Google Analytics: Why it’s the Best and What You Should Do with It! – Part 1

orange county seo and analyticsSmall business owners, whether in Orange County, or pretty much anywhere, need Google Analytics now more than ever before.

Like any powerful tool, it’s as complicated as it needs to be, but don’t let that stop you from jumping in. The information you’ll start gathering in Google Analytics is invaluable – even if you don’t understand it all at first. There’s a lot to understand, but there are also lots of whole communities of people happy to help you out.

The standard reports that come with any Google Analytics account are a good place to start even if you aren’t exactly sure what to do with all of that hard, cold data. Eventually you’ll use it to fashion, record and later modify your Internet presence. Even if yours is already a successful and totally “bricks-and-mortar” business, everything you do online, is going to be icing on the cake.  Just have your account set up and verified and you can log in and start learning.

What Questions Am I Answering?

Google Analytics, perhaps any analytics, sounds like a pile of statistics. For lots of hands-on business owners, it can be like a trip back to business school. But it wants to be user-friendly, even if it isn’t always.

For the truly Analytics obsessive, the pleasure of Analytics comes from knowing what questions you can answer and from seeing them getting answered – almost in real time. Any analytics reports you’re looking at are going to be delayed by at most a few hours.  Though it’s easy to look at monthly summaries, you don’t need to wait for the end of each month. It’s always up-to-date.

The most important questions we want to start looking at are these:

  1. “How are people finding my site?”
  2. “How long are they staying?”
  3. “Which pages are attracting the most visitors?”
  4. And “What else can I learn about my audience?”

Now, those are the fairly easy questions to start getting answered, but they represent really just the bare minimum of what you can start to learn.

Why are Analytics so Important?

Who is visiting? For how long? And what are they doing on my site.

Running a simple five page website in the hopes that people will find it, read it and come in to your shop is just not how it works.

Business owners often want to know why and they start to look at how that website might work a bit better. Google Analytics remains the single greatest tool to getting you going in the right direction.

If you’re running a bricks and mortar business, you need to know where your visitors are coming from. Are they mostly from Ohio? If that’s the case, you need to modify your online content with your Southern California location. How many of them are coming to you from a mobile device or tablet? Is your website easily navigable for those mobile visitors? All these questions are vital to the success of your website – and ultimately, its effect on your bottom-line.

Nine times out of ten, people approach a company like ours and want – simply – more traffic.

But the way that SEO has evolved, the only way to get more traffic is to get more out of the traffic you already have. That means doing more with it, and satisfying more of the searches that people are ultimately making. On today’s internet, it’s a pretty severe misunderstanding to think that you need one million hits to break even with your 1% conversions.

On the other hand, Google Analytics is how Google partners with you to better understand why people visit your site and what they’re seeking. Satisfy them, and Google will be satisfied too. And then they’ll start sending more traffic.

Most newbies are going to spend the bulk of their time on reports like All Traffic, and All Referrals. Both are under the “Acquisition” heading. They’re easy to understand and they give you a good idea how people are finding you.

Pageviews & Bounce Rate

Lastly for this brief introduction, we want to at least glance at your Bounce Rate and the Pageviews your site is receiving. Both of these metrics are listed under Behavior/Site Content/All Pages. But we want to mention all of this here under the heading of “Doing more with the traffic that you’re already getting.” Google takes very seriously the number of the number of pages any given visitor will read. If they just land on the first page and then leave, that’s a Bounce.

In short, you want the Pageviews to go up and the Bounce Rate to go down.

Pageviews are a count of how many times each page was loaded. So you can see the popularity of every page on your site and hopefully build more similar and equally attractive pages. If a page’s Bounce Rate is too high, you need to change it. It simply means that people are landing on it, but without finding what they’re after, they’re leaving. Often this indicates that you should add simpler, clearer language, or a more concise and obvious call to action (or two). And Google will reward you – with more traffic!

Once you master these beginner’s steps, we can almost guarantee you’ll actually want to dig in a little further. We’ll cover that in part two of this brief series.

Image via: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Google_Analytics_Sample_Dashboard.jpg

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QUICK TIP #4 – Display Advertising

People spend 95% of their online time browsing websites with display ads. Whether you are trying to target a regional customer base or focus on nationwide markets, e-Display ads can help you generate online leads, jumpstart stagnant sales, introduce new or seasonal products, and help build your brand.
QUICK TIPS:

  • Using Contextual Targeting

Know who you are selling to. Your demographic settings should be tailored to the audience of these websites. For example, if you sell golf clubs, make sure you maximize your ad spend by targeting your ads to golf related websites.

  • Test, Test, Test

Display Ads are generally a “top of the funnel” campaign. That means it’s very broad. Be patient and test various targeting settings to see which ones are most effective.

  • Monitor Your Campaigns to Increase Efficiency

Check your analytics to find out which demographics, topics and categories are performing best. Spend more of your budget on the websites, or targeting groups that show higher conversion rates.

 

More on Display Advertising:

Thinking about introducing new or seasonal products for the holidays?  In a recent study by Experian.com we can see that nearly 60% of marketers will utilize online display advertising this holiday season, topping other popular channels such as search, email, and print ads.  Click here to read more.

 

http://press.experian.com/United-States/Press-Release/49-percent-of-marketers-will-launch-a-holiday-campaign-before-halloween.aspx

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Extreme Makeover

We launched our new website today!  Based on customer input we cleaned things up and created a simple, straight forward and user friendly site.  We added a couple of advertising programs that weren’t on the original site.

More importantly, I’ll be returning to my blogging duties.  I apologize for being MIA and have taken heat from clients and prospects alike for not maintaining an updated blog.  Stay tuned for new posts, witty banter, and relevant content for your online ad campaigns.

In the meantime, enjoy meeting our Marketing Consultants by visiting our team page here.

— Michael

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Ad tips for the Holidays

Now that Halloween is behind us, it’s time to focus on everyone’s favorite time of year.  Ok, maybe not everyone… as a surfer, the water temp drops and the mornings are so chilly I don’t want to head down to the beach.  Other than that, the malls are full of Holiday cheer, Starbucks is serving pumpkin spice lattes, the morning air is cool & crisp, and it’s a time for families to come together and truly appreciate each other.

Yahoo! Advertising recently released their 13 tips for effective ad copy during the holiday season.  As you’ll see, many of these tips are fundamentally  effective year-round.  Cheers!

Best practices for marketing holiday gifts

  • Personalization: Be sure to promote any monogramming/name engraving or other personalization offers that are available, whether the gift is for children or adults.
  • Uniqueness: Many people like to know that a gift for their loved one will be rare or “one-of-a-kind,” and not simply something that is available in every store.
  • Have a Holly Jolly Holiday: Holiday gifts for both kids and adults are for fun, so be sure your ad copy emphasizes the fun factor appropriately.
  • Family Occasion: Emphasize family togetherness for holiday offers like recipes, food, candy, board games, etc.
  • ’Tis Better to Give than to Receive: Ads that contain copy about giving gifts tend to perform better than copy talking about receiving them.
  • Holiday and Seasonal References: Tailor copy that is appropriate to the festive season with special holiday language and references.
  • Big Selection: An emphasis on a large selection from which to find exactly the right gift is important when bidding on general holiday shopping keywords.
  • Shiny and New: People like to know that their gift will be hip, trendy and the latest fashionable thing.
  • Gift Wrapping: If a gift wrapping option is offered, be sure to mention it.
  • Free Content: Spotlight anything about the offer that is free.
  • Shipping – Fast and Free: People prefer free shipping when it is offered at all times. During the holidays, fast/same day or overnight shipping verbiage is equally important, since the user must be sure that the item will arrive in time.
  • Famous Brands and Trademarks: Appropriate use of trademark symbols with official brand names can increase user confidence and click-through rates.
  • Deadlines and Calls-to-Action: Subtle language encouraging a click today can perform well. Sales with a specific end date, or an upcoming holiday deadline to prepare for, encourage the user to click and get the deal before it’s too late. (But be sure that your copy does not promote a date or season that has already passed!)

— Michael Won

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