Google Analytics Most Important Metrics

Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most powerful tools a business can adopt, and one of the few exceptions to the “you get what you pay for” rule. It’s incredible how much valuable data you can get from a free tool. Valuable and actionable data.

However, the sheer volume of data and metrics available can feel daunting to people who aren’t familiar with analytics. What’s most important? What should you focus on? What should you tackle first? Every business is different, with different goals and markets, so what you focus on will depend on that. But, there are several metrics that can provide great value to virtually every business.

Whether your aim is to improve your search engine rankings, keep people on your site longer, increase onsite conversions, raise brand awareness, etc., these five Google Analytics metrics should be featured on every business’s GA dashboard:

Guy Typing on his mac book

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

 

Here is the list of the most important Google Analytics Metrics:

Bounce Rate

This is the percentage of visitors who arrive on your site, then leave (i.e. close their browser window or tab, or navigate to another website) without accessing any other pages within your site.

Through GA, you can check the bounce rate of your site overall, as well as the bounce rate of individual pages. Checking the stats of individual pages gives you a good picture of your most engaging content and the content that most often leads to people dropping off. For pages where people stay and decide to explore more, you’ll want to boost visibility of those pages, use them as landing pages and try to create similar (but not duplicate) content on other pages.

For pages where people are dropping off, you’ll want to investigate how to improve those pages to reduce bounce rate, and potentially reduce their visibility by no longer using them as key landing pages while you’re working on improvements.

Time on Site

There are two reasons to watch this metric closely. First, search engines are giving more and more weight to ‘time on site’ as an indicator of the value and/or credibility of a page or overall website. It’s a good measurement because people spend more time with content that’s engaging, educational, useful or entertaining. Search engines like Google want to provide users with good content, so it makes sense that they’d rely on behavioural metrics like this one.

The second reason is that it’s an indicator to you of how engaging and useful people find your content. If people are just clicking through pages then dropping off, your content isn’t doing its job. But if they’re spending time with it, it means you’re doing something right.

Again, you’ll want to look at the overall time on site, but mainly focus on individual pages to see which ones are really striking a chord with your audience and which ones could do with some strategic optimization.

Pages Per Visit

Pages per visit is another indicator of engagement, but can also tell you if your site is easy to navigate, which matters to both your visitors and search engine spiders.

If you have a consistently low pages-per-visit rate, one of the first things you want to investigate is your site’s navigation. Are the links or menu items easy to find? Are the links actually working? Are they rendering properly across all browsers and devices, including mobile? Investigate all of this and consider getting someone unfamiliar with your site to give it a try and provide feedback.

If your navigation is visible and accessible, but you’re still seeing a low pages-per-visit rate, then it’s time to look at your content. Look at what they’re seeing first, where they go from there and where they’re dropping off to determine what might need to be optimized.

Conversion Rate

What does “conversion” mean? It will differ from business to business, project to project. It could be a sale, sign up, registration, download… whatever you want people to do on your site, that’s your conversion. Many businesses have several variations of conversions, including macro and micro conversions. For example, a sale or registration could be a macro conversion, whereas a newsletter signup or ebook download might be considered a micro-conversion.

Conversions matter because they’re kind of the whole point of your website. They’re what keep you in business! This is another instance where you will want to drill it down to individual pages to determine the type of content that is most likely to convert, and for which of your conversion types, and what content does not convert well.

Visits and Returning Visits

Person looking at Google Analytics on their phone

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

In GA, new visits are people who have never visited your site before, whereas a return visitor is just that – someone who has been to your site before and is now coming back. Google Analytics does set a two year expiry, so if someone visited your site more than two years ago and is now returning, they will be counted as a new visitor.

You want to watch these metrics because a steady stream of new visitors means any marketing investments or search engine optimizations you’ve been making are paying off (in this case, you’ll want to look at where those visits are coming from to determine which of your investments are working and which are not). If you aren’t seeing noticeable spikes in new visits to coincide with campaigns, that’s an indicator that something has gone wrong. Either the content isn’t engaging enough, or there could be a technical issue like a broken link. This needs to be investigated ASAP.

Returning visits are yet another indicator of how engaging your content is to your audience. If people aren’t coming back, it could indicate an issue with your content, service or products. In this case, you’ll also want to look at where visitors are coming from. For example, are you investing in advertising that brings a lot of initial visits, but not quality visitors that come back again and again? What areas are driving traffic that converts to returning visitors? Invest in more of that and reconsider investments that aren’t driving quality traffic your way.

Takeaway

Never before in history have marketers, business owners and entrepreneurs had such a wealth of data available right at their fingertips. That brings a lot of advantages, but also this whole new problem of too much data to know what to do with it all! Instead of trying to analyze and act on all of it at once, aim to focus on a few key areas to start. Analyze reports, tweak your content and strategies, test, measure, analyze and update over and over again to continually improve your efforts, keep things fresh, respond to the market and grow your business.

 

Learn how to setup Google Analytics here. 

Get your copy of: “The Secret to Capitalizing on Analytics”

Google Analytics Permissions Guide

Google Analytics structure is important when it comes to giving permissions and delegating rights to teams and individuals. For example, you may want to permit some people to view reports, but not make changes within the Google Analytics platform, whereas you may want to grant someone else permission to edit dashboards and create filters. The structure is a key part of that.

You can delegate four types of permissions in GA. Permissions can be granted at any level of the GA structure (Account, Property and View). Permission types include:

Manage Users (Permission): This allows someone to remove and add user access to the account.

This is a dangerous right to hand off, especially given the fact that if you grant this level of permission, you might be kicked off the account yourself. Ideally, only one person should be able to add and remove users. This way, you have better control over who has access, and what level of access they have, to your incredibly valuable data.

Edit (Permission): This allows someone to edit accounts, properties and views, filter data, and create goals. The only thing they can’t do is manage users. This permission level is ideal for Analytics experts.

Collaborate (Permission): This allows someone to edit shared dashboards or add annotations. This permission level is ideal for marketers, social media managers, and campaign managers.

Read & Analyze (Permission): This is a read-only level. It allows someone to read and view reports, but they cannot make any changes. This permission level is ideal for CEOs, managers, etc.

Note:

It is important to note that while you can grant permission at either the account, property or view level, that permission is hierarchical. That means, if you grant someone permission at the property level, they will automatically have access at the view level as well. Grant it at the account level, and they automatically have it at the property and view levels.

List of permissions in Google Analytics

 

Learn More about analytics and how to capitalize on it: Get your copy of “The Secret to Capitalizing on Analytics” here

How to set up a Google Analytics Account Structure?

While setting up your account it is hard to foresee where the account will be in the future. Yet there are some factors that you should always account to, to ensure that your account is setup to grow in a sustainable manner.

Here are 6 factors to keep in mind when setting up your Google Analytics Account:

  • Keep in mind that GA is there to serve your marketing and business strategy.
    As much as the setup is important, it is more important to check it daily. Most successful marketers and business people check their analytics almost daily. It usually guides their decisions to be more data-driven. As you design your structure, think about how you will use it daily.
  • Don’t forget the purpose of data and GA. The main reason to use GA is to make sure visitors are doing what you want them to do on your site or web property. This could be contact form submission, sign up to a newsletter, buy a product, request a quote, etc. When setting up GA remember your KPIs and goals for the site.
  • Remember that a big strength of GA is the ability to integrate with all the other Google tools. Keep in mind that you will likely be connecting your GA account with Google Ads, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager, Google AdSense, etc.
  • Another strength of GA is the ability to customize reports to your needs. As you go through the process of setting up GA, keep in mind how you want to view the data. Better yet, always bear in mind who will benefit from what report. When we approach the end of this book where you’ll learn how to customize data, bring these thoughts to life through the right dashboards.
  • Through GA, you can compare data across different months, traffic sources and other dimensions. As you analyze different reports, remember to make data more relevant through comparing.
  • Remember that GA can do (much of) the work for you. You are better off creating intelligent alerts to notify you of a rise or drop in traffic or any other significant change with your site data, rather than relying on manual daily checks.

Learn More about analytics and how to capitalize on it: Get your copy of “The Secret to Capitalizing on Analytics” here

Google Analytics Structure

GA is divided into three levels.

The account level: This is where you label your group of properties. Every account can have up to 50 properties.

The property level: This is where you manage all your web properties. A web property could be an app, a website, a POS, etc. Any property that is solely yours could be here. For example, you own your mobile app, so it can be tracked as a property. You don’t own your Facebook page – that’s the property of Facebook – so it can’t be tracked as a property. Each property can have up to 25 views.

The view level: This is where you select the different ways you can view your property. One unfiltered view for every property in your account is automatically created. You can set up multiple views on a single property.

Let’s use an example to better understand this structure:

I run a business called The Camino Within. Let’s imagine it has a blog, speaking site, book site and a mobile app. These are all separate properties, meaning the blog, for example, is not embedded within the main website, but has its own URL.

The account name would be:

  • The Camino Within

The property names would be:

  • The Camino Within site – thecaminowithin.com
  • The Camino Within blog – blog.thecaminowithin.com
  • The Camino Within travel app – IOS & Android apps
  • The Camino Within speaking site – speaking.thecaminowithin.com

A good example of the views could be as follows:

  • All data view
  • Canadian visits
  • International visits
  • External traffic only
  • Backup view

With views, you apply filters so that you only see the data you want within that view. This makes it really easy to quickly extract your most relevant and frequently needed information. Just note that when you’re in a particular view, you won’t be able to retrieve any information that you’ve set to be filtered out. You’ll need to remove that filter or choose another view. Also, be sure to label your views very clearly.

Google Analytics Structure

As you will learn further along in this book, this structure is important for permissions, account management, integration and accessibility. For this reason, take care that your GA structure makes sense for you, your business and your business objectives.

Takeaway

Google Analytics account structure is an important factor in collecting and compiling the data most relevant to your business goals, in a way that makes sense for you. When setup properly, it will help considerably in the long-term planning, preparation and performance of your business online.

 

Learn More about analytics and how to capitalize on it: Get your copy of “The Secret to Capitalizing on Analytics” here

SUCCESS IN GA REQUIRES 3 STEPS

Like all tools, GA is only as effective as the person wielding it. Take the time to get to know the tool and how best to use it within your business. These are 3 key steps you need to invest in to ensure success with GA:

  1. Setting up Google Analytics in the right way
  • Creating a Google Analytics account
  • Customizing the account
  • Understanding the structure
  • Understanding how you can create views and properties for your account
  • Understanding how to distribute privileges
  • Understanding how to activate features
  • Understanding GDPR, privacy and Google Analytics

 

  1. Translating your data into insights
  • Understanding metrics and dimensions
  • Understanding data hygiene
  • Knowing where to find relevant data
  • Understanding what this data means for your business
  • Understanding what is working and not working
  • Getting the most out of the data

 

  1. Acting on your insights
  • Applying learnings to your business
  • Knowing how to react to data
  • Optimizing for better results

 

Lessons from GA Consulting

When I work with companies, I always work on getting to know the client first, understanding their business and their goals.

After that, I aim to create a Google Analytics account setup that is fully aligned with their goals.

To go the extra mile, I also help them with reporting, insights and dashboarding.

So, the process goes like this:

  • Understanding who you are and what you want to achieve;
  • Customizing your account to gather and compile data that’s relevant to who you are and what you want to achieve;
  • Creating reports and dashboards that give you easy-to-interpret visuals of what your data means.

But here’s the crazy part: even though the client is the person in this equation who best knows the business, they always want me to be there to act on their insights, data and reports.

What this taught me is that data is more than just marrying our minds with numbers. In fact, it’s not a marriage at all. It’s more of a master and machine relationship. YOU are the master. You need to make the machine work for you.

Every time I sit down with a client’s team to go over their data, we always end up with more than just the sum total. We always end up with genius ideas and actionable next steps. The data becomes an impetus to launch creative new ways to market and cater to customers.

The ability and drive to interpret and act on data is there, but for whatever reason, many people need to be led to the water, so to speak.  Don’t ever play the passive or reactive role to data. Be involved at every level. Data will not act alone. It needs you in the driver’s seat. Get yourself in that mindset.

To bridge this gap between gathering the data and acting on it, I divide analytics consulting into setting up, researching and recommendations. For this, I like to use the metaphor of producing a Broadway play.

 

Prepare. Practice. Perform. Here’s how it goes:

Prepare

  • Get to know the structure of your GA account.
  • Learn how to create a Google Analytics account.
  • Learn an alternative way of adding GA through a tool called Google Tag Manager.

Practice

  • GA uses some terms you may be unfamiliar with. Learn the most important metrics and dimensions so that you are able to read the data on GA reports.

Perform

  • Navigate the platform.
  • Read and analyze GA reports.
  • Act on the knowledge and insight they provide.

 

Takeaway

Having data without interpretation is like trying to perform in a play without a script.

Don’t ever play the passive or reactive role to data. Be involved at every level. Know the tool, learn how to wield it, then do it.

 

Learn More about analytics and how to capitalize on it: Get your copy of “The Secret to Capitalizing on Analytics” here

GOOGLE ANALYTICS & SEO

 

The Search Engine’s Mission

The role of search engines is to crawl the web and index the pages that they deem worthy, in an order that provides value to users.

In doing so, their mission is to ensure users can quickly and easily find the information, products, services or content they’re looking for.

Google’s mission statement, written in 2013, is as follows: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Source: https://www.google.com/about/

 

Bing’s mission statement, also written in 2013, is as follows: “At Bing our central mission is to help you search less and do more. To that end, we’re constantly looking for ways to make your search experience more efficient.”

Source: https://blogs.bing.com/search/2013/08/23/find-it-faster-with-bing-product-search/

 

Yahoo’s mission is to “make the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining.”

Source: Yahoo.com

 

What can we take away from this?

Essentially, search engines exist to send us away from them and to what users search for. Ironic, isn’t it?

Google Search Console on Google Analytics

Google Search Console on Google Analytics

 

Think about it. You visit a search engine, perform a search and then leave. The better the experience you have with a search engine (i.e. the greater success you have at finding what you want) the more likely you are to use that one again. With that in mind, you can rely on them wanting to return search results that are as closely related as possible to what it thinks” you are truly looking for.

There is a lot to learn from this.

My grandpa used to say, “Tell me what someone wants and I will tell you how to control him.” And I tell you today that if you want to control how your web property shows up in search engines, you have to understand that the primary mission of the search engine is around what people want and nothing else. Yes, the companies behind them want to make money through advertising, sales, etc., but they know that these things are most profitable when driven by that primary mission of providing value.

User driven metrics control search, and likely always will.

If you are able, through your site, to provide useful, accessible, engaging, inspiring and entertaining information, then you are golden. If people want you, search engines will want you. This should be the guiding principle behind your SEO strategy.

Thankfully, GA can help you understand what searchers want, like, enjoy, engage with and how you can act on that knowledge to improve your ranking.

Google Search Console on Google Analytics                                                               

Going back to chapter 14, where we installed Google Search Console, you may recall that GA alone is not enough for us to capture adequate data to take a knowledge-driven approach to SEO.

To be able to make educated SEO decisions, you need Google Search Console. Once you connect Google Search Console data to your web property, you will have access to a wide array of reports that will help you understand how pages are performing, what keywords are sending the most traffic, what pages are getting the highest engagement, what is relevant and what is not.

The goal of this chapter is to help you capitalize on GA to optimize your site’s organic search performance in the best way possible.

Let’s jump back to the GA dashboard.

Under “Acquisition” scroll to “Search Console”.

Without Google Search Console, the default analytics results are extremely limited. In fact, GA will often return “Not Provided”.

With Search Console, you will have access to extensive data, which is enough to optimize, improve and plan ahead.

Also, Google Search Console is the best SEO tool out there that you can use for free. Make sure that you are using it and learning from it as much as possible.

 

Search Console Landing Pages Report

Search Console Landing Pages Report

Search Console Landing Pages Report

As you can see in the report above, GA provides a list of the most popular landing pages on your site that visitors have arrived at through organic search.

The table shows a lot of valuable info, which is the result of the merge between Google Search Console data and on-site behaviour data. This helps you not only know what people did to find your page, but what they did once they arrived there, and whether they took the actions that you want them to take.

These are the terms you should know to get the most out of this report:

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Impressions – This is the number of times your pages popped up in search results.

Clicks – The number of times people clicked on your page from an SERP.

CTR (Click Through Rate) –  The number of clicks/the number of impressions * 100, meaning, it reflects the rate at which people see your listing in organic search results and choose to click through to your site.

Average Position – This is the average ranking of your page in organic search results, taking into account all the keywords that this page ranks for. If your page has an average position of 3, for example, that means your page usually shows up around the third spot in SERPs (which is a very good position to have).

Sessions – This is the number of visits that you get to your site from organic search.

Bounce Rate – This tells you how many visitors to your site (from organic search) left without taking any action.

Goal Metrics – This shows how your traffic from organic search is converting on the site.

The Landing Page Report gives you a view into how your different pages are performing from an SEO perspective. It helps you see what pages are performing well, which ones can be improved, and which pages you can capitalize on elsewhere, maybe through paid search or social campaigns.

 

 Acquisition Google Search Console Countries Report

 Acquisition Google Search Console Countries Report

 Acquisition Google Search Console Countries Report

In this report, you can see the amount of organic search traffic you’re getting from each country.

This insight can help you tailor future content for different countries, with different languages and different information that caters to specific audiences.

I use this report to understand who is coming to my site and how I can tailor new content for them. It also helps me identify opportunities I may be missing out on. For example, if I’m getting a lot of traffic from a specific country, but it isn’t converting, I can start looking into why that may be, and what I can do to better serve that traffic and increase conversions.

In the sample report above, you can see that the US is the second biggest source of traffic to my site. Because of that, I try to tailor some content to that audience instead of only concentrating on Canadian traffic or local traffic.

 

Acquisition Google Search Console Device Report

Acquisition Google Search Console Device Report

Acquisition Google Search Console Device Report

As small as this report is, it packs a big punch.

This gives you a quick overview of where you stand as a brand and site, as it shows your average position on mobile, tablet and desktop.

If you see that you have a lower than usual CTR on mobile, for example, it may be a sign that you are not appealing to users of these devices. You may find that you need to a better job with meta title and meta descriptions, or even that your site isn’t rendering properly on mobile devices

Acquisition Google Search Console Queries Report

Acquisition Google Search Console Queries Report

Acquisition Google Search Console Queries Report

This report is, for SEO purposes, the most important one in the Google Search Console reports, as it shows what terms and keywords visitors used to arrive on your site.

This shows what you’re good at and what you can improve, in terms of keywords.

It is a great place to see what type of content to concentrate on more, and gives you the start of a model for how to approach future content and what types of terms to concentrate on for a more targeted and sustained approach to the details on your site.

 

Takeaway

GA, in partnership with Google Search Console, helps you understand how visitors search for your site, how they perceive it and if they find it relevant, giving you a starting point from which to build and improve on your content strategy for better SEO.

What makes GA so important as a tool, is that it taps into user metrics, and these user metrics are the main ranking factors of any website, as of this writing.

 

This is based on chapter 18 from the book “The Secret to Capitalizing on Analytics”

 

Analytics Will Matter Even More in 2019

I often say to my students, “A business without analytics is a blind business. After all, how can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are?”

To best predict your future, you need to have a really clear picture of your past and present.

 

Analytics: Past & present

What once involved intense manual data mining, report creation, repetition and a whole lot of human error has become more and more automated as the years have progressed.

And, because machines tend to move faster than humans (certainly where data processing is concerned), the rate of change in the field of analytics has been getting faster and faster.

The existence of change has always been there (and always will be), it’s just now happening at unprecedented speeds, with updates, upgrades and plenty more “ups” happening on a daily basis.

 

Analytics 2019

Marketing: Past & present

When the speed of change in analytics increases, so too can the speed at which we adapt our marketing and business strategies. And that’s a good thing.

Being able to make informed business decisions that are fully aligned with your dreams and objectives is a powerful thing. The more efficient analytics becomes, the more efficient we become at making those amazing decisions.

Your Business: Past & present

I’m not clairvoyant, so I can only offer guidance, but let me ask you this: Are you investing ⅔ of your marketing efforts in analytics?

Looking ahead to 2019, you may be surprised that trends show about ⅔ of all marketing is now, and will continue to be, based strongly on analytics and data.

So, if you are spending the majority of your efforts on implementation, think twice.

Back to marketing

Given the current trends, I see marketing in 2019 summarised by three key pursuits: Research, Implementation and Measurement.

Both Research and Measurement (making up ⅔ of the above-mentioned pursuits) require a strong understanding of analytics.

Additionally, as you likely already know, the value of analytics goes beyond marketing. It also plays a key role in other areas of business decision making. Therefore, making the investment on the marketing side will pay off beyond that.

 

Analytics 2019

Why is Analytics important for businesses in 2019?

Here are 5 critical uses of analytics to pick up in 2019:

 

  1. Match the message to the traffic.

Analytics gives insight into which types of traffic are most engaged with what types of content and who is most likely to buy your product or service.

By understanding your different audiences, you can create campaigns that target them with relevant content and aligned strategies, leading to higher conversions.

Essentially, you’ll know who responds to what, taking a lot of guesswork out of implementation.

 

  1. Understand how people navigate your site.

It’s important to know who your visitors are, and more important to understand how they behave on your site.

Understanding how visitors engage with your web property shows you where they enter, what they interact with, where conversions originate and where people quit. Understanding specific user flows on your site empowers you to make changes that address your business goals, whether it’s keeping people on your site longer, funneling them to specific content, or taking specific actions.

 

  1. Know your traffic sources.

Simply put, when you know which sources drive the most (and best quality) traffic, you know exactly where to direct further investments of time, money and/or effort.

 

  1. Get clear on the actual interests of people visiting your site.

The better you know your clients and visitors, the better you can cater to their needs, the greater your business will grow.

Analytics gives insight into valuable demographics, which you can capitalize on. Those can include age, gender, interests, device type, location… it goes on.

Having access to this information helps you create more relevant personas and exceptional targeting.

 

  1. Recycle your analytics in other business areas.

The thing about information is that you can use it over and over again, for as many different purposes as you like.

The idea that analytics is only for analytics experts or marketing professionals is flat out wrong.

Knowledge empowers everyone. Circulate that knowledge throughout your organization so whether someone is working in customer service or product design, they have a wealth of information right at their fingertips to help make better business decisions.

 

Planning for 2019

Remember that, ultimately, it isn’t about the information you get from analytics. It’s about what you do with it. Invest in bringing that critical knowledge and insight into your business, then use it!

How to use analytics to create good content.

Are You Missing the Boat on Data-Driven Content Marketing?

Do you want high performing content? Don’t we all!

In working with a variety of companies, from small startups to Fortune 500s, I’ve learned that analytics is a tool not capitalized on enough, especially when it comes to content marketing. Even big companies, with huge marketing budgets, are missing the boat.

Interestingly, analytics (whether Google Analytics or another tool) tends to be looked at only after a paid campaign, end of the season, or before the end of the year. Sadly, most companies don’t even consider looking at data pre-campaign, which is a huge missed opportunity.

The more I work with analytics, the more I realize this powerful data should be considered in all phases of a campaign, especially when it comes to content marketing.

Why? Because analytics doesn’t just tell you what worked, it can also help you predict what will work in the future and what to use to make it work… if you look in the right place!

That’s why, when the time comes to create relevant, engaging content, I look to 5 main Google Analytics metrics.

Here are 5 ways to use Google Analytics in your content marketing strategy:


1. Site Content

In Google Analytics, just under Site Content, you can see the pages on your site that get the most visits. This gives you insight into your most popular topics or content types, allowing you to predict the topics and formats that are most engaging and appealing to your visitors.

Look at your bounce rates, exits, and avg time on page as well.

With this data, you will be able to plan future content either by using similar content structure, similar topics, or even a similar general approach.

Site Content Report from Google Analytics


2. Site Search

If you have site search capabilities built in, Site Search metrics is the best way to see what people look for once they arrive on your site.

Are people searching for something you don’t have a lot of content on? Or maybe you do, but they’re using different terms and not finding what you have?

Knowing what people are looking for is like having a crystal ball, telling you what content to create or enhance.

This can tell you how to cater to new visitors, align your content strategy with current customer needs, and know what content to use in ads and promotions.

Site Search Report


3. Audience Details

What type of people are visiting your site? This can help you determine the type of content to deliver. For example, you may discover you have a large millennial or baby boomer audience you can tailor content to. Perhaps you have high traffic from a particular country and you can adjust some existing content to have a more local flair.

When it comes to audience details, there can be many factors to consider.

To make better sense of the numbers, I usually look at at least 3 months of data to get more content-worthy metrics, and look at these key metrics:

  1.       Demographics (age and gender).
  2.       Interests (affinity categories and in-market segments), which help me understand the general and related interests that my visitors have, allowing me to create better content and target them in my social or search campaigns.
  3.       Geo (language and location). Pay close attention to language. Over time, you may notice a growing traffic segment associated with another language, or that there is potential for expanding your market.

Knowing these metrics will help you create the right content, for the right age group, at the right place, at the right time.

Demographics (age and gender)


 

4. Channels

‘Acquisition’ is the way in which you acquired visitors. It is where you will find the top sources of traffic to your site. For example, you can acquire visitors from Google, referrals from other sites, article mentions, newsletters and more.

Knowing how you got your current visitors will help you understand how your content is being shared, searched and viewed, and which content is best at drawing people in.

Knowing this empowers you to create content catered to the different visitors in your different channels, and create even more of the type of content that is best at bringing new visitors to your site.

 


 

5. Search Console

Under ‘Acquisition’ in Google Analytics, there is an important section called ‘Search Console’. This section is functional when you link your Google Analytics with Google Search Console.

Search Console reflects traffic from organic search, meaning you can see which keywords or queries in Google are leading people to your site. You will also see how well you rank for these keywords, and the number of impressions you get for them.

This data will allow you to assess what is working as far as search goes, help you further capitalize on these topics, and empower you to work on better and more relevant content for your site.

Google Search Console Tools Report on GA


Takeaway

Analytics can be a big part of creating great content. Taking advantage of analytics BEFORE creating or modifying content makes it part of a truly powerful cycle of creating content, seeing how it works on your web properties and sites, realigning your content strategy in accordance with the data gathered, and back to creating content. The big difference being, your content gets better, more relevant and more engaging each time.

If you use analytics (and you should), make sure you are using it to its fullest potential and your fullest advantage. Always check your data and analytics. Listen to what they are telling you. Make them an essential part of your overall marketing strategy and you will begin to see your content performing better than ever before.