We create connections with others—we create connections every single day and we get to know people based on their interests, behaviors or even goals in life. Your website, in many ways, behaves like a person. In order for your website to create connections, it needs to know it’s audience. This is what digital analytics is all about.
Digital analytics can be used to create loyal and engaged audiences, help you better align on-site advertising and even understand your audience’s online purchasing behavior. There are tons of services that provides digital analytics, but the most widely used and comprehensive digital analytics service is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a service that can reveal how many visitors you receive, how visitors find your website, which pages and links they click on the most and even how long they spend on a page. The best part is, Google Analytics is free!
With Google Analytics behind you, you will have tons of resources to understand your audience fine tune your website.
Traffic: How many people visit your website?
Google Analytics > Audience > Overview
Let’s say you’re on your way to work and there are two identical coffee shops. One coffee shop has few customers—you’d get your coffee right away. The other coffee shop is busy and you’ll end up waiting 10 minutes for your coffee. But you always decide to go to the busier coffee shop because they always get your drink correct.
A website is like a coffee shop, or any business—it’s great to have recurring, loyal visitors than people who only visit once.
- You can use the sessions overview to see how many visits you received in total, even on a date that you specify. Not only does the sessions overview show you the total amount of visit to your page, it will count every single time someone navigated to your website.
- If you want to track the number of unique visitors to your website, you can look at the users overview.
Sessions – Users = # of returning visitors = an engaged audience
Behavior: What do they do on your website?
Google Analytics > Audience > Behavior
Have you ever been to a restaurant where almost everything on the menu is appealing? You end up ordering too many dishes, without finishing a single one, but you would do it all over again. Likewise, you’ve also been to a restaurant where nothing on the menu is appealing, so you end up leaving without even sitting down.
Like your behavior in a restaurant, people’s behavior on a website can reveal the quality of your content.
- Your page views & page sessions reveal how many pages your visitors read—the more, the better.
- Your average session duration reveals how much time they spend on your website—the longer they stay, the more relevant your content is.
- Your bounce rate reveals what percentage of your visitors left without clicking once on your website—they found your website but none of your information was relevant to them.
High page views/sessions + High average session duration + Low bounce rate = Valuable Content
Rapport: Who is your audience?
Google Analytics > Audience > Geo or Demographic
Do you talk to everyone the same way—your parents, your friends, kids younger than you, etc? No, you change your language, your word choice and your tone depending on who you’re talking to. Depending on your audience, you should change your language depending on two things:
- You can view the ages of your visitors, as well as their gender under the Audience Demographic.
- You can view the language and physical location of your visitors under the Audience Geo.
Acquisition: What brought your audience to your website?
Google Analytics > Acquisition > Overview
We’re creatures of habits, we tend to do the same things, go to the same places or do the same things unless we are recommended something else through word of mouth or we find it on the internet. The same thing applies to website—how did the audience reach your website?
The acquisition section shows you where your audience is coming from. There are seven sections that you can look at:
- Organic search: This number shows you the number of people who found you on search engines. If this number is high, your keywords are working in your favor; if not, you need to update your keywords.
- Email: If you send out a newsletter, this number shows you how many people visited your website through the link in the email.
- Direct: This number shows you how many people typed in your website’s address into their browser.
- Social: This number shows you how many people and which social media platform they are coming from.
- Paid Search: If you spend money on advertisements, the paid search will show you how many people find your website through advertisements.
- Referral: This number shows you how many people reached your website by through another website that linked you.
- Other: This number shows the rest of your visitors that are Google is unable to categorize.