Google Analytics in Plain English
– In plain English, how we use Google Analytics to measure the success of your website and your company’s business online.
What do we mean by ‘analytics’?
Let’s think about our “bricks and mortar” business, rather than our website for a moment. You have a shop – do you care if people come into it? Well of course you do, it’s not so easy to sell anything in your shop if they don’t come in. But do you care who they are?
I mean, if you had to start categorising the people who come into your shop, how would you do it? By age perhaps? Are the people who come into your shop young or old? By gender? Are they men or women? Maybe we can start to combine categories and say that the people who come into your shop are old women. If we throw in a time element, we might reflect that old women come into our shop until about 3pm but after that it tends to be more children, both boys and girls. Maybe this varies by season, by month, or even whether it is the start or end of the month.
We are slowly being drawn deeper and deeper into the world of analytics, or market segmentation. Fancy words for knowing who your customers are.
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Should we care who comes when to our website? One of the strengths of small businesses is that often they really know their customers – in a way larger businesses could never hope to.
You might not categorise the customer who comes into your shop as an ‘old lady who comes in before 3pm but only on Mondays’ – because you know her as Mrs. Jones; and you know exactly when and why she comes into your shop – because you know her by sight and you take time to chat to her – which is one of the reasons that Mrs. Jones comes into your shop in the first place. It could just be that you can do this for hundreds of customers – you are a veritable mine of information! That information is valuable, because it helps you to give a better service to each customer.
Big business spends hundreds of thousands of pounds on trying to replicate you. They want the same insight into their own customers. This is the reason for loyalty cards and itemised tills – not to mention software and analysts that pour over the data trying to figure out if the best place to display beer is right next to the nappies (an insight that led to a huge increase in beer sales!). It also allows them to send one customer a money off coupon for electronics and another an incentive to buy car insurance.
Who visits your website?
Anyway, let’s come back to you and your small business and your website. Do you care if people visit it? Well of course you do, why invest in building it otherwise? But do you care who visits it?
In your shop environment you can see it’s Mrs. Jones who comes in, and you chat to her whilst she is there. You can’t you do that if she is visiting your website, can you? (Editor’s note – Actually you can! We can hookup WhatsApp to your website for example, or a chatbot that can handle basic questions and notify you if there is something that it can’t handle.) Contact us if you’d like to know more about this.)
What do visitors look at on your website – and how did they find you?
However, if you can’t be there at the same time as your customers, it would still be useful to know that they popped by, how long they stayed, what they looked at and so on. We could take this a step further and find out how they found out about your website, even which website they were on immediately before they came to yours. And we can do all of this without taking up any of your customers’ time, because all of this information can be supplied automatically by the likes of Google and other software companies.
Big Brother is watching you. Now you might not like the idea of that, but it is happening anyway, whether you as a small business decide to take advantage of the data collected or not. It’s still being collected – and as an individual choosing to use the internet you have already agreed to your own data being collected anyway. As responsible website owners we have to make sure to protect people’s privacy (and there are regulations covering this, GDPR being the most well-known) but data used responsibly can actually give our website visitors an improved experience – which is good for them and good for your business.
Two Big Questions:
How do I get to see the data about my website?
What should I do about it?
In order to see the data you need some special code added to your website, and then you need a dashboard made available to you. You could just have a generic dashboard, but to make the most effective use of your site, it really makes sense to have one designed that clearly shows you what you need to know to grow your business – and does it in a simple to understand format.
What should I do about it is a longer term process that has various elements to it. The first is interpreting the data – the thing that big businesses pay business analysts plenty of money for (one of the jobs I used to do before moving into project management).
We offer an ongoing service where we will present conclusions from the data collected. This helps you to complete the next step which is deciding what actions to take based on the information presented to you.
What should you do with this data?
For example you might decide to redesign a page on your website if you find people get part way through a buying process and then don’t complete their purchase.
You might decide to offer a certain subset of customers a particular promotion.
If your customers are reaching you through another site – or they were and then you notice they no longer are – you could contact the site owners to discuss how you can benefit each other
You could focus your advertising spend on platforms or at times that are proving the most effective, and so on.
Throughout all of this we can participate in your decision making process as much or as little as you wish.
Google Analytics in Plain English – The Next Steps
Once you have taken a decision based on the information available, the next step is to monitor the outcome of that decision and to compare it with the situation before the action was taken.
As you can see by now, analytics is not the start or end of a linear process but part of a circle of continuous improvement.
If you want to make sales, you need to let people know that you exist and then build relationships with your potential buyers. In order to do that you need to collect high quality targeted data. You then need to use that data in a very informed way.
Your website needs analytics. Every website has to have analytics if it is going to be successful.
The Roman Britons Analytics package takes care of you by installing all the code required, helping you to set measurable goals for your business website and presenting you with clear results in an easy to read weekly or monthly visual guide. An investment in the right analytics can repay itself time and time again by helping you to focus your marketing and sales efforts where they can achieve the greatest return.
Certifed by Google so that we can deliver Google Analytics in Plain English
In any business I’d argue that one of the most important attributes to possess is experience. It’s important that you actually know what you are talking about. But it’s also important in today’s fast changing world to keep up to date with the latest changes. One way of doing that is through certified training – and what better place to get trained on Google Analytics than at Google itself?
At Roman Britons our core skills are around building your website and keeping it up and running plus helping you let the world know that you exist. That’s why we work with experts in specialist fields to make sure we can give our customers a premium experience . We are delighted to be working with a fully certified Google Analytics expert.
I hope you found this Analytics in Plain English guide useful. If you’d like to discuss how we can help your business grow, get in touch.