7 Reasons for Small Businesses to Use Google Analytics
Updated: Jun 4, 2019
Have you ever tried to do something better than last time?
Imagine a sports person trying to beat their personal best, but never measuring how far or fast they went! Ridiculous, right? How can you improve if you don’t know the reality?
Hopefully, if you are reading this, you are interested in growing your business – and doing better than before is essential. But in order to do better than before, you need to know how well you did previously. That is where Google Analytics can help you.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a tool which can provide you with information about the performance of your website, how many visitors you had, how did they find your site, which pages are the most popular and it can help you identify the traits of your best website visitors; the ones who buy from you.
1. Google Analytics is Enterprise Level software
Google Analytics can be used by businesses of all sizes. It offers enterprise-level reporting functionality, which means that it is incredibly powerful and sophisticated. And this means that even if you are a micro-businesses you can have access to the same kind of information that far bigger companies use.
2. It’s Free
Yes, you read right - Google Analytics is free. This includes a wide range of standard reports as well as customisable options.
Some website plug-ins charge a one-off fee or recurring monthly charge to install Google Analytics, then offer a simplified dashboard. I can’t understand the appeal! It is quite straightforward to obtain and install the Google Analytics code directly onto your site, and access the full reporting functions for FREE. If you’re not sure how to install the code yourself, check out this short explainer video.
3. Google Analytics captures data automatically
You may feel that you are not yet ready to take on analysing website performance data, perhaps because you have just launched your website or maybe you are snowed under right now.
That’s ok – if you can take the 5 minutes to install Google Analytics now (see video link above for how to do this), then it will start collecting data automatically and storing this for when you are ready. You don't need to schedule anything, log-in regularly or ANYTHING else – but next time you look, you’ll have access to valuable data about how many people visited your website or what marketing channels drove them to visit.
Google Analytics cannot access data retrospectively, ie from before it was installed, so set it up ASAP to ensure you get the maximum benefit.
4. Google Analytics can tell you which part of your marketing is working the best
As well as an overview of visitor numbers, Google Analytics reports on 3 areas A-B-C.
A is for Acquisition, ie where your website visitors are coming from.
B is for Behaviour; what do they do whilst on your site, what pages do they view and
C is for Conversion, i.e. identifying those visitors who complete a desired action, such as completing a purchase or submitting a contact form.
By working backwards to see where the visitors who ‘convert’ came from, you can see which marketing activity has been most effective at driving business.
This means you can assess whether the marketing activity was worth it, and decide how to spend your time and money in future.
5. Google Analytics can help you predict the future of your business
By looking at trends over time, you can see patterns emerging. For example, you might notice pageviews of a particular product or service are decreasing, which is a likely indicator that sales will soon start to decrease too.
This is another great reason you should set up Google Analytics now, even if you aren’t ready to use it yet – as you might find that actually you do need to know what happened in the past.
6. Google Analytics helps you to make decisions
No matter how in-tune you feel with your customers, the best decisions, are based on facts. These facts may simply prove that your instincts are right, or they may help you fight your corner or provide a business case where a decision is made by a committee through agreement with a wider team.
Which day should you send out a newsletter? Google Analytics can tell you at which times on which days your website is busiest. This indicates a natural time for your customers to be thinking about your business and therefore is the perfect time to communicate with them.
Or you might review whether advertising spend on Facebook or LinkedIn provided a greater return. By segmenting customers based on their acquisition source you can compare behaviour and measure which group resulted in the most sales. You can decide whether to invest more or stop the ads altogether.
7. Google Analytics provides easy reporting functions
Google analytics includes a customisable report dashboard tab, and you can arrange to send a PDF of this report via email to specified email addresses at various intervals.
You can also define ‘custom alerts’ so Google Analytics sends you an email if something happens which falls outside the normal parameters, such as a spike or fall in website visitors.
The full data behind the charts and graphs can be exported to Google Sheets or Excel for more detailed analysis or overlay with other data you may have from other sources.
Or you can synchronise the data with Google Data Studio, a more sophisticated dashboard tool offering live data reports (not PDF snapshots), interactive graphs and charts and is capable of integrating data from multiple sources. Google Data Studio is another brilliant free tool from Google (you can find a tutorial on Google Data Studio here).
Hopefully you are now converted to the idea of installing Google Analytics on your site.
If you haven’t already head to analytics.google.co.uk to set up an account (you’ll need a google account for this) and obtain your tracking code. If you’re not sure how to do this, check out this short video on obtaining your Google Analytics Tracking Code..