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Being in the dark about what your website visitors are up to when they click onto your site is not a healthy way to run your business. 

Data collection is a primary tool that can give you some insight into all the valuable aspects behind your customer and their psychology, allowing you to tweak and adjust areas of your online business so you become more valuable, visible and profitable. 

In a recent episode of The Anomalous Educator Podcast, I spoke with a Google Analytics consultant and founder of Data Driven U, Jeff Sauer. He broke down a few key points to shed some light on data analytics, so your website can be used to its fullest potential. 

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free tool that can help you track your digital marketing effectiveness through data-based tracking and reports on your website.

The way it works is, Google Analytics inputs several lines of tracking code into the code of your website. 

This code effectively records the multiple activities your site users engage in when they arrive at your website. It can also track users other characteristics such as age, gender and general interests. 

The collated information is then sent back to the Google Analytics server for analysis, as soon as a visitor leaves your site. 

Google Analytics then combines this data into four key areas:

  • User-level – The actions a visitor took
  • Session level – Each individual visit
  • Pageview level – The individual pages visited by a user
  • Event level – Where the user clicked, for example, button clicks, video views, call to action leads followed

To get it onto your site, you just sign up for an account, either enter some JavaScript code onto your site or utilize a plugin that does it for you and voila, you start getting meaningful data you need.  

Why Data Analytics is Important

Data and data analytics are important for business for many reasons, but the overarching incentive is to see where your business is doing well, and where it needs improvement. 

Data also gives you oversight on whether you’re hitting your target demographic or not, converting effectively during marketing campaigns, predicting client behaviours and improving overall decision making. 

Analysis of your website’s data ensures you have concrete evidence and results, so you can utilize it to avoid losses and boost your business.

Utilize the Data – Know Your A, B, C’s 

While there is a myriad of useful outcomes that can come from looking at your data, the three main components you want to be honing in on are, what pages are viewed, what traffic sources come to your website and whether someone delivered the outcome that you were intending. 

“What I pay attention to are the ABC’s,” explains Jeff. I think we all know our ABC’s by now, but in the data analytics world, these valuable little statistics stand for Acquisition, Behaviour, and Conversion. 

Let’s explore them further:

A is for Acquisition – How did your user get to your site? “It’s all about getting people in the door, and knowing how that happened.” The routes people take to get to you varies and the Acquisition section tells you the origin of your visitor, whether it was search engines, social networks or website referrals. 

This gives you the data you need to see where you should be attaching your marketing efforts. 

B is for Behaviour – For those who land on your site, you need to know exactly what they’ve been up to. Tracking how visitors navigate your website and intermingle with your content gives you the chance to enhance your website’s content, layout and overall performance.

C is for Conversion – Conversions are the most magical aspect of data, and take place when a visitor engages in a desired action that you care about, which usually results in them converting from a “newcomer” to “customer.” In tracking the trail that got them to convert, you can enhance that particular are to increase your conversion rates. 

By understanding the Google Analytics language, you will be able to get a strong sense of where you need to be focusing your attention the most. Jeff warns that you shouldn’t become micro-focused on the analytics side though, instead use it as a light in the dark. 

“This gives you an idea of what’s happening in between. That’s everything.” 

Enhance Your Google Analytics Experience

Without a doubt, right out of the box, Google Analytics is really well developed. You can literally download and use the presets without having to do much else. 

However, if you want to get the most out of your data capturing experience, there are three adjustments you can do to make it more effective.

  • When setting up your Google Analytics account you need to inform them that you are an eCommerce store (online shop). “You have to configure your goals or your eCommerce to work,” says Jeff. 
  • Next, when you either send or encourage traffic to your website Jeff suggests that you ensure you have Campaign and UTM codes in place.  These are essentially simple codes that you can attach to a custom URL so you can track either a source, medium, and campaign name while monitoring traffic throughout your site.
  • Lastly, Event Tracking is probably one of the most useful features in Google Analytics. This allows you to monitor just about any action that doesn’t encourage a new page to load, like loading a video or downloading a PDF. This collation of data is invaluable if you want to keep improving your site. 

By putting those three extra things in place, your Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversion reports will be much more meaningful for you. “The sooner you do it, the sooner you’re going to get insights into what’s happening on your site,” says Jeff. 

As you can see analysing data is hugely beneficial, and easy to implement, but we’ve only just scratched the surface. 

To hear more about data and how it can drive your online business towards success, listen to the full episode of the Anomalous Educator with guest Jeff Sauer, here.

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