Understanding the basics of Google Analytics (GA) is essential for all marketeers regardless of if you employ an agency, work in house or haven’t really begun to explore the world of search marketing yet. The benefits are similar to that of eating your vegetables, we all know we should, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. I would suggest most marketing managers know they should spend more time exploring the data within GA in order to optimise their website, and to learn how website users (your potential customers) are interacting with the website, but they don’t always have the time or resources.
Why Spending Time Understanding Your Google Analytics Data is Important - Case Study
A small case study to highlight the importance to first capture your attention.
Here at Wriggle we work with an e-commerce brand called Grisport who sell walking boots, and we have supported them with both their paid and organic search for a number of years. Over a 12 month period using GA (along with other software) to make data driven decisions on how to better convert users, Wriggle took their conversion rate from 1.5% to just under 3%.
A 1.5% raise you say? Is it worth it? In short - Yes! While it may sound like a small jump that actually represents a 100% increase. By spending time within the Grisport GA the team at Wriggle halved the business cost per acquisition (CPA) and doubled revenue, with no additional expenditure (although naturally as an agency we tried to raise their retainer). The client hadn’t realised the potential here until the team at Wriggle worked their magic, and it resulted in a 6 figure issue being resolved.
In this project there were a large number of factors at play, that were altered, tweaked and optimised to enhance the performance, but here are 5 key areas that form the basics of Google Analytics that have drastically assisted our clients in achieving a higher Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS). All but one of these can be found in GA.
5 Tips for Achieving a Higher Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS)
A bounce rate is where a user visits a page on the website and then leaves without interacting with the website. In most cases you will have paid for them to visit the site through one medium or another.
As a business, you want them to stay on site as long as possible, engaging, purchasing, or at very least make an inquiry. A purchase is always the end goal, but if they don’t then it would be great to extract some other value from as many customers as possible while they’re on your site. This could be an email sign up to your mailing list, or a social media follow, but the one thing you don’t want is for them to leave without doing anything, even looking around.
In GA you can look at every individual page and assess the bounce rate. If your key product or service page has a high bounce rate (over 55 % - 60% depending on the industry) your business is wasting money. You have a money leak and changes need to be made to make the user engage and therefore reduce your spend. There are various ways in which to do this; it could be organisation of content and imagery, the addition of a video or simply making the service offering clearer above the fold of the page (across all devices).
Time To Conversion
If you are an e-commerce business this one is especially important for you. Do you know how long it takes your customers to convert from the point of first visiting?
In the scenario above (Grisport) we looked at time to conversion, and found that due to the price point of the product and the nature of it, it is not a snap purchase. Instead it is an informed decision and due to the age and gender demographic (two other aspects that can be found within GA), the clients undergo research into the best types of product.
In this case the data highlighted that if the customer did not convert within the first 3 - 5 days they were unlikely to convert until after day 20. We therefore changed the strategy of the remarketing adverts, increasing the budget after day 18. This saw the return on these adverts increase from 3.5:1 to over 6:1.
Conversion Rate by Device
Do you look at your website across the various devices - desktop, tablet and mobile? And do you look at your website across the ever growing list of browsers - Safari, Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome, to mention a few?. The majority of Wriggle’s client’s come to us for this type of detailed analysis because they simply do not have the time, resource or expertise to focus on it themselves.
We find that the most common issue for both ecommerce and service led businesses is they do not look at how their website is performing outside of the device and browser they use themselves. For argument's sake is someone who always uses a Mac desktop and Safari likely to look at the website on PC in Microsoft Edge? Probably not. And likewise, is an iPhone user likely to pick up an Android to look through the website? Again, probably not.
It’s very simple to go into GA and look at how the different devices are performing. If your website traffic is weighted with 60% mobile, 35% desktop and 5% tablet traffic but the lions share of your revenue /conversions are coming from desktop then something is not right. This finding should set alarm bells ringing that the website is not doing what it should be from a mobile perspective and it needs to be addressed….pronto.
There is a great digital marketing business in Newcastle that can assist you with this, just call 0191 815 0815.
When your marketing company calls and say they wish to upgrade your server and charge you more money, trust me when I say this is not just them trying to squeeze you for more money! It’s likely because they have looked within GA and other industry recognised tools and have found issues affecting your website performance. They know you want results but the statistics will scare you.
If your website takes longer than 5 seconds to load you lose 38% of your visitors. If it takes longer than 8 seconds you lose 61% of visitors.
Let’s put this into money terms; you are paying through SEO, PPC & Social Media £5,000 per month and from this you generate 20,000 clicks and your site converts at 2% with an average conversion value of £55. That is £22,000 per calendar month, but what if due to the site speed you lose 35% of those clicks because they bounce off the site before it has loaded? Your 20,000 clicks becomes 13,000 clicks and your £22,000 in revenue drops to £14,300 (assuming you convert at 2% with a slow website).
To take this a step further, if your website speed could be improved I would suggest that the conversion rate could be improved by a modest 0.5% and if you increased the conversion rate by 0,5% your revenue would raise to £27,500 and £17,875 respectively.
Whilst I appreciate that this does not form part of GA, this is something a little extra for those who have taken the time to read this far (thank you, from industry statistics and data within our GA you are now most likely going to make an enquiry with Wriggle within 48 hours...right?!).
Heat Mapping software such as Zoho Page Sense allows us to ascertain the exact pain points on a website. Are your users clicking on areas of the website which are simply not clickable? If they were clickable would it make the site more profitable? Most likely. Are they struggling through the basket process or struggling to find the call to action? In most cases minor tweaks can be made to make the basket process easier or to increase the call to actions.
As an agency we deal with marketing managers from micro businesses like our own, through to PLC’s, and our biggest challenge is convincing the client that by making small tweaks and minor adjustments to their website we can increase their revenue over a sustained period.
All of these tips and focus areas form the basics of Google Analytics, and will help start to make your website more finely tuned and perform better. Whilst Grisport is a ‘text book’ type example with an uplift of 100%, these tips will result in any uplift in sales (if you are an ecommerce business) or enquires (if you are a service and lead generation business) and they come by driving no additional traffic.
They are free, easy to implement and mean that you are simply just utilising your site better rather than leaving money on the table for your competitors to convert and monetise.
I hope you take these tips and use them to help you inform your future digital marketing strategy and enable you to make smarter marketing decisions but, most importantly I hope these assist in driving more revenue through your business.
If you would like to learn more about how Wriggle can assist you with your digital marketing then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 815 0815.