As a PR and/or social media pro, you already know that tracking results (read: sales) can prove tricky. There isn’t an easy way to track a person who reads about your client’s product in the print edition of the Wall Street Journal and then jumps in his car to go buy it at Best Buy. However, when it comes to online sales—though it’s still not cut and dry—there are a few ways we can track our progress.
Google Analytics is a fantastic, free, tool that can easily be added to a website. And, if you know what to look for, you can really wow a client with your results. So let’s get a little down and dirty with the GA…er Google Analytics:
Know the Definitions
Bounce rate: The percentage of people who visit only one page on your site. That is, they come over and read a blog or view a product page and then leave the site instead of looking around for more information.
Visits vs Visitors: Visits are the total number of times the site was accessed. Visitors, on the other hand, are the number of unique IP addresses that accessed the site. So your visits can be much higher that your visitors if people are sharing IP addresses (in an office or school) or sharing computers (home PCs).
New visits: The percentage of new visits represents the number of people who came to the site for the first time, in a given period of time. So, if you’re looking to secure new leads –the higher the better!
Check Referring Sites, Not Traffic Sources
When looking to see where the traffic to your site came from, be sure to look under referring sites, not just general traffic sources. Under All Traffic Sources, you’ll find direct traffic as well as search engine traffic, all of which is almost always going to be higher than referring traffic.
So, look at Referring Sites instead. This will show you which websites sent traffic directly to your site, typically because they featured a link to something on your site. Here you can see if your social media or PR efforts are referring traffic to the site. If not, you may need to realign your target audience.
Understand Twitter Traffic
A recent study unveiled that only about 35.4% of traffic generated from Twitter actually shows up in analytics as coming from Twitter.com. Due to the fact that about 90% of Twitter users are using Twitter apps (TweetDeck, HootSuite, Echofon, etc), that traffic is not redirecting through the official Twitter site. Most of that traffic is actually showing up under direct traffic in Google Analytics. Be sure to take those statistics into account when you report your results to a client.
Think Critically about Time Spent on Site
Google Analytics provides a plethora of information about the traffic to your website. One great feature is average time spent on site. By looking at this, you can see the average number of minutes that users spend perusing your site—so the higher, the better, right? Well, not exactly…
When looking at time spent on site, you need to use your critical thinking skills. Of course, someone who spends upwards of 5 minutes on your site has taken an interest in what you have to offer. However, someone referred to your site from Twitter might only stay around for a minute—just long enough to read a blog post—and then bounce. And that’s not always a bad thing.
What you’ve done with that Tweet and blog post is put your client on that user’s radar. Right now, he might not need a Wireless Leash for his phone; however in a few weeks when he’s lost his phone for the third time and wants to prevent it from happening again, your client is there in the back of his mind.
With these few tips, you’re on your way to showing results from all your hard work. But remember, like everything, you have to put in the work to get the results. Get tips on how to do this in our PR and Social Media blog posts, or call us at 317.806.1900 to find out how we can help drive those results for you.