Editor’s Note: You can find an endless array of articles on Google Analytics. How to use the tool and the many features under the hood. However, it’s not always easy to find someone to translate that into a business-friendly recipe you can use regularly. Mike does that hear – honing in on three key metrics to watch. These metrics don’t just tell you about how your web site is used – but importantly give you a sense for what’s working and not working. Watching these fundamental statistics will help you make decisions on future content and marketing campaigns.
Your compliance department has “finally” become more liberal and you have been given permission to start to market more on the web. Your new responsive website is up, you have blog posts waiting to be posted, and your social media content calendar is ready to go. But what should you be tracking to see if your marketing activities are actually paying off?
Enter Google Analytics, a free tracking software that will give you valuable insight into the activities for any and all user behavior on your website. This powerful platform can be extremely complex to configure, however luckily it comes with basic settings that are more than enough for most financial advisor’s needs.
Please keep in mind that we are starting with the basics, so let’s examine the 3 key metrics that you should look for when accessing your Google Analytics dashboard.
For this exercise, you will need to go to the left hand toolbar in your account, and select the “All Traffic” button under “Acquisition”.
Visits and Unique Visitors to Your Website
We like to direct advisors to the “All Traffic” screen under acquisition due to the fact that it pulls several basic, yet extremely pertinent statistics about your visitors behavior. First and foremost, you will want to look at the top column of numbers, which is the aggregate of all site visits, and look at “sessions” and “new users”.
Sessions are simply the number of visits to your website, and new users are the total number of unique people that visited your site over the selected timeframe. Obviously, getting users to your website is extremely important, but make sure that you keep a close eye on the new users statistic as well. After all, you want to get new prospects into your pipeline and your statistics for “Sessions” can be misleading if you have a large number of repeat visits from the same people.
A good statistic to key on would be the “% New Sessions” box right in between the “Sessions” and “New Users” box that shows you how many of your users are unique as an aggregate amount of your visitors.
Discover How Visitors Behave When They Get to Your Website
Next, it is important that you understand how visitors are behaving when they get to your website. Are they simply reaching your site and leaving immediately, or are they engaging with your content and exploring around?
To discover these metrics at a very high level, you will want to take a look at the “Bounce Rate”, “Average Pages Per Session”, and the “Average Visit Duration”.
The bounce rate is simply an indication of how many people as a percentage reached your website and left immediately without exploring further. To see more success, you will want this percentage to be as low as possible as it illustrates the fact that potential prospects are getting to your website and they like what they see enough to explore a bit further.
The average pages per session metric tells you on average how many pages each visitor viewed before leaving the website. At a basic level, you want this number to be as high as possible as it also is a great indication that your content is begin well received by your visitors.
Finally, to state the blatantly obvious, the average time on site simply shows you how long your visitors stay on your website on average. Like the average pages per visit, you want this number to be high, as the more time a visitor spends on your site, the great the indication of interest.
Find Out Where Your Site Traffic is Coming From
Last, but certainly not least, you will want to determine where your traffic is coming from. This particular metric will help illustrate how effective some of your external activities are when it comes to driving traffic to your website.
To view this particular metric, you will want to take a close look at the left hand column that is labeled “Source / Medium”. This column will not only tell you the name of the website that is sending traffic, but will also lump it in to one of 3 primary categories (Social, Referral, and Organic) to tell you a little bit more about the type of visitors who arrive at your site.
For example, the source would be a website like LinkedIn, Google, Yelp, or another website where you have a link that directs visitors back to your site. When it comes to the 3 basic types of mediums, they are as follow:
- Social – Traffic coming from a social media site like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+
- Referral – Traffic coming directly from a fixed link on a website like Yelp, or your broker-dealer’s website
- Organic – This label is assigned to traffic coming from organic searches from sites like Google and Bing
By figuring out the activities that are sending you traffic you can devote more time to what is working and ultimately drive more visitors to your website.
Please understand that Google Analytics is a very powerful tool, and we just covered a tiny fraction of what it can tell you about your website’s performance. However, for advisors who are just getting started and have limited time, these 3 buckets are a great place to view the basic visitor behavior and progress of your website.