PARISOMA Partner: Cort Tafoya on Google Analytics: Insights vs Reporting
Cort Tafoya is a branch manager for AcademyX, a company that provides hands on classes for Microsoft and Adobe software, as well as web design, programming and digital marketing.
Somewhere in the world a digital marketer is telling their boss, “We get 3200 visits (⅔ of our total traffic) a month from Google but the bounce rates are 72%. Also we keep getting the same amount of referral traffic each month. And our AdWords conversions have been slowly dropping.”
Let’s congratulate this person on re-vomiting aggregate data. This information is literally nothing - it’s just a report. It is at best the first step toward actually using data for good - and when I say using data for good, I mean using data to make more money.
Reporting is Not Insight
The way to take this information to the next level is actually quite simple. Just ask the question, “Why?” Why do you get 3200 visits a month from Google and why is the bounce rate so high?
This forces you to drill down into your search traffic, where you might find that half of the phrases used by people coming from Google are your brand name, and the other half are used in some of your really popular blog posts.
If you were a company that sells sales software, maybe you rank #1 for the phrase CRM tools and it’s driving ⅕ of all your search traffic. Together these facts make real insight that you can use to understand your search traffic and not just know how much it is.
The conclusion would be that other than your brand name and one blog post, you don’t have much of a search presence. It’s time to start targeting different keywords.
To answer the question about the high bounce rate, you’ll be forced to examine the layout of the page that is #1 on Google for the phrase “CRM tools,” and the design of your home page (since that’s where branded search traffic lands.).
If you can’t find UX problems that are leading to a 72% bounce rate on your own, then it’s time to hire some UX testers and get their feedback so you can solve your design problem.
Continuing with the hypothetical above, let’s look into some other issues. The marketer has identified that conversions from AdWords are slowly dropping. Why?
Drilling deeper in their account they may notice that the average ad position in their highest converting ad group has gone from 1.2 to 2.7. Overall CTR’s and total clicks have dropped as a result. They recognize that the fixed bid they were using wasn’t enough to keep topping their competitors.
The solution is to have more flexible bid management, monitor it more closely, and find ways to improve your landing page Quality Scores which can affect your ad position as much as your bid price.
After insights is when you take action.
The very first time I saw web data in my life was in 2011. I was running a comedy website and noticed I was getting 66% of all my traffic from Google. From there I learned that there was a way to optimize your web pages and articles for higher search rankings. I studied search optimization more and it literally altered my career path from web journalism to digital marketing.
If anything, I hope that story proves how amazing action can come from insights. Go forth and learn more about your data, and start asking why so you can take the right action to improve your key business metrics. Good luck!