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This is my first post on the Beacon Blog and because I will be posting for the Google Analytics Category I thought there probably isn’t a much better way than to start out with the top 10 reasons why I think you should give Google Analytics a serious consideration. Over the next period I will probably write post that go into more detail about these individual areas but here is a high level overview of what I think are the 10 most convincing reasons to give Google Analytics a try.
1. It’s Free: Google Analytics a very comprehensive website analytics package that provides a clean, user friendly design interface. The charts are very easy to understand and make data collection and analysis much easier. Providing business owners and clients with meaningful information is a necessary business function but when Google takes on a task, improves it, and makes it free to everyone, how can you not give it a try?
2.Reporting Interface: The way the metrics are displayed provide a very easy to understand format, namely charts and graphs with several view options for every report. Even if you have absolutely no statistical or analytical background, you can easily understand the good and bad and measure performance improvements or losses due to the data or site comparison chart options. Google Analytics also shows the good numbers in Green and the bad (negative) numbers in red.
3.Imports Adwords Cost Data: If you have ecommerce turned on and apply your cost data, you can view your cost and revenue associated with every Adwords campaign, Ad group, and all the way down to the keyword level. This makes ROI analysis much easier than constantly having to go back and forth between Adwords and a web analytics program. You can sort your groupings by goal or Ecommerce conversion rates, or even the provided ROI field and focus on the strong performers or remove the weak ones. The ROI field does not take into consideration the cost of goods sold, so you may need to export to excel, add the new field and recalculate to get a truer form of your ROI but nonetheless, this would be much more difficult if you had to collect the data from several sources.
4.Customizable: There are many options that you can easily control by adjusting the Google Analytics tracking code embedded on pages you’re tracking. You can control the session timeout, campaign timeout, set keywords to ignore, add organic sources, set custom campaign fields, and much more. For other options you can’t control with the GA tracking code, you can easily manipulate through the control of filters. Filters allow you to include/exclude based on dozens of options giving you the ability to provide profiles as specific as you need. The GA tracking script out of the box provides most businesses with what they need but if you have special tracking requirements, you there are several ways to customize the tracking code to allow you a completely custom tracking solution.
5.Event Tracking: The recently released Event Tracking feature provides a new level of flexibility in website analytics. Gone are the days of not being able to track on page activities without skewing your pageviews. Event tracking allows for tracking actions associated with flash objects, dynamic rotating content, movie players, interactive buttons, complex forms, and much more. You can build custom tracking solutions for almost any type of activity on a site and associate site usage, Ecommerce, or goal conversion data with those activities providing a whole new level of traffic and visitor usage data analysis.
6.Support: There is a wide array of support options available from reading one of the Google help forums, reading one of the many books available, engaging in one of the several Webinars, or consulting with a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant (GAAC) to help you setup a custom solution, interpret and understand meaningful data, or to provide ongoing consultative support. Because of the nature of it being free, there is such a large community of users so that you are not likely to be the first to encounter an issue and chances are high there is already some great information available online to help you.
7.Site Search: One of Google’s newer features is the ability to track your internal site search. This is a great tool for understanding what visitors are trying to find on your site. As with most of the reports in Google Analytics, you can associate goal and ecommerce data by selecting one of the several reporting views. This provides you with an incredible source of keywords that you know your site’s ability to convert for your organic campaigns, PPC campaigns, or other targeted marketing campaigns. This feature also allows you to adjust your internal navigation to place items, articles, or objects that your visitors are trying to access closer to high view areas of your site ultimately creating a more user friendly website that will make conversion a little easier for your visitors.
8.Segmentation: This feature is critical to understanding your website’s user behaviors. Most websites have a target audience but within that target audience, there are often several sets of users with different behaviors and being able to identify these additional sets and isolate their behaviors is the first step in truly understanding your target audience. From there, you can take it in several directions to provide a much better user experience which will lead to higher conversion rates, better branding, higher volumes of repeat traffic, more page views, and a stronger web presence. There are several ways to segment traffic but the easiest is with the user-defined segmentation Google Analytics provides almost out of the box. There are some additional snippets of code that have to be embedded and you can setup filters to isolate these segmentations once triggered providing you with detailed unique website stats for these variations in your users. As you can imagine, this provides you with the ability to measure testing and marketing success at a very detailed level.
9.Competition is doing it. Google Analytics is the most widely used website analytics package available and is providing high level of insights to your competition. If you aren’t using a detailed analytics package such as Google Analytics with a resource allocated towards analyzing it and taking action, you are handicapping your company’s web capabilities and might as well start handing over market share.
10.Benchmarking: No other website analytics package can provide as much insight as the beta benchmarking feature will provide. This feature allows you to compare key performance indicators with like businesses in similar industries so you can benchmark your success against your competitors. This new feature builds value as more people sign up for it because your ability to specify your industry will become much more in accurate. You can see your traffic, bounce rates, pageviews, and other great metrics in relation to competitors to determine your weak or strong areas and can build website optimizer testing to strengthen you site’s presence on the web.
I know my list is not comprehensive and probably leaves additional questions but that is what some of the future posts are going to be dedicated towards. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here and I will get back to you as soon as possible.