As we turn the calendar over and start of the year of 2011, it’s always a good time to take a look at some of the basics and make sure that the foundation is solid for all of your future Internet efforts. In that light, Desiree and Joe take a look at Google Analytics, but before that, we begin a new segment called Weekly Tips.
Weekly Tip #1: Desiree was had a conversation last week with a high level business executive. He said that when he sees anyone with an email address such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and most definitely AOL he stops taking them seriously. His rationale is that it demonstrates a lack of sophistication and lack of business acumen. Plus, it is so easy to set up an email address from your own domain, from a marketing perspective, it should be one of the first steps in corporate communications.
The biggest hurdle is usually familiarity with the email client that was set up when the account was first opened. The applications can be set up to pull mail from virtually any mail server via the POP3 protocol, including the web based services like Gmail. So no matter how many email addresses you have, you can have it all reside in one software system.
Also, if you insist on using a web based email client, then you can use Gmail to send and receive email from numerous accounts. Make sure that you set up your domain email address to forward to your Gmail account set your reply addresses to the most appropriate one for that particular recipient. Information about how to set that up can be found here.
Main Topic: It’s hard to imagine that we have gone through 64 episodes of The Bella Buzz podcast without discussing the use of Google Analytics.
We both find the information contained in this free online tool to be incredibly useful. There is so much information available that it can give you a quick snapshot of what is happening on a web site, all the way down to granular data. All of the information should be reviewed regularly, and actions taken if the data presents itself.
One of the first pieces of data that we look at is the Traffic Sources tab. This is the information about where the traffic is coming from to the site broken down into three general categories: Search Engines, Referrals and Direct Traffic.
Other indicators might be something like Bounce Rate or the percentage that someone arrives at your site and immediately departs. Since the information has great date range flexibility you can see for example if there are better or worse results from a new site design. This is a measureable impact that can be derived from doing some deeper Analytics review.
One thing to keep in mind as the ability to track sources continues to change, currently the referral traffic that is coming from third party social apps such as Seesmic or Tweetdeck are placed in the Direct Traffic category and are not included in the Referral Traffic. This means that the large increase we’ve seen from social networks generating traffic is even greater than it appears. Here is a great article about Twitter traffic that refers to this very issue.
We discuss the ability of Analytics to set up and monitor goals. A goal might be visitors who complete a form on the site, or visit a page that is of high priority. By establishing the action that you want visitors to take and monitoring it, you can help craft better copy, better calls to action, even better site navigation.
Along the same front, ecommerce tracking can be included in Analytics and with the same account, an integration with the Adwords platform. With fine detail Analytics provides the measurements regarding the site’s ability to convert traffic into sales, the value of those transactions can be calculated and then with the Adwords integration can determine how profitable the advertising campaign is.
How much detail do you get into from your Google Analytics account? The first of the year is a good time to give your account a good review and prioritize those areas that you believe could use some improvement. Let us know what you like to look at and how it has been able to impact your overall business.
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