Using Google Analytics to Analyze Marketing Activities
Online marketing can be quite the pain. You spend time researching different methods for marketing. You devise a plan that seems well thought out to cover a certain demographic. Then after everything is ready you launch the campaign and wait for the sales to start rolling in!
But how do you truly know how effective your campaign is? Even worse, if you are like most people and either run multiple campaigns or utilize diverse methods in a single marketing campaign are you tracking what is getting the job done and producing results compared to things that aren’t pulling their own weight?
You should be…
You need to measure the effectiveness of any marketing campaign and that is especially true on something as fickle as the internet. When you add new landing pages or rework your SEO, how effective was the switch? Did those new tags and better headers actually help? How big of a draw is that new blog that reflects on Facebook?
Just because the campaign is launched doesn’t mean the job is done. Now you need to analyze the impact of the campaign and track those efforts. This analysis will allow you to shape a more effective plan which ideally means you keep getting better results.
- Understand Your Goals – You should have a good idea of what the marketing plan is supposed to accomplish. While there might be “side affects” for the most part you should understand that “primarily you expect to increase page views and increase time on a page while also increasing a specific click-thru” and not just a general “increase sales”. Once you know what you expect then you know where to look to see how effective the plans or actions are.
- Google Analytics Annotations – This is a simple way to track changes. You can note when things changed both online and offline such as content change, design changes, email blasts, and so much more. It is just a simple way to track what you did when you did it. This then allows you to track performance before and after that date for an accurate graph of impact (if any) or review reports historically with built in notes. It is also a good idea to copy the notes to a spreadsheet for backup and tracking.
- Google Calendar – The aspect of a shared calendar is very convenient for a business. In the case of marketing you can create a follow-up calendar for everything you do. You can set reminders for launches, weekly or monthly review dates and so much more. Oh hey, this new campaign has been up for 10 days, I should review the effectiveness.
- Understand the Reports – There are plenty of options for reports to read. You have the Mobile Devices Report, Goals Report, Landing Pages Report and more. Go to the Google analytics website and take the time to learn all of the various reporting options and how they relate with consumer actions. For example, look at the Location Report. This shows you where your traffic comes from geographically. When you launch a new radio ad, for example, this is one report you can then use to see if traffic increased from cities where the ad was heard. Master the standard reports and your analysis will be much more accurate.
- Use all Categories – The various analytics might be broken down by category, but your personal analysis shouldn’t be limited to just advertising. Small changes can cause ripples in conversions and should be noted.
- Make your Own Reports – By this we don’t mean within Google Analytics, but by using the analytics. If you understand what your goals are and you use various categories with reports that show how effective or ineffective something was, export those bad boys and combine it all into one large report or presentation.
Everything has a Purpose
As much fun as it can be to just do something because it sounds like a good idea, when it comes to online marketing you need to have a plan and a purpose. You should understand what you are trying to accomplish and then you need to review data to see if it worked or exactly how effective one method is over the other. Mastering this process will help you understand your business from the consumer perspective along with showing you which areas to focus on for better results.