Six key marketing metrics to track in Google Analytics

Knight StivenderBlog

If your duties include tracking your company’s key marketing metrics, you know Google Analytics is a critical tool in measuring success. You also know how easy it can be to lose yourself in the volume of data available. To simplify things, our team has listed and explained in this post six of the top marketing metrics for businesses to track in Google Analytics on a regular basis.

Google Analytics Dashboard

But first, here’s a quick an overview of Google Analytics for those who don’t use the platform on a daily basis.

Google Analytics can’t tell you exactly who visits your website (you need a CRM like Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Hubspot for that), but it can tell you a lot about them. And knowing this will help you figure out if the right people are finding you, engaging with you and taking action on your site. 

Google Analytics works by placing a piece of code on the back end of your website. The code tracks user demographics based on their Google profiles, along with key marketing metrics such as how folks they found your website (social media, a search engine, etc.), how long they remained on your site, what pages they visited, what they clicked on, and whether they filled out a form, booked an appointment or called you. 

It is rare that we don’t have access to our clients’ Google Analytics accounts. And though they may have engaged with us for any number of different reasons, here are six key marketing metrics we’re typically looking for when we’re regularly tracking and gleaning insights from our clients’ Google Analytics accounts.

  • Effectiveness of advertising campaigns: We’ve had new clients hand us the login information to their Google Analytics accounts and — right away — we’ve noticed things that have led us to questions about the effectiveness of their digital advertising strategies. Sometimes they’re pulling in traffic from geographic areas far outside their market, for example, and it’s because of a misguided paid search campaign that was targeting people too far away.
  • Value of social media in driving referrals: A lot of businesses fall in love with the engagement they see on social media and feel frustrated with the effort it takes to update their websites. But if your Google Analytics are telling you that referrals from social media are low in comparison to your industry, then reconsider whether you should be walling off your social media efforts separately, or — rather — using them to more directly drive traffic to your website. This is especially important if yours is the kind of business that grows revenue or serious leads through exploration of your website content, whether it be thoughtfully written blog posts, calculators and other form fills, or e-commerce purchases or donations.
  • Bounce rate: If people aren’t finding what they’re expecting to find on your website, they’ll quickly bounce from the site. On the other hand, you don’t want them hunting around forever and getting frustrated. This is one of those marketing metrics we often see clients struggle to find a good balance with.
  • Ratio of new visitors to return visitors: A good ratio depends on your goals for your site. If you’re running a brand awareness campaign, you should expect a good percentage of new visitors to be coming to your site. However, you want them to like what they see and return.
  • Common exit points for visitors: Understanding where people leave your site will help you figure out where to insert calls to action, focus your remarketing efforts and potentially work to improve your user experience. For example, if you’re operating an e-commerce site and lots of visitors are leaving your shopping cart area, dig a little deeper to learn whether they’re leaving because they need more time to make a decision or because your prices are too high.
  • Device/Browser/Operating system: Google Analytics shows the type of device (desktop, mobile, tablet) visitors are using to access your digital content. You can also see the type of browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer) visitors are using, as well as the operating system. All of this is helpful in determining how best to allocate design and development resources when optimizing a client’s website. If, for example, less than 2 percent of visitors are using Internet Explorer, and more than 70 percent are accessing the site via a mobile device, we’d argue more development time should be spent in optimizing the site for mobile than for I.E.

If you haven’t already installed Google Analytics on your website, the good news is that most content management systems (i.e., WordPress, Squarespace) make this a relatively simple task. 

That said, it is helpful to have a developer or integrations specialist ensure this is done correctly, especially if you also want to track the effectiveness of digital advertising, email campaigns, e-commerce and other tools such as chatbots and vanity phone numbers. We have these skill sets on our team and are happy to help if you need a hand. Most importantly, we have folks who can work with you to determine which marketing metrics are truly most important for achieving your business goals, and then create a strategy to hit them.

Have questions? Need help?

If you or your team want to talk through an idea, problem or opportunity regarding your business or communications/marketing strategy and believe we may be of service, please shoot us an email or give us a call at 615-259-4000.

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