Tracking & Analytics

For this section, we’re going to dive deep with Google Analytics.

“If you can’t measure it, then it will be hard to know what’s working and what’s not — and what you should be spending your time on.”

For this section, we’re going to dive deep with Google Analytics.

Why?

Google Analytics is the reliable workhorse of the marketing tech stack. So reliable in fact that recent estimates for the number of companies using Google Analytics range anywhere from 30 to 50 million.😱

Google Analytics and Growth Marketing

As a growth marketer, I’m in Google Analytics almost once an hour — without Google Analytics, it would be nearly impossible for me to know how my campaigns are doing, how a website is converting, what our best traffic sources are, how to make budget decisions, where to put my money, and more.

Google Analytics allows you to follow a lead or purchaser all the way through their customer lifecycle.

At a high-level, Google Analytics is brilliant for five reasons:

  • Knowing where your website visitors are coming from
  • How they found you
  • What content they viewed
  • How long they stayed on parts of your site
  • What your traffic mix looks like

To understand how Google Analytics provides these outcomes, here’s what we’re going to work through:

TRACKTraffic trends
FINDA lead path
CHECK OUTWhich pages matter most
LEVERAGEGA for goal tracking
REVIEWCampaign results

Track Traffic Trends

Right when you log in to Google Analytics, you’ll see a dashboard that provides traffic trends. These are really only useful if your site is broken. You’d be alerted to that by “0” site visitors or similar content. I don’t spend much time on that initial screen.

Instead, where you want to go to track traffic trends is:

Acquisition > Overview

This will tell you where your traffic is coming from. Check out the color-coded pie chart to see if your traffic is coming from. You may see traffic from the following sources:

  • Organic Search
  • Direct
  • Referral
  • Social
  • Google Paid
  • Paid Search
  • Email
  • Other

In addition to knowing where your traffic is coming from, this simple reporting feature in Google Analytics tells you how traffic by source behaves differently.

For each traffic source, you can view data on:

  • Sessions
  • % New sessions
  • New users
  • Bounce rate
  • Pages/session
  • Average session duration

All of these categories help you trace the path a lead is taking to get to your site, and what they do once they’re on it.

Find a Lead Path

Here’s where you’re looking, still in the Acquisition section of GA:

The data you collect for traffic sources can help you set and meet more targeted goals. The information here can quickly show you which source is best driving leads and at what conversion rate. Not all traffic is equally valuable for your business.

Tracing the lead all the way to the point of conversion helps you understand which paths are most profitable. Consider the strategic decision-making possibilities this unlocks. You can allocate resources to bring more leads through paths that have the highest conversion rates.

Check Out Which Pages Matter Most

A second key area of Google Analytics where I spend a lot of time is:

Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

I leverage Google Analytics to not only track our campaigns but to make improvements to the user path and journey.

If I pull up a 30-day period, I can see the following data:

  • Pageviews
  • Unique pageviews
  • Average time on page
  • Entrances
  • Bounce rate
  • % exit
  • Page value ($)

This makes it easy when I’m thinking about where to send campaign traffic, how to internally link and what pages to make improvements to. Like most businesses, I have limited resources. I have 250 pages on my site and can’t improve every single page. If something is the top 10 here, it’s an MVP on my site and a good candidate for campaign traffic.

Tuff Tip

In this area of Google Analytics, you can sort by entrances. This is a good exercise because it tells you which pages on your site people are coming to first. If you know a page is a first-stop for a lot of incoming traffic, you can refine the content on that page to ensure it makes an ideal first impression.

Leverage GA for Goal Tracking

One of the first things you’ll do when you set up Google Analytics is configure goal tracking. To find this section, go to:

Conversions > Goals

You want to track the things that are most important to your business. At Tuff, we track some top of funnel metrics and some bottom of funnel metrics.

Here are some metrics of engagement and conversions we track:

  • What % of our traffic stays for more than 3 minutes?
  • What % of our traffic looks at 3 or more pages?
  • What % of our traffic makes it further than 50% through the home page?
  • Who filled out a form?
  • Who downloaded a sample proposal?

Other things you may track, especially if you’re a tech or SaaS company, could include:

  • Demos
  • Consultations
  • Sign-ups
  • Sign-up flows
  • Subdomain tracking

All of these goals are customizable, so, again, pick what matters most to your business and then track it here.

Tuff Tip

Get consistent about the kind of data you’re tracking. That way, you can compare week over week, month over month, and quarter over quarter to see how you are improving.

Ecommerce

Ecommerce companies don’t track goals in GA. You’ll see, beneath the goals tab in Conversions, a separate eCommerce section.

Conversions > Ecommerce

Google Analytics integrates with all major eCommerce platforms, making it easy to connect your online score to the tracking here. As an eComm company, you’ll track metrics like these:

  • Revenue
  • eCommerce conversion rate
  • Transactions
  • Average order value
  • Ad campaign product sales
  • Coupon codes
  • Affiliates
  • Top sellers

Review Campaign Results

The last major way your business is going to benefit from Google Analytics is to review paid ad campaign results.

Here’s where you look:

Acquisition > Google Ads

In the connection between GA and Google Ads, you’ll be able to see how your campaigns, at a campaign and keyword level, are performing.

The data you’ll find includes:

  • Clicks
  • Cost
  • CPC
  • Users
  • Sessions
  • Bounce rates
  • Pages per session
  • Ecommerce conversion rate
  • Transactions
  • Revenue

Most businesses, as they’re growing, experiment with different paid acquisition channels.

To review performance by channel, go here:

Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns

Various channel data is layered in using UTM parameters. When you follow the tree listed above, you’ll get a view that enables you to filter data by various parameters.

Here’s one filter to try:

Campaigns tab > Secondary dimension > Acquisition & Source Medium

With that particular view, you would see exactly where leads are coming from. Ultimately, this insight tells you which marketing efforts are generating revenue, and which are not. This is the only way to truly know how to prioritize your spending.

“When you can track it, test it and then eliminate things that don’t work, you’re going to learn much more quickly.”

Google Analytics is one of the best ways to track what’s happening on your website, how people are coming to your website and how they’re behaving.

Prioritization >