Google Analytics is often misunderstood as a tool for large organizations. Many small businesses initially get befuddled and intimidated by the vast customizable suite of tools that Google Analytics offers. It may even appear to be quite a complicated product which, as you would realize gradually, it isn’t. It offers as much utility, if not more, to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as it does to their larger counterparts. Google Analytics is also very easy to use once you understand how to use it and is an excellent small business analytics tool. The problem though for small businesses is knowing where to start, understanding the advantages of Google Analytics for small business, and identifying the reports and metrics that are relevant and matter the most. Through this article, we attempt to help you give you a headstart at resolving these issues and ultimately enable you to leverage this Google product’s prowess at providing small business data analytics to your advantage.
Advantages of Google Analytics for small business
There are a plethora of advantages of Google Analytics for small business; with the most prominent ones listed below.
Online visitor targeting: Google Analytics is essentially a monitoring tool which uses the collected data to target online visitors with greater precision. This enhances its ability to target niche audiences who show/have shown an interest in purchasing your products or services. The information it gives you, pertaining to the traffic source, users’ demographic information, bounce rates, etc will enable you to make your website more user-friendly.
Targeted campaigns: The specific information you receive from Google Analytics about the user behavior, user location, and the users’ choices is extremely useful for creating effective targeted campaigns directed towards a specific user segment. As SME owners, you will also be able to make better-informed decisions regarding your content strategy, promotions and offers, and optimization of conversion rates.
Cost-free tool: One of the greatest advantages of Google Analytics for small business is that it is a ‘freemium’ service; small businesses can utilize a lot of its tools and services without paying a single penny. It doesn’t just offer the best small business analytics but it offers it without any subscription fee or other monthly charges. Yes, there are certain premium services and functionalities that are paid but an SME would usually do well even without them.
How could Google Analytics benefit your SME?
Google Analytics helps you accomplish several goals that are key to your organization’s success. For an SME, this could be a potential game-changer.
It helps you set effective business goals: Each goal you set for your business must be tied to a quantifiable or measurable result; a result that adds value to the business.
Google Analytics helps you identify what works for your business and assists you in setting focused KPIs (Key Performance Indicator). You can thus ascertain if a particular digital marketing activity deserves a place in your KPI tracker or not.
Identify key customers: SMEs rely on digital marketing to get leads. So it is imperative that you know – What is the likelihood of a potential visitor becoming a customer or a lead? On which pages do your visitors spend the maximum amount of time? What behavioral traits are common to those visitors who become leads or buyers? Google Analytics gives you the answers to these questions and helps you identify the key customers for your business.
Achieve a higher marketing ROI at the same budget: Instead of just repeating what has worked, Google Analytics encourages you to keep getting better and supports this endeavor through its proficiency in small business analytics. It prioritizes progress over perfection. It allows you to test your budget, understand and acknowledge your conversion rates, and optimize your digital marketing strategies. Eventually, you’ll achieve a higher marketing ROI at the same budget.
Metrics that every SME must track
To achieve best results with Google Analytics for small business, it is essential that you track the right metrics. For an SME, as a starting point, it would be prudent to track the following metrics:
Visitors: The visitors metric lets you track trends over time. For instance, you could track the performance of a new campaign or a product launch to see if the event has pushed up the visitor numbers. You could also observe patterns such as returning visitors or identify the site downtime.
Traffic sources: This metric, usually divided into 6 sources, gives accurate details about the source of your traffic. The 6 sources are –
- Organic search – Traffic from Google or other search engines
- Direct – Traffic with no referrer
- Referral – Traffic originating from links outside of search engines
- Social – Traffic from social media
- Paid search – Advertisements
- Others – Affiliates, display, etc.
This report facilitates a comparison between the performance of key channels.
Bounce rate: Bounces are one-page visits. The bounce rate shows the number of visitors who visited a page on your site but didn’t click through to another. While there is no rule of thumb for ideal bounce rates, a rate of 90% or above may indicate a problem. However, it may also be that the visitors found what they came looking for.
Device data: This particular metric provides data with regards to mobile, desktop, and tablet traffic. You can evaluate if, and how, your site’s performance varies according to the user device. For instance, if the bounce rates are high and conversions are below par on mobile, then there may be some pages that are deterring mobile users.
Site speed: 4 out of 10 consumers would leave a page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds; this is how important speed has become for users. For an SME, this can be a make-or-break factor. The site speed metric allows you to effectively monitor the page speed across the entire site and identify underperforming pages.
Site content/Popular pages: You can find the most popular pages on your site, along with key statistics on bounce rate, time spent on page, and the value for each page. This information tells you just exactly which content is scoring well with your users, or what are the most popular products.
You can also diagnose an issue with your website by studying the information provided under this metric. For example, this section also displays the exit page (the page from where your users leave the site). If you find the exits to be unusually high on the checkout page or at other stages of purchase, then maybe your users are having trouble while purchasing the product.
If you are an SME that wants to use digital marketing to grow, it is imperative that every dime spent on digital marketing is spent wisely. For that to happen, your digital marketing strategy must consider the findings, and the underlying suggestions and recommendations of retrospective and predictive analytics for small business. To draw an analogy, splurging on online marketing without using small business data analytics is like spending a fortune on a Ferrari and then driving it blindfolded. With the plethora of reports and the subsequent insights it provides, Google Analytics can fulfill all (or at least most of) the small business data analytics needs of SMEs.