6 Ways to Use Google Analytics You Haven’t Thought Of

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6 Ways to Use Google Analytics You Haven’t Thought Of

For the readers of Search Engine Journal, the idea of using Google Analytics to monitor daily traffic is a no-brainer. To make effective online business decisions, we must have an idea of where traffic is coming from and what visitors are doing while there.

Unfortunately, for many marketers and business owners, their Google Analytics usage is relegated to a few basic, top-level charts (of questionable value).

There is so much more to Google Analytics than traffic data.

Google Analytics has a wide variety of features that most marketers aren’t taking advantage of. By ignoring the full functionality of Google Analytics, your business could be missing out on valuable insights worth thousands of dollars in potential revenue.

Content marketing effectiveness, in terms of increasing brand awareness and lead generation, is restricted to the data you have at your disposal. Quality data informs better business decisions. Companies regularly pay large sums of money for market research and consumer insights—much of which you can find in your own analytics.

Here are six ways to use Google Analytics that you haven’t thought of, but should start doing today.

1. Create a Custom Dashboard

One of the common annoyances about Google Analytics is having to dig through the different menus to find the information you are most interested in. However, there’s a convenient feature that completely solves this—custom dashboards.

At the top of the menu, click on Dashboards and then New Dashboard.

This process allows you to create a customized dashboard that displays all of the metrics you care about most. You can create multiple dashboards, as well.

6 Ways to Use Google Analytics You Haven't Thought Of | SEJ

Next time you access your analytics, you’ll have everything you need in one place and won’t have to chase it down.

2. Find Your Worst Performing Pages

Most of the time, we like to look for the most popular pages on our website. This is helpful for coming up with new blog post ideas.

But opportunity also lies in identifying your worst performing pages. This process is how you find holes in your content and search engine marketing strategy.

Ideally, you want to keep prospects on your site long enough to convert them from lead or customer.

For this reason, you need to go to the Behavior tab in the Google Analytics menu.

Then click Exit Pages under the Site Content menu.

6 Ways to Use Google Analytics You Haven't Thought Of | SEJ

This process will show you the pages where prospects most often exit your website.

With that information, you can then analyze these pages and look for ways to keep prospects engaged with your website. You might have to change the design or re-write the content—depending on how important the page is.

3. Monitor Site Speed

The performance of your website is an overlooked SEO factor that deserves your attention. Slow load times send prospects away to other websites that instantly load. Thanks to smartphones and social media, we have less patience than ever.

Under the Behavior tab, you’ll see a menu item for Site Speed.

6 Ways to Use Google Analytics You Haven't Thought Of | SEJ

The Site Speed menu provides a list of your fastest and slowest loading pages, along with other information regarding load times. What’s really nice is Google Analytics has a sub-menu, Speed Suggestions, where they provide specific solutions to speed up your page load times for each page.

If you find issues, check out this list of 18 plugins to speed up your site.

4. Study Behavior Flow

In the Behavior tab, you will see Behavior Flow, which provides a flow visualization of the behavior on your website. It looks confusing at first, but this function can be incredibly valuable when you learn to use it.

6 Ways to Use Google Analytics You Haven't Thought Of | SEJ

Behavior Flow shows you the most common patterns of behavior on your website, based on parameters that you can choose.

By default, it will show you which page most people land on, where they go to next, and where they keep going until they finally leave.

This process helps you identify which pages keep prospects engaged with your website, which pages send people away, and which patterns string together most often.

Look for which content sends the most traffic to your lead generating or sales pages. With this data, you can create more complimentary content that turns prospects into leads and, eventually, customers.

5. Start Using Intelligence Events Alerts

Daily activity on your website tends to be predictable. However, some events cause unusual changes in traffic—such as a blog post randomly going viral or getting linked-to by an influencer in your industry.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know when these things happen, without having to monitor your analytics 24/7?

You can, by setting up Intelligence Events.

Go to Intelligence Events Overview and click Custom Alerts.

6 Ways to Use Google Analytics You Haven't Thought Of | SEJ

From there, you’ll be able to setup automatic emails (or text messages) that alert you when specified events occur, such as a spike in traffic.

These are real-time signals triggered by website activity.

6. In-Page Analytics

Sometimes you need to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes to understand their perspective.

Often we’ll have a page that we think is perfect, but it isn’t driving traffic through the right links. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see where our website visitors were clicking?

This is where In-Page Analytics shines.

6 Unknown Ways to Use Google Analytics | SEJ

In-Page Analytics allows you to look at your website and see percentages above links that represent the number of clicks those links are getting on that page. You can use this to spot trends, such as people not noticing the links towards the bottom of the page.

Using this feature is easy, you simply click on the Behavior tab and go to In-Page Analytics at the bottom of the menu to get started.

The Rub

Google Analytics is a data goldmine for your website.

You’re doing your business a disservice if Google Analytics is simply a way to check your high-level traffic data. By taking a deeper look into Google Analytics, you’ll find valuable insights into business opportunities you may have otherwise not known existed.

6 Ways to Use Google Analytics You Haven't Thought Of

Image Credits

Featured Image: Ingvar Bjork/Shutterstock.com
All screenshots by Ryan Hanley. Taken January 2016.

Ryan Hanley
Ryan Hanley is the Vice President of Marketing at TrustedChoice.com and Managing Editor of Agency Nation. Ryan is also a keynote speaker and author of... Read Full Bio
Ryan Hanley
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  • Enrique west

    excellent work you discover hidden feature of Google Analytics Thank you Ryan

  • Larissa- MarketGoo

    The Behaviour Flow feature is the one that has provided the most interesting insights for us (besides ‘traffic sources’). Definitely have found things we didn’t expect and has led us to make changes to our website and cintent. One feature that looks like it has a lo of potential is ‘cohort analysis’!

    • Ryan Hanley

      @marketgoo:disqus there is some data to be taken away, sometimes the hard part is figuring out which to act on first.

    • Foster.report

      “Cohort analysis” — so true; especially if your business has many actionable metrics to track down and report. Though not every ecommerce site goes that granular.

  • Rapidsoft Technologies P. Ltd

    Thanks for sharing. these tips are useful for improving website visibility.

  • Branding Reputation

    Nice article.Thanks for sharing great tips.

  • Apni Tricity

    Amazing post. Very important information.

  • Karim Javed

    Sorry to say but there is nothing new in the above mentioned article, practicing this from day 1 and people involved in analytic should know about these important things otherwise they will gonna face serious issues related to their performance.

    • Ryan Hanley

      @karimjaved:disqus, you’re definitely right. Anyone with advanced GA background is most likely already practicing many of these tactics. The audience this focused was more beginner to intermediate.

  • KPkarthik

    Very Glad to know about creating dashboard and analysis behaviour in Google analytics with the help your post.

  • RSharma

    Thanks Ryan for cool tips and creating dashboard is certainly very helpful.
    Hope to read another quality blog from you on Goal setting and Goal conversion.

    • Ryan Hanley

      @disqus_GNHs5dzWYI:disqus I can put that in the hopper for a future article.

  • toprankingtools

    Good information. Really need it, I don’t know about it before. Thanks

  • Dustin Mora

    Very good read. Simple and to the point! Thanks Ryan!

    • Ryan Hanley

      Thanks @dustin_mora:disqus. Easy to digest, but valuable was the goal.

  • Ryan Hanley

    You’re very welcome @disqus_LDYTPkOmOj:disqus.

  • Ryan Hanley

    Thanks @habeebrahmanb:disqus

  • Simon

    I agree with Karim. It’s a very valid post and raises some good points, but they’re not really “things people wouldn’t have thought of” – it’s just six ways to use analytics really. And all the points are easily found buttons down the left nav. Very basic.

  • Foster.report

    Nice post. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Actual headline might have been smth like “6 GA features you should learn and master the very first day”. Thanks anyway.

  • Umesh Singh

    Hi Ryan, Great Post! There are more than six elements of Google Analytics which marketers ignored like bounce rate etc.

  • Daesh Marketing

    Hi Ryan, great post. Love me some analytics.

  • Udaya Joys

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post Ryan..
    I got to know some new things about Google Analytics which helps to know our site behaviour better by uisng these options.

  • Emergency Medicine Hospital

    Very Helpful informative and brief information in this article no doubt.Thanks for sharing this article.

  • Komal Chauhan

    Useful information. Will try today.

  • Shiva Seo

    Very Help Full Information Thank u Sir……………

  • Soumen Siddhanta

    Thank you very much. Very informative article. Thank you for sharing Ryan.

  • Motupally Pavan

    Thanks for the article…Good to know indepth features of analytics….Impressed .

  • Randy Downs

    Great post. Love the infographic.

    I do like the automatic emails from Analytics. It’s particularly interesting when traffic drops off. Sometimes that’s expected for seasonal products other times it can be big trouble. Usually the former.

    Had not considered In-Page Analytics before. I will have to look at that in more depth.

  • NicTesla

    I always appreciate the content here, but more than one pop up irritates the hell out of me. Show me one, ok. Show me two and I start to wonder when the rest will show up. Sacrificing user experience for your ads is a mistake. Try doing a piece on that.

  • Johny Cage

    Thanks for sharing this gold knowledge:) will be very useful in my workload