[3QF-GA-3] 3 Quick Facts: What is Google Analytics good for?
Updated: Aug 31
So, you may have heard of Google Analytics - or even used it once or twice. And you may think, I guess it's something which is good to know - but does it really matter to my business?
And this scepticism is understandable. You only have a limited amount of time and learning how to use Google Analytics will take many hours. Should you bother?
Well, to answer this question, below are three quick facts about the value you can get from Google Analytics after you have learned how to use it to its full potential. With these tips, you can make an educated decision about whether you should bother with GA. Sound good?
For those who would rather take a more 'hands-on' approach to learning about Google Analytics, I highly recommend the 2-day course I run which answers the 'why bother' question and many, many more. You can find out more about it here.
1) Google Analytics makes you think about why you have a website
Perhaps the most important thing Google Analytics does it that it makes you think hard about the reasons you have a website in the first place. Sure, people expect all businesses to have a website, but, beyond that, does your website serve any purpose?
Google Analytics forces you to answer this question. As you learn GA, you understand that for it be valuable, you will need to decide what you want your website visitors to do. In GA language, you need to set 'goals'.
Setting goals is a vast topic (which we will cover in a future post) but, fundamentally, goals are the things that you want website visitors to do. For example, if you have an ecommerce site, the goal is for your visitor to buy something.
If, however, you have a site which exists to provide information,then the goal isn't quite so clear. It could be that you want visitors to read a particular document or request for more information. Or, if your site is dedicated to content, you may want people to read a lot of it - or at least click on 'read more'.
Regardless, Google Analytics is flexible and can handle many kinds of goals. And as GA is only valuable if you set a goal, using it makes you think about your site's purpose - and that is a good thing.
2) Google Analytics helps you focus your efforts
Once you have figured out what your site is for, you will also be able to use GA to understand which pages on your site are the most important so you can spend more time on them.
The 'All Pages' report in GA provides data about which pages are viewed most often by your visitors. This is useful information as quite often businesses spend a lot of time on pages which are seldom viewed ('About', 'Our Mission', etc.), neglecting the ones which customers are really interested in ('Contact Us' or 'Frequently Asked Questions').
Knowing which are which will help you realign your efforts and because you will have data backing up your view, you will find it easier to convince other stakeholders about where the organisation should commit its time and web resources.
3) Google Analytics helps you make more money
While it's great to know what your site is for and what is important to your visitors, ultimately you want to spend time on what is going to make you and your company more money.
Google Analytics helps here, too. After setting a goal (see point 1) which leads to a profitable business outcome, you can use GA to find small groups of users, or segments, which tend to achieve the goal more than the average.
This will allow you to research your segments and understand why one segment is overperforming and why others may be underperforming.
Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to make changes to your ads, your site or even your business so that your underperforming segments improve, thereby improving your overall business results.
It won't be easy, but improving performance through analysing segements is something which can be achieved through using web analytics - and Google Analytics is free and among the best tools out there.
Until next time, happy analytics!