Your boss loves facts and figures right? With a budget to manage, she or he craves data that will help them make decisions about how best to balance their spend online and offline. Google Analytics can help here, especially if you stop thinking of it in isolation as only about online, and start to make connections with the offline world. These are my top three, out-of-the-box standard Analytics reports, that connect online and offline marketing. Your boss is going to love it!
(not provided) versus branded search
Why your boss will want this report? It’s a quick illustration of whether your marketing goals are reflected in organic search. Use it to evaluate your visibility onlne.
This report is a really quick and dirty way of estimating the extent to which you rely on your brand name to get visitors online. A year or so ago Google provided more information on the organic search terms used to find your website; this has all changed due to data protection concerns and now it bundles up all the terms that aren’t clearly related to your brand or important content on the website into this single “(not provided)” lump.
What I love about this report is that it gives you an instant view of how successful you are at being found for branded search versus wider search terms. What constitutes success for you depends at this point on what you are trying to achieve. In this example, 80% of the organic traffic to our website comes from (not provided) terms – this is great! Visits arriving at the Noisy Little Monkey website from (not provided) means it is being found for diverse phrases so our content strategy is doing its job effectively. If we were only being found for our brand name then our marketing would be too narrow.
However, if you invest in offline marketing or have a visible retail presence, then you’ll want branded search to dominate these results – because people will discover your brand in the real world and search for it online. It all comes back to your marketing strategy and what you want to achieve.
Why your boss will want it? It’s a way to evaluate which third parties online are giving you good value in terms of visitor numbers. Use it to shape investment decisions.
Find it in Acquisition
Logged into Analytics? Open this report in a new tab now: http://goo.gl/GWWtLs
Referrals are visitors that arrived at your website by following a link from someone else’s website or social media. What I love about this report is that it shows very clearly who your friends are! You can see instantly whether social media is driving traffic to the website or if other online activity is making a greater contribution. Having said this, Google Analytics sometimes isn’t hugely accurate about measuring traffic from social media, so if you’re doing a lot of activity in this area you should use a URL tagging tool, like Professor Traffic http://www.noisylittlemonkey.com/professor-traffic/
Google still looks at referring domains (that is the websites that link back to your website, more info: http://www.noisylittlemonkey.com/what-is-a-linking-domain/) as a way of understanding the credibility and trustworthiness of your website. Ask yourself if your All Referrals report is a good reflection of your business and what you are trying to achieve. Which directory listings or links are giving you good value in terms of visitor numbers? If real visitors are using these links, then they are giving you great value.
Also look at bounce rates. Our mobile Facebook bounce rate is shocking, which suggests a poor experience on our site for mobile visitors– we need to fix that in the next iteration of our website. On the other hand, maybe I should lay off Jon’s Twitter obsession as that seems to be getting us new visitors to the website.
Top Conversion Paths
Why will your boss want it? Because it generates ideas to improve your interaction with those visitors that really count using good old fashion sales and marketing theory!
Find it in Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels>Top Conversion Paths
This report assumes you have set up Goals in Analytics. A Goal on your website might be as simple as a “thank you” page that’s shown when a visitor signs up to a newsletter or something more complicated like returning from a payment gateway with a “Success” message. If you haven’t got them set up – Carrie Hill wrote a useful beginner’s guide to setting them up http://searchengineland.com/a-beginner%E2%80%99s-guide-to-setting-goals-in-google-analytics-101826 If you have them set up, prepare to amaze your boss with Multi Channel Attribution!
This report shows you the various paths that visitors took to get to your website before they became a converting visitor. What I love about this report is that it shows how people interact with your website and their decision making process. How many times did they come back to the website before converting? Is there a pattern to how they use paid, organic and social channels? Does paid dominate? Does social convert?
Use this report to understand the psychology of your visitors’ behaviour and link it back your marketing plan. Maybe you need more ‘touches’ before someone converts, or perhaps you can reduce the number of steps by improving calls to action. Can you segment visitor types by channel and look at crafting different messages? How might the content of the site make a difference here? Can social conversions be improved?
I love these three reports and the questions they prompt about how effective your online presence is at delivering your whole marketing strategy. How about you? Leave a comment if I’ve missed any great reports – I’ll share them here.