Using Google web analytics allows you to better understand your current interactions and to understand how your online presence affects ongoing customer interaction.  We like to use Google Analytics since its free to use and offers many features beyond the needs of the common user.  At a minimum, businesses can use Google Analytics to understand how much traffic they are getting each month as well as where the sources of their traffic are.

Getting familiar with the analytics website takes some getting used to, yet it can yield interesting learning and trigger actions for you. As a non-web company, you should revisit your analytics at least once a month to understand what’s changing and how your marketing impacts your traffic.

Step 1: Schedule an “Analytics Review” appointment in your calendar once a month so that you build the habit of reviewing your analytics regularly.  

In the reporting section of Google Analytics the navigation is grouped along the left column into the following sections:

  • Dashboards
  • Shortcuts
  • Intelligence Events
  • Real-Time
  • Audience
  • Acquisition
  • Behavior
  • Conversions

We are going to talk mostly about how to understand your audience, and track out how you attracted them to your site in this article.

Step 2: Create a process for tracking your marketing activities.

Whether you track your activities directly in Google Analytics or in a notebook, the important thing is that you track them. Every time you write a blog, send a newsletter, attend a networking event, write it down. This will allow you to measure the impact of these activities and help you prioritize your efforts.

Using the process below, you can track these directly in Google Analytics by using annotations.

Step 3: Log into Google Analytics and pick the date range you want to review. If you are reviewing monthly, pick the date range of the last 30 days.

Log in to Google Analytics here:

All of the reports are affected by the Active Date Range seen in the upper right. You can select the active date range by typing into the date boxes or picking from the common date range options. A secondary selection is available for comparisons. This is useful if you want to see how your web activity has changed versus a prior period. If you’re started a new marketing campaign then you can use this to see how it may be impacting your data.

Most reports have an option to group the data by Hourly, Day, Week and Month. In this task we will focus on a monthly range, looking at data for each day of that month.


Step 4: Add your marketing efforts in Google Analytics in an annotation.

Annotations give you a way to attach notes to specific dates so you can understand the impact to your traffic. This is useful for historical data and wondering if campaigns or outside events had some effect on traffic.

Go to your Google Analytics. Select Overview under your Audience Menu.


Open the annotation section by clicking on the triangle pointing down.


Add an annotation for the marketing task you have done.


Step 5: Identify high impact marketing activities and prioritize for the following month

Finally, look to see if you had a spike in your traffic aligned with any of your campaigns. The above picture shows sessions. You can also select users from the top right drop down.  Then you can also look at where there is a small talking bubble to see what the spike was about. For example, on June 9th we posted to a Google Group and saw a big jump in our user traffic. Once you have  identified what is yielding the best results, you can increase and focus on those marketing tasks/events for the coming month.


Step 6: What did you learn?

We are eager to hear how this task went. Were you able to identify some marketing campaigns or activities you are doing that get you the most results?  We look forward to hearing your feedback through your comments below.

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