The Value Of Google Analytics

Acquisition, Flow, & Conversion
We've often discussed the importance of attracting visitors to your Website (acquisition). We've discussed the importance of your content and how your content must flow, influencing your visitors' behavior while on your site. And, we have discussed in detail the importance of your visitors joining or purchasing once they arrive at your Website (conversion). Let's look at how Google Analytics helps us to measure (and improve) how efficiently we deal with these concerns.
Traffic to your Website (Acquisition)
Google Analytics allows you to see where your traffic comes from, i.e. the source of your traffic. It is important to know how visitors find your Website. Do they come from search engines? If so, is it the result of paid ads or organic listing? Do they come from social media sites, from other Websites, from email marketing, from other sources? The more realistic question is what percentage of your traffic comes from each of the source categories. Then, within each category, which particular sites (i.e. which search engines, which social media sites, which Websites, etc.) provide the best traffic?
When you log into analytics.google.com (and choose the proper account if you have more than one), you will see a link for "Acquisition" in the menu in the left-hand column. Under the Acquisition link is a list of links to various reports providing information about how people arrive at your Website.
The "Overview" link provides an overview, not only of acquisition, but also "behavior" and "conversion." We will address those subjects later. (The conversions column of the overview link will not display any information until you have configured your conversion goals.)
"Channels" gives you aggregate numbers of visitors for each of various categories of sources. Channels may include categories like organic search, direct traffic, paid search, and social media. This data can be helpful in revealing patterns that apply across many specific sites within each category. For example, if you are getting less traffic from social media than from other sources, you may want to brush up on your social media strategies. If you are getting less traffic from organic search, you may want to take steps to improve your search ranking in the major search engines. "Referrals" breaks it down to specific sites. Look over and orient yourself with the other reports in this submenu as well.
From these acquisition reports, you can learn which sites are referring traffic to your site, determine which sites are most important to your business. You can explore ways to encourage the sites that are sending you the most visitors. You can measure and evaluate your search engine optimization. You can also measure the results of your advertising budget and be guided in allocating your future advertising 


Flow (Behavior of the Visitors on Your Site)
Another link in the main menu on the left column of the Google Analytics dashboard is "Behavior." The Behavior reports reveal what people do once they arrive at your Website. For example, if they "bounce", that means they left the site rather quickly. Not a good outcome. If they stayed on your site, how long did they stay? What flow of information did they follow?
Recall our earlier discussions in this and the previous course encouraging you to create a path or paths of information that visitors could follow through your site. Ultimately, your desire is to direct the visitor to a conversion. That is, you want the visitor to make it to your conversion page. (Your conversion page is the one with the right balance of opportunity and motivation to prompt that visitor to take an action that will promote your business.)
This action could be to join a mailing list, start following your social media sites, or to go ahead and purchase from the goods or services you offer. The visitor's actions between arriving at your site and either leaving or making the conversion to a customer falls under the category of "behavior." These actions are revealed in the behavior reports.
You can answer many important questions from these reports. Which "landing pages" draw the most visitors? Which landing pages have the highest bounce rate (people left without going further)? Which landing pages attract visitors that make conversions. Which intermediary pages (information pages) have high exit rates and which intermediary pages lead to the most conversions?
From this information, you can ascertain the information on your site that attracts and keeps the most visitors. You can even drill down a bit to see specifically what content is most viewed. You can determine where visitors are most likely to leave your site. You can also detect patterns. For example, many visitors may navigate to one page on your site and then leave. This does not necessarily mean that high exit page is a bad page. It could be and the disappointment may be driving visitors out of the site. On the other hand, it may be a very valuable page to the visitors, one where they found the information they needed. Having found what they needed, they move on. Ascertaining whether the page has a high exit rate because of the former or the latter can be very helpful. If it is the latter case (the site had valuable information that satisfied the visitors' needs) then there are steps you can take on that page to ensure the visitor remembers the site as helpful. You would never know to examine the page carefully to make this analysis without the exit information provided by the behavior reports.

Conversion
As we've stated before, the first step is to define what you want the conversion to be. What is it that you want the visitor to do on your Website to make all the work you've done on your Website worthwhile? For most people, this conversion is defined as the visitor purchasing one of the goods or services you offer. Others break it down into steps, defining the conversion for a Website to be joining a mailing list, following you on social media, ordering a whitepaper, or filling out a request for additional information. Then, the actual sales take place in another venue or on another site. While most of us are individual entrepreneurs trying to make some extra money for our families with Internet Marketing, some site owners are involved in non-profit endeavors. The conversion goal for a non-profit might be to have their visitors sign up as volunteers to help with some community project. What your goals are depend on who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. You can't accomplish anything, however, unless you know what it is you want to accomplish. You must define your conversion goals with specificity.
While it is important not to confuse intermediary improvements of behavior of visitors with actual conversions, this information can also help you improve your site. The conversion reports provide you with additional information regarding behavior. For example, you can measure the amount of time a visitor spends on your site, the time duration on your site, and page screens per visit. While you are setting up your conversion goals, you can also set up intermediary goals that can be tracked by the conversion reports, such as whether a video was watched or whether certain content was downloaded.
Once you have determined what your goals are, both final conversions and intermediary success goals, you can configure them in Analytics and see the specific information that you need.



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