7-MINUTE READ · By Misty Faucheux on April 25 2017.
Most of us rely on Google Analytics (GA) for many of our metrics – and for good reason. It’s free and easy to use, and most marketers care more about the statistics from Google over data from the other search engines, i.e. Bing or Yahoo. Yet, while GA does offer a near comprehensive look at your users and how they’re interacting with your site, it can’t tell you everything. And what’s missing may be more important than you realize.
At first I will give you some hints on how you can tweak Google Analytics and use Google Search Console to increase the quality of your trafic. Next, I’m going to tell you about some tools that will provide you a great deal of valuable information about your customers and prospects. Let’s start!
How to avoid GA mistakes you cannot fix
If you apply a filter to your account, you can’t in the future simply remove this filter and see the historical data. That data is essentially lost. For example, let’s say that you apply a filter to remove any in-house traffic. If you later want to go back and see the total traffic, you can’t.
The keywords data dilemma
We all remember the “Not Provided” scandal of a few years back when Google basically stopped offering search keywords within GA. You can, however, still find this data within Google’s Search Console. Here, you can find search queries (exact keywords someone searched), clicks, impressions, average position and CTR. You can click on each query and see where the user landed. You can also see the landing page of each visit.
User experience evaluation
GA can track bounce rate, time on site, conversion rate and more. What it can’t track is how long it takes someone to fill out a form, why they abandoned their cart and how they engage on the site. Google’s Page Analytics plugin will provide what percentage of people clicked where on a site (i.e. 3.9% clicked on the button in the header), but the plugin only provides high-level data about where people are clicking. It will give you some idea as to why they chose to click on the button in the header as opposed to the drop-down menu. This, however, may not be enough for your needs.
While people have shifted away from picking up the phone and making a call, it still happens, especially for small business and brick-and-mortar shops. Your number is typically listed on your website, direct mail pieces, social networks and more. So, how do you know which marketing campaign is driving the most phone calls? GA can’t track this data.
Marketers, however, can set up call tracking to capture this info. According to the 2016 Call Intelligence Index published by Invoca, 92% of business calls come from digital channels. Further, the Search Engine Journal says that a phone call has a conversion rate of 30-50%. That means that if you’re not tracking this data, you’re losing credit for potential leads and sales.
You can leverage companies like e.g. Call Rail to track and record phone calls, and obtain call analytics.
Again, GA can tell you that you have a high bounce rate and that a visitor didn’t finish the check-out process, but it doesn’t tell you what your customers really think about your website and your products. Social media, phone calls, emails and other communications, however, can. All marketers should be capturing their online mentions as well as reviewing customer surveys. These provide a more detailed picture of what your customers are thinking and what issues they are having.
Set up a time to regularly review this data, and look for patterns. If you have consistent feedback that your website times out before the final checkout step, then you know where to investigate for website issues.
Identify who’s coming to your site
Google has taken a stance to never provide Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This data allows you to figure out exactly who’s visiting your site. This means that GA can provide aggregate data about visitors, but you’ll never know who exactly visited your site and what they did on it.
Products like Leadfeeder however, can capture data about your visitors and send it back to you. For example, you can tell that a VP from a company that you are targeting actually spent time on your site and looked at XYZ product. As a result, you can leverage this data to better market to this person. This is especially useful for B2B companies that may not have a large number of visitors, but who want to ensure that they’re reaching the correct audience.
In addition, Leadfeeder integrates with Google Analytics, thus you can assess the performance of your AdWords campaigns.
As a free tool, there’s no denying that GA is a great resource for finding information on how your overall campaigns are doing. Where it falls short is in providing you more depth into what types of users are coming to your site, what they’re doing there and where they’re having issues. Supplementing GA will additional tools can greatly improve your overall metrics.
These additional metrics will add more complexity to your reports and showcase the overall effectiveness of your campaigns. You should combine this data into a single marketing report. You might have to initially walk stakeholders through it and fully explain the additional information before they understand its importance.
About Misty Faucheux
Misty Faucheux is an Integrated Online Marketing Specialist at Faucheux Enterprises and a guest writer for Supermetrics. She is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, SEM, content marketing/writing and social ads. Misty helps companies develop a cohesive online marketing strategy that directly addresses their overall business goals and objectives. You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Flickr.