This is the first of a 4-part series on how to use introductory marketing analytics, specifically through Google Analytics (FREE!!!!!). While there are numerous benefits of measuring inbound marketing, try and focus on what’s working and what’s not, and how to improve. Analytics, when used properly, should help you to make intelligent, calculated decisions on your marketing strategy rather than blindly spending potentially useless time, money, and energy.

The focus of this post in the series is to improve your website strategy based on careful consideration of your marketing analytics. While that might sound complicated, fear not! If you already use a sophisticated analytics program (like Hubspot), fantastic. If not, I would strongly recommend Google Analytics, which is both free and awesome. Either way, I’m going to break down the most important tools that you can use to get the most out of your analytics program.

Unique visitors refers to the total number of people who have visited your website (leaving out repeat visits by the same person). Look for a solid upward trend over time. New vs. Returning Visitors offers a comparison of the two—obviously, you’re looking to increase your rate of returning visitors (healthy=15-30%).

There are usually four different traffic sources that drive people to your website, including search/organic, referral, direct, or campaigns.

  • Search/organic: brought to your website from search engine results (ideally, makes up 40-50% of your total traffic)
  • Direct: visited through your direct URL
  • Referral: linked to your website from another site (ideally, 20-30% of your total traffic)
  • Campaign: brought to your site from a direct campaign or advertisement. This is a traffic tool set up for specific marketing promotions.

Since we will discuss SEO measurement in a later post in this series, let’s dive into referral sources. In Google Analytics, go to Traffic Sources–>Sources–>Referrals. These are the exact non-search engine URLs that sent traffic directly to your site, organized by source. Separate your referrals from inbound sources, such as your social media, blog, etc. In addition, make sure that your referrals come from quality sources.

Quick Tip: Focus your efforts on your most popular pages with extra CTAs.

Visitors Flow allows you to see the movement of visitors through your site. What pages did they go to first? What pages were not compelling enough to keep them on your site? What percentage of visitors took the desired path of action and became leads or customers? All of these questions can be answered, tracked, and analyzed here.

The sooner you sync your website with an analytics program, the better. When it’s FREE, why not? You can only improve your inbound marketing efforts through a simple analysis of what’s working and what’s not.

Next post in the series: Marketing Analytics to Measure SEO