Five Google Analytics Myths
The name “Google Analytics” in itself can seem a little intimidating. Trying to thrive in the online world without a background in statistics can be difficult for a lot of small business owners and franchisees.
There are indeed a lot of nuances to unlocking the insights Google Analytics provides to small businesses about their websites and, hence, their customers and their behavior.
To make your life a little easier, here are some of the most common myths about Google Analytics, debunked:
Myth #1: Having the Data Is the Most Important Thing
Just having all the data stored in Analytics, unused, won’t be effective for many reasons. For starters, a lot of data that Analytics collects may be irrelevant to your business needs. Google Analytics gives us a ton of data – so much so that we might quickly get muddled up and lost.
But you don’t need to try and tackle everything that Google Analytics throws at you. Instead, use your business goals as guidelines and only focus on the metrics that matter to you.
Which leads us to myth #2 …
Myth #2: You Need a Statistics Background to Understand Analytics
Yes, there are numbers involved in Analytics. And yes, you have to be able to understand what the numbers mean in order to accomplish anything of value. But that doesn’t mean you need to apply to business school! There is a plethora of resources out there available to people just like us (i.e. non-stats geeks) to help us teach ourselves everything about Analytics. If you’re looking for Google Analytics help, they’re all just a Google search away.
Secondly, most of the basics are already provided for you right there in Google Analytics. For starters, Analytics offers time data ranges, and all you have to do is select the dates you want to analyze. Analytics also provides percentage values for almost everything. (For example, bounce rates were down by 10 percent this month compared to this month last year.) Pair Analytics with any spreadsheet program like Excel for optimum data evaluation.
It’s always a good rule of thumb to regularly export your data from Google Analytics into a form that’s more accessible for analysis. For instance, if you’re interested in analyzing your bounce rates (the percentage of visitors who leave without engaging with your site), use Google Analytics to find the data: select the time range in question and input the bounce rate metrics into your spreadsheet. From there, you’re good to go! Depending on what your goal is, some simple mathematical strategies include averaging your bounce rate metrics, finding maximum and minimum metrics depending on time and demographic, and identifying problematic page locations and times that result in high bounce rates, etc.
If you don’t know how to do any of these tasks, try technical resource websites like Khan Academy to refresh your memory in seconds. No business degree needed!
Myth #3: Analytics Won’t Tell Me Anything I Don’t Already Know
It’s almost impossible to overstate how misguided this common myth is. Google Analytics provides some of the most crucial insights your business could ask for regarding literally all things marketing. How are your campaigns performing? What’s working, and what can you improve? Is your website functional; do you have high bounce rates for specific pages? Who is looking at your website? In conjunction, who isn’t looking at your website and are those demographics consistent with your marketing campaigns? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Google Analytics is an essential tool no matter what your business goals are. Without Analytics data, you’re basically sitting on the edge of a pond with your products or services on a hook, hoping there are fish swimming in the water. And that they’re the type of fish you want. And that they’re hungry. And that your hook has something they’ll actually want to bite into.
The point is, even if you think you already know what’s going on with your website, using Google Analytics is a way to be absolutely sure.
Myth #4: Page Views Equal Quality Visitors
Have you ever sat at the television on a Saturday morning, watching as a family member absentmindedly flipped through every single channel? The Internet has channel flipping, too: low engagement page views.
Page view metrics can no longer be trusted as a reliable engagement metric. People browse the Internet the same way they channel surf cartoons on a Saturday morning. You’re not actually watching the cartoon you see for more than half a second, so that shouldn’t count in the channel’s view records, right?
Sadly, there’s no way to tell if a page view on your website comes from a high quality visitor or not. Instead of the page view metric, concentrate more on conversion and click-through rates … although remember to analyze both through a critical lens. Turn your attention to these meaningful metrics and focus on the actionable data that informs them. That way, your Analytics strategy is more efficient, taking you that much closer to realizing your business goals.
Myth #5: You’re on Your Own
You’ve just finished setting up Google Analytics. You’ve completed the tutorials that Google provided. Now what? Contrary to how it might seem, you’re not alone in your Analytics endeavors. There will always be resources available to you for all sorts of Google Analytics advice, troubleshooting and maintenance. Two of our go-to sites for Google Analytics help are HubSpot and our parent company Oneupweb.
We’ve Got Your Back
Here at PointA, we’re here to help. If you’re a small business owner with some questions about Google Analytics, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of Analytics experts.
Subscribe to Our Blog
Subscribe to the PointA blog for more information. We'll send you newsletters, blog posts, tips and so much more from time to time.