10-step monthly checklist for Google Analytics

By Narrative Integrated Communications
July 2017

Google analytics is a free tool which can give you the inside knowledge on your website visitors and whether or not your website is an asset or liability to the business. It allows you to optimise marketing campaigns, identify your target market and allocate budget to the most profitable marketing channels.

When you log in to Google Analytics, you will see there is almost too much information provided to you…so what should you be looking at? Here is a guide to the 10 things you should check on Google Analytics each month.

1. Unique visitors
Audience > Overview
This shows you the number of unique visitors (no repeat sessions) to your site in a time period. It shows you peaks and troughs and you can crudely attribute these to marketing activity.

2. Page views
Audience > Overview
This shows you how many pages people are looking at on your site in one visit. Are they only looking at the landing page or are they having a good look around? Looking at lots of pages can mean they are really interested or they can’t find what they’re looking for…

3. Time spent on site
Audience > Overview
This shows the average amount of time your visitors stayed on your website. Remember, 60-90 seconds for most websites is a good amount of time so don’t be disheartened if the number is lower than you expect.

4. Bounce rate
Audience > Overview
This shows the % of people who landed on your website and immediately left as it wasn’t relevant to what they had clicked on to reach your site. Anything less than 40% is amazing. Between 40% and 55% is average, however something higher may be typical depending on the type of website (e.g. blogs, events and news sites may have bounce rates closer to 70%).

5. Acquisition
Acquisition > Overview
This shows which sources are sending visitors to your website. There are different categories:
Referral = sites which link to yours
Organic search = search listings (unpaid)
Paid search = Adwords or similar paid search listings
Social = social media referrals
Direct = those who type in your URL to reach your site
Display = display advertising
Other = can include sources like email marketing
This shows which channels send the most visitors to your site, but not necessarily which are the channels which send the most actual leads.

6. Referrals
Acquisition > Overview > Referrals
This gives you a list of the sites which have directed traffic to your site via a link. This could be sites you know about (and have arranged the link with) such as directories, event listings or supplier/partner sites, or it could be sites which are talking about you (positively or negatively) and linking to your website such as reviewers, bloggers, news sites and publishers.

7. Branded organic search keywords
Acquisition > Overview > Organic search (on the page with the blue square next to it)
This provides a list of all keywords that were typed in to a search engine (such as Google) by users which generated a search listing which linked to your website. Search traffic is very valuable as it is hyper-relevant to what your business provides. Are there some keywords on their which are not relevant? If so, why are they appearing? An increase in branded search terms can indicate a widening of brand awareness amongst your target market.

8. Site Content
Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages
Site content shows you metrics for every page on your website – including bounce rate, time spent on page, unique visitors etc. You can clearly see issues or assets on each page, for example, is there a page with a high bounce rate? Maybe there is an issue with the copy or the images?

9. Goals
Conversions > Goals > Overview
Setting goals in Google Analytics is essential. Otherwise, you are only measuring quantity and not quality. If you have goals set up properly, you can attribute valuable actions on your website (such as a purchase or an enquiry form submission) to specific marketing channels so you can see the actual value of your marketing activity. This is essential for allocating budget to channels in future.

10. Model Comparison Tool
Conversions > Attribution > Model Comparison Tool
It’s important to not only look at the ‘last click’ conversions, but also the ‘first click’ conversions. The ‘last click’ conversions show the last channel the visitor was referred from before they completed a conversion on your website. The ‘first click’ conversions shows the first channel the visitor was referred from when they were first introduced to your site. This allows you to see where marketing channels appear in the customer journey. For example, a large proportion of your visitors might first discover you on Twitter, but then they leave and think about things for a while. They return to the site via Organic Search (because they already know the name of the brand and/or product) and complete a purchase. In this example, the ‘last click’ conversion would be attributed to Organic Search, but the ‘first click’ conversion would be attributed to the hours of work you put in to your Twitter content!

If you would like a training session as an individual or in a group/business, we’d love to help! Contact to chat about your needs.

If you would like a training session as an individual or in a group/business, we’d love to help!

Contact Aimee Muirhead to find out more.