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      Beginners' Google Analytics - Which Marketing Activity Drives Sales?

      Beginners' Google Analytics - Which Marketing Activity Drives Sales? Featured Image
      Published on Jun 5, 2017 by Jon Payne

      Follow these simple steps in Google Analytics to find out which of your marketing activities drive traffic to your website.

      1. Log in to Google Analytics
      2. Navigate to Acquisition
      3. Click All Traffic > Channels
      4. Select "All Goals" from the Conversion dropdown menu at the top right of the table (or e-commerce, for retail sites)
      5. Sort by Goal Completions by clicking the top of that column (or Revenue for e-commerce sites).

      For sites where lead generation is important (typically those in the B2B or Professional Services sectors), then you should see a table like this:

      google analytics lead by source

      If you're in e-commerce you should see a table that looks like this:

      google analytics revenue by source

      What about Default Channel Grouping?

      Organic Search

      These are sessions that have started when a visitor arrived at your site by following a NON-PAID search result from Google, Bing or other search engines. Bear in mind that many of these people may already know your brand, and have simply searched for it because that's easier than typing in "www." and all the rest into the browser.

      If you're producing useful content on your blog, then some of this traffic is likely to be due to that. If you're blogging regularly (like more than once per week) with useful content, then you may well see the majority of your visitors coming via this source.

      Paid Search

      These are sessions that occurred when a user clicked one of your ads on Google, Bing or another search engine.

      If you are paying for Google AdWords but you're not seeing any Paid Search traffic showing up here, it could be that you need to sort out your account set up. See how to link your AdWords Account to your Google Analytics account here.


      These people have arrived by following a bookmark from their browser, by typing your address into their web browser (and this is often auto completed for them if they've visited before), or sometimes these sessions just show up as Direct because Google Analytics can't figure out where the visitor has come from. The majority of this mis-attributed traffic is probably from Dark Social.


      These visitors have arrived by following a link from your bio on a social channel (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) or by a link shared by someone on those platforms. Typically, the more you post and the more you engage in real, meaningful conversations on social, the more visitors you'll see from these platforms.


      When people click a link from a site that isn't a search engine or a social media platform, these are counted as Referrals. If you're doing PR, holding events, attending exhibitions and the like, you should see more visitors counted in here - because more websites will hold links to your website and people will follow those links.


      Using an email marketing platform (such as MailChimp or DotMailer) or marketing automation software (such as HubSpot)? Good, then your emails will automatically be tagged in such a way that recipients who follow a link from your email to your website will get counted here. Just sending out emails from Outlook because your boss won't invest in a proper system? Then they won't be tagged. And also you'll soon get a reputation as a spammer. Not good at all.


      Typically anything that Google Analytics can't categorise as any of the above ends up in here. It could be something important like cross channel campaigns you're running, that you're tracking with something like Professor Traffic, so don't ignore it.

      For more info click on each of the Default Channel Groupings to drill down to detail about particular sites or campaigns.

      Need help measuring the success of your marketing? Download you free ROI guide here

      Jon Payne

      Founder and Technical Director of Noisy Little Monkey, Jon blogs about SEO and digital marketing strategy.

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