Santa knows the drill. With tomorrow being the most important night of the whole year for him, you can be sure he is looking over his list and checking it twice.
You may not be getting ready to deliver gifts worldwide, but you can give yourself the gift of a solid marketing strategy by making sure that you’re tracking all of your marketing correctly.
That’s why I put together this list of Google Analytics tips that you can use to make sure your marketing is ready to go for 2017. I’m going to assume that you already have a Google Analytics account — if not, that would be step one. Then once that’s ready to go, you can start using the tips below.
1. Make sure every page has code.
Once your Google Analytics account is set up, then the next step is to add the tracking code to every page of your site. If you haven’t checked this in a while, I highly recommend going back and making sure it’s been added.
If you use a CMS like WordPress, you can add code to the header template file of the site. This will then make sure the code is displayed on all pages. If you don’t use a CMS, you’ll need to manually add the code to each page of your site.
2. Check your Goals.
Goals (or conversions) are key actions that prospects complete on your website. For example, every business needs to set up a Goal to track when the contact form on your website is completed.
It’s important to make sure you not only have goals set up, but that you’re using them effectively. You need to identify all of the webforms you want to track on your website, and then make sure each form has a “thank you” page after someone fills out the form.
In your Analytics account, you can then set up the Goals by using the “thank you ” page URL as the Destination URL. Then, when you run a Goal report you’ll be able to see how many people filled out each individual webform.
3. Use Google Analytics to check your SEO.
Google Search Console is a great way to get a deeper understanding of your SEO. Once your Google Analytics account and Search Console account are linked, you’ll be able to see the exact search queries that your website is ranking for in Google, the average position your site is in Google, and the number of clicks to your website from Google.
If you haven’t created an account yet you can do so by going to https://www.google.com/webmasters. Then, you’ll need to verify ownership of your website. Once that’s set up, log into Google Analytics and go to Admin > Property Settings > Scroll down to Search Console and then follow the steps to link the accounts.
4. Use Google Analytics to help manage your AdWords.
The reporting tools with Google AdWords itself are very good. But by linking your AdWords and Analytics accounts, you’ll be able to gain even more insight into your campaigns. You’ll be able to see bounce rates, time on site, and browsing behavior of your visitors after they click your ads.
To do this, log into your Analytics account and then go to Admin > AdWords Linking and follow the steps to link the accounts.
5. Use URL Builder for all of your marketing campaigns.
Google Analytics automatically tracks most of your marketing channels by default. Because of this, most business owners don’t set up URL tracking and instead rely on what Analytics tells them. The problem with this is that some marketing is not possible to track unless you explicitly tell Google Analytics where the traffic came from. The URL Builder ensures that it gets tracked correctly.
To do this, go to: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/. Then complete the form and copy the generated URL for your campaign.
Note that the URL will be very lengthy and messy. I highly recommend create a pretty URL using a tool like bit.ly and then copy and pasting that URL to use in your marketing campaign.
6. Review Sources/Medium Performance and Trends
One way to strengthen your marketing is to understand where your website traffic is coming from and which sources of traffic are converting to leads and sales. Once you have this information, you can allocate more resources to those marketing channels.
To find this information you should use the “Source/Medium” report. The source is the referrer — i.e. Google, Newsletter, Facebook, etc. — and the medium is the type of traffic — i.e. email, banner ad, paid search.
To run this report, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium and choose the date range you’d like to review. Then review the performance and traffic trends for your different sources and mediums.
It’s important to note that “direct traffic” is not necessarily someone typing in your domain. It’s also traffic that Google Analytics can not categorize. That’s why it’s so important to complete Tip #5 and use the URL Builder so you know where your traffic is really coming from.
7. Review Marketing Channel Performance & Trends
The Source/Medium report gives you specifics about each medium. But, the Channels report rolls up all of the different Mediums into one so you can get a high level view of your marketing channels. For example, the Channels report will show you all of your “email” traffic versus “social” traffic regardless of the specific Source.
To run this report, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels and change the date to the time frame you want to review. Then, review the performance and traffic trends for each Channel.
Tracking your marketing is key in order to make sure what you’re doing is working. These 7 tips are a great way to set up and review your Google Analytics account. By using them, you’ll make sure to end up on the “good” list when it comes to your digital marketing this year.
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Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
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