Although many people think of marketing as flashy graphics and fun commercials, that’s just the surface. At its core, marketing is a numbers game. To understand whether or not you’re making the right moves, you have to be able to look at your numbers and analyze them for improvement. 

This is done through analytics reports.

Analytics is the practice of measuring, managing, and analyzing marketing performance to create a better Return on Investment (ROI). Marketers who are able to read and analyze analytics reports well are better able to market more efficiently at a greater profit. To become someone who is able to do this, you must first understand the analytics.

How to Start

If you’re new to marketing, or at least to digital marketing, the world of analytics can be quite intimidating. There are a lot of different programs out there and a lot of different numbers to crunch. However, it’s pretty simple to narrow down the places that you want to be.

Since a vast majority of North America is on the internet, it’s a great place to start. Furthermore, Google is far and away the most popular search engine that people use. According to recent studies, approximately 67% of all searches are performed through Google, and Google Chrome is now the most popular browser for people to use while surfing the internet.

As such, you can start off with the Google suite of analytics. First, you need to create a Google Analytics account for your target website. Google Analytics is one of the most comprehensive programs out there as far as marketing is concerned. It’s completely free to use and tells you things like site visits, page views, bounce rate, average time on site, pages per visit, and percentage of new visitors.

However, it goes even further than that. With that information, you can also break it down into male vs. female visitors, age groups, time of day that they are visiting, countries that the visitors are from, the language that your visitors speak, and much much more.

Google Analytics is even more effective when you start running Google AdWords. When running ads through Google, it’s especially important that you’re able to sort through data to better target your audience and get a better ROI.

Key Terms to Know

As you sift through your Google Analytics reports, there are going to be a lot of unfamiliar terms that you have to learn. Some of the key terms are as follows:

  • Session: A session on your website describes the length of time that someone spends on your site. Google tracks the amount of activity that a person on your site has in a thirty minute period.
  • Pages/Session: This tells you how many pages your users visit on your website. Generally speaking, the more pages that they visit the better. This tells you that they are engaging with your content.
  • Bounce Rate: Your bounce rate tells you how long people are spending on each page that they visit on your site. The lower your bounce rate, the better. A good bounce rate is between 26%-40%.
  • Direct: If your visitors come to your page by typing the site into their browser, this counts as a direct visit.
  • Referral: Referral visitors are those who click links to your website from other websites.
  • Organic: When someone is searching in a search engine and comes across your website, they are counted as an organic visitor.
  • Social, Email, and Paid Search: If you’re running social media profiles, the visitors that click over from these profiles are counted in the social category. The ones that click over from an email that you sent out are counted in the email category, and the ones that click over from paid ads are counted in the paid search category.
  • Other: All other visitors that don’t fall into any of these categories are classified in the ‘others’ category.

The Future of Marketing

In the past, marketing has often been difficult to quantify. For many companies, the results of marketing campaigns often are less tangible. Things like brand awareness are difficult to measure, but CEOs are increasingly demanding that their marketing efforts be more data driven.

They want to know where their money is going, how it is working, and what kind of return they are seeing on their investment. As such, it’s becoming more and more important that marketers are able to read, understand, and use analytics reports to guide their decisions. While it may seem a bit overwhelming at first, it gets easier and easier the more that you read.

What do you think? How do you use your analytics reports to guide your marketing decisions? Let us know in the comments section below!