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3 Google Analytics Features You Shouldn’t Ignore

3 Google Analytics Features You Shouldn’t Ignore

We all know that Google Analytics is one of the best free services to ever have been created for a website owner. Google has released a few new features of Analytics that have got us really excited.

Annotations

Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew where those web traffic bumps came from? For instance, perhaps you have a regular monthly newsletter, a few social media pages, host a webinar every quarter, and have a few trade shows coming up. Are you tracking the dates that things are occurring through Analytics so you can see if there have been any significant spikes?

This is by far my favorite feature of Google Analytics, particularly for clients who have a number of simultaneous marketing strategies in place and want to try to determine the true efficacy of each one.

Earlier this month, our website was nominated for a CSS Design Award, we posted a new blog post, and we sent out an email newsletter. We also sent out a whole bunch of other posts and things through our social media, but these were the big things we want to track.

We created annotations for these events – which can be done by clicking the Create New Annotation text link that is revealed after clicking the arrow button (that you’ve probably never noticed before!) under any of these line graphs.

So I can see from this report that the CSS Design Award announcements and the subsequent blog post catapulted my website traffic. (Note that I could have simply sent voters directly to the CSSDA website, but I had them first come to my site – tricky, huh?) There was another spike the day our email newsletter went out. Isn’t that cool?

Google Analytics

One of the best things about this feature is that you can click around to different reports and see how the annotations fall in relation to all kinds of data, including social media (see below).

From a long-term planning standpoint, this is essential because you can go back a year or six months and see how your traffic numbers were affected by your intention to drive people to your website. Then you can determine how best to allocate your marketing dollars going forward.

Mobile Devices

Did you know that about 50% of your visitors are viewing your website on their tablets or mobile phones? How many of YOUR website visitors are? Through the Mobile Devices report, you can find out.

There are two reports here that are of value. The first shows you what percentage of your traffic is using a mobile device to access your site.

Google Analytics

The second shows you which devices they’re using, how long they’re staying on the site, and how many pages they’re viewing.

Google Analytics

The reason this information is important is because, as we move through 2013, you’re going to see that many smart companies are redesigning their websites to be responsive. Responsive websites are sites that resize and reorganize their content dynamically to fit the device that a person is using. It’s really important to understand what those devices are before you undertake a redesign process!

Social Engagement

The addition of social media as part of Analytics truly helps make it a one-stop shop for all your online marketing tracking. Once you link your social media pages to Analytics, you can then begin to track how many of your visitors are coming from the various social media pages.

You can also see, by clicking “Shared URL,” which pages were shared via social media. This month, someone shared our blog post “Are Your Emails Annoying People? 8 Email Etiquette Tips You Should Know By Now” with their LinkedIn group and it has been driving quite a bit of traffic back to our website.

Google Analytics

To add your social media pages to your Analytics, click the Admin button in the upper-right of any page and select the Social Settings tab.

Google Analytics

Using these Google Analytics features to your advantage helps you market smarter, which is more crucial than ever now that you have so many marketing options available to you. You have to know what’s working and what isn’t in real time, not just how many visitors you’ve had and what their favorite pages are (although that’s important too!).

How has Google Analytics helped you to make smarter decisions about how to spend your marketing dollars?

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  • http://www.sanespaces.com/ Cena Block

    You are so smart Sarah! Great post!

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