How Using Google Analytics Can Help Your Business

by Mia Steinberg

google-analytics-iconHave you ever wondered how many people are visiting your website, and how they found it? How about knowing which blog post is your most popular? There’s a tool that can easily give you those answers, and many more. Out of thousands of Checkfront users, only about 25% are using the Google Analytics plugin. This is surprising to us, because Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools on the Internet, and everyone with a website should be using it. Analytics can be a little overwhelming to some, but it provides incredibly useful information and can transform how you run your site—and your business.

If you’re not using Google Analytics, you’re seriously missing out. While there are lots of technological and statistical advantages to the tool, there’s a bigger picture hiding amongst all those numbers. After you’ve read our support doc on how to setup Google Analytics for Checkfront, here are some cool metrics you’ll be able to see.

How Visitors Found Your Website

How are people discovering your site? Are they clicking on a link from your Yellow Pages profile, or has a popular blog mentioned you recently? Which keywords are people using when they search for your products? These are crucial questions to answer, because they give you an idea of where your customers are coming from—and what you can do to increase that flow.

Google Analytics provides you with a number of reports which tell you all about where your traffic is coming from. It also tells you what search keywords people were using when they found your site—and that’s one of the largest pieces of the online marketing puzzle. Acquisition reports can also provide statistics on which page visitors are coming to first. While it’s usually the homepage, it might be that one of your blog posts was mentioned on a popular website, or someone endorsed a specific product without you realizing it. All of this information can help you improve your website so that it is more welcoming to new customers.

Find it in Google Analytics: Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium

Who Your Visitors Are

Every business has an ideal demographic—the group of people that is most likely to purchase their product. Whether it’s women 18-24, men with children, or active couples in their thirties, every business has that target market segment. Google Analytics uses small pieces of code and its Google Display Network to get an idea of the age and gender of your visitors, based on their internet activity. You can also find out where your customers live, which is very useful for accommodation and tour companies who may cater to tourists more than to locals. The more you know your audience, the better; your marketing tactics hinge on understanding exactly who wants your product, and Analytics can help you determine that.

Find it in Google Analytics: Audience > Demographics

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.34.56 AMNewcomers vs Regulars

Out of all of your website traffic, how much is made up of new customers who have never been to your site before? Do you have regulars who come back again and again? Analytics can track that information for you. This can combine with other metrics to give a portrait of how visitors are seeing your site. If newcomers arrive and then immediately leave, you know that you’re not making a good first impression. If you have almost no returning visitors, then you know that you need to incentivize customers to come back.

Find it in Google Analytics: Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning

How Long They Stay

Traffic is nice, but only if it leads to conversions (aka purchases or bookings). Analytics’ bounce rate tells you how long people are staying on your site, and even how long they’re staying on individual pages. Research has shown that you have less than half a second to impress a visitor; that first impression needs to be fantastic, or they will likely leave. You want as low of a bounce rate as possible. Bounce rates are also helpful on individual pages, because they show how long people are looking at your products.

Find it in Google Analytics: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.16.39 AMWhether They’re Viewing On the Go

Analytics can tell you what browser and device people are on while viewing your website. If you’re getting a lot of traffic from phones and tablets, you know that you need to make sure your website looks and performs well on mobile devices. In our own research, we now see approximately 40% of traffic to booking pages coming via mobile or tablet devices.

Find it in Google Analytics: Audience > Mobile > Overview

What They’re Looking At

You can probably gauge your most popular product based on actual sales, but sometimes things are more complicated than that. Analytics shows how many times each of your pages is viewed per month, and that can show you some surprising things. It may be that one of your blog posts is more popular than the others, which will tell you to write similar content in the future. Customers may be looking at one of your products a lot but not buying it, which tells you that the descriptions may need improving or that you need more prominent calls to action.

Find it in Google Analytics: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

How Customers Move Through the Site

Google Analytics’ Behavior Flow report shows you how people move through your site, page by page by page. Do they go from your homepage directly to your ‘Book Now’ section, or do they explore around a little bit? Does linking to your products in blog posts actually lead to customers visiting those products? When are customers leaving your site? You can use this information to streamline your website, and make the purchasing process as easy as possible for visitors.

Find it in Google Analytics: Behavior > Behavior Flow

How They Move Through Your Booking Pages (Sales Funnel)

Google Analytics and Checkfront are a marriage made in data heaven. If you’ve used the app, you know that there are a few steps to booking something; customers must choose their item, put in their information, and are taken to a payment page followed by a receipt page. With Analytics, you can see through the booking process step by step, tracking views and visits to each page. It can help you understand how many people are viewing your items versus how many are ultimately converting into paying customers, and where they may be changing their minds. Learn how to setup a booking funnel report in Google Analtyics here.

Find it in Google Analytics: Conversions > Goals > Funnel Visualization

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.12.39 AM

Conclusion

Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool with a lot of applications to a small business. It helps you see how effective your website is, where your customers are coming from, and what they’re looking at. With Analytics, you can make your website better and more efficient, and increase both traffic and revenue. Even if you don’t immediately use any of these reports, the data you collect now will help you spot trends in the future. So, if you haven’t set up Google Universal Analytics with your Checkfront account yet, do so today. 

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