Using Google Analytics to find The Who
No, not the band. Your website audience.
At P&P, we don’t just craft beautiful designs. We help clients achieve their goals. This means we regularly review every piece of data we can get our hands on to measure our efforts.
A website is the cornerstone of any solid digital marketing strategy — and researching your target audience (i.e.: The Who) is one of the most important exercises in ensuring your marketing efforts are successful. One of my favorite tools for finding who’s visiting a website is Google Analytics.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is free web analytics software offered by Google that helps website owners review, measure and track website traffic. To use this service, you must set up a Google account, and link that account to your website. Once the tracking code is in place, all traffic to your website is recorded.
The digital marketing landscape, especially the algorithms and technology that power it, is constantly updating. Whether your site gets 100 visits per month or 100,000, reviewing your analytics is a must if you want to maximize your digital marketing efforts.
If you’re new to Google Analytics, opening up the dashboard can be a little daunting. I find it is easier to review it with questions in mind. Today, I’ll begin with, “Who is visiting my website?” and give you the tools within Google Analytics to help you find the answer.
First, let’s go over some basics.
The overview page is a great way to get a quick snapshot of how visitors behave on your website. Be sure to review the sessions, page views and average duration charts.
Sessions = the number of separate visits to your website by any individual.
The most baseline information any organization wants to know is whether or not people are even visiting your site. This metric provides a baseline to improve or maintain.
Page Views = the number of individual pages viewed by a visitor.
This data point includes multiple views of the same page, by the same visitors. If a site’s number of sessions and number of page views are similar, it indicates that people do not explore a site. Is this important? It depends on what metric is used to measure success or conversion.
Average Duration = the average amount of time each visitor spent on the site as a whole.
How long does each visitor stay on your website? This is an important piece of information because it can add context to sessions and pageviews. On the surface, a high number of sessions and pageviews is a great indicator of a successful website. However, what if the total duration on the site is only 30-60 seconds? Suddenly, the number of sessions isn’t as exciting.
The Audience Overview section is just that, an overview of your site’s audience. However, when diving into Google Analytics is it crucial that individual metrics aren’t viewed as independent statistics that tell the whole story. One must review many metrics in the dashboard and analyze how they relate to each other to gain a true overview of the health of your website.