Why you should learn to love Google Analytics

By 14th February 2020February 18th, 2020News

Google Analytics is probably seen as a bit dull. And if you don’t work with it regularly then it’s easy to understand why. Web analysts are the bespectacled librarians quietly reading in the corner compared to the cool kid hipster web designers.

But there’s a lot to love about Google Analytics. It should inform almost every decision you make about the development of your website and help to drive the constant improvement you need to boost your conversion rate and grow sales.

In this guest article, Steven Nash explains why you should learn to love your analytics…


This Valentine’s Day we all want to spend time with that special someone. And if you’re still looking for that perfect match you’ll probably want who someone shares your interests (or at least some of them) and values.

If you run a website you need to make sure you’re attracting people who could be interested in your product or service, and filter out people who are clearly not.

How do we know if we are reaching the right person?

That’s where the search reports in Google Analytics come in. This can show us which search terms were used to find our website and how those visitors behaved during their visit.

I recently evaluated a paid search campaign for a new client. It had been burning through money and generating zero results. Some of the keywords that were triggering the ads were not performing as expected. As a Bookkeeping practice that offers help with self-assessment tax returns, the keyword ‘tax return services’ should be a good term to have in a paid search campaign, but the match type for that keyword allowed Google to show the adverts for what it regarded as similar search terms. The Google Analytics search reports quickly showed me that something was very wrong with this keyword and it prompted me to delve a little further into the Google Ads account to find out exactly what was happening.

Google thought that ‘HMRC tax return customer service number’ was a similar enough search term.  It wasn’t.  Visitors searching for that, at the very least have no immediate interest in hiring someone. Not a good match. The targeting was as poor as Cupid’s aim would be if he’d been blindfolded and had just dislocated his shoulder.

So how can we improve that targeting? You can use the same reports to identify keywords that are generating leads and sales, and then think of ways to get more of that traffic. Either by spending a little more on them in paid search, or by writing content geared towards acquiring that traffic via organic search.

The reports let us get rid of the traffic we won’t want, so we can re-invest our money and efforts in the traffic that we do.


First impressions are so important in dating and (if I’m to labour this comparison even further – and I am. I really, really am) in running a transactional website.

Especially if you’re spending money on paid advertising. And one way to see if you’re making the right first impression is to look at the bounce rate of your campaigns.

Let’s say you’ve found the right keywords, your ads are getting plenty of clicks, but you’re not getting leads or sales. Time to look at the bounce rate report.

A ‘bounce’ is a single page site visit. So the bounce rate is the percentage of people who arrived at your site but quickly decided that they’re just not into you and left.

This is someone who you met up with for coffee but they quickly made their excuses after you spent the first ten minutes talking about how amazing you are and moaning about your ex (you really need to get over it Ben, it was twelve months ago silly!).

It could be a horrible headline, bad body copy, or a mismatch between what you say in your ad text and what you say on your landing page. But a high bounce rate shows that something is wrong. What would be regarded as high? As a rule of thumb, I’d be concerned with anything above 55% and if it’s beyond 70% it’s time to have a serious rethink.


So the first date went well and you’ve agreed to go out again next week? That’s good. They’re interested. But how do you know if your website audience is similarly hooked?

This is when you look at the percentage of visitors who have performed an action defined as a Goal.

These Goals could be defined as:

  • Brochure downloads
  • Visitors clicking on the telephone number/email link
  • Contact form submissions
  • Add to baskets
  • Sales

Another useful thing to check is the volume and percentage of traffic coming from Returning Visitors.

If you’re selling an expensive product or service, that decision-making process may take much longer than a low-value transaction so I’ve found Returning Visitors a useful metric to keep an eye on. The bigger the price, the longer the purchase cycle. This is where your social media marketing, email marketing, and retargeting efforts are vital; they keep your brand in the prospect’s mind and earn those repeat visits.

Steven Nash is a freelance Digital Marketing & eCommerce Consultant. Steven started developing e-commerce websites in 2002 and has worked with AstraZeneca, Attraction World, and Open Study College. He can often be found sitting in the corner of a coffee shop in Birmingham reading a Stephen King or John le Carre novel while his latte goes cold.  

Steve works with OWB to develop integrated digital strategies geared for growth give Andy a shout on 0121 766 6571 or drop him an email to up your analytics game.