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Using Google Analytics to create a New Year’s Resolution that’s right for your business

In just a few short weeks, the year will be 2019. Around this time of year, we tend to notice unusually crowded gym parking lots, healthier food items missing from our favorite grocery stores, and many credit repair ads spamming our inboxes.

It’s a common tradition for millions of people around the world to make New Year’s’ resolutions that will hopefully make them better people for years to come. Many of these resolutions will, unfortunately, fail within the first few months of the new year. The reasons New Year’s resolutions often fail can vary, but the ones that succeed usually do so because of careful planning.

Our digital marketing campaigns are no different. To achieve a higher rate of success, we must carefully plan our year. To plan our 2019 digital marketing New Year’s resolution, we must first answer two critical questions about our 2018 digital marketing campaigns:

  1. What did we learn from our 2018 digital marketing campaigns?
  2. How do we apply what we’ve learned to create a better 2019?

What did we learn from our 2018 digital marketing campaigns?

One of the best ways for us to learn from our 2018 digital marketing campaigns is by examining our Google Analytics data. Due to its steep learning curve, Google Analytics is significantly underutilized by many small businesses, but if used correctly, it can help us paint the clearest possible picture of:

  • Our audience: who converted into leads and who didn’t convert
  • Traffic sources: from which channel did users come to our site (social media, email marketing, paid search)
  • Behavior: user experience

Google Analytics data also gives us a holistic view of how our different digital marketing campaigns both work together and help us identify any holes that may drain our marketing budgets.

Assuming you worked with us to setup/configure your Google Analytics account and received training by one of our Google Analytics analysts, you would have learned how to define and implement goals for your website properly. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, but never configured your account to fit your business needs, your data may not be accurate enough to make favorable changes to your digital marketing strategy.

Before you do anything, be sure that your analytics account is collecting accurate data. If you are unsure whether your account is set up properly, contact us immediately to schedule a one-one training session with one of our experts.

Learn about your audience

The audience reports in Google Analytics will help determine who is converting and who isn’t. It’s easy to assume we know who is using our website; however, the audience report will give us factual data to prove or disprove who is converting, thus allowing us to better segment our audience personas.

For example, if the reports show that 80 percent of your conversions are females between 18-25 who both use the iPhone 9 and are in the market for financial services, you now know who you should target on future campaigns. Conversely, if your target audience is men between 45-55 who are in the market for new cars, and your data shows 80 percent female usage, it’s safe to assume that you missed your mark in 2018.

High converting traffic sources

Knowing which traffic sources bring most of your target audience to your website is extremely important. Conversion rates per traffic source help us determine how much of our digital marketing budgets we should allocate to each marketing channel. However, it’s equally important to understand how each traffic source supports another.

You may see that you get most of your new traffic from running banner ads, but most of your conversions come from organic or direct traffic. Because of this, you may think to invest in other services because the banner ads have a low conversion rate. However, it’s important to remember that most users don’t convert on the first time they visit your website or landing page. This means that they likely clicked a banner ad, visited your website, left your website, later searched your business name in Google, visited your website a second time, and then converted.

Google Analytics uses a “last-interaction attribution” system (say that five times fast) which means that Google Analytics gives credit to the last traffic source a user used before converting. In the last example, the organic search would get credit for the conversion even though the banner ad led to the customer’s first visit to your website (first-interaction attribution.)

Pay close attention to how your different digital marketing channels work together to support your goals.

The user experience

Let’s pretend you spent thousands of dollars in 2018 to get your target audience to view your website or landing page, and you only came away with a few new customers. The cause might be found in the behavior reports in Google Analytics.

Taking a deeper look into your behavior reports allows you to see if there are any technical issues with your website. For example, a high bounce rate tends to correlate with slow loading landing pages. If you notice a consistently slow loading landing page, you’ll want to talk to your developer as quickly as possible, or you should expect to have low success rates with your current campaigns.

Conclusion

After examining last year’s Google Analytics reports, we should have a solid understanding of what worked and what didn’t. We also have a benchmark of historical data that we can compare against next year.

Since the new year is quickly approaching, there’s no better time than now to examine your 2018 analytics report, learn about your converters (and non-converters), review your best traffic sources, explore user behavior, adjust, and make your digital marketing New Year’s resolution to improve your conversions for 2019.

Google Analytics can be intimidating at first, but should not be overlooked or ignored. Spend time learning about the subject and make sure your analytics is collecting the right kinds of data before making any budget allocating decisions.

If you’d like to schedule a training session with one of our Google Analytics experts, contact Compulse Integrated Marketing today.