Why Analytics?

We are often told that analytics and data are important, and of course they are, but why are they so important? Why should we care? 

Analytics and data are important because customers aren’t very good at telling us what they want, but if you look for trends in the data you can uncover those things. We can see what things people like, don’t like, their tendencies, and habits. It also allows us to show the value of the work we do within marketing. If our job is to communicate value to our customers we should also be able to prove that what we are doing is valuable to the company. If we can’t prove the value of our actions, why do we do what we do? 

For those working on the digital side, Google Analytics is a great way to quantify the value you are providing and uncover information about your users you may otherwise miss.

Now, what about Google Analytics?

Google Analytics was created in 2005 and is pretty popular within the marketing industry. For those who don’t know – it is a web analytics tool. Think websites and apps, it can give you all the information about your website to help answer the questions that have been nagging you. 

Using Google Analytics, you can track users at all points in the digital process, from acquisition, to behaviors, to conversion. It can help you figure out if you should design a mobile-friendly site or not, where your users are coming from, your users’ journey through your site, how they interact with your site, the possibilities are (almost) endless. 

The best part? It’s free!

I personally found Google Analytics very valuable during my internship with Nintex. During my time there as a Marketing Automation Intern, I was in charge of writing a weekly blog newsletter and updating the editorial team on how the blogs in the newsletter were performing. Some of the data I was able to pull from Marketo, but I quickly found I wanted to get more rich information about the blog website itself and how content is performing there. 

Using Google Analytics I was able to report to my team on how the blog was performing overall, how it was performing compared to the past quarter, which blog posts people were spending the most time on, and how most people were getting to the blog (ended up being from my newsletter – which was pretty validating to see). 

With all this information, the editorial team was able to make decisions about which topics to write more blog posts about and what types of content users enjoyed the most. We also were able to see the impact our work was having on the company, which made our work even more enjoyable.

Learning: Google Analytics for Beginners vs. Advanced Google Analytics

Google Analytics for Beginners

I recently took the Google Analytics Individual Qualification exam to become certified. In order to learn the ins and outs of the software I highly suggest starting out with Google Analytics for Beginners. In this course there are four units: 

Unit 1: Introducing Analytics– in this section, you will go over topics such as “why analytics,” setting up an account, and how to set up views in filters. This section will answer the questions you have in regards to how to get started and how to attach Google Analytics to your website. 

Unit 2: The Google Analytics Layout– here you will go over the user interface of the product, the hierarchy of information, how to understand the different reports, sharing, and dashboards. Using the information taught to you in this unit you will find out how to see the number of users, sessions, and page views your site has, as well as the session duration. 

Unit 3: Basic Reporting– this unit you will go over audience reports, acquisition reports, and behavior reports. Ever wondered how people get to your website? Here’s how you find out.

Unit 4: Basic Campaign and Conversion Tracking– this unit covers how to measure and track campaigns, use goals, and Google Ad campaigns. This is where you will be given more insight into how your marketing campaigns are providing value to the company and which are performing the best. 

Advanced Google Analytics

Now if you want to take a deeper dive into the program to better understand it, the Advanced Google Analytics course is your next step. As in the beginner’s course, the advanced course is comprised of four units: 

Unit 1: Data Collection and Processing– this will teach you how data is collected and stored, how to generate reports, create measurement plans, and more. So, if you’re curious about how Google tracks you and gathers your data, this is the place for you to go. 

Unit 2: Setting Up Data Collection and Configuration– here you will learn about organizing your account, creating custom dimensions and metrics, and how to better understand user behavior. The information provided here will help give you greater insight into how people interact with your website. 

Unit 3: Advanced Analysis Tools and Techniques– from this unit, you will understand how to analyze data by channel or audience and use custom reports. Using the analysis taught here you can perform benchmarking analysis where you can see how you compare to others in your industry. 

Unit 4: Advanced Marketing Tools – during this unit you will be taught about re-marketing, better targeting, and have a course summary. After this unit you will be able to better leverage the data you are given for better marketing. 

The best part? For each course you get a certificate to put onto your LinkedIn or share on other social profiles!

Google Merchandise Store

In order to better understand how to use Google Analytics I played around a bit with the Google Merchandise Storedemo account. 

Being interested in UX, I wanted to see how users interacted with the site, their behavior on the site, and so on.

Here’s what I found: 

  • The bounce rate for mobile is 52.04%, while the bounce rate for desktop is 40.03%. This makes me wonder why people are leaving more frequently on the mobile site, I would want to check the usability of the site and ensure that the mobile experience is as good as the desktop. 
  • When looking at the checkout behavior of our users I can see that from billing and shipping to transactions, the number of users decreases from 462 users to 239. With this information in mind, I would look more deeply into the checkout process and try to pinpoint what is causing users to not follow through with their transactions.

Some other useful stuff: 

Customer Journey Mapping– This is SO important. As a marketer or someone within UX, it is critical for you to understand the customer’s whole journey with your company. By doing customer journey mapping exercises you can be aware of the current touch points, pain points, and recognize the opportunities for future meaningful touchpoints. These exercises also help develop your empathy for your customers and help develop a deeper understanding of who they are, their frustrations, their goals, et al. 

And with all the great data and information you can get from Google Analytics it will only make that information more meaningful if you understand your customer’s journey better.

If you want to learn more check out Google’s article.

Test, Test, TEST– You have all this great information about your website and want to make some changes, now what? Test your changes!! A/B tests are your best friend when finding out what content or layouts work the best. Don’t assume the change you want to make will be the best thing, validate your assumption by testing it. Google has a great overview of content experiments and what you can do with them.