Analyzing Analytics

The greatest free tool on the Internet

Analyzing Analytics

Google Analytics has come along way since it’s 2005 debut – and it was extremely powerful way back then! This free service may be the single most important piece of software for understanding your online customer and their behaviors that you’ll ever use.

Getting started with Google Analytics is really simple, and if you haven’t had this service installed on your website you’re missing out on a huge chunk of valuable user data. The single best reason for using Google Analytics is because it serves up raw customer data in an easy to understand user interface. It gives you insight into the lives and behaviors of all the people using your website and services. It allows you to customize and grow your online experiences around what your customers are looking for; hence increasing conversions and sales.

If this all sounds too overwhelming don’t worry – just like any new piece of technology there is a learning curve, but the great thing about Google Analytics is that the curve can be as small or large as you want it to be. For the businesses that want to know every little bit of information about their customer, to the businesses that only want the top-level view – the system is powerful and flexible enough to handle both types of users.

If you are new to Google Analytics or just a casual user, here are some features that you should be paying attention to when using the service. Like any new piece of technology that you are learning for the first time we recommend exploring and discovering what the service has to offer by just clicking around. You’ll be amazed at just how fast and easy it is to use.

If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry – just start anywhere. There are many tabs on the left hand side of the screen that are really easy to use and will help guide you down particular paths. When exploring Google Analytics we recommend checking out these new and improved features that will make a huge difference in the way you view your customers.

Segmentation
The new Segmentation feature allows you to evaluate user behavior from almost any point of view. It is a major upgrade from their previous “visits only” behavior feature. What this means is that you can track users behavior over a period of time (maximum 90 days) instead of just what they did on a single visit.

A practical use for this may be a membership drive, or wedding sales opportunity. You can now track the user from the moment they enter your website (via Google, direct, Twitter, Facebook) all the way through to completing the Membership form or scheduling their Wedding Party. You can see how smooth or difficult the steps they take are, or at what point they are being sold / not being sold your service. Understanding how the user gets from point A to point B to point C on your website will drastically improve how you can optimize your website to increase conversions.

If you see that your customers are not easily finding the pages you want them to find – it’s time to optimize your website to make those pages easier to find. This is the real power of analytics – the ability to adjust your strategy on the fly.

Acquisitions Reports
This tool allows you to better understand who your audience is based on demographics, interests, location, etc… It also tells you how that user found your website and offers data about their loyalty and engagement.

Tag Manager
This has become Google’s “hot new feature” because it allows marketers and business owners to track events without having to add new event tracking code every time. The new Tag Manager allows you to measure traffic and visitor behavior, understand the impact of online advertising and social channels, use remarketing and audience targeting, and the ability to test and improve your site.

This feature is a bit more advanced, but we recommend you checking it out and discovering whether it’s a good fit for your business.

Like any marketing tool – Google Analytics needs to be used in conjunction with a smart and dedicated plan if you are going to use it effectively. Sure, you can just login from time to time and see how many visits you are getting – but if you really want to get more bang for your buck, then we suggest creating a plan that can be tracked, measured, and executed.

We encourage you to take some time to explore the new Google Analytics and make it a part of your business for 2014. We think you’ll be surprised at how effective understanding your customer’s online behaviors can be for your golf course.