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Trying to improve your marketing ROI without proper tracking is like trying to run a marathon in flip-flops—it’s absolutely possible, but ultimately not as efficient. At Blue Corona, we believe that better information equals more traffic, leads, and sales and we make use of a variety of in-house and third-party tools to track our and our clients’ marketing strategies. Unsurprisingly, one of those tools is Google Analytics.
A Brief Tangent, if I’m Allowed
I started using Google Analytics on my personal blog in 2009 before I even understood the meaning behind the extremely valuable data I was looking at. To be honest, I was mostly interested in seeing the funny keywords people would search on Google to find my blog. Actually, I still do that. Recent gems include “can I save money if I stop buying shoes and dresses” (I’m going to go out on a limb and say “yes”), “I have a spray tan line on my forehead” (there’s a white girl problem if I’ve ever heard one), and “I wish I wasn’t attracted to my cousin” (can’t help it if sexy runs in the family, can you?).
Since I started working at Blue Corona, I’ve learned that there a lot more valuable (although maybe less entertaining) ways to use the often overwhelming data available through Analytics.
Google Analytics Training for AAF Baltimore
My boss and fashion idol Katelyn McKinley recently attended a Google Analytics training presented by LunaMetrics for the American Advertising Federation of Baltimore. It’s important to note that Katelyn can probably navigate and customize Google Analytics drunk better than 95 percent of the world can after an Adderall—not that she’s the office alcoholic or anything. I think that award goes to the girl with “write drunk; edit sober” engraved on the back of her iPad Mini (hi, Lexie Bond, nice to meet you.).
Ultimately, if Katelyn’s friends knew how much she likes Analytics and pivot tables, they wouldn’t let her sit with them at lunch. So instead of attending the AAF Baltimore training looking to learn more about Analytics, Katelyn was mostly hoping to learn what aspects of Analytics others are unfamiliar with or have difficulty with so that she could better train the members of our team who perhaps aren’t as Analytics savvy (hi, Lexie Bond, nice to meet you.).
Here are some of the tips she took away from the training:
Using Different Views in Google Analytics
Take a look at this screenshot from Analytics:
The highlighted buttons represent the different views you can use to display your data. The default view is the “data” view, but you can also change it to:
- Percentage view
- Performance view
- Comparison view
- Term cloud view
- Pivot view
These different view modes in Analytic offer you new ways to present data, which is nice if you do monthly reporting. Sometimes you don’t always see dramatic changes in your website stats from month to month, so changing the view can give you a less redundant snapshot of your traffic and conversion trends.
Using Shortcuts in Google Analytics
The Google Analytics Shortcuts tool is my new best friend (my old best friend was my electric wine bottle opener. My social life could use some work apparently.). As an SEO campaign manager at Blue Corona, I run weekly reports on all of my clients using data in Analytics. For the most part, I’m just interested in the non-branded organic traffic data. Using the Shortcuts tool, I’m able to add a shortcut right on my navigation bar that’s already had all the branded traffic filtered out and only shows organic traffic.
Tracking & Reporting Social Data with Google Analytics
Many business owners ask whether or not they should be investing time and money in social media to grow their business. There’s no one-size fits all answer for the question. Like most online (and offline!) marketing strategies, it’s best to test it and track it.
For example, most people have a “share this” plugin that allows site visitors to link to your content from their various social media profiles. By using an Analytics code on your share plugin, you can not only report on whether or not people are using the “share this” buttons on your site, but also on whether or not that social traffic is converting into leads.
Using Dashboards in Google Analytics
Have you taken the time to customize your Dashboard in Google Analytics?
One way to simplify your reporting is to customize your Dashboards and have them emailed to yourself each week. You can set up separate Dashboard within the same profile to report on social media, mobile ecommerce, site performance, and more. Google actually offers a gallery of Dashboard templates that you can download to your account—which takes a lot of the leg work out of identifying and customizing which metrics are valuable for your many online marketing objectives.
Want to learn more about Dashboards in Analytics? Check out this Business Owner’s Guide to Google Analytics Dashboards.
When to Set Up Multiple Profiles in Google Analytics
One of the most frequently asked questions at Google Analytics Training for AAF Baltimore was when you should have multiple profiles. According to the experts at LunaMetrics, you should always have one untouched profile for your website, in addition to a reporting profile and profiles to test things on. This is always how Blue Corona has done it—so high five for confirmation of our tracking baddassery.
The most important takeaway from this portion of the session was that when you add a filter in the admin section of Analytics, this is a permanent change. If you don’t want to alter your data with that filter permanently, you should instead use an advanced segment.
Using Web Analytics & Tracking to Improve Your Marketing ROI
Analytics great Avinash Kaushik is famous for saying that when it comes to website and marketing analytics, the tools and the data make up about 10 percent of the value of analytics. The other 90 percent comes from the team of people you have to analyze the data and give you tangible, actionable takeaways—a team who can provide you with never-before seen insights and action items to measurably improve your website’s marketing performance.
Contact Blue Corona when you’re ready to stop running marathons in flip-flips and start learning
- How many visits and visitors come to your website per month
- Where these visits come from (the traffic source)
- The number of branded vs. non-branded organic visits you receive per month
- Your website’s true visit-to-inquiry conversion rate (and don’t forget to track the phone calls!)
- And more
We offer Web analytics and tracking services sure to help you get more qualified visitors to your website and convert more visitors into leads and sales.
About The Author:
Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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