Google Analytics (GA) is a complicated beast. It provides you with a wealth of information about your website, but if you don’t understand how it all works, this can be about as baffling and useful as a chocolate teapot!
Zanzi has been working with Maddy Biddulph from Giant Peach PR on several projects recently. Maddy recently asked Zanzi’s Ned Wells to talk her through the basics of how to master the GA beast.
Here are some tips that she learnt in just one hour with Ned, about using GA to help with social media campaigns:
AUDIENCE: Getting to know you, getting to know all about you
GA is great for understanding your audience and helping you to tailor your web and social media content accordingly. As a social media consultant, it’s massively useful in terms of working out what sorts of social media posts work for my clients – and which ones crash and burn, too.
Head to the AUDIENCE section on the left hand side to hone in who your users are.
By clicking on GEO then LOCATION you can see geographically where the most hits for your website come from.
One of my social media clients is the Bear and Ragged Staff – a luxury 4* country inn, AA Rosette restaurant and pub in Cumnor, just outside Oxford.
Using the GEO / LOCATION tool I can see that in the last month most of their web visitors have come from Oxford, London and Birmingham.
This tells me that a targeted social media post or campaign would be a good idea to drive more traffic to the website, perhaps something like:
“Oxford is so easy to get to by train from London and Birmingham! While you’re here why not check out our delicious real ales and food at @bearandraggedstaff.
#London #Birmingham #Oxford #citybreak #holiday #travel #pub #bearcumnor #realale #food”
The AUDIENCE section also offers insights into the kinds of devices your web visitors use. Click on OVERVIEW then MOBILE and OVERVIEW again to see the percentage of mobile, tablet and desktop users.
For the Bear, Analytics reveal that in the last month 40% of their users were on mobiles, 40% were using their desktop computers and 21% were on tablets. By hovering over the top right category ‘average session duration’, I found that people using desktop and tablets visited more than four pages on the site and stayed for 2.5 minutes or more. However mobile users only visited three pages and stuck around for just under two minutes.
This raises some interesting questions:
- Is this because mobile users are in a hurry and don’t stay on the site for long?
- Are they landing from social media and having a quick look?
- Is it because content is bad?
- Or are lower levels of engagement a sign of a problem with the mobile version of the site?
All worth thinking about when providing both social media and web content for businesses!
The BEHAVIOUR section provides the data to answer these questions since it shows the visitors’ paths through the website from when they land on a page. GA allows the visitors to be segmented by device so it is possible to see where mobile visitors go on the site, what they do and where they leave.
Whilst Google Analytics shows the data, it’s up to you to interpret why people leave on particular pages or move through your site in a particular way.
ACQUISITION: The rules of attraction
Click on the ACQUISITION section on the left hand bar and then OVERVIEW below it and you can find out some interesting things about how your website attracts users.
Here you can view a pie chart breaking down the percentage of people who – and the channels they use to – come to the website. This information is broken down into organic search, direct, referral (via an article or mention from another site), email, social, affiliates, paid search, display and other.
Bring up more detail by clicking on ALL TRAFFIC on the left hand side. From here you can then click on each CHANNEL (much in the same way as you click on a link in an online article) to find out more.
For my client the Bear, clicking on SOCIAL is most helpful as it tells me which platforms people are using to come to the website. Reassuringly, the top two are Facebook and Twitter, where the focus of most of my targeted content appears.
Looking at REFERRAL brings up some surprising results however – the Bear website is getting lots of traffic via luxury hotels and restaurant listings site www.britainsfinest.co.uk and doggiepubs.org.uk, a non-commercial website which, as the name suggests, lists dog friendly pubs in the UK.
This signals to me not only an opportunity to thank these guys for the referral with a Tweet on the Bear’s Twitter account, being sure to @ them in my posts to get the attention of all their lovely followers. But it’s also a chance to target my content more specifically to dog lovers, travellers and foodies – all potential new customers and visitors to the Bear website.
So a big thank you to Ned for showing me around Google Analytics, I’m looking forward to session #2 when we’ll go into things in a bit more detail.