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.

7 FREE Google Tools to Start Taking Advantage Of

website performance

Did you know that Google has several FREE tools that they have made available to all users to see how they are performing online?  Here are 7 of the best to help you be more effective online:

  1. Google Analytics: Probably one of the most powerful Google tools that you can use, and if you don’t have it on your website, you should. You can learn so much about your customers as well as track the success of your website.
    https://analytics.google.com/
  2. Structured Data Tool: This is Google’s tool for validating schema.org, microformats and other structured data. It handles HTML, marked up with microdata, RDFa, RDFA light and JSON-LD, by direct input or by fetching an existing URL. Translation? This tool separates the boys from the men in the SEO world and determines if your site is labeled properly for easy Search Engine Indexing.
    https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/
  3. Google PageSpeed Insights: Simply type in your website’s URL, and see how fast your business site is working on desktop & mobile. The higher the score the better, but generally aiming for a 70 on desktop and a 50 on mobile are a good starting points.  Fast and optimized pages’ lead to higher customer engagement, retention and leads.  Pagespeed Insights help you identify performance best practices that can be applied to your site.
    https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
  4. Search Console: Another free tool that helps you understand what’s going on with your website. This is the primary mechanism for Google bots to communicate with webmasters.  This will help you identify issues with your site, such as having broken links or dead pages.  It can even let you know if your site has been infected with malware.
    https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
  5. Mobile Friendly Tool: In April, Google announced mobile-friendly ranking labels which boosted qualifying sites to the top of the page. Wondering how your site fares after this Mobilegeddon? Check it out.  This tool will simply give you a pass or fail grade – your site is either mobile friendly or it’s not.  Since the average person in North America checks their phone 150 times per day – mobile-friendly websites are the new entry fee to play in the industry.
    https://www.google.ca/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
  6. Google Trends: Trends is a cool tool that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages. This is a goldmine for blog topics, social media posts and to keep an eye on your brands relevancy.  “Google Hot Trends” is an additional Google Trends which displays the top 20 fastest rising searches of the past hour in the United States.
    https://www.google.ca/trends/
  1. Google Alerts: Use this tool to monitor the presence of your businesses mentions online. Google emails you when new web pages are published that are relevant to the alert you entered. It will not catch every single page, but it does catch a good chunk of them, especially the ones from authoritative websites. Track your brand name, your competitors and your leadership team or sales staff.
    https://www.google.ca/alerts
  2. Test My Site: Similar to the PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly tool, Test My Site is an easier tool to help understand how your business is performing online.                                                                                                          https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/

If you have any questions about any of the above tools, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our Google Certified Representatives!

And for more tips & tricks like these, sign up for our newsletter!

Bounce Rate: The Misunderstood Metric

Bounce Rate: the misunderstood metric

Today the internet is celebrating  it’s 25th birthday. In the early days, when people were still learning what makes the internet tick, they kept hearing about one metric: bounce rate – bounce rate – bounce rate. We were told that this was the metric we need to keep an eye on. High bounce rate was the smoke signal showing you may have issues on your site, causing people to view the page they landed on and leave. Even back in the early 2000’s bounce rate was a misunderstood metric, but 25 years later, in today’s world of online advertising, complex design, and extensive data, the relevance of bounce rate is only getting smaller and smaller.

How is bounce rate calculated? Google explains bounce rate like this” “Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page)”. To put that simply. If someone only views a single page or your website and leaves (bounces) that will increase your bounce rate.

bounce rate formula

Why Do People Think Bounce Rate Is Important? People assume if someone hits a single page and leaves the site, there must be something wrong with that page, why else would they leave and not continue on exploring the site? This is a legitimate question, but the answer depends on the situation. Maybe all the info the user needed was on that one page – Google doesn’t look at the amount of time they spend on that single page. I could spend 7 minutes reading about the 2013 Ford F150 you have in stock, call the dealership to book a test drive (which would be considered a success) but Google Analytics is going to show that as a bounce.

Bounce rate is even more watered down when you are running online advertising. Many online advertising campaigns target specific people searching for specific things. Landing pages for online advertising are designed specifically to remove the temptation of exploring the site. You want that user to see your ads, click to get to the landing page that is most relevant to the ad, and take the desired action; whether it be filling out a form, calling, printing off a coupon etc. If that person does the desired action, that is a success, a success by every metric except for bounce rate. This is why bounce rate is no longer the key performance metric you once thought it was.

So what metrics should I be using to determine if my site is working well? Unfortunately, there is no simple or single answer to this. You have traffic coming from many sources, and the different people from those different sources interact with the site differently. You may think time on site is a good metric, but you’ve noticed it go down. Is this bad? Maybe something needs to be done and let’s redesign your whole site! But did you also notice that the amount of traffic from mobile and tablet has gone up? People visiting the site on mobile spend less time on the site than those visiting from desktop, so now that drop makes sense. The solution is not to look at your traffic as a whole but to segment out the traffic. Look at the sources of traffic individually and whether they are going up or down. Look at what devices people are coming from, and check out behaviour flow to see how they are flowing through your site.

You should have access to your Google Analytics, your website provider has no good reason to keep that from you, so make sure you have access and go in and look around, if you see anything you don’t understand ask you website provider or drop us at Strathcom a line and we can help decipher the data for you. Data is power, but only if you look.

User viewing many pages online