Profile - How We Use Google Analytics

Data Snapshots Can Lead To A Better Website

Jason RobbinsWhen Google launched its analytics tools in 2005, the service was so popular new users had to win a lottery just to sign up. Since then, as its capacity has expanded, Google Analytics has become the most widely-used tracker of its kind, offering marketers an array of stats about website traffic and conversions.

"Google Analytics is the way we monitor the pulse of our business on the Web," says Jason Robbins, CEO of ePromos Promotional Products (asi/188515). "It tells us what content is being consumed by the public and what content is just sitting there with no one looking."

For Web-driven firms like ePromos, Google Analytics provides clear advantages. Yet, any business with an online presence can still benefit from the service's free tools. Read on to find out how.

Q: When and why did you start using Google Analytics?
A: ePromos started using Google Analytics in 2005 when it first came out. At the time, we were paying for other Web analytics and click-tracking software. Google Analytics was powerful and free, so we switched.

Q: What do you learn by using the service?
A: At a basic level, we can learn how many people are visiting our site over a specific time frame. As we dig deeper, we can look at what pages or content are getting the most traffic, how much time people are spending there and what percentage of people come and leave. We can also see where people are coming from and what browsers they're using, including mobile versus computers.

Q: Is there one piece of data that helps you most?
A: I would say it's keyword traffic data. We see what keywords we're getting traffic for, and with other systems, we can determine which keywords convert into sales. We can work harder to get more traffic on the keywords that are working and spend less time on those that aren't. We might be getting a lot of traffic for a keyword, but find out that people bounce right away.

Q: How do you use the dashboard feature?
A: I think the ability to building a dashboard to look at the drill-down reports that took time to build is a great feature. Let's say you just want to see a month-over-month view of organic traffic, rather than having to click 20 things to build a report. You can save it and make it a dashboard, so it's always in front of you live when you first log in.

Q: Have you made website changes because of information from Google Analytics?
A: Of course we've made changes. We're a Web company and we can do little things like move a button or redesign a button and get a 2% increase in our goals. We have a full-time person just doing analytics and trying new things to optimize our site.

Q: Can you learn anything about customers through analytics?
A: Google Analytics doesn't do a good job with specific individual customer profiling. For example, we can't tell a user's industry or company size. Google does have an audience section that deals with more macro level data like percentage of customers that are new first-time users versus those that are returning. With this data, we might be able to glean that it takes, on average, three visits to get a sale, or Monday morning buyers are the most serious.

Q: What can stats about browser and mobile usage tell you?
A: Mobile usage data, as well as browser and operating system information, can help tell us which different screens we need to design the website to work on. Last year, Google's Chrome browser took market share away from Internet Explorer and Firefox to become the most widely-used browser. We now make sure to design our site to work best with Chrome.

Q: What advice would you give to people just getting starting with Google Analytics?
A: Take it slow, watch some YouTube videos and compare month-over-month data to uncover some Interesting data.