Reading Google Analytics – 3 Mistakes to Avoid

reading google analytics

There are various ways to check your analytics. For example, if you use Quickbooks, you can look up the customers that are spending the most with you. As a small business, it’s a good idea to see who is spending on what or how long they are visiting your site, so you can gauge who you need to think about most. Hint: it’s those customers and clients who are engaging with you consistently and on a higher level than the rest.

Another important way to check your data is Google Analytics.  It’s free and gives you the best data results. Yet, many people still make mistakes when using Google Analytics to track their stats.

Mistake #1 – Failing check Google Analytics often enough

Some people, possibly even you, set up Google Analytics and then forget about it – or only check it once a month or every quarter. Very few people check their data analytics every day. In some informal polls, I’ve discovered that about 10% check once a week and about 50% check once per month. That's not often enough!

The key to knowing how your business is doing is to look at your Google Analytics on a regular basis. When you check it regularly, you'll see cycles emerge. You can compare what is happening now to what happened last month.

The more you check your analytics, the better you’ll be able to see the bigger picture. You’ll see what's working and what’s not.

Mistake #2 – Only looking at the basic stats

Many people who go to check their stats get excited because they may have more sessions this month than last month. This issue isn’t how many sessions (i.e. the number of visitors to your site) each month. You want to be looking at the number of users on your site and the number of new sessions on your site. This tells you how many people are returning – then you can figure out why they are coming back.

From my experience managing over 100 Google Analytics accounts, the average site gets about 300 users each month or 10 per day. In general, they will navigate between 2 and 3 pages on a site. Also, they will spend an average of 2 to 3 minutes on your site.

You’ll notice something called a bounce rate. This is the number of people who come to your website and then leave without looking at any other pages. It averages around 33%. You need to understand why the rate is what it is – what is driving people to come and why are they leaving.

Try to answer questions like:

  • How much time are people spending on my site?
  • How are they consuming my media?
  • Where do my referrals come from?
  • What pages are they getting to?
  • Are they leaving while on my core pages?

The point is, dig into the details. Avoid being satisfied with just the basic facts.

Mistake #3 – Analyzing useless information

On the flip side, you can start over-analyzing everything like checking demographics, interests, geography, behavior, etc.

Before you dive too deep into your Google Analytics, ask if it makes sense for your business. Will this data really help you and your business?

Google Analytics is only an estimate as it is based on IP addresses of households. Google doesn’t know if they are tracking you or someone else in your household. There are a lot of assumptions going on based on the content the IP address consumes. So, diving into the demographics may not be as helpful as you initially thought.

Final Thoughts

In short, you need to figure out what you need to measure, how visitors are interacting with your content, and avoid over analyzing what you find in Google Analytics.

Use your data goldmine to create content and products that speak to those who engage with you the most.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

About Brian Basilico

Brian Basilico is an award winning and internationally recognized author, speaker and online strategist. He’s the founder and president of B2b Interactive Marketing Inc., an award winning marketing consulting and production company in Aurora Illinois. B2b helps companies and non-profits, market their products and services through the effective use of on-line tools including; websites, blogs, eMail, social networking, Google, S.E.O., YouTube, and more.

Brian’s career spans over 35 years. Since starting his first production company in 1979, he’s produced thousands of projects for companies ranging from solopreneurs to Fortune 100. Brian combines years of marketing experience, with technical expertise, to build on-line campaigns that produce measurable results. As a musician, technician, programmer, producer and consultant, he has built a reputation for creativity, innovation, and translating “geek” into English. Brian is also an adjunct professor, trainer, author of many social networking and marketing blogs, and an avid podcaster. He has been featured in articles at Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines.

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