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Improve your Conversations using Google Analytics : Behavior

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You don’t have to be an analytical mastermind to uncover actionable insights to increase your website conversion rate with Google Analytics. In this walkthrough, we make it is as simple as 1,2, 3.

  1. Identify the 4 W’s of Your Audience
  2. Understand the Profitability of Your Marketing Channels
  3. Optimize Your Web pages’ Performance

These three website conversion rate optimization techniques are reliably successful whether you’re new to Google Analytics or a seasoned pro.

3 Steps to Improve Your Conversion Rate Using Google Analytics

1. Identifying the Your Audience

The best place to start optimizing your conversion rate in Google Analytics is to get a high-level understanding of your audience, then drill down into more detailed data analysis.

Sure, you may know the type of people who walk in your business’s doors, but do you know truly know who the people visiting your website are?

You simply can’t accurately market your business if you don’t know the “who, what, when, and where” of your audience.

Quick tip: before you get started, be sure to set the date range in your Google Analytics account to a range you’d like to analyze as you walk through our examples. If you don’t know where to start, try setting the date to your previous quarter of business.

Let’s dive in.

Who – Demographics & Interests

Start by navigating to your Demographics Overview report in your Google Analytics account.

Audience > Demographics > Overview

With just a few glances at your bar graph and pie chart, you can easily determine which age range and gender make up the majority of your digital audience.

Next, navigate to your Interests Overview report.

Audience > Interest > Overview

In this report, you can explore the topics your core audience is into the most without having to stare down numbers and calculate percentages. This report is great for gaining a realistic understanding of the things your target audience likes and the topics that make them tick.

Now that you have a better idea of the age, gender, and interests of your website’s audience, let’s analyze what device they prefer using.

What – Types of Devices Your Users Browse Your Site On

Knowing which types of devices your users are on helps you identify inefficiencies with your website’s user experience. It’s how you can quickly target efforts to make a user’s journey through your site a frictionless conversion experience no matter what device they’re browsing it on (mobile, tablet, desktop, etc.).

To see what types of devices your users browse your site on, navigate to the Mobile Overview report as shown.

  • In Google Analytics, Navigate to Audience > Mobile > Overview
  • Set the Conversions Dropdown to Your Preferred Goal
  • Determine Which Device Users Use Most
  • Identify Which Device Supplies the Best Conversion Rate
  • Analyze Behavior on Each Device Type

From this data, a great starting point to improve your Google Analytics conversion rate is to optimize your website’s user experience for mobile device users. The better your website appears on mobile devices, the more conversions you can squeeze from those users. But don’t just focus on conversion goals here.

Walk through how all the data work together to tell a story. Look for big issues, or rather, big opportunities for improvement, in your website’s conversion rate potential based on device type.

For example, if your mobile and tablet users are bouncing at a higher rate than your desktop users, that’s a clear sign your mobile experience is holding back your money-making potential with mobile users. The same could be true if your Pages Per Session and Average Session Duration were also lower on mobile vs. desktop.

Now that you know what device your users prefer, you can better determine a targeted solution serving your conversion rate optimization efforts.

Next, we’ll explore the day and time your users are converting on your website.

When –Day & Time Users Access Your Website

Open your day-of-the-week and hour-of-the-day data by navigating to the Landing Page report in your Google Analytics account and then adding a secondary dimension for each as shown.

  • Navigate to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
  • Type in “Day of Week” Under “Add a Secondary Dimension”
  • Set the Conversions Dropdown to Your Preferred Goal
  • Identify Which Days of the Week Have the Best (& Worst) Conversion Rates

Look for patterns. Are there days with consistently high goal conversion rates? How about those with historically low conversion rates?

Once you have an idea of which days your audience converts the most on, repeat 1-4 above, but replace #2 with “Time of Day” as your secondary dimension. Scan the data and look for trends in the timeframes your users convert.

Don’t be afraid to compare your conversion rates to the Bounce Rate of the page you’re analyzing as well. Are certain pages only converting your users at specific days and times? Take a step back and think about what could be attributed to this trend in behavior. Perhaps it’s seasonality or maybe your users prefer to convert on Saturdays at 9am because they’re at home and have a free minute to be online.

Insights from this Google Analytics report can help you determine the best days and times to focus your digital marketing efforts to improve your website’s conversion rate.

Lastly, let’s identify where your users are located when accessing your website.

Where – Where Your Website Visitors Are Located

The last step in gaining a deeper understanding of your audience is within your Google Analytics Location report.

Audience > Geo > Location

This visual, interactive report allows you to dive further into where your core audience is located. With this report, e-commerce sites can uncover new market opportunities to break into. Similarly, brick-and-mortar companies can get clear, visual proof of how well their digital marketing efforts are targeted to their business’s service areas.

Differences in cities may be due to different competitors in each city. Perhaps you need to have more content specific to a certain city to either rank better or to convince users you do indeed service that city.

What is your map telling you about your audience and your business?

Use all these conversion rates Google Analytics insights into your website’s audience as a framework for tackling steps 2-3.

2. Understanding the Profitability of Your Marketing Channels

This step is all about diving into the true effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. Don’t just take your marketing agency’s word for it.

Start by navigating to the Channels report in your Google Analytics Account as shown.

  • Navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
  • Set the Conversions Dropdown to Your Preferred Goal
  • Click the New Users Column to Order the Table by Channels Driving the Most New Users to Your Site
  • Identify Which Channels Have the Best (& Worst) Conversion Rates

By cross-analyzing the goal conversion rate of each your marketing channels, you can easily determine which of your campaigns are working and which aren’t.

Next, take a look at each channel’s Bounce Rate. If a high-converting channel has a high Bounce Rate, take it as an opportunity to improve the page’s user experience. This will help you squeeze more conversions out of visitors coming from each of those high converting channels. How? The longer users stay engaged with your site, the more likely they’ll convert. If they’re just visiting a top-of-the-funnel informational page on your site then bouncing, consider adding a call-to-action that encourages them to explore deeper into your site.

One revelation you may unfortunately uncover is a channel is not driving leads, but you’re spending a large portion of your marketing budget on it. Or worse, a channel isn’t converting at all! If this is you, take the opportunity to re-think through your marketing strategy. Take a look at your strategy within that channel and consider what you learned about your audience in step 1. Is that channel’s campaign targeting the right people? Is your messaging going to resonate with the gender and age range of your audience? Perhaps your landing page experience isn’t up-to-par on the type of device your users use most. Also, consider the stages of your business’s marketing funnel and remember, not every user’s journey through the funnel is the same. Perhaps your funnel isn’t a cylindrical shape, but a different shape altogether!

While low-to-nonexistent conversion rates are typically bad, poor performance doesn’t necessarily mean you should count the channel out completely. If a single channel isn’t converting, but others are, it could be an indication that your audience simply doesn’t feel compelled enough to convert from, say, a generic display ad, and may be more likely to convert from a personalized email. And so on.

Sometimes simple tweaks in how your digital campaigns are set up are all you need to see a drastic increase in a channel’s conversion rate in Google Analytics.

3. Optimize Page Performance

Last but not least, cross-analyze each of your web page’s conversion rate with data that reveals how your users are interacting with them. This insight helps you determine which pages on your site you need to improve in order to increase your site’s overall Google Analytics conversion rate.  

As shown, open the Landing Page report to look at specific performance indicators such as Bounce Rate, Average Pages Per Session, and Average Session Duration for each of your website’s landing pages.

  • Navigate to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
  • Set the Conversions Dropdown to Your Preferred Goal
  • Click the “Conversion Rate” Column to Organize the Table by Top Performing Pages
  • Explore the Behavior Metrics About Each Page

There are so many things you can deduce from this data.

A low Bounce Rate indicates visitors are landing on that particular page without visiting any other pages. This is different from Pages Per Session, which indicates the average number of pages a user visits on your site before leaving. Average Session Duration, on the other hand, is the average amount of time a user had your page open in a browser.

Low numbers across all of these key performance indicators is an excellent indication that a page needs special attention. If you find one of these pages, and it’s a page that’s core to your marketing strategy (such as a form page or a service description page), don’t ignore it. Revisit the page’s purpose and reimagine it so it better speaks to your audience. Consider how the elements of the page could better appeal to them. Is there a compelling call-to-action on the page? Think of things you can change on the page to get your users to do the thing you want them to do. Then, implement them and revisit these same numbers in Google Analytics.

If you’re staring at all this data and are at a loss as to what to do differently, take a look at some of your competitor’s websites. What are they doing differently that’s working for them that you can emulate and even do better?

Your Conversion Goals Have So Much to Gain

At the end of the day, you simply cannot expect to improve your website’s goal conversion rate in Google Analytics if you don’t have a full understanding of who your audience is, what channels they’re coming from, and how they interact with your web pages.

By exploring the reports above and thinking through the strategy behind each of your online marketing efforts, you’re sure to uncover profits you didn’t realize you were missing out on!

How to Track If Your Changes Are Making A Difference

So, how do you track if your changes are making a difference? You essentially have three options.

  1. Continually logging into Google Analytics
  2. Setting up custom alerts to notify you of changes
  3. Signing up for a free tool that’ll make it effortless to keep track  

For those who we can’t be data diving in Google Analytics 100% of the time, number 3 is the best way to keep track if your changes are making a difference. After you take this 3-step plunge into improving your conversion rate in Google Analytics, check out Smylelytics. This free tool is the easiest way to effortlessly keep up with your website’s performance and progress.

Smylelytics works by safely linking to your Google Analytics account. It translates your data into easy-to-understand images for all the major key performance indicators like New Visits and Bounce Rate. With two email reports a month, it’s the easiest, most enjoyable way to monitor your website traffic and success.

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Matt Weber
Matt Weber has an extensive background in marketing with more than 30 years of experience using nearly every marketing medium.

Matt is a Certified Google Ads individual and a sought-after international trainer in Google Ads and Google Analytics. In the past two years, Matt has taught thousands of individuals, agencies and business owners how to use Google Ads in more than two dozen cities across North America. People also benefit from Matt’s expertise by listening to the popular podcast, “Search Talk Live” which Matt co-hosts. “Search Talk Live” was named one of the ten best marketing podcasts in 2018 by rebrandly.com.
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