What is Google Analytics and why should I care?

Google Analytics is a free tool kit that allows you to measure and analyze traffic coming to your website. It’s extremely valuable because as an online marketer you have the ability to see how people got to your website, what pages they were visiting, and what actions they took while they were on your website.

For example, if you have an online retail store, it’s important for you to know which products in which pages customers find most interesting. It’s also important for you to know how they got to your website, otherwise known as source. Sources can range from Google searches to direct links to social media traffic sending visitors to your website to learn more about your products and services. If you discover that a large number of people are coming to your site from Facebook, for example, then you might investigate a little bit further to see if there was a recent article on Facebook or someone mentioned you in which visitors clicked on their link to visit your website. This is great information for you to have because now you can either reach out to that individual or create more content that may be interesting to Facebook users.

Another great way to look at the data is in terms of mobile versus desktop users. If your site is only optimized for desktop, yet you see a large number of visitors coming to your site from their mobile devices, you may be encouraged to create a mobile version of your site. This is rather simple given the large number of mobile optimization tools available today. In some cases it may be a bit more complex, but it’s really just a matter of creating CSS that allows users on mobile platforms to view your site in mobile friendly manner.

From an IT perspective, there are also a number of metrics that are useful for tracking the site performance and speed of your website. The number of visitors is a good indication of how much volume you must plan for and what kind of server you need to support this traffic. Page load speeds are also very important to identify, so that you can ensure that your customers are having the best experience possible and not spinning their wheels waiting for your web pages to load. Google Analytics provides all this information for you.

More sophisticated users may use Google Analytics to analyze marketing campaign performance. It’s important when launching a campaign that you track conversion rates on your website. If you have products for sale, you want to know the conversion rates in which those products are selling and from which channels the traffic is coming. Google Analytics is a great way to analyze this information and make informed decisions on how you spend your advertising dollars.

I encourage you to incorporate Google Analytics into your website and if you have already done so I encourage you to revisit your Google Analytics dashboard to see all the new and exciting things that Google has added lately. There is information available now on customer interests and demographics, so that you can get the best possible view of those individual users visiting your site on a regular basis.

Please leave a comment below or on Twitter @steinarknutsen.

Thanks,
Steinar