Analytics GuruWho doesn’t have three minutes in a day to make their online marketing run a little more effectively? Google Analytics is an extremely useful tool that is used by companies to gauge the performance of their website site traffic and use that data to help improve effectiveness. What’s that you say? You’re not an analytics buff? That’s just fine because with these simple steps you can use the basics of Google Analytics to enhance the user experience of your customers. Before you can understand where everything needs to be, you’ll need to set up your Google Analytics account and see how Goals are set up. When that’s done, you can start to control the goals you create and better understand how to increase sales and engagement through Google’s tracking tools. Some of the best metrics to use everyday are easy to understand and implement. Start by using goals and data to track actions and their source. Next, track which actions customers are most likely exhibiting to find your website. Lastly, track the content that users are most absorbed by on each unique visit. And guess what? You only need three minutes.

Tracking Your Source Data

What is source data and why do you need goals to know where these people are coming from? Tracking your source data helps get a more in depth picture of your website traffic and customer engagement. According to Small Business Trends, you can start by tracking Traffic, Referral Traffic, Direct Traffic, and Campaigns:

  • Search Traffic: Traffic that comes from a Web search. You can set up paid or organic searches in your goals. Learn more HERE.
  • Referral Traffic: Traffic that comes from someone clicking a link to your site from another site.
  • Direct Traffic: Traffic where the “referrer is unknown,” such as directly typing a URL into the navigation window or clicking on a link in an email newsletter.
  • Campaigns: Traffic from a campaign can be calculated by different parameters that you can track with whatever marketing campaigns you are running. **

Once you understand where the buzz is coming from, you can accurately use that source to attract more relevant attention.

Tracking Your Goals & Actions

So, why is the tracking of straight actions important and useful? Most people who use websites leave a virtual footprint. That’s not all! Whenever you travel there’s a destination in mind. Think of actions like footprints and goals as the destination you’d like to end up on your journey. While you can view certain sources of traffic without having goals set up, you lose out on the value of aligning your goals and source data to help you understand the difference in behavior by source, how that translates to conversions, and perhaps why certain key actions aren’t occurring. The tools to help set up the goals for your social, email, and search metrics are inside Google Analytics.

Think about your users virtual footprints as a road map that’s been created based on the previous virtual trips taken by each person that visits your site. When you’re following a trail of preverbal breadcrumbs, you need to know what people are the most excited about on your site. When your metrics are accurately set up, you can start understanding from the inside out what keeps your visitors coming back or what’s keeping them away. According to, these are just a few reasons that tracking your goals and actions are so important:

  • Types of actions that are taking place (Your video got 189 views, but where did the majority of users stop watching the video? Was it at the 20-second mark? 2-minute mark?)
  • How much time users spent on the site before converting (Are your leads spending 15 minutes on site before converting or does it only take 30 seconds?)
  • The number of completions within a specific period of time (You had an important webinar on the 16th – did the majority of conversions this quarter happen around then?)

There are many different ways to interpret these actions. Just make sure you use the right type of data to attract customers who will translate into easy conversions.

Tracking The Amount Of Content Read Per Visit

Now it’s time to focus on website content. (Cue collective groan). Know all that quality content you’re sharing by using co-marketing with the BoostSuite Article Exchange? This is a great way to measure how it’s performing! Start aligning your content with topics that your users tend to engage with on your site. When setting up your Goals in Google Analytics you will want to focus content goals on:

  • What amount of time is spent on reading content?
    • When content is actually worth reading and not just empty space “filler”, you can start to see how long users WANT to spend on the site because of the content. More time=more engagement.
  • What content is being read the most?
    • Factor in what content that has the most visits and start to examine why. You do this because time spent on your site with your content is a great indicator of user gratification.
  • What kind of content are people using as a gateway to a related content?
    • Content is like any other part of your brand. It’s constantly evolving. When you keep people engaged via multiple pieces of content on your site then you can start to understand your user actions and what people really want from your brand.

Good content is hard to find. That’s why this step isn’t just about traditional measurement. Make sure the quality, and not just quantity, of the content on a website is calibrated to your customers engagement pattern. While referencing metrics to pieces of content you will want to take note on any similarities and specific topics that seem important to your audience. Take into consideration the devices they will most likely use to read the content as well. According to Mashable:

People using an iPhone are going to have a different time on site than people using an iPad, and Android users actually spend 15% more time per page on StumbleUpon than iOS users. More broadly, mobile stumbling sessions are 13 minutes, much shorter than the site-wide average of 30 minutes (meaning desktop stumbling is closer to 40 minutes).

It’s not easy to continuously come up with new content and that’s why places like BoostSuite allow you to write or trade more high quality content. Make sure you are studying the habits and interest of your users. That way, you can expand on them and reinvent them as you see fit.

Managing expectations when using Google Analytics can seem like a big mountain to climb. When you use supported data to back up your steps, carry out great execution of those steps, and create content that deserves your audience’s attention, success is sure to follow. Even if it seems like a daunting task and you don’t know which goals to tackle, relax! Just breathe and remember you need to start at the beginning (whether that’s looking at your content first or your data first). No journey starts in the middle and this adventure in analytics isn’t any different.

How have you used Google Analytics to improve your online marketing? Let us know if the comments below.