Using Google Analytics to Understand the Customers' Journey

Using Google Analytics to Understand the Customers' Journey
categories: eCommerceInternet Marketing

What information are you able to get within Google Analytics?

Google AnalyticsAs a business owner, it’s important to have information that allows you to make well-informed decisions about how to grow your business online. Google Analytics is a tool that can help you collect data, track visitor actions, create goals, measure performance, track expectations, and generate reports that will provide a better visual rendering of what is happening throughout your site.

Use Google Analytics to gain insight into the performance of your website

Google Analytics - Audience PanelGoogle Analytics can be used as a quick point of reference to get basic information about website visitors when needed. Learn how visitors interact with your website and get more information about pages that are performing well, as well as pages that do not meet performance expectations. 

Custom reports can be saved as shortcuts for a quick point of reference within your account and to share with others that are involved with monitoring website marketing objectives. Within each report, options are provided that will allow the same data to be viewed with different types of charts, depending on how data needs to be viewed and/or compared. Google Analytics even provides the ability to see which pages website users are on in real-time, including how long they have been on the page, the active session duration, and even a map that shows the location of each active visitor.

See Website Visitor Traffic

When you need to get a clear picture of how your business is performing and functioning from the visitor/user/customer standpoint, then Google Analytics is a tool and single resource that will help you manage and view this wealth of information.

Questions that can be answered with website visitor data from Google Analytics: 
  • How are visitors finding your website?
  • Are you creating effective content to get the results desired from your website?
  • Are visitors doing what you expect once they arrive at your website?
  • What percentage of visitors are completing a purchase or a goal?
  • Do most of the conversions completed occur from first time visitor traffic or return visitors?
  • How many visitors are returning and how long do they stay on average compared to first time visitors?
The data within Google Analytics will allow you to see how people are finding your company online and getting to your website.

It's been found that effective content leads to the desired behavior! When investing a lot of time and money into a campaign, it’s important to be able to measure the results.
Compare Traffic Data
Even if you are not actively advertising your website online, viewing summarized traffic data can be very beneficial. For example, maybe someone found an article or product on your site very useful, then posted a link in a popular blog. Monitoring visitor data in Google Analytics would allow you to see an increase in traffic from the given source. With this knowledge, you may want to update the page with a link to help direct visitors more easily find a different related page of your website in order to complete a conversion goal.

Learn how visitors interact once they arrive: Google Analytics makes it easy to find out where traffic is coming from, how long visitors stay, learn about which pages are visited the most, which pages have the least traffic, the page visitors enter the site on and the last page that viewed before visitors exit the site.

View and compare traffic data: The date range selector provides a feature that will allow you to quickly compare traffic data from different date periods in order to measure progress and performance.

The better you are able to understand the customers' journey as they interact and engage with content, the easier it will be to know what works, and what may not be working on different pages and sections throughout the site.

Create and follow a process analysis plan to make improvements when and where needed

Process Analysis PlanUse the data to understand visitor actions and behavior, then make changes and monitor improvements. Once you have a good idea about what you are looking for within the data, setting up shortcuts to different traffic data views can help to cut down on the tedious process of sorting through different view panels to get the data you’re looking for. Learn more about Views
  1. Measure - What is happening or not happening on your website.
  2. Learn - Digest the data to learn more about how visitors are interacting.
  3. Take Action - Increase font size, make updates to the contact form, create a new contact form, add a new button with call-to-action text, add a new image, show discount codes, change prices, add a new video.

What do you want to happen when visitors come to your website?
- Think about how your website is designed to help potential customers or visitors to achieve a predefined action. Tracking Goals in Google Analytics

Examples of common predefined actions would be; make a purchase or use a form to submit a request for more information about the products or services offered by your company. Other common examples include; download a PDF document or play a video.

All of these types are able to be tracked as Goals, but these types of goals require additional time to setup. Spending extra time to set up goals, will be well the effort! Having details related to these types of visitor interactions will make help to make your basic traffic data much more valuable.

More information about how Goals work: How to use Views, Goals, and Filters in Google Analytics

Using forms is the most common process of capturing internal opt-in leads online. Google Analytics will allow each form to be tracked as a separate goal, in nearly all cases this data could be useful to both eCommerce and Non-eCommerce websites. Configuring Goals does require additional setup, which is optional, but taking the time to set up goals can help capture data that is critical to your business. 

Default Traffic Channels include: Organic SearchDirectReferralPaid AdsDisplaySocialEmail
  • Organic Search refers to traffic that acquired from traffic sources like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other major search engines. 
  • Direct refers to traffic that is acquired from someone typing in the website or page address directly, without searching at a search engine. 
  • Referral refers to traffic that is acquired from clicking a link on any other website. 
  • Paid Ads refers to traffic that comes from advertising above and below search results at using AdWords. 
  • Display refers to traffic that comes from advertising using the Ad Distribution Network from Google AdWords. 
  • Social refers to traffic that is acquired from any social network like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. 
  • Email refers to visitors that find your website because of an email newsletter campaign.

Monitor Website Traffic

How to find the best type of visitor data to monitor and create reports for:  As we all know, every business is different, so the best reports to view will depend on the type of company that you have. If we use an eCommerce company as an example, then we would most likely want to keep a close eye on sales and where the customers that make purchases are coming from. Often it’s useful to understand what percentage of sales are derived from first-time visitors.

Besides the revenue report, the conversion rate is often one of the most important numbers that eCommerce business focus on while monitoring website traffic data. The eCommerce conversion rate is simply the number of visitors that make a purchase divided by the total number of visitors. However the conversion rate does not always have to apply to eCommerce based websites, the conversion rate can also apply to many different types of custom goals which can be configured in the Admin section of your Google Analytics account.

All report panels available in Google Analytics are all nested under five (5) main category options:  The Main Report Categories for Google Analytics
Real-Time - Audience - Acquisition - Behavior - Conversions

Use the Real-Time section of Google Analytics to see data about website visitors and/or customers as they are actively viewing and interacting with your website. The Audience section views to help website owners learn more about who their website visitors are, whereas the Acquisition section helps to display more information about where website traffic is coming from.The Behavior section provides report panels that offer in-depth details about specific web pages, site speed, and much more including a visual behavior flow chart. The Conversions section provides reports related to Goals and Ecommerce conversions as well as non-eCommerce conversions.

View visitor interactions that lead up to the final goal by using Goal FlowGet a visual picture related to a series of steps and/or the combined set of actions that are related to any goal by using the Goal Flow panel. Getting details about theses types of goals are typically reserved for businesses with specific needs. However viewing traffic data in an eCommerce Funnel can be very useful with the process of identifying potential problems. Using Google Analytics can also help bring to light changes which could be made to help convert more visitors into first-time customers. Then the delicate process of converting first-time customers into repeat customers begins! 

Creating simple reports to track and monitor online objectives for your business and website


Learn how to save and manage custom reports within Google Analytics will help you get the data you need to make better-informed decisions for your company and marketing objectives.
Create Reports to Monitor Online Objectives
Quickly export reports
 and create quick shortcuts to special reports, to keep a closer eye on visitor actions, then use this data to promote your website, increase sales, and improve conversions. Find out what is being found and not found within the site, and compare the data between any date range or past period in time. When creating reports, remember that Google Analytics is only able to start tracking visitor data on the day the account was created and the provide tracking code was added to the site, historical data is not available up to that point in time.

Reports will help to equip you with a better understanding of how different types of visitors or visitors from different channels are engaging with your website and content. When getting started using Google Analytics for the first time, all of the options and data can often seem overwhelming. Below are a few links to shortcuts and resources that will assist with the process of creating links to save custom reports that can be accessed quickly at any time:

About Google Analytics
Have Questions or Need Help? If you get lost or just need help finding something while working within your Google Analytics account, keep in mind that the Google Help Center is full of resources and helpful information that can point you in the right direction.


categories: eCommerceInternet Marketing