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Top Tips for Google Analytics

Top Tips for Google Analytics

Posted in Concise Webinars, Website Analytics by on May 14, 2020
Top Tips for Google Analytics

How do you know what is happening on your website?

  • Who is doing what and why?
  • Where do your visitors and customers come from?
  • How well do they engage with your website?
  • Do they find what they want on your site?
  • How can you get more visitors to convert into enquiries and sales?


These questions – and about a million more – can be answered with good use of analytics. You can get the clever people at Concise to help you with this – but you can also do a lot of it yourself.

Google Analytics is a very powerful and incredibly valuable free tool for website owners. It gives you the info, but you need to know where to look.

This Concise Webinar covers

  • Where to look for the most important info
  • What the numbers say
  • What to do to improve, and
  • What to focus on first for best results fast!

Google Analytics Concise Webinar Replay

Top Tips for Google Analytics (Concise Webinar) Transcript

Richard: Good morning everybody. My name is Richard, Richard Keeves and it’s a real pleasure to be hosting with Gareth, this webinar. This is the first of the webinars that we’ve run in this new era of doing business. There’s a lot of, obviously there’s a lot of changes going on in the world. One of the most important changes is understanding the importance now of websites and making sure that they work really well. I’d like to introduce my colleague as well Gareth Lane. Gareth is going to be mainly presenting this session. Gareth, say hello to everyone.

Gareth: Hello everyone Gareth voice dialling in. It’s nice to see some friendly faces in the attendee list. Hello to everyone that I know personally.

Richard: This is business information you can use, expert advice and stuff that you can actually use after, straight after the webinar you’ll be able to hopefully do things that you might not have been able to do before. This is being recorded and will be available later. It’ll probably be up on our YouTube channel in about 48 hours or less and these webinars are also on the Concise Website in the blog area, we get them transcribed so that you can not only see the video you can also be able to go through and understand anything you might have missed. We’re happy to take questions as we go along but we also have a question session at the end.

Turn Website Data Into Action Tasks to Improve Results

This session today is on Google Analytics and there are three important things that we think are really key with Google Analytics.

The first one is to make sure that you know where to find the user data that is going to be useful.

Second is that you understand how to analyse the data and understand what the numbers actually are telling you.

Then the most important thing after that is then to say okay as a result of this information what do I now do. What can I change and what should I be changing first? What other priorities for action? So with that I’m now going to hand over, hand the talking stick over the Gareth and he’s going to run through some examples with Google Analytics. Go ahead Gareth.

Make Sense of the Numbers

Gareth: Thank you kindly. Okay so just for everyone’s benefit before we get started Google Analytics is a minefield of data. If you don’t like mess and you don’t like percentages then I suggest to go make yourself a cup of coffee and do something else. If you do however enjoy numbers and you enjoy looking at spreadsheets then I think you’ll find Google Analytics very interesting.

One of the things that I find a lot of people go wrong is they don’t know where to start in Google Analytics and Google themselves are not particularly interested in you learning about ways to look properly because Google makes money out of ad revenue and so if they can make sure that you don’t really know exactly what you’re doing then you’ll spend more money so just keep that in mind that Google is a capitalist American company and this particular piece of software while it’s free for you to use is really for Google so that they can harness all the information about the internet so just keep that in mind.

When you have Google Analytics, assuming you have Google Analytics on your website. If you don’t it’s very easy to set up however there are some more advanced things that you can do in Google Analytics once you’ve got the information. If anyone doesn’t have Google Analytics you’re welcome to send me an email and we’ll get some access or get an account set up for you. I always like to start in Google Analytics on this screen called acquisition, all traffic and then channels.

So when you log in you’ll get a whole heap of menus but you should really start here okay because this gives you a really good overview of all of the traffic that your website is getting broken down by different areas of where the traffic has come from whether it’s come from general Google, social media, email, referral, all sorts of different things and it’ll present you a number of columns which I’ve got open on the screen. So I assume that this is coming through okay.

Richard: Yes, that’s great. It is for me hopefully for everyone else.

Visitor Acquisition by Channels

Gareth: Okay wonderful. So once you’ve logged in and you have got to acquisition all traffic channels, the most important thing to do next is to set a date range and the date range is managed in the right hand side up here in the top right hand side and I always try and look at either a month or three months. If you look at anything smaller than that then you’ll find that the data can get very skewed as is what’s happening in this example where there was some peak advertising that was done on this website and they’ve got some big spikes in their traffic on certain days. If you then looked at the analytics in a shorter time frame than a month then you’ll find that the data will be really misleading.

The other thing that it’s really important to do is to set a comparison so you know what you’re comparing the data to. So in the date range box up in the top right hand side there’s a little drop-down that says compare. Just tick that box and then it’ll bring in this example I’ve got the last 30 days versus the 30 days before and I chose this one in particular because it has been affected by Covid 19, their business and we want to know why okay.

Conversions by Channels

The next thing that you want to make sure you look at is have a section on conversions which is on the right-hand side. It does need to be set up so if you have data that is blank then you do need to set it up and the idea of goals is to highlight on your website what you want people to do. So if you have an e-commerce business then the goal would be to get checkouts or sales or something like that. If you have a business that is doing accommodation which is this particular example then you obviously want a booking. If you have a business that you rely on email inquiries then your goal would be email inquiries. You can set lots of different goals but it’s really important to look at your website and decide what you want the user to do and that will also help your Google Analytics data.

In this particular example here we’ve got the data broken down by the type of traffic that comes through and then reading across the page we have acquisitions. So acquisition is the type of people that are coming into the website so it’s the number of users, how many of them were new users, how many times they came back to the website and then broken down per traffic source and then broken down again per time period.

Behaviour on Website

Moving across you then have what’s called behaviour. Behaviour gives you a really good idea of how people are behaving on your website as the name suggests. There’s a lot of misunderstanding around what a bounce rate is. A bounce rate is when someone lands on your web page or a page on your website and then leaves without doing anything else right so basically they didn’t click anything. Now you have to be very careful with that because if you only have a one page website then everyone’s going to bounce because they can’t do anything else.

If you have a ten page website and everyone lands on one particular page and then leaves from that page and doesn’t go to another page then again you’ll have a high bounce. So if you’re a business that people Google your business name to find the phone number then people are very likely to just click one page which would be the contact page and then they would look at that and then leave which would give you a high bounce so just keep that in mind that look at it in isolation.

Personally I prefer to look at the next two in conjunction with each other so pages per session is how many actions that person took on that web page and then the session duration is how long they spent on the site in total. Just think about if you had a physical showroom and someone came and looked at 3.6 areas of the showroom and they spent an average of two minutes wandering around that showroom. You would say well is that good or bad.

Because I’ve got the comparison on this has dropped substantially in the last month and being an accommodation because of Covid 19 that’s no surprise. They’re getting more traffic but they’re spending less time on the site. Okay so they’re probably looking to sort of reset bookings or get discounts or sorry or refunds those sorts of things so you just have to kind of think about it in isolation. You then have to then look at the goals and say well what do we intend to get the customer to do so in this particular example the traffic went up only 1.7 percent so the percentage, the number of users only went up 1.75 percent however the number of conversions, the number of bookings went up a 125%.

Now in this example that’s kind of obvious because it’s in accommodation and it’s Covid 19 related and people are starting to book holidays again so there’s a good reason for the data. That’s really the main thing to think about is ask yourself a question and just look at the number and say does that seem right. Then relate it back to what’s happening in the in the business world, your business and so on.

Okay moving on to the next one. That’s kind of like where you want to start okay. I haven’t confused you with all of that then we’ll keep going. This particular example now that I have on the screen is the same screen so it’s still acquisition all traffic but this particular site has a lot more different types of traffic. Down on the left here we have organic search so this is people who have googled the business, haven’t come from a paid ad. Some would say SEO. It not really SEO but is a part of it okay. Direct traffic means that people have typed in the business name into the URL so www.businessname.com. That’s what direct traffic means.

Paid search is if you’re paying ads so for say Google ads or other paid ads that will appear in paid search. Other is a catch-all for anything else. Social is for social media. Social media usually includes any paid social media as well but you can break it down. Referral traffic is from third parties so let’s just pretend you had a listing on another website or a directory or something like that and the website traffic came from that source that’s what that would be. Display is another form of paid advertising and then just under here which you can’t quite see is email so if you’re sending out email promotions and it would tag that traffic there.

You then want to look at all the information in isolation and say well how can I improve each so I’ve highlighted here the organic search traffic has increased 28.9% over the last 30 days compared to the 30 days before and on the face of that we would say well that’s good. Our traffic is gone up however if we then scroll across to our conversions on the right-hand side will note that the conversion rate went down 18% or nearly 20%. What that means is you had more people coming in the front door but less people wanting to buy your product so you would look at what did I do in the website in the last month that may have disencouraged people to buy like they did the month before.

Again this particular example I chose because it’s Covid 19 related so you’ve got people who are in the market browsing but they’re not necessarily buying so you have to look at those numbers together. So like if you had say a number where this one here paid search has increased 11% and then the conversions has also increased very similar 10.35% then you would say you’re getting the same type of users. They’re still qualified. They’re still buying in the same sort of ratio so it’s important to look at those numbers together rather than on their own.

eCommerce Conversion Rate Optimisation

Okay next one along. This is a further illustration of the same, same point. This one is to do with e-commerce and I have extended the search so the date range to three months. So if you’re going to sort of be really analytical with improving the website and making major changes to the website then you want to look at the, a larger date range. So this particular example they were looking at their paid search and their costs of paid ads.

Richard: It’s important for people to realize this is actually a different business now.

Gareth: Yes sorry all of these are individual examples.

Richard: This is a different example guys. This is why the numbers are a lot different.

Gareth: Thanks so with this paid search here so you would look at that top number and say okay well we’ve had a 46% increase in traffic from paid search and you would look at that in theory and say well done that’s a good result. However if we scroll then across to the e-commerce section which I’ve highlighted here the number of transactions has also increased 42% which is almost the same number. They’re very similar numbers okay. So if you’re doing paid search then the people that were managing that paid search could sort of give themselves a good little pat on the back for doing a good job of increasing the traffic but they haven’t really done anything to improve the quality of their traffic and reduce the spend because they’ve just added more to the pass.

So they’ve just made the front door bigger rather than optimize the people coming in. So if you’re doing paid traffic so that counts for social media or paid ads or anything like that then the name of the game is to improve the conversion rate over time and so the percentage increase in transactions should be higher than the percentage increase in traffic because that would suggest that there are more, better qualified people coming into the business over time. Does that make sense?

Richard: Just to add to that it’s about conversion rate optimisation where we’re part of the process of that is making small tweaks to improve things and over time a lot of small tweaks add up and so it’s not just good enough to pay money to get a lot more people coming in to the website. What’s important is to make sure that you get more people converting more times on the way through the website and then you start paying more money and the whole system works very well. If you just spend money attracting people to website but your conversion rates are not very good then you can waste a lot of money and waste a lot of opportunity.

Gareth: Absolutely. Okay, this is another illustration of a very similar point about how you sort of, this would be what you would want to happen where we’ve compared year-on-year so this is the same business and the previous screen was three months versus the three months before so it was January to March versus October to December. This example I have used the same January to March but I’ve compared it to the year before and we can now see that there was a 132% increase in traffic from paid search however there was a 240% increase in number of transactions because we had a 65% improvement in the key e-commerce conversion rate.

As you were saying it’s very important that you focus on improving the conversion rate because that will multiply the effect of more traffic into more transactions and in this particular example that added something like three $300,000 of additional revenue so very important to be conscious, be continually focusing on improving conversion rate and this particular website I believe did a bit of a refresh and a revamp of their website and would no doubt have some effect on that but if you’re paying third parties to do this sort of work on your behalf or you’re doing it yourself and you’re spending money on paid ads or email marketing or social media or anything like that then you want to make sure that the percentage increase in conversion rates is higher than the percentage increase in traffic otherwise you’re effectively going backwards.

Okay anyone has a question as we go please feel free to put it in the chat. I’ll try and address them as we go if needed.

Look at Landing Pages – Not Just Home Page

The next section that I find really useful in Google Analytics is what we call landing pages and how you get to that is you go on the left hand side in behaviour, site content and then landing pages. Now common misunderstanding from a lot of clients I find is that they put a lot of effort into their website’s home page and they have really good pictures and really good messaging and so on and so on but they don’t realize that the majority of the website traffic doesn’t go to the home page first.


So this part of analytics tells you where they do go so what I’ve highlighted here is the percentage of people that go to the home page. So when you look at your landing pages and you see a forward slash like I have on the screen here that is the home page and the number that I’ve highlighted in red here is the percentage of the traffic that went to the home page first. So only 21% of the website’s overall traffic went to the home page so that means 79% of other people went somewhere else and it missed them in order.

Okay now I’ve had to sort of hide out these pages for confidentiality reasons however if you look at in your Google Analytics then you’ll see the exact page name and the URL of what page they landed in on your website and it’s in order of like percentage of people that went. So page 2 here on their list they had 7% or 6.09% of their traffic went to that page first and we’re talking you know eight thousand five hundred people who did that in a three month so it’s not to be sneezed at.

If we then scroll across this data we will be alarmed at the terrible conversion rate from those people versus the people that hit the home page who converted at 13.68% and generated $600,000 worth of sales whereas the people that hit the second most visited page only converted at 0.18% so very, very, very low and only made up $2,000 worth of sales. So my advice to this if I was looking at this how to improve this page would be to look at this page and think what have I missed on that page that I should be convincing my prospective customers to stay on my webpage.

I can look at the bounce rate and it shows that the most the people that have landed on that page has then left. Most of the people that landed only looked at one page and then they only spent on just on a minute on that page whereas the average for the home page is five and a half minutes so I would go and look at that page on the website and work out how I can make it better. I might put some links on there, some more pictures and videos and testimonials. Those sorts of things.

Measure Website Engagement with Session Duration

Richard: Sorry just to add to that. That five and a half minutes is the session duration. What that means is when they went to the home page and then went to other pages in the site then they overall average stayed five and a half minutes on that website as opposed to the one in the second row where they only spent one minute. This is about engaging the people who come to the site to make sure that they don’t only see things on the website but they start interacting, they learn, they’re engaged and when people are engaged they convert better.

If they’re not engaged or not they’re just looking at the website but they’re thinking okay well this is not giving me what I wanted. Better go somewhere else then you’ve pretty well lost and that’s what’s happening in the second row there. They’re sticking around for a little while not doing very much and then leaving quickly.

Gareth: Absolutely so very important to look at landing pages. The other one that’s really useful to look at is the location. So this is another website again and how you get to this page is you go to audience, geo and then location and then this will break it down not only by country but you can also then break it down again by state. If I say click Australia or the US all the data is broken down in the same columns but per country.

So if I then look at this data in comparison we can see that 8% of our traffic comes from the United States however the United States’ traffic only spends 15 seconds on the page and they don’t convert. One or two people did check out so this then would present an opportunity to this business to say well we’re getting people from the US it’s not a massive number but it’s a reasonable number. That’s 800 or 700 odd people, individual people over a one-month period through Covid 19 who have said I’m happy to go and look at an Australian web page however they’ve landed and gone oh, they don’t sell to the US or it’s not obvious that they sell to the US so I’m going to leave.

So that would be a really good opportunity particularly because of the low Aussie dollar versus the US dollar at the moment for this business to maybe offer international shipping or option for the US market to pay for items in US dollars. So it also dramatically reduces the stats averages so there are ways of you like if this business said well we only work in Australia. We don’t want to do anything outside Australia then there are ways in Google Analytics to exclude these countries or anything other than Australia from all of the analytics so that you’re not seeing skewed information. So very important to sort of look at your analytics in isolation to your business and have a really good understanding of what your business’ target customer is, where they’re located and there’s lots of other options in Google Analytics.

Look at the Devices Your Visitors Use

The final one that I want to show you is the device. Okay this is probably the most important one of all and there’s somewhat of an argument to suggest that this should be obvious now but I keep finding, keep getting proven wrong so you get to this one by going under audience, mobile and then overview. What this does is again breaks all of the same information down by what device that came in on. I constantly find myself sitting in meetings with clients where they’re talking through their website and what they want to do to improve it on a desktop. They still seem to not realize that the Google Analytics will give them the answer as to what device their customers are actually using.

So in this particular example 72% of this website’s traffic so you’re talking 80,000 users in a three-month period are using a mobile so there should be absolutely no reason at all that we should be focusing on the desktop first we should be making all changes to the mobile and then looking at the desktop second because even though the desktop does have traffic it’s 26%, the majority is still on a mobile. Then if we then look at their conversion rates we can see a huge difference between conversion rates on desktop versus conversion rates on mobile so it’s nearly four times. Just imagine if we could get the mobile device to convert as good as the desktop device then that would generate four times the additional revenue which would add something like three million dollars of revenue in a three month period to this business.

This just goes to show you the power of really looking at Google Analytics and focusing on or knowing where to look and then using the data to help you make better decisions about how to improve your website and where you should focus time and effort. That’s me done. Any questions?

Questions about Analytics

Richard: Thanks Gareth. Yes, there is a question in the chat. I’ll let you, from Rebecca. Can you see that?

Gareth: Okay. We were trying to figure out if our increase in social media spend was justified by increased conversions. We’ve had to base the belief it is on Facebook’s own ad manager data because I’ve been told by our SEO company that there’s no way to track if a customer initially came through from a social channel but did not immediately buy then later came back to purchase. That purchase now gets attributed as a direct link rather than social I’m assuming.

Okay that’s a really good question and it’s actually quite a technical question to answer so what Rebecca is asking it’s called last click attribution and the idea being if I could set up an example for you. So let’s just pretend I Googled a business and I clicked on an ad. Then I went to the web page and then I then didn’t do anything. Then went to my social media, my mobile because it’s all connected right. Then I saw an ad or a remarketing ad or even went to that business’ social page and then I then clicked on that ad from the from the Facebook page ad. The traffic and the conversion would be attributed to the social media ad even though my first interaction was with the business came from an ad that I saw in Google.

Where it’s really important to look at from an analysis point of view is comparing data. So what you can’t do is compare data when you changed the attribution method because you can actually change that last click format in the ad manager. Sorry this is quite technical this question. However if you change it and then look at the data then you’re not really going to be able to compare it. So as long as everything is kept the same then the job of improving your social media spend would be looking at your comparison data a month on month without changing anything about the way that the attribution is done.

So if you went into your Google Analytics and you set the date ranges and then you looked at the acquisition channel and then the traffic that came from social media then you should be able to make a decision on whether or not the spend generated any additional return. A prime example of wastage in social media comes on mobile devices from ads that appear within an app.

So if you if you’re on a mobile device for example and you go to say the Weather Zone which is the free weather app. Right at the bottom of that app just basically on top of the back button or the homepage button of your mobile device you’ll find a very sneaky little set of ads that come through that are placed very, very, very, very on top of the button that you would want to push and then so what happens is you as the user accidentally click on that ad instead of the homepage you hit the web, you’ve triggered the ad the advertisers paid and then you end up then going back. How you find that in your Google Analytics is when you go to your channels.

Let me see if I’ve got an example here on the screen. When you go to your channel data you will see from social media so if I just zoom in on this one. If you look at your social media data on this little line here and you see that your time on page is under 10 seconds I can pretty much guarantee it’s because the majority of the traffic has come from people that accidentally clicked that ad. It’s how Facebook and Google make billions of dollars from people that don’t know what they’re doing and so I hope that is helpful. I hope that answered the question.

Richard: Okay are there any more questions for Gareth? All right. In the absence of that Gareth, you want to wrap up?

Gareth: Sure um thanks everyone for your time. Was there some last minute questions coming in?

Richard: No, I was just going to say that just one thing before we do is that we are running the next webinar on May 28th and this is about top tips for online stores. This is very, very important obviously in this environment where people to sell more online. May 28th two weeks from now is for that one. Hang on, wait a minute.

Gareth: If anyone has any, needs any assistance with Google Analytics or not sure if they have an account, if you’re already a client of Concise and you’re not sure if you have access or something like that then please get in contact with us. No problem at all.

Richard: One thing that Gareth and I talked about prior to this is that if you have attended the session today and you would like to know more about your analytics Gareth’s happy to do and he will probably tell you more about this but he hasn’t yet but he’s happy to do a free 30-minute one-on-one session with you to go through your own Google Analytics and to help draw out any of the information that may be hiding in your analytics data. That’s a free 30-minute session that is we normally charge for that so this is a benefit but in terms of like because you’ve attended this webinar happy to extend that to you.

Gareth: I won’t say no to a bottle of wine either. My arm can be twisted.

Richard: Actually there’s another question come in Gareth about landing pages. Just before we wrap.

Gareth: Okay landing pages rather than looking at which pages to improve can you influence where customers land i.e. direct more traffic to the home page if that’s the most attractive, has the most info. Okay good question. You have to analyse where the traffic actually came from in the first instance so there’s a very handy little button which I didn’t go through today because it’s more of an advanced session but in Google Analytics there’s a button called secondary dimension.

If you’re on the landing page’s screen in Google Analytics you can then add in another layer of data which shows you what channel they used to get to that landing page. So for example you might find that that landing page, the majority of the traffic hit that landing page from an email campaign. So that would be an obvious way of you changing the landing page from an email campaign. You might find that that traffic the landing page was from organic search which is more difficult to control because the search bot has put that traffic sorry, it’s put that landing page in its index and made it more important and more relevant.

So to answer that question properly you have to look at the actual source of that traffic in the first instance. You can also on those landing pages like if you had a landing page that was perhaps a blog post as your second most landed page then at the top of that page you could put a few links and say you might be interested in this or click here to browse our categories.

Like a lot of people say have their home pages with all the menus and all the options and so and so on but then all their sort of blog posts and content pages and other things don’t have any links outside of the menu so you can put some links at the top of the page or through the content which direct you to other sites.

Richard: Just on that score Google normally decides where people come in either by which pages it shows in its index. That’s for organic but for other things other than organic yes, you can control the links that you put out there. Great, you guys hope you’ve enjoyed that webinar session. As I say there’s another one in two weeks’ time for about online stores. Thank you very much Gareth. We’ve got a lot of comments coming in saying that was great information and I definitely concur. That was well done. Thank you everybody.

Gareth: Thanks very much.

Richard: Thanks for taking part in this session. Thank you.

Gareth: Thank you.

Richard: We’re going to wrap now. Bye now.


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