There are several tools available to analyze and track not just what, but how your users use your website. But to understand your website user even better we need to understand why users do what they do. This is best done by segmentation into different sub-groups and to understand common characteristics. This will allow us to provide messages based on relevant and useful information to each group of users. Here are my best tips for getting started and what you should use to begin understanding your user’s actions.
Thinking in the Right Terms
The most valuable terms to consider when reviewing your data starting out is the difference between source, medium, and campaign. Assuming you will be providing information at different times, you must start with where the traffic is coming from (source), what they are using to get the information (medium), and which program should get recognition for providing the information and receiving the most conversions (campaign). You cannot begin to understand the data on your users until you define these and provide detailed and consistent naming conventions for each, with linking tracking for every program you create. These are the starting points for segmentation.
Once you set up a good plan, then it is simply putting this plan into place so you can retrieve data in your tracking software, whichever program(s) you or your digital consultant use. You need to add parameters to your url in order to track this information correctly and begin to segment your data. You can use Google Url Builder as a good starting point. The formatting is always the same on the end of your URL, you simply replace the source, medium, and campaign information in the url and leave the special characters that are there. So, as you might assume, after using this a few times you will recognize the standard format to set up these parameters and you can simply edit the link directly instead of using this tool.
My two recommended data programs are as follows:
Google Analytics is the defacto starting point. It’s free and gets you started receiving information about your website users. This is one most are familiar with and gives you a starting point for understanding users and how they interact with on-site content and what off-site sources are feeding them into your site. This can tell you things like what platforms(mobile, tablet, etc) and channels(websites, applications, etc) users saw your information disseminated from. Instead of using only your own judgment to determine where and how your users are receiving information, Google Analytics helps you start to understand with facts, where and why you should be communicating and how your best users should be receiving information. How you group them seriously impacts the why and how you will be using the information to grow leads and ultimately paid customers.
Getting a non-Gmail Account
This was an issue for me that wasn’t available when I first started using Google Analytics, or at least it wasn’t something I could not find! You can start a Google Analytics account without a gmail! Simply go to: Signup for a Google account without Gmail so you can access any Google programs like Google Analytics or Youtube without creating yet ANOTHER email to remember.
This is a tool that helps manage creative ad placements on the various channels that we are disseminating too. I mention it in reporting because it gives us link tracking capability and one backend that can build on Google Analytics data by giving us attribution at different touchpoints as the user is interacting with our digital efforts. This helps us more easily weigh the impact of each source and makes the reporting data more useful.
This is a program that is helpful for me, as a Client Services Manager for a digital agency. We manage digital ad spend on a lot of different channels for each client and this allows us to give easy to understand reports to our clients without having to pull data manually from each site independently! This saves a lot of time every week where instead of spending hours aggregating data we can spend 30 minutes pulling the data and 30 minutes analyzing it to provide any feedback necessary to our customers.
I have only scratched the surface of how these programs impact better serving clients with their digital campaigns. These are a few essentials to manage your ad spend and continue to drive the conversion costs lower and lower!