Google Analytics has evolved from a ‘nice-to-have’ to an essential part of SEO strategising. However, many brands still hone in on the same metrics that they did five years ago. While ‘total conversions’ and ‘sessions’ still work at the macro level and provide general insights that can be of use, digging into more campaign-specific metrics can really make a difference.
What’s the best way to optimise Google Analytics usage?
Scattershot usage of Google Analytics can waste time and money, and make it more difficult to glean valuable insights that can inform your content marketing decision-making. Optimised usage means leveraging Google Analytics in a way that both saves expenditure and increases conversions. In addition to targeting better metrics, analytics should also be easy enough for a layperson to complete. This means no expert knowledge or additional code or reports. Everything should be accessible in Google Analytics.
Track multi-channel conversions
Tracking conversions is a useful indicator for the success of campaigns, but it needs to be supplemented by other metrics if you want to get the complete picture. Google Analytics uses last-click attribution for conversions, which is not always helpful as customers can criss-cross between a variety of digital touchpoints before they purchase a product or service.
This can mean that someone who originally found your site via organic search, returned several days later through a social media post, and then viewed an email or newsletter follow-up before deciding to make a purchase directly, without navigating elsewhere, would be recorded as a ‘direct/none’ traffic source in Google Analytics. This obviously does not tell the full story.
Fortunately, it is relatively simple to set up a multi-channel conversion report that will highlight how each channel has supported a customer’s path to a conversion. To get this up and running, navigate to the ‘Conversions’ icon in Google Analytics, select ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ and click on ‘Top Conversion Paths’. Here, you will be able to set advanced segmentation.
The Multi-Channel Funnels report offers a neat visualisation of how your marketing channels are working in tandem to support the greater whole. This is useful for optimising PPC spend and SEO tactics with the aim of driving conversions.
Track conversions by market
If you operate in several regions, then you will want to track conversions for multiple markets so that you can optimise investment accordingly. International audiences are not a monolith – certain markets will have different habits, behaviours and characteristics, and this requires a bespoke marketing outlook for each.
To find out where best and when to allocate resources, you can use Google Analytics to compare traffic sources and conversions on a country-by-country basis. Head over to the main hub and the ‘Conversions’ icon again and then click through to ‘Goals’ and then ‘Goal Flow’.
From here, you will be able to set a report segment to the market you want to analyse. This can be a region, country or city. Finally, select ‘source/medium’ as the report filter. You will now be able to see how many customers have converted along the cycle in relation to the traffic source per market. This will be broken down in sections or steps from ‘cart’ to ‘payment’, among others.
Setting up a Cohort Analysis report
Making sense of the path or journey to conversions will give you some great insights to support your marketing strategies, but you also need to look at the flip side of success. When are people becoming less engaged? With Google Analytics, you can pinpoint the moment new users start looking at fewer pages and initiating fewer sessions. This is where the ‘Cohort Analysis report’ comes in.
After signing into Google Analytics again, pop over to the ‘Audience’ icon, where a ‘Cohort Analysis’ header will be viewable. Click on this, and then you will be able to set ‘Dimensions’ and ‘Metrics’.
A Cohort Analysis allows you to analyse a group of users through multiple metrics and date ranges. The only Cohort type available at the moment is ‘Acquisition Date’, though there are three ‘Cohort Size’ options in the form of ‘day’, ‘week’ and ‘month’.
How can this help you? The report will show you the amount of transactions for each market over a certain period of time. If there has been a spike in transactions in week two of your campaigns and a drop-off in week five, then you can use this knowledge in the future to switch up your marketing methods. For example, you could send a discount or offer via email in week two to recapture the interest of customers.
Measure success of short sales periods
The holiday period is on the horizon and Google Analytics can help to determine the success of short, flash sales campaigns. Unearthing a few trends and buyer-based habits will again enable you to better allocate resources for similar campaigns in the future.
You can do this by using the Cohort Analysis report outlined previously. Within the report section, select ‘By Day’ for the Cohort Size and ‘Revenue per User’ as the Metric and then set the Date Range for your latest flash sale.
Forecast conversion probability
Google has made huge strides with artificial intelligence in recent years. You can tap into this right now by creating a conversion probability report in Google Analytics. The software uses machine learning and data modelling to forecast how likely it is for a user to convert during the next month. This form of analytics is a bit more advanced, so it requires a few more fundamentals to get right. You need ecommerce tracking, a minimum of 1,000 transactions per month, and a 30-day data history.
You will now be able to add conversion probability sections to your reports. These sections will tell you the channels that are most likely to seal the deal and the path that will get a customer from A to B most effectively.
To set this up, navigate to ‘Audience’ in Google Analytics, and then ‘Behaviour’ and ‘Conversion Probability’. You will then be able to customise segments accordingly.
Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that can transform your data tracking and insight capabilities. While surface-level metrics are useful, digging deeper into Google Analytics will enable you to unlock its full power for informing your marketing and sales campaigns.