Millions of websites use Google Analytics to collect data and track users. Research shows that most marketers could be using Google Analytics a lot more effectively. To help marketers focus on what matters, Formstack recently released the report, Google Analytics Usage Among Marketers: Moving Past the Vanity Metrics.
Data indicates that most marketers stop their analytics at vanity metrics: numbers like page views or bounce rates. In contrast, marketers who collect actionable data are better able to make profitable decisions.
Here are five surprising takeaways from the new Formstack report:
#1: Many marketers use gut instincts, not data.
Forty percent of marketers say that they use intuition to make decisions. That means a lot of businesses are rolling the dice on their marketing plans. Guessing wrong wastes time and resources, and many of these marketers aren’t measuring the outcomes of their decisions.
The Formstack report recommends using actionable data to drive your decisions. Knowing your page view count is fine, but strategic use of Google Analytics can help you put numbers behind your marketing campaigns.
#2: Analytics help marketers calculate the actual value of their efforts.
One of the biggest complaints that digital marketers have is how difficult it is to prove that their campaigns are successful. Putting a dollar value on social media campaigns or content downloads can be a challenge. That’s why only one-third of marketers track their ROI.
Leveraging analytics tools like Google Analytics can help you put actual value on your hard work. Establishing values for certain actions allows you to calculate ROI within Google Analytics and prove the worth of your actions.
#3: Most marketers don’t use analytics consistently.
Only 37 percent of marketers regularly use analytics to gain insight. When marketing departments are strapped for time, the complex work of analyzing data can fall to the wayside. Vanity metrics are easy to collect and understand, which is why they are the most popular numbers to track.
Properly analyzing past customer behavior allows marketers to make educated predictions about future behavior. Even though analysis can be time-consuming, using analytics to improve marketing campaigns can save time in the long run.
#4: Analytics help reveal who customers are and what they want.
Marketers can use Google Analytics to better understand their customer behavior. Tracking customer paths and running behavior reports helps you learn more about what people are doing on your website. Experiments, or A/B tests, can also be set up through Google Analytics.
Experiments give marketers valuable insight into what is working well on their website. Despite this advantage, only 24 percent of marketers create and test hypotheses. Conduct experiments to collect real data on customer preferences. Analyze and act on this information to improve your customers’ experience.
#5: It takes extra time and effort to use Google Analytics to its fullest potential.
Nearly half of all marketers report that data is their most underutilized asset. They are busy, and vanity metrics are easier to calculate. Not only that, you have to set up some Google Analytics tools prior to launching a campaign.
The Formstack report walks through the basics of UTM parameters, conversion goals, and traffic channels. Although it takes more effort to set up robust tracking in Google Analytics, it’s worth it when that actionable data starts rolling in.