Google is an online marketer’s best friend. In order to help companies help themselves, Google offers many free tools that are useful for small businesses.
For example, the Keyword Planner tool provides insights on search trends and Google Analytics showcases website performance.
But with all of the time and resources that go into building and managing websites to attract customers, it’s surprising that the majority companies are not taking the time to look at how their websites are performing.
In fact, BuiltWith, a site tracking software, shows that only 8.1 percent of 360 million websites actually use Google Analytics.
As intimidating as it may look, you don’t have to be a data expert to review and pull valuable insights from Google Analytics. Small businesses can gain valuable insights in just a few minutes a week.
For example, once you know where to look, you might be impressed to find that your latest company blog post is the most popular yet or, that site visitors who clicked on your Google ads are spending more time on your site than those coming from anywhere else.
No matter what insights you uncover, any small business with an active customer acquisition strategy can use this undervalued tool to learn more about their own sales cycles and customer preferences.
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As a follow up to my article last month, Google Advertising Offers Multiple Levels of Lead Generation, here are three key metrics to measure the impact of Google ads and all of your lead generation efforts within Google Analytics.
1. Page Popularity. [Behavior → Site Content → All Pages]
With all of the time and effort that goes into creating site content, it’s worth taking a deeper look at your top visited pages for insights on specific campaigns or pieces of content by comparing page performance. Are your blogs gaining more views than your product pages? Are certain products more popular than others?
More importantly, which pages have a higher bounce rate? Let’s say you built an email campaign with links to two different landing pages. You could then look at which page received more page views, which kept traffic on the site the longest, and which page resulted in more conversions. When looking at each page, don’t be fooled by traffic volume as your main performance metric. While quantity is important, quality is key driving people who are really potential customers and the next two metrics help to add quality context to your traffic volume.
2. Time Spent on Site
This metric is particularly important to track the quality of traffic, including Google advertising referrals, as well as gauging sentiment after making changes to your website. The time users are spending on your pages is a wonderful metric for comparison. If you find that users are spending more time on particular landing pages, blog posts or infographics than others, then this type of content may be more engaging or relevant for your audience and should be replicated.
While more time spent on a page is generally better, take note of any changes in time on site after you make any big changes to your website. Keep in mind that a decrease in time on your website may not be a bad thing if it means users are getting the information they need quicker and easier than they were before.
When looking at time spent on site, it’s also important to remain subjective in determining if the numbers make sense. For example, if you updated your home page with a ton of additional web copy, it makes sense that people are spending more time there, and are likely visiting fewer pages as a result of having the additional information all in one place. On the contrary, if you decreased a significant amount of content, and people start spending more time on your home page, that’s a signal that they may have trouble finding the information they’re looking for.
3. Conversion Insights. [Acquisition → All Traffic]
You already know that the volume and quality of new leads will have a direct impact on the pipeline of your business. It’s important to know which channels are driving the most conversions to enhance your lead generation strategy. By setting up goals and conversions within Google Analytics and Google Adwords, you’ll be able to see where the majority of conversions are coming from and compare the quality of traffic from these sources. You can also view conversions and compare behaviors for specific landing pages under Behavior → Site Content → Landing Pages.
By reviewing which channels are performing best for conversions and engagement, you’ll be able to identify which communication tactics serve best for certain purposes. For example, you may find that Twitter drives more engagement and is, therefore, likely best used for brand awareness and content promotion, while email marketing drives the most conversions. That certainly doesn’t mean you should stop tweeting; just use this knowledge to your advantage, and use each channel accordingly.
Go Above and Beyond
Once you’ve measured the impact of your lead gen efforts, from content marketing to online ads, take the opportunity to use these insights to make improvements. If performance is lower than you’d like to see, it doesn’t take a complete website overhaul to boost these metrics. Maybe you’ve added a new form such as an e-newsletter subscription or contact us form on your site that isn’t providing an uptick in leads despite an increase in traffic. Don’t fret. Experiment with different headlines, form fields, and button colors to see which small changes have a positive impact. Then, once the form conversions start to rise, you can apply what you’ve learned to the rest of your site.
Related Article: Your New Toolkit: Top Online Marketing Tools for SMBs
Your website is one of the most important tools your business can use to drive leads and acquire new customers. That’s why it’s critical to monitor the performance of your efforts in terms of behaviors as well as conversions. Google Analytics is a great (free) source to learn a lot about your customers and prospects, while also reflecting on your own efforts. If you make it an ongoing process, Google may become your best friend as you see more leads transform into customers.