What’s New and Exciting in Google Analytics for 2018?

We as customers have very high expectations for relevant and customized content from businesses. Google is always trying to improve and understand the user’s journeys and find new ways to deliver us that data.

According to Google, almost 90% of marketing executives say that understanding user journeys across channels and devices is critical to marketing success.

So let’s take a peek at the four new features in Google Analytics for 2018 to help us better understand our customers.

More of a Focus on Users in Reports

User metrics are a valuable way to understand your customer and their road to converting. With the new updated standard reporting you can see how many visitors came to your site from paid search as well as see the sessions. This allows important user data to be front and center when looking at data, instead of just focusing on sessions.

Measure Lifetime Metrics and Dimensions

Google has added a new tool to help marketers analyze visitors individually, lifetime metrics and dimensions for individual users, this data is based off on the lifetime of their cookie. This will allow you to look at historical data and see the total amount of time unique visitor has spent on your site or how many times they visited, what pages they are looking, etc. It essentially provides more accurate data than before, so that you can use that knowledge to deliver a better experience for your users.

Audiences Reporting

Google has also now added the option to build audience based on segments, which then can be linked to AdWords for more targeted marketing. You can now publish these new audiences and see a cross-channel view in Analytics whereas you were unable to connect that data in the past.

Conversion Probability

Conversions Probability is a new metric this year, it provides more analytic intelligence on the people who are most likely to convert based on the use of machine learning, and the transactions that user has made in the past. Pretty cool stuff Google.  Marketers can use this to their advantage by creating remarketing lists that target users that are more likely to convert and reach those users through their advertising campaigns in AdWords.

These new advancements in Google Analytics for 2018 are going to help you understand your user’s journey better and help you provide them a better experience that they have come to expect. For more detailed information on any of these features check out this post on the Google blog. We at Strathcom are looking forward to seeing what features Google comes up with next so we can continue to build better experiences and relationships with the customer.

Rankings vs Leads and Conversions for Car Dealerships

Not to rail on ranking reports, but when it comes to bringing in business there’s more to building a website with SEO than just ranking for keywords.  If you start out with the goal of ranking on a specific keyword, say “custom truck accessories,” that’s fine and dandy – but the question you need to ask yourself is how your web traffic will transform into leads and conversions.  When ranking reports become your only evaluation for success, you can lose sight of your real goal of getting people to walk into your dealership and buy a car.

There are a number of factors that can skew ranking reports:

Google Account Login

  • Personalized results (results based on things like user behavior)
  • If you are signed into your Google account at the time of search
  • Your IP address (Which location you are searching from)
  • Local results, video and images
  • All the possible variations on keywords
  • If you have visited a certain website in the past

Ranking reports ignore searches based on personalized results and don’t take into account how previous user behavior can change the results for a search based on websites. They also miss results for searches that include local results and other media types like images and videos that can still bring users to your website.

With fluctuating ranking results and constantly evolving search engines, it’s nearly impossible to have a consistent metric to report on. It’s unfortunate that many agencies use ranking reports as the primary metric to define their success because this leaves the doors open for unethical and short-term strategies to improve ranking results while leaving long-term, devastating consequences for a website.

A better strategy is to examine what keywords are bringing you traffic and if they are converting to leads. These can give you a deeper insight into how people are actually reaching your website, and can help you change your strategies to capitalize on it. Even if you’re not successful in ranking for your target keywords because they are highly competitive, you can still focus on what you already do well and build on it. This gives you the opportunity to change your strategy to target how people are actually finding your website.

You can’t rank for everything. Sometimes people get greedy and try to rank for every search term that’s even somewhat related to their business. It’s more effective to research the top 10 – 20 keywords you want to rank for and focus on those. It’s better to be at the top on 10-20 keywords rather than just rank “OK” on everything. And if you change your SEO tactics in attempt to rank on everything, you can lose the top coveted spots that you already rank well on. Once you have chosen your top keywords, it’s time to focus on conversion rate optimization.

Conversion rate optimization

The bottom line is converting your web visitors to customers, and this is where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in. Ultimately, the way you should be judging the success of your website is bottom-line revenue, and increasing your conversion rate by even a few percent can have dramatic benefits in dollars and sales.

One of the top methods of CRO is improving overall website design and ensuring you have relevant content that effectively delivers your business proposition up-front. Taking advantage of long tail key phrases based on what you learn from Google Analytics traffic reports is also an essential method of bringing in paying customers. Someone searching the phrase “Buy used 2003 Nissan Sentra Alberta” practically has their wallet out, while someone searching for “used cars” is likely just browsing the market. And keep in mind that the high-competition keywords “used cars” would rarely be searched on their own, and in most cases will be part of another long-tail search phrase.

top tips

  • Set up goals for each action you want your users to perform on your website. Some examples are:
  • View Contact Us page
  • Fill out Contact Us form
  • Sign up for newsletter
  • Sign up for RSS Feed of blog post
  • Other tips include:
  • Have relevant ad copy.
  • Ensure the main heading (H1) closely resembles your chosen key phrase. Searchers need to find the info they initially searched for on the page they land on.
  • Use relevant, quick-loading images and captions.
  • Prioritize key features and benefits in the body content.
  • Have visible calls to action & clean design with lots of white space.
  • Conversion rates often increase when calls-to-action are placed on the right sidebar.
  • Keep your message on-point and consistent; avoid off-topic content and distracting images.
  • Include relevant and reputable testimonials.
  • Phone-track those who call you from your website.
  • Getting your dealer receptionist to ask customers who come into the dealership where they heard about you.
  • Keeping a spreadsheet & analyzing the data on a monthly basis.

The next time you look at a ranking report, ask yourself “how does this impact my conversion rate?” If you’re not ranking for your desired keyword but still have more customers visiting and buying your products due to a successful web solution, don’t worry about it! There is much that can be learned from traffic trends and natural search results. If you keep an open mind, you will find ways to improve your online business that you never thought possible.

Michael Fisher & Samantha Goettel