Many retailers have a website because they know they should. The site is populated with the weekly ad that gives customers the info on the best deals, recipes that make consumers want to try new meals, and pertinent information like hours and address that help make store visits easier. Very often though, retailers don’t take enough time to understand what can be learned from that website. At a recent Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast, Corey Morris of Voltage KC shared his tips on Google Analytics and how to use them to understand more about who does what on your website.
To start, Morris made a great point about data. He explained how while we all know there is tons of data out there, the expectation now is that we’ve harnessed the data that’s assumably there. He also noted that mastering that data is the inherent challenge. One of Morris’s most resonating comments turned out to be “Never bring and opinion to a data fight. Don’t start a discussion with “I think” because with data, we have the power to know.” What’s also difficult, according to Morris, is as digital marketing has evolved, very few of us are working in silos. This means we have to understand how data from one place impacts the data of another. Specifically to his presentation, how action on social then drives action on a website.
The way to approach this in Morris’s mind is:
- End goal alignment (ROI, conversions, engagement, impressions)
- Setting expectations
- Creating measurement & reporting plan
- Executing campaigns & strategies
Once these steps are discussed, then we can dig into the Google Analytics. Morris walked through the reports he pays the most attention to and why. I’m not going to recap all of them here by report, but rather summarize the types of things the data can expose.
- Real-time overview – Who is on the site, what device are they using, which pages are they looking at, what referred them to the site
- Viewer demographics – Gender, age, location
- Interests – What other kinds of sites do they view? How are they segmented?
- Browser type & device preference – Mac users? Android phone? Ipad?
- Acquisition – Where’d the traffic come from? Search? Direct? Email? Social? Dig into these numbers to find out which social channel is most popular and which landing pages on the site are hit the most.
- Benchmarking – Understand how others in the industry are doing. What should you strive for?
Morris’s key takeaways for the breakfast go back to how he approaches Google Analytics and really all data.
- Goals have to be established and aligned before any of the work begins. Without it, no one knows what success looks like.
- Time has to be spent setting up dashboards based on the goals.
- Understand how the goals will be measured. Consider attribution and pay attention to assisted conversions, they play a role.
- Continue investigating ongoing analytics.
If you have a website, you no longer have to wonder what value it is providing you. Whether it is simply a way to understand more about your customers, or you take a deeper dive into how the different marketing channels work together, Google Analytics can help you make smarter decisions based on data.
Thanks to Corey Morris of VoltageKC for sharing his slides from the SMCKC breakfast on Sept 8, 2017. They can be found in their entirety here.