I love Google Analytics and it’s an incredibly useful tool for finding out what is and isn’t working in your business.
But sometimes those numbers can be misleading. And if you don’t spot the underlying reasons you could end up making the wrong decision.
Here are 4 common issues to watch out for.
If your customers are mostly local to you, or at least within your country, then website visitors outside that area are of much less value.
Always check the geography of your website visitors when analysing your stats.
Here’s an example from one of my clients:
I regularly check conversion rates by product category and one particular category started performing VERY badly. This is usually a sign that they need to refresh their product range. However, in this case we discovered that the drop in conversion coincided with a big increase in traffic – and that traffic all came from India.
They were ranking high up on page one for their key phrase on Google India. It’s also a phrase that has high demand in that country although my client’s products aren’t really what they are looking for. Unfortunately the pricing and postage meant it wasn’t realistic for my client to take advantage of this, but at least we could now exclude the traffic from India in judging the performance of the products in the UK.
Overseas traffic may not be worthless. If you have a blog then shares and links will be helpful no matter where they come from. But be sure to understand where your visitors come from before making strategic decisions.
Talking of blog traffic, this often converts much less well than visits to your main site.
People will click on a link to read your post and then leave. Of course there are things you can do to encourage them to stick around, but generally these visitors will have much less “intent” than people who land on your product or services page.
An overall drop in conversion may be simply explained by a popular blog post generating lots of extra visitors.
Consider tracking goals and conversion rates separately for blog traffic and main site traffic. Enquiries/sales may be the main goal but newsletter sign-ups are often a better indicator of blog performance.
Many business owners worry about Bounce Rates (people who arrive on a web page and then leave without going elsewhere).
But focusing too much on this can be counter productive.
It’s common to have bounce rates of over 80% for blog posts – for the same reasons as above.
And remember that it’s not the website visits that are important, but what they do next. I’ve seen plenty of individual product pages which have high bounce rates – but also excellent conversion rates.
However, if a product category page has a high bounce rate, then I’d be worried.
So look at bounce rates on an individual page basis rather than site-wide.
Cross Device Users
Analytics hasn’t yet managed to catch up with the growth of smartphones as internet browsers (although Google are working on it).
If someone finds you on their mobile but waits until they are at a desktop computer to place an order, Google treats this as 2 separate users. And loses the link between them.
If they originally found you via an advert but then typed in your web address on the desktop the advert doesn’t get the credit. Which can play havoc with your Return on Investment calculations.
Understand how your buyers behave and don’t automatically assume that ads aren’t working if direct conversions are low.
Need help understanding Analytics? I offer an Analytics review and training session. I’ll examine your analytics and then show you how to understand and track your figures going forward. To find out more give me a call on 0161 883 1655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org