How to use Google Analytics to improve Conversion Rate Optimisation
What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization or CRO is the process of increasing conversions on a website or mobile app. Conversions are typically defined as a user performing a desired action on your website - adding products to cart, completing a purchase, signing up for services, submitting a form or simply clicking on a link.
What does CRO involve?
CRO is the process of understanding what engages, obstructs, and ultimately convinces your users to perform the desired action. A CRO expert uses A/B testing and multivariate testing to identify elements on your website or app that can be improved. Using the results of these tests, you can create the best possible user experience which can help you improve your conversion rate.
What are the best tools for Conversions Rate Optimisation?
Web analytics tools are a key component of the conversion rate optimisation tool kit. While there are a number of web analytics tools available, Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular and frequently used by Analytics Experts and CRO Experts to gather insights.
Google Analytics is free and offers comprehensive reporting. Once you have set up Google Analytics, you will be able to track various metrics and evaluate your website performance as a whole or just look at individual pages.
Here’s the list of key metrics that you can track with Google Analytics to get actionable insights for CRO:
Analyse Your Website Audience
To track your website audience on GA go to - Audience > Overview. You can then use the following metrics to understand how people use your website and where potential blockers are:
A session is a single visit to your website or app, where a user actively engages with your website in the form of either/and - page views, purchases, or other events. Sessions record the various events and the amount of time a user has stayed on a website. Keep in mind that a user’s GA session ends in 30 minutes if the user is inactive on a website.
If a user visits your website twice after 30 minutes of inactivity in between, it will be counted as two sessions.Tracking sessions can help you understand:
- Number of times a particular product viewed in separate sessions - most visited product page;
- Number of sessions where a user add a product to the cart;
- Number of sessions where a user performed checkout;
- Number of sessions that resulted in a successful transaction.
These metrics can help you see where the drop offs are and highlight what to fix.
A user is an individual that has visited your website or app. Each user can visit your website multiple times. Tracking users will help you understand the number of unique visitors to your website or app. It can also help you understand some high level metrics to improve conversion.
Analyse the following to make use of your user data:
- Number of sessions per user
- Number of times a single page on your website was loaded or reloaded in a browser.
- Number of pages a user visited on your website in a single session
- An average duration of a session
- Bounce rate or number of times a user landed on your site and left without further engagement
- Comparison of number of new vs returning visitors
Looking at metrics like user bounce rate is valuable for CRO because it helps you identify where the content that is not engaging with users. High bounce rate often indicates poor content or experience design.
A new visitor is a user who has never visited your site before and is initiating their first session on your website or app in a selected date range. Users visiting your website for the first time in a selected date range will be counted as new visitors – even if they visited your website before that.
An increasing number of new organic visitors indicates that your website or app is reaching more users and this is usually a good sign as it means you are exposing the brand to more potential new customers.
But you want to make sure that those new visitors are having a good experience. Here are some of the metrics to look at to increase new visitor conversion.
- New visitor add to basket rate, new visitor sale conversion rate.
- New visitor referring channel - are they being pushed through from paid media or arriving direct, or through organic means.
- New visitor bounce rate
Analysing metrics like these help you understand if new visitors specifically are getting an optimised experience.
A returning visitor is a user who has visited your website or app more than once in a selected date range.
A growing number of returning visitors usually indicates that you have built a loyal customer base or audience that likes what you have to offer, your content is working well and they are returning to browse and or buy again. Studying your returning visitors and their sessions are of great importance since it’s easier to convert existing customers compared to a new visitor. Be sure to review your returning visitor data to make sure you have a content marketing strategy for all stages of the funnel.
Use these questions as a checklist to understand what your returning visitors are looking for:
- Are they visiting the same pages they have visited earlier?
- How many new pages are they browsing?
- Ratio of new vs returning across different product pages
- How many of these returning visitors are converting - making a purchase, signing up, filling a form, etc.?
- How long do these returning user sessions last?
Your data will help you answer these questions and enable you to provide a better experience and conversion rate as a result.
Identify Main Sources of Traffic
To understand where your website or app traffic is coming from and your best performing channels, go to - Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels.
Understanding where your traffic is originating from is important as different channels will convert differently.
Organic traffic are users that performed a search on a search engine like Google, Yahoo or bing and landed on your website by clicking on the result on search engine results page (SERP).
This is a key metric for an SEO consultant to track.
Increasing organic traffic indicates that your SEO efforts are working and the visibility of your website is improving across search engines. It’s best to analyse your organic traffic for a longer date range considering SEO strategies can take time in delivering results.
Analyse the trend in your organic traffic by looking at the overall data. For microtrends, look at the traffic data for a day, week, and month. Organic search traffic should convert at a higher rate than paid media, and obviously costs less, so pay close attention to organic traffic data.
Paid Search Traffic
Paid search includes users that visited your website by clicking on your paid ads on SERPs.
Normally brands create specific search ad landing pages. These pages can be analysed using GA to make sure they are optimised, and conversion-oriented. A CRO expert will be able to set up experiments for landing pages.Your GA data will be able to tell you which landing pages and what experiments are working best in terms of conversion.
Users that landed on your website by clicking links included in your email campaigns are called email traffic.
Track this along with open rates and click rate to understand how your email campaigns are performing. Be sure to analyse metrics like average time on page, bounce rate, conversions, etc. to get better insights.
Email for many brands will be one of the top converting channels. This is because the audience will generally have signed up to marketing messages which makes them predisposed (warm) to buy. Make sure you capitalise on this by reviewing the email channel data regularly.
In addition to the GA data you can use this email marketing analytics guide to get the best out of your email campaigns.
Social traffic are users who visit a website by clicking on links on social media either from an organic post or paid ads.
Analysing social traffic and their sessions can help you decide which social media platform drives the most traffic and works the best. If you are investing in a particular channel but it isn’t bringing the expected amount of traffic, use this data to identify and bridge the gaps. Or alternatively shift more effort into the channels that are working.
When users type or paste your domain name into their browser or click a bookmark, or clicks on links from email or social media that are not tagged, it is counted as direct traffic.
Direct traffic converts well generally because it’s a result of people knowing your brand name. As a result of this predisposition they convert better. You should therefore look to increase overall conversion rate by understanding your current direct traffic, and what drives it.
Tracking Website Performance
These metrics will let you evaluate individual pages of your website and diagnose issues for resolution that will increase conversion.
Pageviews is the number of times a web page was viewed by users. Unique pageviews are the number of sessions during which a particular page was viewed at least once.
Pageviews helps you identify which web pages are most visited by your audience. With that insight, you can create similar content to engage and convert more users.
Average Time on Page
Average Time on Page shows how long users are spending on a page.
Find out the average time that users spend on the popular pages to optimise them to make users stay longer. You can also look for patterns as to what type of content or what format drive the best average time on page.
When a user lands on your website and leaves without further interacting or browsing other pages of the website, it is considered a bounce. Any single-page visits to a website are considered bounces.
A high bounce rate suggests that a web page isn’t engaging or persuading a user to browse further. It can also indicate that the page lacks quality content or the existing content doesn’t offer any value to users. You’ll want to reduce your bounce rate across the site as there is a direct tight correlation between bounce rate and conversion rate.
The exit rate is the percentage of visitors that land on a web page and leave. It includes bounced users but unlike bounces, exits are counted every time a user leaves a web page, regardless of whether they browsed other web pages earlier.
The exit rate helps you identify the web pages or stages of a conversion funnel where users are leaving. A web page with a high exit rate requires immediate optimisation.
Optimise content for device and location
Understanding what device your users engage with is extremely important for conversion rate optimisation. You can track your mobile traffic by going to - Audience > Mobile > Overview.
If the majority of the traffic to your website is coming from mobile devices, make sure that your website is responsive and depending on what product or services you sell, consider developing a mobile app to increase conversion.
Insights like geographic locations of your audience can help you identify locations of your target audience and the places with the highest level of engagement. Track corresponding metrics like - sessions, average time spent on a page, bounce rate.
Understanding your audience location can be important because it can give you additional insight into their socio demographic information. Different post codes and cities have different average incomes and the insight from this can be used to develop new offers or services which increase conversion rate.
Google Analytics offers in depth data with a multitude of metrics and dimensions. If you are looking to increase conversion on your site choose the metrics and data that is most important to your business and track this ongoing. Combine this long term tracking with short term performance enhancing conversion improvements and you’ll see sustained and systematic growth.