These days, most websites have Google Analytics or an equivalent statistics tracker installed. But the majority of business owners and marketers are not actually using this data consistently to make marketing decisions and improve results – in fact, there are five common mistakes with Google Analytics:
- Mistake number ONE = Not looking at the stats at all!
- Mistake number TWO = Looking at the number of website visitors ONLY
- Mistake number THREE = Looking at the statistics, but not understanding them
- Mistake number FOUR = Looking at the statistics but not using the information to make marketing decisions
- Mistake number FIVE = Not having ANY tracking software installed – or not having access to it
There is a potential goldmine in your Google Analytics if you know how to tap into it. Here are four ways you can use the information in Google Analytics to increase your website conversion rates and attract more sales and new customers:
1) Set up ‘Goal Conversions’
This is fundamental - you need to know if your website is producing the desired results, which means measuring your website conversion rates. Google Analytics won't automatically track your conversion rates, you need to tell it what counts as a 'conversion' on your website first.
In Analytics you can set up different types of conversions (or 'goals') – someone making a purchase (if you have an e-commerce website), signing up to your newsletter, filling out a contact form, watching a video or just spending a certain amount of time on your website.
You can also assign different weights to these types of conversions, for example a completed sale has more value than someone just watching a video on your home page.
Let’s use a simple example – if you have a 10 page ‘brochure’ style website with an enquiry form on it, you can track how many times that enquiry form gets filled in. Using analytics you can then tell:
- What your conversion rate is from website visitors to enquiries
- If different traffic sources give better conversion rates than others – for example people who found you in Google may convert at 1% but referrals from Facebook (where they’ve already built a relationship with you) may convert at 5%
- If some pages lead to more conversions than others
- If people looking at your site from a mobile phone are more, or less likely to make an enquiry
- What affect location has – are people closer to you more, or less likely to convert into enquiries?
It also allows you to use the next strategy:
2) Use analytics experiments to A/B test
There are some pages on your website which are critical for conversion. If you sell a product online then it is the product page with the ‘add to cart’ button on it. If you want people to download a free report, it is the page which tells people about that report, and if you want people to enquire about a particular service then it is the page which tells people about that service.
That page will have a conversion rate – for example if 100 people look at the page about your ‘blue widgets’, and on average 5 people will ‘add to cart’, then you have a conversion rate of 5%.
If you have a website which just promotes your services (where people can't buy online), and 100 people look at your page about your Emergency Lighting Installation services (for example), and 3 of them make an enquiry from your contact page then you have a conversion rate of 3%.
This conversion rate can be improved by making changes to:
- The headline on the page
- The offer you make
- The images you use
- The layout of the page
- Use of video (or lack of)
- The way the text is written
- Social proof (evidence that other people have worked with you and been happy, for example testimonials)
- Time or availability limits
A/B Testing is when you create two separate versions of a page and alternate them to see which version works best – for example you could create two separate versions of a product page and test two different prices. Sometimes you will find that the higher price actually converts better!
There are some sophisticated multivariate testing products available commercially, but this type of testing can now be done in Google Analytics for free. Done well, this can help you make great leaps forward in conversion rates – which gives you a better return on investment on every form of advertising and marketing you use to get people on to your website.
3) Test mobile vs desktop
You can use Google Analytics to separate mobile visitors from desktop visitors, and measure factors like:
- Bounce rate – are mobile visitors ‘bouncing’ off your website?
- Average pageviews and time on site – are mobile visitors more, or less engaged by your site? Do they look at more pages? Or fewer?
- Content – do mobile visitors look at different pages to desktop visitors?
- Conversions – are mobile visitors more, or less likely to convert than desktop visitors?
This information will tell you if you need to change your website for mobile visitors.
4) Bounce Rate analysis
In the ‘Content’ section of Google Analytics you’ll be able to analyse which pages people first see when they come to your website. The most popular one will usually be your home page, but if you’ve got multiple pages and good content then people will often arrive on other pages first.
You can then check the bounce rate for each of these pages. A good bounce rate is under 30%, a high bounce rate is anything above 50-60%. If a page has a high bounce rate, it is usually because of one or more of the following:
- People are not finding what they are looking for on your website
- Your page is too slow to load and they become frustrated
- There is no clear ‘what next’ path
- The page is badly designed and/or uninteresting
Look for underperforming pages and re-evaluate them. What can you do to answer the questions of the people that have looked at that page? How can you improve the presentation of the information? You can then make appropriate changes and monitor the effects.
Article by Will Williamson