Understanding Data in Google Analytics – Part 3 – Interactions
Once you have Google Analytics set up to tell you how many people are coming to your site and where they are coming from, it is important to find out what they are doing on your site. You have built your site intending to guide people to take certain actions, the most important of which are to buy or to contact you. Now you should track all interactions to know how many people are doing what you want—and what else they may be doing.
Most Viewed Content
Google Analytics can show you what information on your site people seek out most often. If you are lucky, this is the content you consider to be your primary focus. However, that may not be the case. This can happen for a variety of reasons and the first step to figuring out the “why” is to see exactly what content is actually drawing people.
Entry and Exit Pages
It is all too easy when building a website to default to the home page as the “starting place” in your mind. However, a large portion of your visitors will enter your site through some other page. Knowing the most common entry pages will help you know where to put your effort. You will want to pay particular attention to those pages as they must function as a “starting place” as well as provide the specific information originally intended.
Similarly, the page from which a person leaves your site can give useful information—especially if he or she has left without converting. If you see that a certain page has a trend of high exit rates, that can tell you that further work is needed to keep people on your site and moving through the sales cycle—with you instead of with one of your competitors.
In between the entry and exit pages for each visitor can be a range of steps and other pages visited. While you likely have predetermined “ideal paths” built into your site, customers may not necessarily navigate in that manner. When you see how people make their way around your site, you may be able to make changes to help streamline the process for them, keeping them engaged and on your site.
Helping the Customer
At the end of the day, the job of your site is to give visitors what they are looking for in a way that they can manage. Knowing what information they want, how they find it and what seems to send them away can go a long way toward allowing you to fulfill their needs—and win their business.