It’s easy to access and review plenty of data about your website via Google Analytics but interpreting that vast amount of data into something useful or, even better, insight can be difficult.
I know how vital it is to bring some context to your data and create actionable recommendations from it. This is why I spend a lot of time on a weekly basis going through your data and understanding what all those stats really mean. By reviewing your website analytics we can learn a lot about your users and how they use your site. More importantly, this is all measurable and quantitative data so by making an improvement on your site we are able to quantify it’s effect.
Google Analytics Methodology
I only use Google Analytics for my site analysis (although have used others on occasion where needed).
When spending so much hands-on time with your data, it’s important to create a methodical process to help understand it easier in chunks. There are hundreds of different metrics we can analyse within Analytics but picking the key metrics that really matter to your business is what’s most important. For example, it might be interesting to know the browser usage of your site – how many users are using IE and so forth. But what really matters is how that affects conversions? If a certain version of IE has a dramatically lower conversion rate than others and represents a big proportion of your site usage, you can assume that the users are having a poor, or broken, experience.
There are certain principals that surround my approach. These are:
We can extract almost any data you want so long as the site is correctly configured. This can take a considerable amount of time as there are so many things to define but they can be anything both inside and outside of the administration panel. A list of some popular, but often overlooked configurations are:
- Ensure the entire site is indexed and there are no duplication of pages – no www redirects or trailing slash redirects can often cause a duplication in data
- Exclude your IP addresses from Analytics to ensure the data is accurate
- Set up all relevant goals to your objectives
- Ensure all content is trackable. As Analytics is URL defined, we need to ensure that our key conversion pages (eg a thank you page) has a specific URL, not a query string. Alternatively (in addition with) use event tracking or similar
- Create custom segments and dashboards relevant to your business objectives
- Linking Analytics to your various other Google properties such as Adwords and/or Webmaster tools
There are two ways to benchmark in Google Analytics.
- Go to Audience > Benchmarking. If configured correctly, you will be able to see other data within your industry sub-set for certain metrics
What’s the point in implementing an improvement if we’re unable to measure it’s success or, in some instances, failure? If successful, we can build on top of this and iterate. If a failure, we can immediately remove the functionality to address why it failed and improve thereafter. To track exactly what we are doing I use the annotations tool. This is probably one the most under-utilised but most useful tools in the Analytics suite. When a change is made on the site, we can add an annotation as a progress marker – knowing when a change was made and what it was. From here, we can determine it’s impact over a period of time by reviewing it manually (comparing data before and after the change) – specifically the affect in conversion rate. Be careful: often external variables could affect this – read my blog post on continual experiments.
I’m qualified as a Google Partner – specifically in Google Analytics after receiving 85% on the GAIQ exam. Unfortunately I can’t link directly to the page but I’ve taken a screenshot of the page itself
Get in touch
If you’d like to learn more about a structured UX approach I’m more than happy to discuss this with you and your requirements. I’m certain with my track record in using this approach I can facilitate in a proven methodology that will get the best out of your team and the most efficient user-centric solution for your client.