Those who aren’t taking full advantage of all the capabilities of Google Analytics (GA) are missing out on valuable business opportunities. At Avalaunch Media Google Day 2020, our resident SEO Cowboy Beau Graves provided helpful tips on using GA to capture important insights about your target audience, provide a personalized business experience with customers and clients, and create strategic remarketing campaigns for the future.
How I Became a Traeger Fan
I want to tell a story. In 2008, my brother came to me wanting to start a barbecue catering company and because I love food, I decided I was in. We ran through the struggles of the times, we sold it, and we moved on. When I was doing competitions at the time, people would show up with Traegers, which I thought was crazy because they’re too easy. With a Traeger, you can just pull up the app, push play, and it runs. It’s pretty incredible what they’ve done. I always had this resistance against Traegers, but so many of my family and friends have them. So I ordered one.
When it arrived, I opened up the box, and I realized I had received a personal letter from Jeremy Andrus, the CEO of Traeger. This was a true brand experience. I started looking at the guide and realized each step was designed to include consumption of a six-pack of beer. These people know who their audience is: guys who love barbecue.
On the inside of the box was a print of a little house. It had directions to rip off the end, tape it together, and then cut out the door and windows for your kids to play in. I posted this photo on Twitter and it’s my top engagement post. My kids played with that for the entire time it took for me to put the grill together. I think it took me an hour and a half. It’s clear that Traeger knows clearly who their audience is. How do we determine who we should be targeting? Analytics is one of the opportunities that we have to identify our audiences.
Turning Data Insights Into Action
Analytics is an surefire way to get action for your marketing campaigns and find out who your audience is. This is what enables us as marketers to create meaningful experiences for our customers.
I grew up wanting an RC car so badly, and my parents never bought me one, so I wanted to buy one for my kids for Christmas. So I did some research. I had a brand name, I knew the name and the industry, and I set out to find the brand Traxxas. I actually almost bought their competitor’s product. Had it not been for an offline experience that I had with a local company, I probably would have bought their competitor’s. I would say lots of people are brand-loyal for certain things, but for a lot of other things, they’re not brand loyal, depending on the situation. Do I just need the cheapest thing in the marketplace? Did I end up doing my research? There are all sorts of things to take into consideration there.
For example, if I’m a new mother and I’m looking for a maternity dress leading up to having my child, I’d be doing research. As a result, I’d probably get a remarketing ad. It’s relevant at the time, but once I had my child, it’s no longer relevant.
There’s tons of opportunity to use our data strategically to deliver a better experience for a user, based on their situation. Make sure you’re actually segmenting the data, finding out the timeline of a user, understanding your users by buying timeframes, and kicking those users out at a certain time frame to show something more relevant.
You’ve probably had questions like these and wondered how people are engaging with your content. Where are people dropping off in the funnel? That’s the power of analytics. It can drive a lot of insights for us and provide information into buying cycles, demographics, users, and what they’re doing with our content. Are they staying? How are my marketing campaigns performing? Analytics allows us to be able to gather that through additional insight.
An Example of Discovering Actionable Insights
But in order to make sure your analytics data is helpful and successful for you, it has to be installed correctly. As an example, let’s say we run a Western wear website that sells Western wear for men and women.
For 12 seconds. A page isn’t successful only keeping people around for 12 seconds. We need to find out if our ad is driving the wrong users, if we have the wrong keywords, if we’re showing them the wrong product, etc. There’s so much you can gain from your analytics data, and it’s easy to find out what’s happening on your website.
What Google Analytics Can Do for You
The really cool thing about analytics is how your users talk to you without saying a word. These are five examples of information you can extract from GA insights.
You can also learn user demographics, interests, buying behavior, and more from the things analytics has inside of it in addition to the question of who is visiting your website, GA will also tell you:
- What the quality of the visit was like
- Which traffic source is performing the best
- What users are doing
- How the funnel conversion is looking
In the Medical Space
At Avalaunch, we have a client in the medical space and they have been trying to serve two markets here locally: Salt Lake and Utah County. They’re located in Utah County, and a really interesting thought that we had was that, given that Salt Lake County has more people, we need to be marketing to Salt Lake County because we need to continue to drive users.
It wasn’t until recently that we actually got the zip code data for their customers and found out that their users are less likely to drive to them. But in Central Utah, users don’t have a solution close to them, so they are willing to drive to Utah County to come to our client. We’ve been doing some offline and digital things to try to drive more users in some of those areas. We’ve actually started to pivot away from Salt Lake County because we’re finding more and more that Salt Lake County just isn’t driving the clientele like we thought it was.
As far as the quality of the people visiting, there are tons of metrics inside of Google Analytics that give you this information.
- What’s the bounce rate?
- At what point are people exiting my site?
- What’s their session duration?
The interesting part about this is, in some cases you have to make sure that you’re actually looking at the big picture. A lot of people wonder why their organic sessions are going up and they’re getting a lot of organic traffic, but fewer conversions. You have to be able to segment out that content and make sure you’re looking at the drivers, the conversions, and the pages that drive the most conversions. Are those dropping or are they gaining as well?
There’s tons of ways of looking at that data and segmenting it in analytics. I think that’s why a lot of people get intimidated by Google Analytics. There literally are a million ways to skin the cat in analytics and ways to take all the data, put it into a data studio, and visualize the data even differently. There are plenty of actionable insights, and you want to make sure you’re looking at the data and not going for a false positive.
In the Video Game Space
Traffic sources provide you with the most valuable traffic. We recently had a client in the video game space that asked us to do a direct traffic analysis. It was one of the most fun projects that I’ve been a part of because, looking at their direct traffic, it accounted for roughly 80% to 85% of dry direct traffic, and we’re talking in the millions, too. The client was very confused as to where it was coming from and why.
We dove in and, come to find out, a ton of their direct traffic was coming from Nintendo in Redmond, Washington. That’s the headquarters of Nintendo. It was fascinating. They were excited because they hadn’t had insights into that data. They wanted to know why the direct traffic was so high. You can look at every source and channel and get actionable insights into your data.
Where to Start
If I were to get a client today, I would go straight to the channels. I’m an SEO at heart, hence the name SEO Cowboy, so I always start with organic and then work my way down. Don’t ask me why. It’s just a habit. I love it. From the channel reports, I try to dissect information. I usually go to Paid from there, then social, then marketing automation. If they’re tracking UTMs, you can get a lot of data from your emails as well. There are so many opportunities to dive into these reports.
Like I said earlier, you can set up dashboards that let you look for high-level information and view it from an executive, high-level approach, you can set up dashboards. Google actually has a gallery of dashboards that you can configure and immediately get valuable insights from. Users will submit their own dashboards and share them, so you can actually do some that automatically have e-commerce, for example. If you’re an e-commerce website or if you’re trying to understand how your content works, you can create a dashboard specifically for content.
What are your users doing on your website and your app site, content, landing pages, exit pages? You can actually group your content. Let’s say you’ve got four or five pages on cowboy hats. You can influence your marketing campaigns with that specific audience that’s come to your website and looked at your five pages about cowboy hats. There’s a ton of opportunity there. Take a good look into the funnel and understand where users are dropping off.
If you’re an e-commerce site, you’ll be able to understand the steps of your checkout process and what’s happening to prevent the transaction. Understand what your users are doing and how many touch points they’ve had in their journey. One other example is a brand-new cross-device beta that you have to opt into. For those of you that have analytics and are really interested in understanding how you use these, users are engaging with your website from one device to another. You can opt into the beta and start getting data for it. GA helps you gain a deep understanding of your customer demographics.
You can then take that data and put it into action. Let’s say a customer comes to the website looking for a Traeger and they buy one. Right now I’m in a remarketing funnel. It’s no longer relevant to me in VR for another Traeger. I don’t need another smoker, but you still have rubs and sauces. Maybe I didn’t know that. Maybe there are other accessories for the Traeger that I didn’t purchase in the beginning. Those are huge opportunities as well to put me into a remarketing campaign and sell me rubs and sauces and things to go along with my new Traeger.
Companies that manage their customer journeys outperform those that don’t. Again, this is all Google’s data. The key point is here, Traeger can manage my customer experience from the beginning, and all the way through the funnel. You can bet that I’m probably a pretty big fan of Traeger right now because it was an awesome customer experience for me, so I’m a perfect profile for them to sell me more stuff.
We recently did some ad campaigns for a client and started to analyze the funnel. We had some analytics conversions set up to understand where people were dropping off. We found out that payment ended up being a pretty big sticking point inside of the funnel. Just by quickly changing payment to a quote kept it more fluid, and people actually started completing the third step more often just by changing it. Customers expected a free quote from the ad that we were giving them, and then when they got to a payment step, they realized it was no longer free, and that became a big sticking point. Just by changing it to “quote,” we saw a big increase.
We also have a law client, and we put them into a dynamic RLSA campaign. I did some research, and I searched for auto accidents and then left. I then went to a competitor and did some more research. I had a very specific question, and I searched for that very specific question. We weren’t bidding on that very specific question anymore. The really cool part about this is RLSA starts remarketing lists for search ads, and it allows you to get into the SERPs and advertise at a really low rate. You’ll see right here, the dynamic campaign is at $10, while the rest are in the hundreds. We’ve had huge conversions on this campaign. It performs really well for them and it’s extremely efficient.
In summation, if you can’t measure it, it can’t be improved. Analytics is a huge opportunity. If you’re not taking advantage of it as a company, you should be.
Presented by Beau Graves