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The Chia Chronicles

How to Use Google Analytics to Improve Your Marketing

Everyone talks about data. Just about every technological tool on the market uses the words “data-driven decisions” in their content (having written those words many times ourselves, this isn’t a complaint, just an observation!). Companies are quick to invest in paid solutions that will help draw out data from machinery and other sources to help improve productivity and increase revenue. But, there’s another use for data that can sometimes be overlooked - and that is how to use data to improve marketing.

Everyone with a website has access to Google Analytics, a free tool that offers a wealth of information and data about the traffic to websites and the behavior and activities of visitors once they are on the site. While 86% of websites that track their statistics are already using Google Analytics, only about 50% of sites overall monitor their performance.  

Getting value out of Google Analytics data isn’t complicated and doesn’t require much technical know-how or even a huge time commitment. Once it’s set up (which your web developer can do easily or you can follow easy instructions by clicking here). Read on to learn how you can use Google Analytics to see a better ROI on your marketing efforts. 

Understanding Your Audience 

The difference between successful and unsuccessful marketing often lies in how well you understand your audience. Giving people what they want - speaking in their language and addressing their key pain points - is what ultimately turns them from browsers into buyers. 

Of course, the number of leads and sales is a solid way to measure marketing success, there is more to it than that. You don’t necessarily want to wait until you’ve had a down quarter or year before you revamp all of your efforts. You can, in fact, use basic Google Analytics data to get a good handle on how your audience is responding to your content marketing efforts, allowing you to respond quickly and make changes where necessary. 

Here’s how it works:

Know Your Demographics

You may have a clear understanding of who your ideal target market is, but do you know if those are the people your site is actually reaching? Within Google Analytics, you can get fairly detailed information on the demographics of those visiting your site including their location, gender, age range and interests. 

It is important to note that due to privacy regulations, the data you get is broad (and, if the total number of visitors is too low you may not be able to see more than just location data). This means that Google can’t show you information down to the individual user, but rather it’s aggregated information that gives you big picture information. 

For example, you’ll be able to see that X% of your website visitors are in the USA, but you can’t see the specific actions that each of those unique visitors takes as an individual. 

From the demographic information that you can glean from Google Analytics, you can see whether the target audience that you are aiming for is actually finding your site. If not, then you have two choices that will inform your marketing activities going forward: you can reconsider your content and try to cover topics that speak more directly to the needs of your desired audience. Or, you can adapt your messages to make sure they resonate best with the audience that you have. 

Where Does Your Traffic Come From?

As part of your marketing research, you’ve probably looked into where your target audience hangs out online and are posting content in those places. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and X are the usual suspects when it comes to social media, and different industries find success in different places. There’s also, of course, search engines like Google, Bing and others. 

One of the key data points provided by Google Analytics is the traffic acquisition report. This tells you where your website traffic comes from - social media, organic search, direct to your site, emails, and referral from other sites. You can drill down further into the report to see more details in terms of which social media platforms or search engines are sending people to your site.

Armed with this information, you can see how your efforts are paying off. If, for example, you’ve been investing in SEO and have published blog posts or other content with a focus on particular keywords, you should expect to see an uptick in visitors coming from search engines. If you are getting tons of traffic from Facebook or another social media channel that you haven’t necessarily paid a lot of attention to, it might be time to put some focus there and leverage that traffic. 

Understand User Behavior 

Once you know basic demographics about your site visitors as well as how they are landing on your site, you can then move on to what they are doing once they click through to your site. In the context of Google Analytics, user behavior refers to actions that users take such as clicking through to different pages, the amount of time they spend on a given page, and how quickly they click away (or bounce) from your site. 

In this section of Google Analytics (which they call “Engagement”), you can do a deep dive into all the activity taking place on your site. You can see which pages people are visiting the most and how long they are staying there, as well as the paths they are following as they click from page to page within the site. 

Using this information, you can determine which pages are the best-performing and which may need to be optimized. You can create more content that covers the more popular topics or follows the more successful formats. Overall, you can create a better user experience for your viewers.

Leveraging Google Analytics for Marketing Campaigns  

Now that you have a sense of the wealth of useful data that’s waiting for you in Google Analytics, it’s time to get practical. Before you even open Google Analytics, you first need to define your goals, KPIs and what success looks like for you. Only then will you be able to make sense of the data and use it in a focused and productive way. 

Setting Goals

Your specific goals are, of course, highly dependent on many factors. What type of business you run, whether you are brand new or already well-known, the types of customers you are after, etc. The important thing here is to set goals and know exactly what you want to track and measure. 

Some common examples include:

  • Increasing the number of site visitors

  • Encouraging people to sign up for a newsletter

  • Getting prospective customers to schedule a demo

Tracking Conversions 

Without going into too many technical details, within Google Analytics, you can set up what’s called “key events.” These key events are what you might think of as “conversions” or specific actions users take that are significant to your business. On an ecommerce site, a purchase is a good example of a key event that you’d want to track. A SaaS company website, on the other hand, may want to track the number of people that sign up for a demo or download a lead magnet. 

Setting your goals and then choosing the relevant key events to track are critical to getting the most out of Google Analytics. 

Interpreting Results and Implementing Changes

The only way to get real value out of the data collected by Google Analytics is to carefully interpret it and then use the findings to inform your decisions. Once you’ve set your goals, you know exactly what information you need to draw out of Google Analytics.

Let’s illustrate the process using an example:

Let’s say you are a relatively new SaaS company and you are publishing content on your website aimed at educating your audience about your product and how it can answer their needs. You have conducted SEO research and created content optimized with target keywords that you know your audience is searching for. You want to build your email list as you start to nurture leads and so the main CTA on your site is an invitation to sign up for your email newsletter.

Using Google Analytics, you can obtain the following information:

  • The number of visitors to your site will tell you if your site is gaining traction and seeing an increase in people finding it.

  • Use the traffic acquisition report to confirm whether people are coming to your site via search engines, which would imply that your SEO efforts are working. (As a side note, Google Analytics does not provide information on keywords. For this, you need to use Google Search Console which will be a topic of a future post!). 

  • By setting up a “key event” to track the number of people who click through to sign up for the newsletter, you can get a sense of the interest. You can also compare how many people click through to sign up vs. the number that actually complete the sign up, and then you can investigate what might be preventing people from following through. 

Based on the information you learn, you will either discover that your content marketing strategy is working perfectly according to plan or - more likely - you will identify challenges and areas that can use improvement. This is not a failure - this is an opportunity to use the data to create a better strategy. And then use the new data from that version to determine who to keep optimizing. And so on. 

Ready to Get Started?

It’s time to stop reading this blog post and set up your Google Analytics account if you don’t already have one. Instead of just publishing content and hoping it will perform, you can look at real data and get the hard facts.

Of course, we are always here to help


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