The care and keeping of an analytics implementation takes time and effort. Luckily, tag managers like Google Tag Manager have made this easy over the years – but while keeping the tags updated is one need, so too is making sure your Google Analytics (GA) implementation is giving you the most business value possible.
For a quick health check, here are ten quick things to look for in your analytics.
- Is Google Webmaster Tools properly feeding your GA instance?
Pulling in Webmaster Tools data can help you understand what your organic search is doing, and how it’s doing overall. If you’re trying to drive customers as efficiently as possible, this is critical.
- If your Webmaster Tools is properly feeding your GA instance, are the top 15 click-driving search terms the ones you’d want them to be? How are you doing with ranking for where you want to be?
If you’re not ranking where you want to be, now is a great time to start building a plan for ranking. Remember the best path to ranking well is having high-quality, useful content!
- Quickly think of the most important things your business needs to accomplish right now. Are there goals set up that correspond to those objectives?
Goals are frequently under-utilized in GA, but can be a quick way to do a regular check on how you’re doing with the things most key to growing your business. And keeping them clean can help too – sometimes people are afraid to remove old goals that are no longer relevant, but keeping it focused on what you use will make you look at it more.
- Name your five most critical conversion-focused web pages – are they tracking in your instance?
Yes, this seems simple, but double check. You’d be surprised how often something is awry. The foundation to making good digital marketing decisions is having good data. Take a few minutes to double check yours.
- Are there sharp discrepancies in achieving goals when broken down by mobile and desktop? Do you understand the discrepancies, or are they a mystery?
Significant differences can give you quick clues as to the next best place to optimize your site, either for desktop or mobile. The discrepancies might also point to some bugs in your site that are inhibiting conversions.
- What are your most important growth markets? Is traffic growing there?
If so, how is it growing, and how does that compare to the overall site?
- What are the most important ways you get visitors to your site? Are those tagged appropriately? Or is email traffic coming through as “Direct”? Are you able to see referrals from media you’ve purchased?
Adding UTM codes to links to track sources and campaigns can seem like a pain at first, but it’s a quick way to be able to see what your marketing channels are doing. Having good tracking here will also let you build segments to see only what people who came to the site through each channel did.
- Does your traffic sources report make sense overall?
If you’re the most popular referral to your own site, things might need a checkup. If you’re paying for 500 clicks in AdWords a week, but only seeing 20 users from paid search, that’s another sign you might want to check the tracking. And a note – while “Direct” seems to indicate people typing in your site to go there, it might be more accurately labeled “Direct and Otherwise Unknown Source.”
- Have you enabled demographic reporting? (And made the requisite changes to your site policies?)
Demographic reporting helps you get insights as to your site visitors, with their interests, ages, genders, and more. Understanding site conversion by demographic is another area you can tailor to build more targeted campaigns.
- When you look at the demographics of site visitors, do they line up with what you know about your customers? If not, dig in a bit to see if new visitors or returning visitors are aligned with your known customers.
Depending on what your objective is, it could be a good or bad thing if the demographics don’t align with your known customers. If your marketing is targeting females 25-34 but you’re seeing most of your new traffic coming from males 35-44, you marketing might need to be re-looked at.
- Check the interests of your visitors. Is there business-related content you can build that also relates to the most common interests?
People like content that relates to them, and business and personal lives are more fused than ever before. Are you able to write content that shows an application of your product or service that aligns with their interests? Or maybe, interests are an idea of what kind of prizes you could give away if you’re doing a sweepstakes. (For instance, if you overindex for sports fans, you might get more leads if you give away sports tickets than a shopping gift card.)
The more you sit down with your analytics, the more you’ll learn about your customers and your business, sometimes making that breakthrough insight that will let you reach your customers more effectively and efficiently.