Thursday 18 May, 2017

Google Analytics – How Metrics May Lead You Astray

Google Analytics is wonderful. It offers an array of data metrics for measuring the success of your campaign. When used well, it helps you fine-tune and perfect your strategy. When not used well, it can actually hang you up and hinder you. The data it gives you could be misleading. Here are some common mistakes users make with Google Analytics.

Web Traffic Isn’t Everything

When you first get set up, you’ll watch your traffic data like it’s an exciting new reality TV show. In reality, it’s not about the sheer number of visits your site gets. Traffic just tells you one thing – how many people are coming to your site. It doesn’t tell you what they do there or what they think about it.

A huge flow of traffic that sits on your site for a second and then clicks away is useless. On the other hand, a tiny trickle of traffic that’s primed and ready to buy is much more valuable. You need to take traffic into account with other metrics to get a full picture.

Click Through Rate

One of the most misleading metrics is click through rate for the exact same reason – It measures just one thing. It can be extremely useful when tweaking your sales funnel. It tells you whether or not your visitors are clicking. If they’re not, you need to tighten things up and urge them to action better.

But if the clicks aren’t converting, your campaign isn’t truly successful. Once they click, what do they do there? This tells you whether it’s working or not.

Small Numbers Don’t Count

If you don’t have a good understanding of statistics, any metric can be misleading. This is especially true of small numbers, which really don’t tell you anything at all.

Let’s say you’ve just set up your website and now you’re watching the traffic roll in. On Thursdays, you get a spike of traffic. Thursday traffic is three times that of other days! This may lead you to decide Thursday is your big day, but take a look at the numbers. If your usual daily traffic is one visit and Thursday you get three, this doesn’t tell you anything at all. It’s too much of a small sample and you need a larger one to really learn anything about your site performance.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is another metric that can be misleading in a number of ways. It measures the number of site visitors who ‘bounce’ off of your site. Marketers assume that a high bounce rate is high and do everything possible to bring it down.

But a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. People bounce for a number of reasons. They may hit your site and realize it’s not what they wanted. On the other hand, they may turn off their web browser and go to lunch, or suddenly remember something they had to do and open another URL. These are all reasons for a high bounce rate. The bounce rate tells you how many people bounced but not why. If a person spent ten minutes enjoying your content before they closed their browser, it’s still a bounce.

Studying Google Analytics

You have to spend some time playing around with Google Analytics to really learn how it works. Learn which metrics are most important to you and how they tie in to the overall big picture. Luckily, there are tutorials, FAQs and other help available.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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