Google Analytics can be intimidating for a lot of marketers. By now we all know how important data-driven decisions are for our marketing departments, but many of us don’t know where to start. Google Analytics is a powerhouse tool for the analytically-minded marketer but can be more approachable than many of us realize.
When starting out on Google Analytics, the first thing you need to do is break out your analytics into bite-sized sections. Create dashboards based on the marketing goal, section, or even position. Intra-departmental collaboration is key, but you don’t want to clutter your Google Analytics dashboards by shoving every chart you need into one dashboard.
To effectively build out a Google Analytics dashboard, you should:
- Consider your audience – Is this dashboard for internal reporting, your boss, or your client? You will likely need to see the metrics you’re tracking at a more granular level than your boss does, for example.
- Avoid clutter – Save yourself the headache of trying to find the right chart when you need it by organizing your dashboards thoroughly. Six to nine charts on each dashboard are ideal.
- Build dashboards by subject – A great way to avoid clutter is by grouping your dashboards by subject, intent, or role. For example, you may be monitoring both SEO and SEM efforts, but you’ll likely want to keep charts for each effort in a separate dashboard to avoid confusion. The idea behind data visualization is that you want to minimize mental strain, so trends and insights pop out at us. Grouping charts into dashboards by subject support that aim.
Now that you have some guidelines in mind, here are some of the practical applications for each Google Analytics dashboard:
AdWords Dashboard – For the PPC Marketer
The purpose of this dashboard is to give you an overview of how each campaign or ad group is performing, as well as monitor overall spending and identify opportunities for optimization. You also get the added perk of not having to scroll through your AdWords table endlessly. The granularity of this dashboard depends on your goals and KPIs of course, but some starting metrics to consider are:
- Spend by date
- Conversions by campaign
- Cost per Acquisition (CPA) and spending over time
- Conversions by matched search query
- Lowest Cost per Acquisition
Content Dashboard – For the Content Marketer
Blogs have become the backbone for a lot of our SEO efforts as marketers. Often used as a go-to lead gen machine, blogs can also be your first interaction with many of your customers and are used primarily for brand recognition. Whatever your objective, make sure you design your dashboard with that objective in mind by gauging content engagement, leads generated, and overall site traffic.
- Time on site (broken down by blog post)
- Sessions by blog post of blog post
- Sign-ups by blog post/category of blog post
- Webinar registrants (or other content goals)
- Sessions by source/post
- Bounce rate by source/post
Site Conversion Dashboard – For the Growth Hacker
The homepage and landing pages are likely intended to convert – whatever your organization defines a conversion to be. You should be A/B testing these pages, so you need to carefully monitor how the landing pages are performing based on these tests. For the growth-hacking-minded marketer, conversions are key. Focus on things like the highest converting sources, conversion rate by page, or bounce rate by page/source.
- Sessions by landing page/source
- Goal completions by landing page/source
- Conversion rate by landing page/source
- Bounce rate by landing page/source
Be sure to carefully track any A/B tests by date. That way, you know exactly what is causing a change in conversion rates.
Site Metrics Dashboard – For The Geeky Marketer
These metrics are pretty technical but they can make a big difference in terms of optimizing your site. To dig even deeper, look at how these more technical metrics connect with content or social metrics. For example, do all your Twitter users come through mobile to a particular landing page? If so, then make sure that the landing page is optimized for mobile.
- Mobile usage
- Screen resolution
- Operating system
- Time spent on site overall
High-Level KPIs – For The VP Of Marketing
The idea of this KPI dashboard is to make keeping an eye on metrics really easy. As a result, you don’t have to confer with five different people within your department to get a view of the health of your marketing efforts. Keeping all this data in one place assures that any changes on marketing performance won’t go unnoticed.
- Overall spend
- Leads by source/campaign
- Email marketing performance
- Health of overall funnel
To communicate marketing’s value to the rest of the organization, we are all becoming increasingly more dependent on data. We need to be analytical enough to collect the right data, uncover key insights and communicate them back to our organizations. That’s why you can’t afford to ignore important tools like Google Analytics, especially when you break it down into more consumable bites, like dashboards.