9 tips to get the most out of Google Analytics

Your performance data should be the lifeblood of your digital marketing strategy. But when it comes to using Google Analytics, are you more of a casual user than you’d like to be?

Maybe you’re not checking as often or only get a vague notion of what is going on with your website traffic and the campaigns surrounding it.

Google Analytics is a commonly used analytics platform that integrates with your website and offers data on:

  • How many people are visiting your website.
  • What they’re doing while they’re there.
  • How much time they spend on your website.

It also features a ton of crucial information, like the most common type of device used to access your website pages and the geographic information of your visitors.

And there is so much more than that with its in-depth insights and tracking power. If you still need to learn the basics, check out this course from Google.

Remember that about 76 percent of marketing leaders base decisions on data analytics. If you’re basing your decisions on gut instincts, don’t. About two out of three marketers say data-based decisions are more effective than gut instincts.  

The following are 9 tips to get the most out of Google Analytics every time you use it.

Compare your historical traffic trends

There is so much power in understanding the history of your performance data (and how that compares to now as well). Whether that’s month-over-month data, year-over-year data or everything in between. 

This can help you identify patterns and trends in your own traffic. Historical comparison data views are as simple as using the time filter in Google Analytics.

Simply specify your desired date range and the previous period to compare it to. Keep in mind that Google Analytics defaults to the number of days in the specified period. For example, a Monday-through-Sunday week view won’t mirror the the corresponding days of the previous week.

Assign a monetary value to your goals

Goals are critical to every digital marketing campaign, so you’ll want to take advantage of them in an elevated way in Google Analytics. 

Unsure about your goals? Check out our seven tips.

Google Analytics gives you the ability to assign monetary values to your goals. Why does that matter? Because you should be able to gauge exactly how much money you’re making (or losing) with every new lead earned (or lost).

To assign a value to a goal, navigate to the Admin section of Google Analytics in the top menu and click “Goals.”

You’ll then see a list of your goals. Click on one, and you’ll have an interface open where you can then specify the monetary value of the goal.

Of course, how much you assign can be a typical question, and that definitely depends. Typically, you’ll want to underestimate how much a goal is worth.

Assigning monetary values can really help you see in financial terms how much money you could be losing in your marketing funnel and where you’re losing it.

If you need a refresher on how to create goals to begin with, Google has this walk-through.

Use audience data in your custom visitor segments

Custom visitor segments can help classify your visitors by demographic data, such as age, gender, location and so on. But don’t forget about the data in the Audience reporting views that can assist with how you create your custom segments.

The audience data will tell you about how specific users are interacting with your website.

To leverage this additional data, navigate to the Interests Overview within the Audience reporting section. You’ll find a broad view of the other three Interests reports, including Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments and Other Categories.

Once your more-detailed custom segment is created, you can measure it against your other visitor traffic to better understand how certain types of visitors behave in comparison to each other. That way, you aren’t just looking at the broad overview of all page views and/or sessions.

Consider your top conversion paths

While we would all love to see a consumer click on our ad to visit our website and immediately make a purchase all the time, that’s not how it goes. Website visitors don’t always behave the way you expect.

Going through your top conversion paths in Google Analytics gives you insight into how your visitors are actually converting as opposed to how you think they’re converting. It’s an often-complex route, for sure.

To find this, navigate to the Top Conversion Paths section of the Conversions reports. You’ll then see the top 10 conversion paths by default, with the option to extend the number of displayed rows.

Remove your IP address from reporting

If you’re starting to notice your own business IP address in your reports, know that this is normal, especially if you have an entire team in your office working on different parts of your website. 

Even though it’s common, it can slightly impact your Google Analytics reporting. 

Fortunately, you can exclude your internal traffic by creating a filter for your Google Analytics account that blocks your specific IP address from showing up in your reporting.

You can do so by clicking “Admin” and navigating to the account in which you want to create the filter. In the “Account” column, select “All Filters.” Then, click “+ Add Filter.” You’ll want to select “Exclude” in the filter type menu, and that’s where you can decide how to exclude your internal traffic sources.

Set up Intelligence Events in Google Analytics

If you’ve been monitoring your website traffic for a while, you’re likely aware of strange anomalies that can happen. Think a huge spike or drop in your traffic as an example.

Intelligence Events in Google Analytics allows you to set custom parameters to monitor for unusual activity on your website and send alerts to designated account users. For example, a doubling in your average website traffic in one day would be unusual, and Google Analytics can not only alert you about it but also record the data related to it.

Keep in mind that Google Analytics will, by default, notify you of unusual site activity. But don’t rely on that. You’re going to want to set up Intelligence Event notifications.

To set these up, open the Intelligence Events reporting section and select the “Custom Alerts” tab from the right-side menu. Then, click “Manage Custom Alerts.” You’ll want to select “+ New Alert” to then create your custom Intelligence Events.

Monitor your overall website speed

Website speed matters, especially when considering your mobile SEO. If any of your webpages take more than a fraction of a second to load, you risk losing the trust of your visitors and losing them entirely.

In other words, the faster your website loads, the better.

To check your speed within Google Analytics, click on “Reports” followed by “Behavior” and then “Site Speed.”

Add annotations to your reports in Google Analytics

If you’re not the only person managing your Google Analytics account, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of annotations. These are simple notes that can be added to an Analytics reporting graph to explain or give context to various performance data. In particular, you might want to explain an increase or decrease in traffic, make a note of when a specific campaign launched and almost anything else.

Annotations look like speech bubble icons along the bottom of a graph.

To view annotations, click on the downward arrow tab icon beneath the graph, and you’ll see a list of all annotations made within the specified time period, as well as who created the annotation and their email addresses. Then to create a new annotation, click “Create New Annotation” on the right side above existing annotation authors’ email addresses. Keep in mind that you can make annotations public or private, depending on who should see what.

Stay on top of everything with emailed versions of your top reports

Last but not least, you have the opportunity to streamline your analytics monitoring with emailed reports from Google Analytics.

That means that you don’t have to log into your dashboard each time you want to understand what’s going on with your website.

And if logging in has been difficult on a consistent, regular basis, then email reports are something you definitely should leverage for yourself.

First, decide what reports would be best to receive in your email inbox. Then, navigate to each report, set it up how you like (i.e. date filters) and then click “Share.” You can then decide what email addresses it goes to and how frequently it’s sent.

In conclusion

Your performance data will give you the power to make informed decisions about your digital marketing strategies. Take the time to not only understand Google Analytics but also to make it work for you.

Check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners to explore the possibilities of what you can do for your brand.

While you’re exploring to Google Analytics, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

How to evaluate your company’s marketing data

Gathering marketing data is a great first step to understanding your target audience and ensuring your campaigns are effective.

However, after gathering data, you’ll need to understand that data by being able to read and evaluate it. Evaluation is key to ensuring you cut out ineffective strategies. That way, you can develop a successful marketing plan that helps your business earn more profits and build its reputation.

Here’s how to effectively evaluate your company’s marketing data. 

Sales

Ultimately, you market and advertise your business and its products to increase sales and revenue.

You can use the data you get from your marketing and advertising campaigns to determine whether or not sales are increasing and how much. Additionally, depending on the type of campaign, you can determine your return on investment (ROI). ROI is important because it can help you determine which campaigns are the most successful.

While you may get more sales from one type of campaign, you may also find it costs you more to advertise. That would give you a lower ROI. 

In many cases, ROI can tell you how much it costs to acquire customers through one medium. It also indicates how much you’re earning from advertising or marketing. For example, if you advertise on social media, you might have a higher ROI on a certain type of ad or within a certain region.

Check out our six tips to maximize your social media advertising budget.

Customer responses

Customer reactions to campaigns can help you determine customer sentiment as part of your marketing data-gathering efforts.

You can provide your customers with surveys or general customer service feedback forms through email to understand what your customers think of your company and your marketing campaigns.

Simple questions about how customers felt about specific campaigns can help you understand which initiatives are most successful and which customers are making the most purchases. 

See our nine tips to improve social listening and gain customer insights.

Reach

Whether you’re implementing search engine optimization, social media marketing, or digital advertising into your overall market strategy, one of your main goals is to increase brand awareness and reach.

Ultimately, you want to reach more people within your target audience who are more likely to purchase from you. 

Expanding your marketing reach can help you find new people who may not have heard of your products or services yet. This also grows brand awareness in your current markets.

If you use digital marketing strategies, you can easily measure your reach, but it becomes more difficult when you’re using traditional marketing. For example, if you do a billboard campaign, you won’t have exact numbers on how many people saw the billboard, but you can estimate based on data how many drivers use a particular stretch of highway.

Lead generation 

Marketing is supposed to support sales by generating warm leads to give salespeople a higher chance of converting.

While some marketing efforts can lead to direct sales, others do not, especially in the B2B space. Lead generation comes in many forms, including appointments, form submissions, and subscribers to mailing lists. 

You can easily track lead generation as part of your marketing data if you’re doing it through your website by counting the number of form submissions.

Additionally, you should always compare that data to sales data to ensure the leads you’re generating are quality leads that purchase at the end of their journey.

While you can’t expect every lead to make a purchase, your lead generation efforts should be increasing overall sales. 

Check out our 12 strategies to capture more email leads without annoying everyone, and level up your website pop-up ads with our eight tips to get more leads from them.

Website traffic

Your website is a valuable sales tool, even if people can’t make direct purchases on it.

Building a website can help you generate leads and increase brand awareness, but only if you’re getting website traffic. Website traffic is an indicator that SEO efforts are succeeding, but it can also tell you about your other marketing campaigns.

For example, whether you do a traditional marketing campaign or a digital marketing campaign, you should see more traffic to your website. This is because effective marketing makes people want to look for you online to learn more about your products and services. 

marketing-data-website-traffic
Website traffic is an indicator that SEO efforts are succeeding, but it can also tell you about your other marketing campaigns.

Additionally, all digital marketing strategies should lead back to your website. For example, if you’re doing affiliate marketing, the goal should be to get an influencer’s audience to click on a link that leads them back to your website. If you’re not seeing an increase in traffic, your campaigns are ineffective. 

If you’re not sure how much website traffic you’re getting, you can use Google Analytics to learn more. 

Check out our eight tips to increase organic traffic to your website.

Testimonials 

Testimonials are essential for all marketers. Consumers rely on the opinions of their peers to decide whether or not it’s worth it to purchase from or work with a business.

Of course, testimonials and product reviews can help convince potential customers to trust your business based on others’ feedback.

Learn more about social proof, as well as nine ways to use it in your digital marketing.

Unfortunately, measuring the impact of testimonials can be difficult. However, you can experiment by putting testimonials on different pages of your website and checking your web stats, such as views, clicks, and generated leads to see if adding testimonials has an impact. 

Reviews can be easily measured because your customers can provide you with a star rating. That average star rating can tell you how much your customers enjoyed their products. Allow customers to make comments on their reviews to explain why they gave you a certain star rating.

By learning about your customer’s experiences with your product and business, you can find ways to improve both. You also can leverage that knowledge for better marketing initiatives.

See 17 of the best social proof tools to boost your sales.

Customer retention rate

A customer retention rate tells you how many customers you retain over time.

It’s easier and more cost-effective to keep your customers returning rather than constantly finding new ones.

In addition, your retention rate impacts revenue. It also can help you determine which marketing campaigns work best to keep customers coming back. For example, many companies use email marketing to ensure their current customers don’t forget about them. 

Check out our six tips to create brand loyalty for your business.

In conclusion

Collecting marketing data is important if you want to learn about the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. However, you should always determine the most important statistics to you and your business.

Instead of measuring everything and deciphering tons of data, look at the most important metrics first. This will help you determine which strategies are performing well and which are costing you money.

From there, you can start digging deeper into each campaign. Use marketing data to learn more about how to make them better.

About the author

Ashley-Nielsen

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, or financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.

Snapshot: Understanding your metrics on Instagram

Instagram has shown itself to be one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. Any successful account should have a sense of what’s working and what’s not for its audience.

On Instagram, you can find Insights data in three different places in the Instagram app.

To access Insights from your account page, tap the bar graph icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. For analytics on an individual post, navigate to the post and tap View Insights in the bottom-left corner. Or, to see data for a story, open the story and tap the names in the bottom-left corner.

Insights homepage

The Insights homepage shows a summary of data for the content you’ve posted in the last seven days.

In the top section, find out how many total followers you have and how many you’ve gained in the past seven days.

You can also view how many total posts you have on your account and how many you’ve added in the previous week. Scroll down to see a series of bar graphs that reveal the total impressions, reach, and profile views for the past 7 days, and then you can swipe to view website clicks and call-to-action button clicks (Call, Email, Directions).

On the Insights homepage, scroll down to the Followers section to see a summary of follower demographics including gender, age group, and location. Note that you need at least 100 followers to see demographic data. Tap “See More” to open a page with graphs that break down follower demographics in more detail.

More on followers

At the bottom of the Followers section, you’ll find two graphs that show when your followers are most active on the network.

In the first graph, find out when your followers are online each day. Scroll down to the second graph to discover which days your followers are most likely to be online. Look for patterns in the times and days your followers are online, so you can post content at times that will maximize reach and engagement. You can then create a posting schedule that best reflects when your audience is online.

More about posts

The Posts section of the Instagram Insights homepage shows your three most recent posts. Tap See More to view additional posts.

By default, the Posts section shows the total number of impressions for all of your posts in the past year. To segment this data, tap any of the blue links at the top of the page and choose from these filters:

  • Content type (all, photos, videos, and carousel posts)
  • Measurement (comments, engagement, impressions, likes, reach, and saved)
  • Time (7 days, 30 days, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years)

Individual posts

If you want to see data for an individual post, open the post and then tap View Insights in the bottom-left corner. Drag up to view a variety of metrics for that post.

At the top, you find engagement stats (likes, comments, and saves). In the Actions section, discover what actions users took on your profile after seeing this post.

Instagram Stories

You can access insights for your Instagram Stories from the Insights homepage or directly from an individual story post.

If you access stories data from the Insights homepage, you see all of your Stories posts for the past 2 weeks. This view only shows data in the aggregate; you can’t click on individual posts.

By default, Instagram shows impressions data for your stories. Tap one of the blue links at the top of the page to filter Stories data by time (24 hours, 7 days, and 14 days) and action. Analyze this data to find out what Stories content is resonating with your audience and what content is causing them to exit or swipe away. Use these insights to inform future Stories content.

To see insights for an individual Instagram Story, open the Story and tap “Seen By” in the bottom-left corner. From here, you’ll see which users saw the post, total impressions and reach, and what actions were taken on the post. The actions include replies, swipes away, and clicks on stickers and tagged accounts.

The most important thing is to simply start digging into your data. The takeaways will only fuel a better posting strategy on the visual-first social media platform.

For a deeper look, Instagram details every aspect of its data offerings.

You also can dive deeper into the opportunities and challenges of Instagram for small businesses. and our six tips to master Instagram hashtags.

Then, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Snapshot: Understanding your metrics on Facebook

If you’re managing a Facebook page, it’s critical to know what’s working (or not) with what you’re posting. It’s also important to get a real sense of who your audience is.

And all that data can be found in Facebook Insights.

You’ll find Facebook Insights by navigating to your Facebook page and clicking on “Insights.”

Meet the Overview section of Facebook Insights

It defaults to the Overview section, which gives you a one-stop-shop of sorts to get a sense of what’s happening on your page.

Notice that it also defaults to looking at the past seven days and is comparing those days to the seven days before that. This can be changed in the top left corner of the screen to today, yesterday or the past 28 days.

Use the Pages To Watch section at the bottom of the Overview page. The value of this is only limited to the pages you select to compare yourself to (competitors or similar pages are best). However, it will give you an overall gauge of how your page is doing.

There are a number of sections you can explore in depth in Facebook Insights, but two of the most helpful tend to be Posts and People.

Meet the Posts section

In Posts, you can see at a glance how your posts are performing, as well as data showing when your fans are online (which may help shape your post timing).

You also can control how the reach and engagement data are displayed, but the available list graph will show you how your latest posts compare to one another.

Ultimately, your strategy will dictate whether you value reach or engagement more. Typically, you should be taking both into consideration. Take note of what worked and what didn’t. Over time, these successes and misses will help shape your posting.

Meet the People section

The People section also holds a lot of relevant data for your Facebook strategy.

In it, you can see the gender, age and geographic breakdown of your audience, who you’re reaching and who you’re engaging. Plus, you’ll see how they stack up against Facebook’s overall audience.

Take a moment to explore Facebook Insights on your page. Get comfortable with the navigation of the data there, and make it a regular habit to check it. This will build an ongoing library of takeaways that will help you make better content and posting decisions on your page.

For more, hear from the social network itself.

While you’re at it, dive deeper into the opportunities and challenges of Facebook for small businesses and check out our 12 expert tips to optimize your Facebook business page.

Then, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.