• Jervis Koo

The Advantages of Using Google Analytics for Small Business

Are you a small business owner looking for new ways to make better business decisions?

More often than not, small businesses have limited budgets and resources devoted to marketing initiatives. As a business owner, you may already be wearing multiple hats—accounting, sales, operations, customer service or even marketing!

By using tools such as Google Analytics—which is free and easy to use—you’ll be able to answer questions you may not have previously been able to, using features that help in driving insights.

  • Are your pages being visited by the right people?

  • Why do users spend more time on desktop over mobile?

  • Did your social media campaign drive more traffic on Facebook or Linkedin?

If it's your first time hearing about Google Analytics, do not fear! There’s a wide library of resources that will assist you with the initial setup of Google Analytics on your business or organization's site. After implementing Google Analytics, you can focus on a few key reports to find quick wins for your business. Google Analytics features four different reports to view and use: Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion. Alongside these reports, you also have the ability to create custom segments in order to drive additional insights from your site data and visitors. Now, let’s dive into some quick wins you can achieve by using each Google Analytics report!

Audience Reports in Google Analytics

Audience Reports provide insight about your site visitors—age, location, device type, and more. Questions that could be answered using this report include: Are visitors coming from a particular location that we’re not currently reaching in our marketing efforts? Or, how do mobile visitors use our site differently than desktop visitors? There are two reports that will help you answer these questions: Geo > Location and Mobile > Overview reports.

Location Reports

Geo > Location

The location report shows you where your visitors are located geographically, which can give small business owners insights to help solve business problems. This report can be drilled down by country, region, city, and metro. Are you a small business trying to reach your local neighbourhood? This is a great go-to report to ensure you are reaching the right people in the right places.

Mobile Overview Reports

Mobile > Overview

Have you ever wondered which devices drive users that spend the most time on your website, or even just new and returning visitors? Both these answers can be found in the Mobile Overview report and can also be used to measure performance within the Device Category dimension. If you see that mobile is underperforming compared to desktop, then you may want to revisit the user experience for mobile devices in order to increase the overall success for mobile visitors.

Custom Segments If you want to learn even more about your site visitors, check out the post on creating custom segments within Google Analytics to draw greater insights on user interactions.

Acquisition Reports in Google Analytics

Acquisition reports provide insights into how your visitors discovered your website. This is helpful when finding out how successful your campaigns are at generating the desired traffic or metrics. If you spend advertising money on Google Ads or other PPC platforms (pay-per-click) campaigns, this is where all of that data is aggregated. The ones I will be highlighting will be Campaigns > All Campaigns and All Traffic > Source Medium.

Campaign Reports

Campaigns > All Campaigns

The 'All Campaigns' report is a great way to see how your campaigns are performing, which are broken out by the different platforms you’re using. For example, the breakdown might include campaigns from Google Ads, promotions sent via email, or even campaigns created through social media platforms. This report is also a great way for eCommerce websites to see revenue brought in through specific campaigns, or successful goal completions.

Traffic Source Report

All Traffic > Source/Medium

Traffic Source reports show you the source and medium between all site visitors. The Source data will show you where users are coming from—Facebook, Yahoo, Google, or even third-party sites. Medium, which buckets the sources into how they got to your website, for example, from direct, organic, referral, or social.

Google Analytics will only be able to show you defaults on Source and Medium, unless you have campaign tagging set up—such as linking your Google Ads campaigns to Google Analytics. Again, this is extremely helpful to draw insights on how effective your social media, email, ads, or even newsletter campaigns are, or how visitors are finding your website. Want to link your Google Ads campaigns to Google Analytics for additional insights? Check out these resources on linking Ads to Google Analytics, or tracking inbound campaign links.

Google Analytics Behavior Reports

The Behavior Report is where you can gain insights on how your visitors are interacting with your website. Are they visiting the pages you want them to? Are they adding items to cart, but not completing the purchase? By looking into Site Content and Events > Pages we’re able to answer these questions.

Reports on Site Content

The All Pages report shows performance across your pages, but here's why the Landing and Exit Pages reports are specifically important. Landing Pages and Exit Pages reports give insight into which pages your users visited to enter your website and the last page they visited before they left. 

Pro tip: make sure to pay attention to important landing pages outside of your homepage in order to keep site visitors engaged with your website. Common questions you may ask yourself;

  • Why do certain pages have higher % Exits or Bounce Rates compared to others?

  • Are certain blog posts performing better than others?

  • Are certain steps of the checkout process resulting in a high amount of cart abandonment?

If you have these questions, this report is for you. If you’re seeing underperformance on specific pages, you’ll want to work on the page design—especially for pages that are important for your business such as online sales, donations, or even applications. Search Terms Report

Site Search > Search Terms

The Search Terms report provides you with information on what your visitors might be looking for once they are on your website. This does require a few additional steps in the set up in order to get this data, but this will be vital in discovering the search terms your potential customers are using. These insights could help you identify trends in searches that can help address a demand i.e. a new product or service for your business.

Here are a couple of articles that will help you get started in implementing and utilising site search for your website:

Google Tag Manager

Lets briefly touch on another Google Marketing Platform product, Google Tag Manager (GTM).

Data reported on Google Analytics is based on how users are interacting with your website—what site pages are they visiting and how long are they staying on certain pages etc. If we want to know more about which buttons are being clicked or the number of people that didn’t submit a form; I highly recommend using GTM to gain these additional insights.

Check out these resources to assist you in setting up GTM and implementing tags for event tracking on your website:

Conversions Reports in Google Analytics

Conversion reports provide insights on how your visitors are converting—completing a specific goal or purchases on your eCommerce site.

What exactly is a goal? A Google Analytics goal should be a business problem that is measurable and actionable. For example, of the visitors on your contact us page, how many of those visitors actually filled out a form? We can measure this with goals! Goals are customizable and bespoke to your organisation. In order to start reporting on these metrics, you will have to complete a quick custom setup.

Goal URL Reports

Goals > Goal URLs

The Goal URLs report gives you insights on where your website visitors complete goal. For example, if you have an e-newsletter sign up in the footer of each page, this report helps identify which page resulted in the most sign-ups.

Goals can even be set for specific engagement on your website to determine how many pages a visitor explores—this would be ideal for an eCommerce or paid content sites (news, publishers or magazines) since visitors typically browse multiple items during a single site session. Check out the resources below for more in-depth information on Google Analytics goals:

Product Performance Reports

eCommerce > Product Performance

The Product Performance report can be used for any eCommerce website where purchases occur. This report gives you information about the top-performing or underperforming products and product revenue. This is a great report to use to gain insights on which products to advertise or put on sale.

If you have an eCommerce website, here's a guide to Implementing Enhanced Ecommerce.

You might not always have a dedicated team of web developers to set up enhanced eCommerce, an alternative to get you started would be to add a 'Thank You' page when an order is completed. This is something you can then create a Google Analytics goal around to gather data for additional insights.

Start Solving Business Problems

Now that you’re familiar with the basic reports in Google Analytics, it’s time to start crushing your business problems using data! Hopefully, this introduction was able to inspire you and shed some light on the possibilities of how the Google Marketing Platform can enable your business to reach new heights.

For next steps check out the blogs below.

Next steps