In our last newsletter edition, we discussed the importance of monitoring Google Analytics for potential weaknesses that could have a direct effect on your resort’s bottom line.
We spoke briefly about the importance of optimizing your website to obtain organic traffic. You should be ranking within the search engine results pages (SERPS), for the terms that are highly relevant to your business. If you currently aren’t showing up for relevant keyword terms, you can use Google AdWords to purchase those search terms until you deploy tactics that will enable you to rank for those terms without having to spend for them.
Included in Part 1 of this series, we discussed direct traffic and how to determine how your branding and offline strategies are working. Direct Traffic can be filtered within the acquisitions tab of Google Analytics. When you place the secondary dimension, “Metro”, you can narrow down which cities your direct traffic is coming from. Hopefully your strategy is working and the traffic shows the cities where your offline advertising investments are located.
Finally, we talked about referral traffic and how it is considered a “vote of confidence” by Google when another website links to yours, essentially validating the content listed within the linked page. Having links from a variety of unaffiliated , yet same or similar industry websites also delivers more qualified traffic to your website and helps increase your domain’s authority.
Today we are going to talk about the remaining channels listed in Google Analytics that need to be monitored to ensure you’re operating your marketing efforts at full capacity. These items include the following:
- Display / Search
- Other Campaigns
Facebook is really beginning to upset the notion of a complete Google domination of internet marketing platforms. For those of you who are operating on limited resources, Facebook needs to be your primary social media target. With that said, you could easily create a Twitter Page and connect your Facebook with your Twitter page and when you post to Facebook, it will automatically post to Twitter as well. So instead of just dipping into a pool of over 2 billion Facebook users, you can add an additional 328 million followers on Twitter as well. Just saying…
For me, I am going to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Reddit, Pinterest, We Chat (Chinese Social Channel) and Naver (South Korean Social Channel). I know it seems like a lot but there are a lot of social media schedulers out there that can deploy one post to multiple channels on whichever schedule you choose.
These social medial channels have some pretty good reporting themselves but for the sake of this article, we will look specifically at Google Analytics and measurement of your social media efforts through this medium. If you go to the Acquisition section > Channels > Social, you will see the general referrals these networks are sending to your website.
If you add “Landing Page” as a secondary dimension, you will see which content is bringing in the most amount of traffic to your website. This will help you create a schedule of content that mirrors your highest performing content based on the Google Analytics.
You can take your social media analysis a step further by installing goal completion tracking to see which content is converting into bookings by creating a goal in Google Analytics. The Goal could be URL destination. If you place the URL that displays your, “Thanks for booking”, display after someone reserves their spot, you will be able to see how your social media efforts are converting into bookings. This tactic can also measure values amongst all your channels and is something you need to consider using regularly.
You can also track your email marketing efforts with Google Analytics as well. Most companies like iContact, Constant Contact or Mail Chimp integrate with Google Analytics so you can see how your campaigns are performing with regards to visits to pages within your website.
The best part, you can also see how articles from other company’s newsletters referencing your website are performing as well. This data can be seen if you click Acquisition > Channels > Email > Source. This can help you track how these mentions are translating to website visits. This is an excellent resource especially if you are paying for space within a newsletter.
Display / Search:
If you are paying for visibility through the Google Display or the Google Search Network, then you have access to Google AdWords. This platform has quite a robust analytics platform and is highly useful in measuring your advertising cost and conversion rates.
Google Analytics connects to Google AdWords and it’s important that you connect the two to look for potential discrepancies. Once you connect your accounts, for example, if you click the Acquisition tab, you will notice AdWords. From there, go to Campaigns for a specific date range. That range should yield the same clicks, cost, cost per click for that campaign in Google Analytics as it does in Google AdWords. The one thing that you should pay attention to is the Bounce Rate.
Bounce Rate essentially means that someone reached the intended page but no additional actions took place. They landed on the page and left shortly afterwards. If your process takes two pages to finalize a booking, after your AdWords ad was clicked, then a high bounce rate would be an indicator that your advertisement, placement or both need adjusting.
Remember, you will notice a difference between clicks and sessions. Sessions for Analytics and Clicks for AdWords mean different things. A user may click your ad multiple times but it only records a single session for that user.
This category could show up because of Google Analytics need for accuracy. Text advertisements are not formatted the way images are or video ads do on the Google Display network. So because of this, Google Analytics uncertain of their designation, lumps them into “Other”.
The main reason to check this is to make sure that the proper channels are getting the proper credit for their contribution to your marketing objectives. Sometimes, you may even find your email marketing website referrals showing up in your “Other” category too.
You can assign the proper values to your “Other” traffic sources by going to the Admin tab and under the View column, select Channel Settings. After you do this, go to Channel Grouping and click Default Channel grouping and select the proper source the traffic should be assigned to.
Remember, this will change your data going forward, not backward. Old data will still show as “Other” in Google Analytics.
Using Google Analytics can prove to be a powerful tool in creating a marketing machine that keeps customers coming to your front door… if you strengthen your weaknesses first.