Google Analytics, a free service designed to help businesses analyze data and make smarter decisions, can be a powerful tool for small businesses and nonprofits. This tool can help answer questions such as which pages your target market is or isn’t visiting, which social media campaigns drive more traffic to your site, and if your website is slower when viewed from a mobile device. Although Google Analytics is helpful for businesses of all sizes, there are a few steps that specifically help small businesses.
When configuring Google Analytics for a small business, it is helpful to exclude bots and spiders. Bots are automated computer programs that act to simulate human activity online. They can be used for search engine operations, customer services, and many other tasks. Bots are also used for fraudulent purposes such as ad scams and data theft. Spiders, or web crawlers, are a type of bot operated by a search engine. Spiders serve to download and index the content of websites.
According to a recent report by Imperva, over a quarter of all internet traffic in 2020 was “bad bot” traffic. These bad bots can include click fraud bots that skew users’ analytical data to run through ad spend. Bad bots also include download bots, which tamper with analytics by adding fake downloads. There are other types of bad bots like spam bots, spy bots, and scrapper bots. Bot traffic is not all bad, however. “Good bot” traffic consists of search engine bots that review content, monitoring bots that alert website owners of significant changes, copyright bots that check for copyright violations, among others. Good bot traffic made up about 40% of all bot traffic on the web in 2020.
To exclude bots and spiders, go to Admin > View > View Settings and check the box labeled “bot filtering.” Eliminating bot traffic will ensure that your Analytics data does not include events from bots recognized by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Once you exclude bot traffic, you can make sure that you’re seeing results reflective of your human audience.
The next step in leveraging Analytics for your small business is to filter personal and spam traffic. This step will help you make more accurate business choices to ensure further that your Analytics reflect your actual audience. If you’re viewing your audience but have included your activity, you will muddy the waters of your data and have difficulty making targeted decisions. Businesses with smaller online audiences need to take this step as internal testing can heavily skew click data.
To filter personal and spam traffic, go to Admin > View > View Filters > Add Filters. You can then filter out traffic from your computer by inputting the IP addresses of you, your business partners, and any other specific locations or devices from which you may be testing.
Goals are an important component of achieving in any endeavor and should be utilized in Google Analytics. Analytics has four types of goals: destination, duration, pages/visit, and event goals. Google does not track these automatically; you must set them up. Destination goals track a specific URL, such as a “Thank You” page, confirmation page, or PDF. Duration goals allow you to track the number of people who stay on your site for a certain amount of time. Pages/visit goals are similar to duration goals, but instead of tracking the amount of time people spend on your site, they track the number of pages a user visits before they leave. Lastly, event goals allow you to track just about anything, as long as you set it up as an event. You can track social media buttons, downloads, external links, video views, and more. You can add a goal by going to Reports > Admin > Goals > + Goal.
Although the possibilities are nearly endless, a few Google Analytics Goals are must-haves for small businesses. If your website requires users to create accounts before making a purchase, consider creating a Goal funnel that includes each step in the account creation journey as a destination Goal. If many people are stopping the process prematurely, this could signify something wrong with the account creation process. You can also create a destination Goal for your shopping cart pages to ensure you are not losing customers during the checkout process. Another practical step for your small business is to create an event Goal to track clicks to call or email. This Goal will allow you to keep an organized account of individuals who are interested in your business. Lastly, it will be helpful to track offline ad conversions if your company pays for advertising on TV, radio, print, or other offline channels. You can find out which of these generates the most traffic to your website by creating a unique landing page with a simple URL for each channel.
Marketing can be a challenge for many small businesses and nonprofits, but with free tools like Google Analytics, tracking your marketing efforts can be simple and efficient! By utilizing reports, filtering out unnecessary factors, and incorporating Goals, your small business can take its digital marketing to the next level.
Is your company interested in taking the next step in its digital marketing journey? Reach out to Relevance Advisors today to take your advertising to the next level.