Impactful marketing strikes the perfect balance between creativity and science. Creativity is what brings us compelling headlines, beautiful videos, and clever social media captions. Science–the analytics–is what we use to measure and improve the effectiveness of that work.
Analytics tells us what has performed well in the past and what trends may be surfacing. Analytics also tells us what’s working now, what can be tweaked, and what can be leveraged even further.
One of the best places to get started is with Google Analytics (GA). This quick overview of GA will help you become familiar with the terminology AND the possibilities at your fingertips. Afterwards, to do a deep dive, explore the full set of free online courses that Google offers.
Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google. It tracks and reports key information about your website traffic, as well as analyzing the visitors on your website in detail through measured audience metrics.
You can use Google Analytics to discover the behaviour of those visiting your website, including what pages they are visiting, and whether your goals are being accomplished. These details and insights can help you develop strategies to refine your marketing efforts.
There are several audience metrics listed in Google Analytics, but the main available insights you should be paying attention to in order to track, visualize, and gain information about your audience are as follows:
Users is the most-tracked Google Analytics metric. The User metric shows the total number of visitors who have generated at least one session in any time period. Any time a new visitor lands on your website, Google Analytics assigns them a unique ID that’s stored as a cookie in their browser. If the user returns to your site again later using the same browser, Google Analytics will log it as a returning user, however, if the user visits your website a second time using a different browser, they will be assigned a new client ID, and Google Analytics would count this visit as a new user.
A session is the period of time a user is active on your site or app. If a user is inactive for 30 minutes or more, any future activity is attributed to a new session. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes are counted as part of the original session.
A pageview is a view of a page on your website by a user. The pageview metric shows how often visitors load, and reload, your web content in their browser.
Pages per session is a standard Google Analytics metric that’s commonly used to measure engagement. Each session counts the number of pages visited as they proceed along their visitation path. Pages/Session can help determine how well the visitor flows through your content by displaying how many pages are visited before completing a conversion.
Average Session Duration
This metric records the average length of a session in hours, minutes, and seconds. The more relevant your site content is to the visitor, the longer the average session duration will be. Average session duration is calculated by total duration of all sessions (in seconds) divided by the number of sessions.
A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session, such as proceeding to another page on the site.The bounce rate is the percentage of these single-page visits on your website over a period of time. Google Analytics calculates this by dividing single-page sessions by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server. This is one metric where the goal is to have a lower number. Most websites have an average bounce rate of around 50% and any bounce rates under 50% are typically considered very good.
% New Sessions is the total percentage of first-time sessions on your website in a given time period. It tracks the number of new visitors coming to your website, and the extent to which you are encouraging them to return. This percentage of new visitors indicates how well your advertising and marketing draws in new potential customers.
Google Analytics provides detailed information about how your content is performing.
Of course, measuring website activity and the triggers that drive people to your website is only one part of the story. Social media is an important part of any digital strategy. That means we must also dig into social media analytics to determine things like what to post, when to post, and how much to post.
There are number of tools and services you can use to pull social media analytics. These include social media management tools such as HootSuite and Sprout Social and the proprietary reporting capabilities of the platforms themselves (e.g. Facebook analytics).
Regardless of what source you ultimately use, there are a similar set of measurements you’ll want to keep your eye on:
Follower Growth Rate
Follower growth rate helps you determine whether your content (and, by extension, your business) is expanding its audience reach and catching new people’s attention. The percentage of change in your follower count tells you about the health of your marketing campaigns and efforts. It is calculated by dividing the number of followers you gained over the previous month by the number of followers you had at the beginning of it.
This metric indicates how many users are actively following your business account, indicating that they are interested in learning about important updates and seeing your content.
Engagement rate measures the amount of interaction social content earns relative to reach or other audience figures. It is calculated by dividing your total engagements (likes/comments/shares/taps forward/taps back/replies/retweets on stories) by your follower count. This metric helps demonstrate performance trends in your content, and determines what content resonates best with your audience.
Your total engagements count is the sum of the audience interaction with your content over a period of time. This total demonstrates how engaged your audience is with the content you are posting or promoting.
Impressions is a measurement of how many times your content was displayed, regardless of whether it generated a click or any other form of engagement.
Organic Impressions: How many times your content was shown in your followers’ feeds or on your official page.
Paid Impressions: How many times your paid content (sponsored ad or boosted post) was shown to your target users.
Reach measures how many people are seeing your content by counting actual views of your posts. This metric is different from impressions because if the same person sees your post three times, that will count as three impressions, but, three views of the post by one individual is only counted once for reach.
Your total posts metric indicates how much content you posted on your social channel during a certain time period. It is important to track this metric as it can help you determine whether your audience is responding well to the amount of content you are producing, or if you are oversaturating their feeds.
Now you have a high-level view of what to measure on your website and on your social channels. The trick is to use these metrics to gather the following insights:
These insights can be used to:
With this information, you are now ready to start combining creativity with analytical insights to drive stronger results. For more details and background on analytics, please explore the articles and sources used for this article:
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