To be honest Google Analytics is huge. Social media marketing is big and measuring the market value for your company is important. Seeing and understanding the data is key to making changes to increase effectiveness. Where do you start? What are the basic measurements you can leverage and what does it all mean?
Social media deals with a lot of ‘Big Data’. Big Data refers to large data sets that are difficult to process or manipulate. This includes measurements such as number of clicks, time spent on a page, which pages were clicked after the home page, when users accessed the site, and the users location to name a few. This is the stuff that those in the marketing industry are so eager to collect and decipher because it allows the company to get into the mindset of the user and improve the online experience for them.
Where do you start?
Google Analytics has a number of features that can be used to organize and track data but the first step should be to determine what it is that you are trying to achieve with your website. Setting strategic goals can help to determine whether or not your site is effective and track its progress. This can also act as an indicator as to which kinds of measurements are important based on user engagement rather than one dimensional goals such as increasing site visits.
Choosing the appropriate features really depends on the goals you set for your site. For example, for a recipe sharing website, the main goals may be to get users to join and sign up for daily updates. If there is a long, drawn out registration customers may navigate away from the site before the process is completed. Using the Google feature ‘Let’s Bounce’ you can view when the majority of users drop off and at which step. By identifying the issue you can improve and work toward recapturing user engagement and thereby better achieve your goal.
For websites whose main goals are to make online sales and gain return customers it may be more important to measure how long users spend browsing merchandise and what led them to the site. A high level of traffic landing on your home page may not necessarily indicate success if your customers are not compelled to stay on the page for more than a few seconds. Through Google Analytics you can also see the rates of visitor loyalty which can help track progress and credit the site on whether it was able to provide a memorable and successful customer experience.
From building reports to compiling data in order to better understand site users Google Analytics has a vast array of functions that can add significant value to your site. Being able to leverage even some of its applications can help to isolate problems and improve customer engagement. Web analytics continues to evolve alongside social media and being proactive on measuring your site’s effectiveness could keep you ahead of the curve.
Source: http://www.just.edu.jo/~amerb/teaching/2-12-13/cs728/83466038.pdf, http://mashable.com/2007/05/08/27-google-analytics-features/