Google Analytics can certainly provide you with a wealth of tracking data to help you understand the impact of your online campaigns. However, it is not a crystal ball that magically tells you everything you need to know. You have to collate and analyze data to make sure you see the whole picture.
This starts by steering clear of common myths that can give you the wrong ideas about what your data means. Here are a few common Google Analytics myths debunked.
Traffic is the Ultimate Goal
Bringing more visitors to your site is a great indicator of success, right? Unfortunately, this myth is all too common. While it’s certainly exciting to see traffic numbers boom, this is an instance where quality is a lot more important than quantity.
Traffic will not determine the relative success of an SEO or PPC campaign – it’s what those visitors do once they reach your website that’s important. What you need is targeted traffic that’s more likely to convert, not a bunch of random visitors.
The important thing with Google analytics is not to look too closely at one metric, such as traffic, but to compare it to other important metrics, like conversions, to make sure you’re taking the right steps to reach your overarching goal of increased sales and profit.
Unique Visitors Signal a Growing Audience
While a big boost to the number of unique visitors to your site isn’t a bad thing, the problem lies in assuming that every visitor tagged as unique is actually new to your audience. A unique visit only means that a new device has accessed your site, but there’s no real way to tell if it’s the same person using a different device, such as a laptop, tablet, or cell phone, as opposed to a computer, for example.
It’s never wise to make assumptions about metrics. The whole point of collecting data is to use it as an analytical tool, to gain insights that help you hone your efforts and improve outcomes. This starts by understanding what each metric is telling you, and what it isn’t. As for unique visitors, what you can learn is the funnels that bring them to your site, giving you information about which of your efforts are delivering the best returns.
Time on Pages Isn’t that Important
Brick-and-mortar businesses know that the longer shoppers browse in-store, the more likely they are to spend. The same basic principle applies to websites. You probably already know that high bounce rates are a bad thing, but you might think that visitors who stay just a few seconds have quickly found the information they were seeking. Job well done!
Nope. You should always try to keep visitors on your site as long as possible so you have a chance to sell them on your brand and encourage conversions. What you want to do is create content and layouts that deliver the relevant information visitors are seeking, and then engage them in such a way that they want to learn more.
Better Conversion Rates Signal Success
Running multiple campaigns is a smart way to gauge audience preferences, but as always, you need to consider context. If one campaign delivers double the conversions of another, but costs four times as much, which campaign is actually more successful? As always, you need to be very careful to weigh all pertinent metrics to ensure you come to the right conclusions.