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  • Michael Bolt

Three things to consider when starting out with Google Analytics

A tenet of any successful business is knowing why a customer has walked through their door and made a purchase. Establishing that fact though is not straightforward, especially when they have come through your website.

Google Analytics is a free piece of software that works with your website and can help you answer that fundamental question. For a free piece of software though it is very powerful and sometimes can overwhelm a new user.

In todays blog I am going to highlight three things a small business owner new to Google Analytics can focus on, to make quick wins and a better return on their investment using it.

1. Site Visitors

People obsess over visitor numbers in particular but you need to look past the headline stats. Visitors to your website are split into 2 categories; new and returning, and Google tells the difference by looking for a cookie it would have left on your machine.

If it finds one, you’re a returning customer, if not, you are new. But, bear in mind that if the person clears cookies from their machine and then returns, Google won’t be able to tell the difference and will mark them down as new.

When looking at visitor activity, you need to be comparing it against what has been happening in your business, to explain any peaks or troughs at the same time.

Has their been a new product launch, a recent event, a marketing campaign or could what you are seeing merely be a seasonal trend in your business? Have you published a blog post and if so, what was it about?

After you have done this and established cause & effect, a straightforward marketing strategy would be to simply repeat and refine.

Dig a little deeper though and you will be able to understand a few more characteristics of your audience that are important. Including our second point, being;

2. Device

In the section marked Audience you can find the option for Devices under Mobile. Knowing which kind of device your visitors use to visit your site is useful for establishing how mobile friendly your site needs to be and making plans in this area.

If the majority of your visitors are using a smartphone it makes sense to have a site that is user friendly when on one. Google will break it down into desktop, mobile or tablet to help you here.

Mobile browsing is the future but if you have a limited budget and your audience is still mostly using desktop computers, redeveloping your site immediately may not be the best use of funds.

By monitoring this on Google Analytics you can stay one step ahead of your industry without spending funds on redeveloping your site too early.

3. Traffic sources

Knowing how a visitor found your site is fundamental to setting marketing strategy and this is the last element I’d like you to focus on.

In the section marked Acquisition Google Analytics can tell you if the visitor came direct by typing your web address into the browser, if they came through a social network and usually which one, if they clicked on an email they received or even if they used a particular search term in Google itself before making the connection.

Here at Need More Time, we’re using this aspect of Google Analytics in particular to help us set advertising budgets so we make sure we spend money where our audience is active.

Being able to review this kind of data is one of the highlights with Google Analytics because it can directly help you refine your offering and your route to market, which is something more traditional forms of marketing don’t easily allow you to do.

Concentrate on these three areas to begin with and review the data regularly – we advise at least monthly – and you will be well on your way to having a happy healthy well informed web presence.

Google Analytics has a lot to offer todays small business owner and we will be covering more advanced elements in a future blog post, but for the time being add a comment below and let us know how you are getting on with it. Is there anything you would like us to cover in the future?

Until next time



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