Google Analytics is key to understanding your website visitors

Did you know that often people visit a website up to a dozen times before they interact with the owner of the site? And that you can actually check each individual person’s visitation history?

It’s really not as simple as click-and-contact for most website visitors.  What happens when people enter your site is directly comparable to what happens with retail store traffic.

Surveys show that consumers shopping in a brick and mortar store will enter a store to approach an interesting or colourful stand that is about a metre from the door. They will then tend to veer left (assuming there is generous walking space) and head for the left hand side of the store – you need to allow passage for them to feel comfortable.

As they travel further into the store there is a period of about 5 seconds before they will look up and look around – that’s when they should notice a cleverly positioned sign pulling them to the back wall of the store, and when your retail staff should make their first approach as the customer moves further in to your store. Clever retailers have a 3 second and 5 second rule – customers must be acknowledged within 3 seconds of entering the store (but not approached), and must be approached within 5 seconds of the first contact.

The same principles apply to your website. The landing page needs to be designed to pull people further into your website. Give them just enough on the landing page to assure them that they are in the right place (confirming relevance) and deliver the path for them to investigate further.

Chat boxes or pop up boxes need to be timed to come up at exactly the right time and allow the consumer to easily dismiss them if they wish to – those are your retail sales people. There’s nothing more annoying that a salesperson who follows you around the store, and conversely – it’s a total turnoff if there is no staff in attendance at the store when you want or need them. The same applies to your links and buttons.

So how do you know where the people are going on your website?

That’s where Google Analytics comes in. It’s a little overwhelming for the beginner, but Analytics allows you full insight into where your customer has come from (referral, organic search, a Google Ad or another ad), which page he or she landed on and whether or not he or she travelled beyond that page, and how much time was spent on each of the pages. This is the best way to discover which advertising channels are working for what type of campaign – and – importantly, which pages people are leaving your site from!

An E-Commerce operator selling goods from an online site can use Analytics to carefully monitor the entire checkout process and see if they are losing people as they travel through the steps toward checkout. For example, if an address form on a website is onerous or lengthy and people can’t be bothered – they will leave the site at that stage. Once the site owner identifies and address the block, customers will stay within the process and conversion will improve.

So, really it’s as easy as watching customers in a store and observing their behaviour!

Importantly for Google Analytics to be effective, you need to know what you are trying to achieve with your website – enquiries, sales or information download – whatever your goal is, look to set up the necessary reporting metrics and measure your success on a regular basis while continually tweaking the site – carefully monitoring any changes.

Google Analytics is a free platform that every business should be using on a monthly basis. Smart managers set goals and measure effectiveness – this is the role of Google Analytics in your marketing mix!