Use Google Analytics to Optimize Your Online Marketing Activities

Any business that wants to drive meaningful results through online marketing should be using Google Analytics. The insights from this free analytical tool will help you refine your online marketing activities so that they get better over time.
When you first delve into Google Analytics it can seem overwhelming. That’s why you need to concentrate on a few critical metrics, and use them to improve your online marketing effectiveness.

First You Must Enable Google Analytics

If you haven’t already done so, you need to set up Google Analytics to track your online marketing performance. It’s as simple as adding a basic page tracking code in order to generate analytics reports.
Click here for Google’s instructions on installing the web tracking code on your site.
You’ll have to use analytics for a period of time before you can get actionable data. The first report you generate is your baseline; subsequent reports will be compared against this baseline. The goal of course is to see data trending in the right direction.

Key Metrics

The important metrics to track, at least initially are:

  • Visits to your website
  • Time spent on your site
  • Bounce rates; the number of times people abandon your site shortly after they land
  • Unique visitors versus return visitors
  • The pages on your site being visited
  • Where site visitors came from
  • Online advertising effectiveness
  • Goal conversion

These are the some of the key performance indicators that tell you whether you are driving potential buyers to your website and how they behave when they get there.
You may have a great conversion rate once people land on your site, but maybe you’re not generating very much site traffic. In this case, you need to concentrate more of your efforts to being found online though search engines or social media activity.

Set Up “Goals”

Google Analytics allows you to set a specific visitor action as a “goal”; defining and tracking goals is key to effective analytics. Your goals should have a direct impact on your overall online marketing objectives.
As an example, If you have an e-commerce site, they key goal is a completed transaction. However, if your service or product is complex with a longer sales cycle, your conversion goal may be for the visitor to download a case study that will in turn initiate a lead nurturing process.
Whatever the goals, tracking their performance through Google Analytics will be an indicator of whether your online marketing strategy is succeeding.

Compare the Data

You can specify the time periods you want to analyze and compare them (e.g. May 2015 compared to June 2015; or Jan – June 2014 compared to Jan – June 2015). Over time, these comparisons will help you understand the impact your online marketing activities are having.
If you see an upward trend in your key metrics, you know you’re on the right track. You can gauge the effectiveness that changes to your online activities are having by whether the metrics reflect a noticeable difference – good or bad.

Measure for Success

Online marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You can’t just “do things” and hope for the best.
Your online marketing activities must be aligned with your business goals. Only then will you be able to leverage your online presence to achieve greater business success.
Using online marketing strategically starts with data. You must know what your goals are and whether you’re making headway in achieving them.

You Must Continuously Analyze and Refine

Analytics is a never ending process: collect data, analyze, set goals, refine activities, and start again.
Although measuring performance may seem daunting, you can’t afford not to do it on a regular basis. Detailed data allows you to adapt to new market realities. If you are not using this insight, then you are flying blind; this makes you vulnerable to competitors that are using this data to their benefit.
With a laser-focus on business objectives, and relentless execution of the right online marketing activities, your business will achieve real online success. But you can’t get there without understanding what’s happening.
>> Core Online Marketing is an outsourced online marketing company for small and mid-sized businesses. We are experts in all aspects of online marketing; SEO, social advertising, analytics, online marketing planning, and social media management.  Contact us or sign up for our free online marketing seminars.
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Ben Molfetta

I co-founded Core Online Marketing (formerly Core Marketing Strategies) after more than twenty years of marketing, sales and general management experience in a large corporate environment and with start-up technology companies. I use my expertise in business and marketing strategy development to assist small and mid-sized businesses grow through effective use of online marketing.
Ben Molfetta