The beauty of online marketing lies in the ability to measure almost every activity and result.

Google Analytics provides abundant measurement capabilities and intelligence that may be useful for your marketing strategy. But as with paint brushes and chisels, it is not the tool itself but rather how you use the tool that enables you to achieve significant results.

Here are the top 3 Google Analytics intelligence reports that you should be using to determine where you should spend your marketing dollars:

1. Conversion Source and Marketing ROI

By setting up Google Analytics on your website and configuring the proper goal tracking on your Google Analytics report, it is very easy to quickly evaluate where your goal conversions are coming from (i.e., conversion sources) and to determine the value of each source. Furthermore, by comparing the goal conversions versus the cost for each traffic source, you can directly calculate the ROI for your online marketing spend. This ROI data is very useful to determine if you need to adjust your online marketing budget allocation between your marketing channels.

Google Analytics Tips - Conversion by Traffic Sources

How to get this report:

  1. Set up Google Analytics on your website.
  2. Set up the conversion funnels for the website goals on your Google Analytics profile.
  3. Gather sufficient data (e.g. a week)
  4. In your Analytics profile: Traffic Source > All Traffic Source > click on the Goal Set tab.

2. Measuring the Audience Fit of an Ad Placement

Insights into the “fit characteristics” (e.g. demographic fit) can often explain why your placed ads/links/banners on a seemingly popular website generates a lot of clicks but does not generate the return that you had expected. In this situation, it appears that the targeted Internet users are interested in your products/services but could not overcome the barriers to convert.

Tracking multiple points on the conversion process (i.e. from site visit through to the completed goal conversion) will provide valuable insights into where and why people are abandoning the process. However, although Google Analytics by default provides tracking on the sources of visit and how many users from each visit source start the goal conversion process, it is impossible to know how many users from each source of visit abandon the goal funnels at certain points.

If your goal funnel is quite long (e.g. involves quite a few number of steps), it is sometimes useful to identify a number of critical key points and configure different goals for these (i.e. dividing your goals into multiple goals of different lengths). This way you can analyse how many users from each visit source are abandoning the funnel at each checkpoint, using the same report as #1 above.

Google Analytics Tips - How many users from each traffic source are abandoning the funnels at each checkpoint

For example: if 80% of goals started by visitors from a certain traffic source are abandoned at “Submit Payment Details”, it may indicate that most of the visitors from this traffic source do not possess the required payment method (e.g. credit cards) or the purchase process is not clear enough in informing the potential purchasers about the required payment method and/or prices.

3. Analysing the Effectiveness of Special Campaigns

Special campaigns can lead to increased site activity as the audience search for more information, and at times also increased conversions/sales.

Google Analytics provides a way to plot special campaigns against the site activity (visits/conversions/page views for a particular page) using annotations.

Google Analytics Tips - Annotating your graph to plot your special campaigns

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