Before you start running a business, you have to define goals and purpose of your business, and after that, you should prepare a business plan and strategy for achieving those goals. Finding the right metrics you should track is equal to defining business goals and purpose. Metrics help Startup owners and bloggers to set up their goals.
It is difficult to find the right recipe that fits all Startups, but here are a few metrics that could be applied to early stage Startups and new blogs:
Here I will show you how to setup and track these four metrics within Google Analytics.
Setting up a Google Analytics is very simple. Go to Google Analytics website and click Access Google Analytics, or Sign in/create an account if you don’t have it. Fill out the form and copy your tracking code. Paste it into every page you want to track, before closing the </head> tag. If you use WordPress or Joomla, find a field for Google Analytics and place your tracking ID. The position of the field depends on the theme you choose or plugin/extension you use. Once you have installed the code on your site, you are ready to use Google Analytics.
Track Your Metrics and Goals in a Google Analytics
Metrics help us set goals and allow us to be continually improving and pushing forward. Parameters should be used to understand all results of the efforts we made, problems we have and give the solution for the next steps. You should always consult your metrics before making significant decisions.
Acquisition – How do users become aware of you?
Acquisition section helps you understand how your visitors find you. Here you can measure your investments in digital marketing, from social media through email and SEO. For example, if you post one article with good SEO on different social media channels and send it to the newsletter through email, you probably want to find out which tactics generate valuable visitors. Acquisition reports help you understand different traffic sources to your website and I will help you to find and analyze your marketing efforts.
Google Analitycs acquisition report can be broken up into channels, source, medium and searched queries. First, let’s see all traffic report. Here you can see the source of your traffic (e.g., Google, Facebook, nytimes.com…) which shows you where your visitors find you. The medium section shows you how those sources interact with your site and what users did to come to your site. You can see medium marked as organic, it mostly always comes with Google or another search engine. This means users found your site through organic search. If you have a referral, that could say that users have read the article about you on some website and then clicked your link within that article. CPC medium means that your visitors came from CPC campaigns.
You have to understand your traffic acquisition strategy, and this report will clearly show you if you are hiding in the right direction. Here you can find what top channels percentage could tell you about your strategy:
- Your total organic search should not be higher than 40% of total site traffic. I hope you didn’t choose SEO as your primary strategy, because you did, you will be at high risk. Dependence on search engines is never a good idea.
- If you have around 30% of direct traffic search that means you have excellent customer support and high brand awareness.
- Referring traffic lover than 20% means that you have issues with link building.
- Amount of campaign percentage depends on your marketing strategy.
Back on acquisition report table, you can see what makes a good source of traffic to your site. Looking at the highest traffic drivers is just a start, but it doesn’t tell you whether the quality of traffic was good. For example, bounce rate could show you the percentage of visitors who landed on your site but left without visiting any other page.
This is valuable data, but even more important is to find out whether your traffic sources achieve the goals that you set for your site.
Oh, wait… You haven’t set your goals yet…
Activation – What are visitors doing on your website?
If you are a blogger or small biz entrepreneur your goals could be newsletter subscription, number of new users (users that sign up), number of page views, or number of visitors who fill out a contact form. Goals are easy to setup, just go to admin tab, then view goals and create a new goal. Once you create your goals, you can use funnel option to define steps for achieving the goals. E.g., Track all visitors who visited pricing page before they went to contact page.
In Google Analytics you have four types of goal predefined:
- Destination – Allows you to track people who end up on a particular page. The best usage of this goal is the contact form because contact form has a confirmation page that could be tracked.
- Duration tracks all users who spent defined amount of time you set on your website.
- Pages/Screens per session count as a goal the number of page views you have set for your site.
- Event option is the most difficult to set up because it requires actual coding. You can use this goal to track the number of file downloads or load times for data (follow how many times a video on your website was played). For more info about events tracking go to Google support.
The most important thing about the goals is to try to make as many useful goals as you can. Some goals for bloggers and Startups could be a goal for newsletter signup, goal for sales or number of people who have viewed your product video.
Retention – Encourage your first-time users to return
With this report, you will understand your visitors and traffic channels much better. Google Analytics created a pretty chart, with a lot of colors and lines that will help you to quickly address the behavior of a specific segment of visitors and their action on your website. Go to the behavior segment and click behavior flow report. You can choose a type of source you want to track and isolate that source by clicking on it and selecting “View only this segment.” By separating the source, it is much easier to find out how the chosen type of user goes through your site.
Within behavior segment, you can find the “In-Page Analytics” that allows you to see how customers interact with your web pages, including what they click and don’t click. You can install Google Chrome extension with the same purpose and use those insights to optimize your website layout, improve user experience, and increase conversions.
Once we understand user flow, we can focus on more details. Google Analytics allows you to track new users, returning users, their visits and interactions. For example, you can identify users who visited your site just once and users who visit your site on a regular basis. You can identify Twitter users who visited your site more than once and sent you an email through the contact form. To do that, you have to create goals in your analytics tool. In your admin panel choose goals and create a new one. When you select a new goal from the menu, you’re given a choice of a set of templates or a custom option. Choose a custom option, provide a name for your goal and then select destination parameter. On the next step enter page URL that shows that message is sent (thank you page). To see this goal through other parameters go to audience section, choose the behavior than new vs. returning. After you open this report preferred source/medium from the secondary dimension. From the goal, column selects the goal you want to compare, and you will see the results.
If you see that you have a lot of returning users from one source that never contacted you, you may want to start remarketing campaign to draw their attention.
Referral – Your content should be viral
One more metrics you should track is social shares and likes. It is important to measure how many times your article is shared on social media. If you have a social share icons as I do, you can see the number of shares, but tracking it through Google Analytics gives an option to find out where visitors who shared your content came from. By placing events in analytics tool, you can reveal which social network brings you visitors that like to share content. The point is to become viral. If you use WordPress CMS, I suggest you use WP Google Analytics Event plugin. Check their video to see how it works.
Ok, now I will show you how I use it. In WordPress go to Settings, then WP Google Analytics Events, enter your Google Analytics Identifier. If you previously registered ID somewhere, don’t forget to remove it (e.g., you entered ID in general theme settings). Next thing is to find the element you want to track. I choose bottom social share buttons. Go to source code and see a class or ID of that element. Then fill in the form of event plugin.
Now you are able to track the event. Go to Google Analytics and find behavior section on the right side, click events – top events, that add secondary dimension source/medium. Here it is, simple as that. You have your report.
I skipped revenue metrics this time because I wanted to talk about early stage Startups and new blogs. This theme will be covered next time. As I said before each Startup and blog will have their own metrics, and the goal of this article was to inspire you and remind you of the metrics you should track.