By Les Kiyuna
In this economy, marketers cannot afford to waste already tight budgets on online advertising so that is definitely a great place to start your analysis. How many of you know if your website visitors are actually engaged to do something on the website after coming to your website via a paid search ad, referral site paid ad or banner ad?
The following are several things you should review in Google Analytics to determine if your website is engaging to visitors. Top Landing Page Bounce Rates:
Under the left navigation “Content / Top Landing Pages” item, you will find a report listing all your top landing or entry pages. Here you can identify the bounce rates for any top landing pages where your precious marketing dollars are sending traffic to. If there are any pages with bounce rates greater than your average site bounce rate then those pages are where you might want to start focusing your attention.
a bounce occurs when a visitor clicks through from an External Ad (NOT on your website) and visits the Landing Page and then immediately leaves your website after ONLY visiting just the one landing page. Report Example:
The following are some key drivers of high bounce rates:
- Ad message or keyword that the visitor clicked through from didn’t align with the message on the landing page
- Aligning message on the landing page was not viewable above the fold (i.e. a screen resolution size of 1024x768 pixels)
- Action link/button not viewable above the fold
- Landing page too cluttered
- Not enough or no credibility statements on landing page to provide trust in your company and offering
After you’ve identified pages to start your analysis with, dig into path analysis of those pages to see how visitors interact with them. Entrance Paths Report:
For those consumers that didn’t bounce from your worst performing landing pages, you can use the Entrance Path Report which can be accessed by clicking on the Page URL (URI) from the Top Landing Page report. The Entrance Path Report will allow you to see how visitors navigated once landing on a particular page up to 2 additional levels deep. Clicking on any of the 2nd level pages “Then viewed these pages:” section will allow you to see what 3rd level pages they visited after.
Key trends to look for in this report:
Navigation Summary Report:
- You don’t want to see a high percentage of visits going from the “Started here” landing page then to a 2nd level page and then immediate back to the “Started here” page as this shows your 2nd level page may not be interesting enough to keep the visitor going to deeper pages and possibly converting
- You normally want to see the first page listed under the 3rd level page to be a different from the “Started here” landing page
- Once you’ve identified pages that are of most interest to your visitors go back to the “Started here” landing page to see what you can do to get links to these pages more easily accessed from it
Another great path analysis report is the Navigation Summary report. This report provides you with the ability to see what pages your visitors came from to get to a specific page and also what pages they went to after that same specific page. In additional to page flow information, this report also shows the percent of visitors that entered on the specific page and also exited.
Key trends to look for in this report:
Site Overlay Reports:
- You don’t want to see a high percentage of visits going to and from the specific page being analyzed as this maybe signs of problems with a page possible due to errors on form submissions
- Seeing a high percentage of the exact same page on the Previous Pages list and the Next Pages list could mean that the specific page being analyzed may not be of great interest so visitors navigate back to the page they came from. This could also show that consumers may have come from a comparative product listing page and are just ping ponging back and forth between products. There could be other explanation based on the specific page in question but these are common ones we found to be true.
- Of course, you really don’t want to see a high percentage of exits
After you’ve gotten a good understanding of visitor paths, its time to take a look at another Google Analytics report called Site Overlay. Once you have your links and page tracking properly setup, this report provides you a view of your exact web pages but with traffic and conversion statistics applied at the individual link/button level for any given page.
Things to keep in mind when viewing these reports:
- Because this report relies on UNIQUE URL’s (links) to provide proper stats for each link or button on the page, you must ensure that if a page has the same link at different areas of the page that the URL’s use unique identifier like a “linkid” (i.e. /equote.asp?linkid=topnav)
- You should analyze how each link/button’s message is positioned to consumers as that could cause confusion on expectation of what the next page content should be about
- Definitely position high conversion/revenue generating links/buttons above the fold or in multiple areas on the page to increase exposure
To conclude, these are just some of the things you should do when you begin to analyze your website statistics. Other analysis through segmentation, ecommerce reports, visitor trends and more are necessary for proper assessment of your website and to effectively optimize your website. We have many satisfied clients who use our analytics services so if you are looking for assistance, please contact us