In addition to recommending Google Analytics (GA) to our client base, we utilize GA as our analytics platform to track our internal web stats, as well. We are one of a few select companies to be named a Google Analytics Certified Partner (GACP) and according to Google “Certified Partners are carefully vetted by Google and meet rigorous qualification standards”. We are very proud of this honor and continue to educate clients (both large and small) on the ins and outs of GA.
Once GA is implemented onto a website, marketers suddenly find themselves with a wealth of knowledge and information they never had before. I get asked the same question over and over, which boils down to: What should I be looking for? While GA is extremely user friendly, especially compared to other platforms available today, it‘s also remarkably robust, thus making it (seem like) a daunting task to sift through all of the available data. You can literally get lost in GA for hours, discovering new and valuable information pertaining to your web stats. That being said, what should you be looking for? If brand new to GA, I find it a good exercise to simply start with the dashboard. As you become more comfortable, it will be less overwhelming to dive deeper into all of the reports GA has to offer.
GA defines their dashboard as “your customizable collection of report summaries”. Below is a screenshot from GA, which shows some of the default metrics; they can be arranged according to individual user preferences. Each metric can be clicked on in order to get more granular. Although the dashboard is rather basic, there are still a ton of valuable insights such as: Avg. time on site, bounce rate, pageviews, new visits, pages per visit, etc. The Map Overlay feature is particularly useful in determining where your site traffic originates from, plus which areas are converting into sales, leads, etc. You can drill all the way down to city.
All in all, GA is a comprehensive (not to mention free) tool that will prove to be mission critical in determining which online initiatives are fruitful for your business and which could be replaced. Every dollar counts and you ought to be armed with as much knowledge about your web stats as possible. If you have not already done so, check out our analytics page now and get started!
Google Analytics defines bounce rate as “the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.” Wikipedia defines it as “the percentage of initial visitors to a site who bounce away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.”
Both of these above definitions basically say the same thing. What a marketer needs to know is that the lower the bounce rate, the better. So what is considered a good bounce rate? There are actually many different opinions on this. Some experts say that 50% is average and anything lower is considered above average. Others say that a number below 30% is what you should be striving for.
Monitoring your bounce rate can be a very valuable tool, but also a bit misleading and therefore should definitely not be the only way you are measuring your performance. A high bounce rate typically translates into a visitor that was not sufficiently engaged and left your site without so much as visiting a second page. A high bounce rate is also an indication that your visitor was not as qualified as you had hoped for.
That being said, this may not always hold true for lead generation sites. Think about it this way…lets say that you’re running a Pay per Click (PPC) Campaign, you have a lead generation site and you are sending visitors directly to your form page. If a visitor fills out the form and your website is not configured correctly (in other words, the URL does not change when the form is filled out), this could result in a “bounce” when in actuality, your searcher completed the desired action item. This often occurs with blogs, as well. Visitors will reach your blog, read all of the way through and then exit when done. For this reason, blogs tend to have a high bounce rate, as well.
While I encourage you to pay attention to your bounce rate, as it can be a useful way to gauge progress, other factors should also considered, such as time on site, landing page quality, percentage of new visitors, etc.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, how about taking the time to think about which aspects of your website and online marketing initiatives you are thankful for. From this list, you can determine what might be missing or lacking from your online efforts and expand and/or improve your efforts from there.
Be thankful if…
Your website is professional and polished looking and represents your company well.
Some components you should ensure are present on your website: Clear calls to action that are prominently displayed throughout the site; examples include but are not limited to: call us now, click here for more information, fill out this request form and download this whitepaper) easy and seamless navigation for both the search engines and the user and a Blog with new, up-to-date and relevant content.
Your Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Efforts are producing qualified leads and/or sales.
This is imperative. Do not waste precious advertising dollars on an ineffective advertising campaign. You should be able to track and monitor campaign performance, which brings me to my next item….
You have implemented an Analytics Tool that is providing ample data with respect to your website traffic. This is a mission critical piece of the puzzle, especially if you are paying to drive visitors to your website. Which keywords/engines are driving the most revenue? Which have a high bounce rate and should be eliminated from your keyword menu?
You have an effective (effective being the key word here) Social Media Strategy in place.
Having a Facebook page is simply not enough. How are you going to leverage your page to reach prospective clients, shoppers, etc? What are you posting on your Twitter page that is of interest to your consumers and ultimately driving more visitors to your website?
I am hopeful that this exercise can shed some light on any components that might be missing from your overall marketing strategy. If any of the above is not a component you can be thankful for, you ought to get to work and make it happen!