Who knew way back in the 90s that one day we would one day be able to access the Internet any time, anywhere from handheld devices that fit in our purses and pockets?
It’s now hard to imagine a world without these conveniences, but even as we take them for granted, do we truly understand their potential? Do we spend enough time trying to understand how user needs and behaviors vary based on the way they access the Internet? Understanding the data associated with mobile and browser-based data should be a part of your reporting process.
As we often emphasize on this blog, your Google Analytics analysis should go far beyond simply counting the total amount of traffic. The best insights come from analyzing engagement and conversions to see the true performance of websites for which you’re responsible. To get a full picture of that engagement, you’ll even have to go past channel distribution.
In this article, we’ll evaluate how you can analyze the technology used to access your site as well as the different devices and browsers used by your audience, and use that to gauge and improve your site’s performance.
It may not be discussed as often, but the reality is that someone coming from Safari on an iPhone will likely behave differently from another person coming from Internet Explorer on a Dell laptop. Looking at browser and mobile usage data can help to inform your digital strategy in several ways:
- Flagging user experience issues for people browsing a site
- Knowing what devices to prioritize for ad targeting
- Identifying audience demographics
- Evaluating user intent and purpose for visiting a site
Now, let’s dive into a few Google Analytics reports that help you analyze your visitors’ technology.
In some sports, there’s a cool little statistic known as an “assist.” It relates to an action performed by one player that leads to a score by another player. The great thing about an “assist” is that it acknowledges that the person who sinks the basket or scores the goal did not get there alone. Rather, they were only able to accomplish something because of the work performed by a teammate. These recognitions are maintained on a player’s record, because they speak to his or her success as an athlete.
We track these achievements without question for games, but when it comes to marketing, we often fail to give credit where it is due to the factors that “assist” in our victories.
In basketball, an assist is awarded at the discretion of the scorekeeper. It’s a judgement call. In digital marketing, we can do a little better. We have the assisted conversions section of Google Analytics to help understand how channels work together to result in conversions.
When you’re measuring your online performance, you need to look at how many people you’re driving to your site. You need to evaluate what pages those people are viewing. But we have to go beyond that to look at all of the actions that those people took to ultimately convert into leads or sales. If you’re tracking conversions in your Google Analytics account
, you’re ahead of many marketers already. However, even looking at the main conversions section of Analytics doesn’t always tell the full story of what led people to submit a form or make an online purchase.
For instance, you may use the Conversions section to account for the number of conversions that occurred from organic search. However, the totals there only include conversions that happened when organic search was the last point of contact with the site that was not a visit through the direct channel.
There are entire schools of thought in psychology dedicated to understanding behavior patterns, trying to analyze how prior actions can predict future conduct. If careers can be built from this practice, then why not digital marketing campaigns?
Loyalty is the key issue here. How can you measure it? How can you improve it?
While basic analysis of your site’s traffic may start with looking at how many Users and Sessions happen in a designated timeframe, that data alone is not enough to guide a long term online strategy. Looking at how many people come to your site in terms of sheer volume doesn’t tell the full story of how well your brand is engaging consumers over a longer period of time. That’s why it’s important to look at how many people are coming back to your site, how often they’re returning, and how long they wait until making a second visit.
Thanks to Google Analytics’ new vs. returning visitor tracking, you can easily view this data. Megalytic takes this data a step further, using it to define a measure of loyalty that you can easily incorporate into your reports.
Remember how your mom told you not to stand too close to the television because it might hurt your eyes?
The same rules can apply to data. If you’re too close, you may miss the patterns and trends that are crucial to understanding your website’s performance. You can’t judge a site’s performance looking at data in the bubble of a single day, you must consider any day’s traffic compared to the days before and after.
Google Analytics makes it fairly easy to analyze trends over long periods of time
. But it also allows you to stand right in front of that TV, to look at more granular levels of time, right down to the hour.
There’s a better way to get that close to the data, without burning your retinas. We’ll cover how to analyze traffic effectively in today’s post.