Hanrick Curran appreciates the importance of a strong web presence and how it influences the potential of securing a meeting with a prospective client. Studies show that 72% of businesses believe their website is their most important marketing tool. Yet, few take the time to measure what is actually happening on their site.
After all, there’s a pretty good chance that your website already has some software installed to help you understand how your customers are using your website. And there’s an even better chance that it’s Google Analytics, the search engine giant’s market-leading free tool that most web designers will install on your website as a matter of course.
What does Google Analytics do?
Quite simply, Google Analytics helps you understand three things:
- How someone found your website
- What they did when they got there
- Did they find something of value
The first two are reasonably straightforward. To use Google Analytics jargon, the first is about ‘acquisition’. In other words, how you acquired traffic to your website. It tells you what channels, such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc. your visitors used to find you. Knowing this is a great first step towards understanding which parts of your marketing are making an impact and driving traffic to your website.
To quote John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Well, with Google Analytics you can see exactly what works and what doesn’t.
The second point is ‘behaviour’, or how visitors are using your website. This helps you understand what people do when they are on your site — what page they landed on, which pages they viewed, how long they spent on your site, what keywords they searched for while on your site and so much more.
Show me the money
The final part of the equation, is ‘conversions’ or in other words, whether a visitor did something on your website that created a tangible benefit for your business. This is the part that most people, even seasoned web designers, get wrong because if your website doesn’t convert a user in some way — whether it be buying, downloading, registering, contacting, calling or otherwise doing something you want them to do — then it has failed.
So it’s super important to know what constitutes a conversion on your website. Set that up as a goal so you can see what proportion of your visitors are completing this goal and whether you need to make some changes to improve this (otherwise known as Conversion Rate Optimisation).
Ready to graduate to the Honours level? Assign a dollar value to your goals.
For some businesses, attaching a monetary value to a goal is pretty straightforward. If your average purchase is $100, then every time someone buys (and assuming you don’t have proper ecommerce tracking enabled), then that’s your goal. Every time someone hits that buy button — BOOM! — $100 goal achieved.
For other businesses, it’s a little more complicated, but it’s worth the effort to think through how much a lead is worth to you, or how much someone registering for an event on your website is worth to you. Doing this allows you to start thinking about your website not as a cost centre, but a profit centre.
What exactly does it measure?
The list of metrics that Google Analytics and other web analytics packages measure is too big to cover in a single post, but suffice to say, any quantitative data you’re hoping to understand is tracked. Some of the common metrics include:
- Users — the number of people who have come to your website
- Sessions — the number of times your website has been visited
- Bounce rate — the percentage of people that only visited one page (This is the best indicator of quality. If your home page has a bounce rate greater than 50%, start again.)
- Conversion rate — the percentage of people that have completed a goal you specified on your website
- Average time on site
- Average pages per visit
These can then be segmented by dimension, so you could segment users by how many came from Google, Facebook or Twitter, for instance.
Ready to get started? Great.
Check that Google Analytics has been installed correctly and that it’s recording data. If you’re not sure, ask your web designer or have a look yourself. There are some great online guides that will show you where to start.
One thing to keep in mind is that all web analytics tools will only tell you what people do when they get to your website. They won’t tell you the why, so when you’re looking through your reports, try not to infer too much from the numbers. Just because you have a high bounce rate doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pay tens of thousands to build a new website — a quick content fix could lead to significant improvements.
Hanrick Curran has a broad network of specialists, some of whom assist us and our clients to optimise our investments in a web presence. If you require assistance in this space, please contact your Hanrick Curran Adviser for a referral to get connected to a HC network professional, or visit our website www.hanrickcurran.com.au.
Thanks to Goobledegook Creative Industries and Mal Chia for their contribution to content.