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Are you aware that Google Analytics is one of your best resources for startup marketing? Your SEO and content marketing efforts are important, but you won’t get the full benefits of knowing how your marketing is paying off without Google Analytics.
Not all metrics are created equal. There are three primary areas where startups should pay particular attention.
It’s important to know where visitors are coming from. The key question is, are your efforts to get people to the website paying off. This can take many forms and thus have several indicators.
Let’s say you are focusing on a diversified campaign of branding and PR, social media, a weekly newsletter, and you’ve worked to improve your SEO and ranking in the search results (SERPs). You might pay close attention to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. Here you can see where your traffic is coming from, and more importantly, which of your marketing efforts are paying off.
The Acquisition tab is also home to Adwords, Keywords, and Social categories, where you could track the results of specific paid advertising campaigns. Many people don’t realize they can track social traffic in Google Analytics, thinking they’re reliant on Twitter Analytics or Facebook Insights dashboards, but you can.
Monitoring these user journeys is important. Begin with one data point and start asking questions. How are users coming to the site? Is it correlated to our marketing efforts? What do they do after they get here? Do they convert?
As you begin to ask these questions, you’ll find yourself clicking over to other metrics for the answers. Under Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown, you’ll find every piece of content on your website ranked.
On a surface level, this is vanity metrics. But look deeper. Not only will this part of the dashboard tell you which individual blog posts or sales pages are most popular, but you can also begin to see patterns. You might find that your audience loves blog articles that cluster around a particular topic. Or that certain sales pages get an in-depth reading.
These revelations should fuel the future of your content marketing efforts and shape the website’s focus to better capitalize on what’s working.
Before you go forth making changes based on content popularity, though, make sure that content is popular. Duplicating the efforts of your most viewed blog post won’t help if it turns out no one bothered to read the article.
That’s where three metrics — Bounce Rate, % Exit, and Average Time on Page — come into play. These engagement metrics prove that clicks on a page weren’t just a flash in the pan. The content was read.
The Time on Page metric reports an average length of time in minutes and seconds visitors spent on the page before returning to search results. The longer the time, the better, as this means your content was carefully digested.
The Bounce Rate metric reports the percentage of single page visitors who only read that one page before clicking away. The higher the percentage, the worse your content is performing. Ideally, you want low bounce rates, meaning that customers liked what they found on the first page, so they navigated to another page of your site content.
The % Exit metric indicates what percentage of visitors who viewed that site clicked away from your site, rather than visiting more pages of your content. This is an indicator of where you’re losing people.
In combination, these metrics can tell you a lot about what’s working with your website content and what’s not. This is one reason that pure traffic metrics are to a certain extent vanity metrics. It’s great to get folks to your website, but if they don’t engage and bounce or exit quickly without spending time on the site, you’ve got some problems to correct.
Improving your metrics could come down to either content or user experience. Writing better content, writing focused content, writing more on your most popular content topic areas could be one solution. But make sure you also make your site user-friendly. Annoying popups can be offputting. So can slow-loading sites, poorly organized site structures, and content that doesn’t link internally or designs that don’t surface similar content pieces.
With the right improvements, you can get the most from your marketing efforts, and with Google Analytics data you can prove to founders and investors that your startup marketing is headed in the right direction.