tag up all paid traffic so that it can be tracked properly by Analytics, and be able to derive insights from it. The expert will also be able to provide analysis of site data and advise on site changes that are recommended.
If you would like to talk more about Google Analytics or any part of your digital marketing strategy, please drop me a message