Part 2/3: Conversion Rate Optimization from A to Z

Learn about Google Analytics and how it can help improve your conversion rate.

Adama Hawa Diallo - Her Online Business Podcast

Are you getting started with Google Analytics? Our Founder and CEO, AJ Davis, talks through Google Analytics and where to start along with many of the features that can help increase your conversion rate.

Questions AJ answered:

  • What is Google Analytics and how does it work?
  • Can you give us a walk through of Google Analytics? What happens once I log in?
  • What are the main metrics to take into consideration?
  • Can you tell us about the reports that you should keep and eye on while analyzing your website performances?
  • What are other elements that people should watch out for?


Adama 0:05

Hello, and welcome to her online business podcast, the podcast for aspiring and experienced female web entrepreneurs. I am your host. And here you will find marketing tips for building your online business. interviews from inspiring female entrepreneurs from all over the world listens and mistakes from my experience in entrepreneurship, and much more. I am passionate about helping other women live their dream life thanks to an online business that matches their passion and serves their purpose. So let’s hang out, have fun, and go together.

Hello, and welcome back to her online business. Today is the second part of our three part interview series is at Davis, who is founder of the experiment zone, and also an expert in everything regarding website optimization and conversion optimization. So last week, we talked about what is attraction optimization, and a B testing and how you can start using it for your own website and business. Today, we will talk about Google Analytics and the key metrics that you need in order to make sure that you can start analyzing your website data.

AJ Davis 1:36

So without further ado, I will let TJ tell us a little bit more about what is Google Analytics. Exactly. And how does it work? Great. Thanks for having me on. Again. Google Analytics, at its simplest form is a free web analytics tool offered by Google. And it helps you understand your website traffic, they have two levels. So for most businesses, they’ll be using Google Analytics, the standard level, which is free. And then there’s Google Analytics 360, which is a premium level and gives you some additional data and functionality. So for businesses that are on the larger side, that will be a better fit for them. Google Analytics is a leading player in the space, there are some other tools where you can get insights into what’s happening on your website. So mixpanel is a common tool used alongside or in place of Google Analytics. e commerce stores like Shopify will have metrics available about user behavior, at least at the very high level. And then testing tools like Optimizely, and monetate have the ability to set up a lot of tracking as well. So you can get some additional insights on user behavior. But at the end of the day, most businesses are using Google Analytics for this information.

Adama 2:41

So how does Google Analytics work?

AJ Davis 2:44

So to get a little technical here, it’s an inclusion of a block of JavaScript on your web page. And it executes so that there’s a tracking operation for analytics, and then it sends this information back to the analytics server via a list of parameters attached to a single pixel image request. What does that mean? We’re getting data from what’s happening as visitors click and visit our website, Google Analytics then takes this data from your website, and they present it in four different ways. The first way is they talk about the user level. So this is taking the lens of the each person visiting your site. And the user can be the same person across multiple days, or within the same day. And then the second way is session level. So session level is every single visit to your site. So a user may have multiple sessions, or may just have one session, page level view is going to be talking about each individual page that’s visited. And then an event level is looking at specific actions like button clicks, form fills video actions,

Adama 3:44

it was a very complete, you know, definition of Google Analytics and how it works. So you can basically create your own Google Analytics account today for free. And he is going to walk you through Google Analytics. And she will also tell you,

AJ Davis 4:02

great, so if you go to, you’ll see the Google Analytics homepage. And it does a good job of giving you quick insights and quick jumping points into specific types of reports. At the very top of the page, you want to make sure you’re looking at the right property. If you’ve only set up one property or one website with Google Analytics, you don’t need to worry about this. But this is an important thing to consider if you have multiple websites that you’re looking at, or if you have some views that are filtered. So you’ll take a look at that top left corner and make sure you’re looking at the right data. And then on the rest of this page, you’ll see things about how many users and sessions you’re getting, what the bounce rate is. You can see how many people are currently live on your site. At the very moment you’re looking at Google Analytics. They’ve got an insight widget which will tell you some quick thoughts about some changes that you’ve seen. And then as you scroll down the page, you get some other insights, which we’ll talk about in more detail. This is a really good page to navigate to other reports, which we’ll be going over in detail Today, a couple of best practices that I wanted to share before we jump into specific reports. One is to set up a view that excludes your IP address. And your IP addresses that identifier that says, This is me on the web. And so what you can do is you can go to the admin section, which is in the lower left hand corner of Google Analytics. And then you can actually filter out your specific IP address. Why would you do this, this is going to remove your personal data from your Google Analytics view, so that you don’t see your own views and interactions with the website. We as business owners tend to have different types of ways of interacting, we might be looking and testing things out. And so we want to make sure we remove that specific abnormal data, that’s us from our true customer or true potential customer visit.

Adama 5:45

All right, so what you can actually do is log into your Google Analytics so that you can see what AJ is talking about. Now, we will dive in a little bit more into the main metrics that you need to take into consideration because it can be overwhelming to connect to understand everything that is happening and what you should be considering. So we will just focus on the main metrics that you can start with

AJ Davis 6:09

why and a little bit of information about how Google Analytics works is that it collects metrics. And then it allows you to dice these metrics up by dimensions. So I might be using these terms. And you may see these out on the web. So a metric is something like the number of visits. So just the fact the thing that happened. And then a dimension is some aspect that you might dig into that more. So like a device type, mobile versus desktop location would be another dimension. So we’ll be looking at identifying different dimensions plus metric pairings that makes sense for us to be able to answer specific business question, one of the things that I recommend businesses do when they look at analytics, or any data they have is to start with the question, What are you trying to learn? And then how will we use this information? It’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Just as you mentioned in your question. There’s a lot, there’s a lot of things in here. And some of this information is really applicable for certain types of businesses or for certain roles within the business. And today, we’re just going to start with some specific questions that will work for businesses looking to understand their marketing and optimization. So the first example, where should I start my optimization efforts? Last week, we talked a whole lot about why you should be thinking about conversion rate optimization. So what are some things that you would want to know if you want to get started on this thing that I care about? I want to first know, what are pages that people land on when they get to my website? Where are they landing? What do they see first? What’s that first impression of my business? And then I want to ask, what pages do people leave from? Are they filling out the form I want them to fill out? And then leaving? That seems good? are they seeing the homepage and leaving from the homepage? Seems like we may have an opportunity to improve that page. And then the third question I like to ask is, do most people visit on desktop or mobile, sometimes it’s an even split, so we should pay equal attention to both. But as people are moving more and more to mobile devices, we sometimes will see websites with 80 or 90% of traffic from mobile. And if that’s your case, you do not need to spend your time on desktop, you should focus on making sure your mobile experience is optimized. So let’s go right in and look at Google Analytics to answer these three questions. So opening up Google Analytics, the first report we’re going to look at is the landing page report. When you look at your Google Analytics, there’s a report section on the left side, and I’ll refer to this as in the left hand navigation. You’ll see real time audience acquisition behavior and conversions. What we’re going to look at for this first report is open up the behaviors. So if you click on that behaviors section, it’s going to fly open some additional options, we’re going to go down to the fourth option, or the third option on there, the site content. And then we’re going to click on landing pages. One of the tips that I recommend is to not look at your data on really small scale, you want to be looking at usually 30 days. So that way, you’re not just detecting a couple of people’s behavior, but you get a broader set of what people are doing over time. In the top right hand corner, they set the date range automatically to be seven days. So if you click date range, and then click on where it says custom, you can select the last option, which says last 30 days. And then you could apply. So looking at the last 30 days, I now have a list of places people are landing on my website. So it may be that my homepage is the most visited page and might be that there are certain things that I have running through an advertisement that pop up. Maybe there’s things that I posted on social media that are popping up on this list as well. But what this is doing is this is telling me where are people going? When they get to their website? What is the first thing they see. The second report that we talked about are where are people leaving from and this report is just below the landing pages report. So this is the exit pages report. So again, behavior site content, exit pages is where you’ll find that one. And the nice thing about Google Analytics is If you keep it open in the same window, that date range is going to apply as you move around the site. So you do not need to reset that date range each time you move,

Adama 10:07


AJ Davis 10:11

And so then looking at this list, you now know where are people leaving from. So if you’re seeing that the first page and the landing page and the exit page are the same, that’s a good starting place to focus your conversion optimization efforts. The third thing that we wanted to answer was being able to understand are people coming on desktop or mobile. So you can find this report again, in that left hand navigation under audience, and then mobile, and then overview. And this will give you a sense of what percentage of visitors are coming on desktop, mobile and tablet. So if you’re seeing about 5050, between desktop and mobile, you can split your attention pretty equally between the two sites. If you’re seeing more mobile visitors, then you want to make sure you optimize those pages first. So at the end of looking at these three reports, we might know we’ve got more mobile visitors, they’re coming in on the homepage. They’re leaving from the homepage. So to answer the question, Where should I start my optimization efforts? It would be on the mobile homepage.

Adama 11:04

Right? Okay. And so let’s maybe take an example, to make things easy as a new entrepreneur, we just launched their website. So we do offer online services and digital products. So they may have you know, an about page, we may have a services page, and also a small issue with digital products like ebooks and guidance on. And now they want to see what is happening with that website. So they want to know, where are the visitors coming from? And how they interact with the website? And also, if they do, they’ll chase something on the website? Or maybe if it exists, without taking action on maybe the exit after putting something in their cart? So can you tell us what would be the key metrics that you will take into consideration? If you are his entrepreneur?

AJ Davis 11:59

Yeah, I think what you’re getting at is which marketing strategy is most effective. You’re an entrepreneur, you’re putting out all this content and to the world. You’re paying for ads, you’re doing all these things. And so you want to understand, where should I continue to invest? And where can I pull back my investment? And then what is paying off? So where are people converting? Or what’s leading people to convert? So I’ll walk through a couple of reports that answer that. But basically, what we’re looking to do is understand what are your traffic sources? Where are people coming from? And then how many conversions are you getting? And then we can even take a further step into that and saying, based on my different traffic sources, which of those traffic sources convert the best? So what we’ll do first is we’ll take a look at where am I getting visitors. So if you go ahead back to Google Analytics on that left hand rail, you can go to acquisition, and then you can click on all traffic. And then channels under this report will see different channel groupings. So you’ll see things like direct traffic, people who are just coming straight to your website, paid search. So people that are coming because a paid ad related to search, organic search people who are searching for the term that show up on your website, and this would be showing that your SEO efforts are paying off. Or that people might be searching for branded keywords like the name of your business. You’ll also see information about social, so are people coming from Instagram, Facebook, all those different social efforts you may be doing? curl traffic is traffic that’s coming from other websites that are linking back to you. And then email is another source. So are people clicking through emails and coming to your site, this is a good report for understanding which of those top level channels are driving the most traffic to your site. You can dive deeper with this by going under acquisition all traffic source slash medium. And this is going to get more specific. So this will tell you is it from mobile, Facebook? Is it from Facebook? Is it from LinkedIn? Is it from the website, you know, what are the different things that are driving this and it’s going to get more granular. So this is also a good way to dive into that and understand which of these efforts are really bringing people to my website? The second part of your question was, how many conversions Am I getting? Yes, two ways to do this. And this depends on what kind of business you have. So let’s first look at e commerce. So if you’re using your website to sell something like a digital product, you could set up e commerce, which would be the enhanced e commerce is what you look up for the details on that. And it will give you a much more detailed report of what’s happening across your conversion funnel. And so to find this information, once you have that set up, you would go under conversions e commerce overview, and this is going to give you a sense of what your revenue is over time, your e commerce conversion rate, which is that conversion to purchase. And then it will also tell you the total number of transactions. And so that total number of transactions is a good number to keep an eye on to understand what are my conversions, how many Am I getting? What am I getting them. If you’re not an e commerce site, you would want to set up specific goals within Google Analytics so you can understand are those things happening so Under conversion goals overview, you’ll see a list of all the goals that you have set up and how many have happened over time. And then you can dig into specific goals to really understand those things happen.

Adama 15:12

Can you tell us what is the goal in analytics so that people understand what it means?

AJ Davis 15:17

It’s a great question. And goals are something that you do need to set up separately. So if you go to the lower left hand corner, there’s the settings and the admin section. And if you look into the specific view, you can add goals. So a goal is something that you’re setting up to signal to Google, this thing matters to me, and I want to track how many people are doing this thing. So you can click on plus new goal under the goal section. And the types of things that you can track as a goal, you can say, place an order. So if you don’t have enhanced e commerce setup, you can manually set it up this way. You could have an account creation vehicle. So if you were a sass company, and your goal is to get people to sign up and register for an account on your site, that would be what you would want to set up as your goal to be able to track against in Google Analytics. And then there’s different things like different types of outreaches. So a goal could be somebody chatted me through the live chat, or somebody contacted me through the contact form. Or perhaps somebody is downloading a new piece of content. And we want to track that information or that as a goal or as a objective. And then there’s other things like subscribing to an email list is often a goal that businesses will set up to track. And then there’s the ability to add a custom goal. So you could actually set up anything to be the goal. But stepping back from Google Analytics, specifically, why you want to set up a goal is so that you have something to track against as that conversion. So what is it that I care about? What is it that my website is going to achieve for me? And what is it that we want visitors to do? You want to make sure that that is tracked as a goal? So that way you can measure it over time?

Adama 16:53

That’s my question. So Thanks for clarifying that, AJ. And also, when you say that, you can set up any goal that you have inside analytics, you can basically just take your own business goals. So if you have monthly business goals, or quarterly or yearly business goals, you can set them up inside analytics and actually talked about how you can set up your own business goals for your business in Episode Two of the podcast. So you can go listen to this first. But basically, everything that you are already tracking for your business or want to track in your business, you can do that in analytics, and that will be automatically collected for you. So that’s why it’s a great tool to use. And you can do that for free. So it’s just amazing.

AJ Davis 17:39

Yeah, and if you pair it with Google Tag Manager, there’s some more advanced things that you can do. So you can set up events that don’t exist in Google Analytics. And then you can track those those goals. So you can get really granular, really specific. And we recommend that you do that, just so you can make sure you have true data. And you’re not making assumptions about what’s happening with your customers.

Adama 17:58

Yes. And so again, about the definitions, because we talk about different wordings that are used inside analytics, he just talks about events. And so can you give us also a simple definition of an event inside?

AJ Davis 18:14

Yeah, an event is an action. So an event can be something like, you know, if you do a lot of video content, you could set up an event that happens when somebody clicks play, you can set up an event, when somebody finishes the video, you can set up an event, when somebody makes it halfway through the video, you can set up any of these moments to be an event or something that you collect data on. And then using a tool like Google Tag Manager, you would configure those events and tell Google what counts for each of those things. And then once you have them set up in Google Tag Manager and have pushed them live, then they’ll feed automatically into Google Analytics. And so you’ll just have tracking on that forever forward.

Adama 18:52

So regarding now, the reports inside analytics, which report do you recommend to focus on while analyzing your website performances, because there are a lot of, you know, reports that are already set up inside analytics. So you just have to decide for yourself which one you want to focus on. So what would be your recommendation? AJ?

AJ Davis 19:13

Yeah, I think in addition to the two that we just talked about, there are two other questions that I would encourage businesses to ask themselves. So one is what types of content are getting attention? And the reason we asked this question is, so you can direct your attention on certain types of blog posts, or certain types of pages that people are engaging with, that are being attracted to them they’re landing on so we can talk about that report. And then the other thing to keep in mind this where visitors getting stuck. So it’s this idea of thinking about the funnel, or the steps or another word that people use are the customer journey. So what are the pages that people should be encountering across your site? And then where do they drop off? Where do they stop engaging, stop moving across that path. And so for e commerce, that report exists automatically, so it’s on conversions, e commerce shopping behavior. And so you can see individual things where people are going to the product category page, the product detail page, starting checkout and ordering all those stages. If you’re not an e commerce business, you can also identify which page types are the ones that matter to you. So in your example, maybe people are first looked at the about page, and then they would go to the Contact Us page. So the funnel might look like homepage about contact us. And so if you see people get to the about page, but leave before contacting us, there may be a problem with the information there or the way it’s connected to the About Us page, or the way that it’s connected to the Contact Us page. And so you can think about this funnel, and it can be many funnels, your site may be more complex than that, or it could be very simple. But you want to understand ideally, where do people move across the site, and then be able to identify where they’re getting stuck. And more importantly, you want to be able to understand how that changes over time. So for the businesses that we work with, which are mostly ecommerce businesses, we can identify, hey, big changes that you just made to your product detail page, we’re now seeing a lot of change in terms of customer behavior and drop off. So we’re seeing more people drop off on that page than we were before. We should explore that with the test and do some improvements there. For that first one, to loop back to that what types of content are getting attention that’s still in the pages section. So under behavior, site content, all pages, you can get a sense of every page on your website where people are visiting, and understand where there’s most engagement and most drop off.

Adama 21:31

Since he has a lot of information, we are going to do a quick recap. So first, AJ, Can you remind us the main reports that you recommend? And what do they aim at?

AJ Davis 21:42

Yeah, again, just a reminder, and only be looking at reports that are answering questions that you care about. And so the typical things that we think that businesses should care about are understanding what are people doing on the site. So those would be those pages report. And you can find those under behavior site content. And then under that section, you can find landing pages, exit pages, and all pages. So you’ll get a sense of where people are starting, where they’re spending their time and where they’re exiting. That’s a great report to be keeping an eye out on. You also want to know where visitors are coming from. So if you’re doing a lot of work to get people to your site, you want to understand what’s most effective. And so you can find that under the acquisition section. And then lastly, you want to keep in mind, what are your goals? Or what are your conversions on the site? So if you’re an e commerce business, that would mean looking under conversions, e commerce reports. If you’re not an e commerce business, and you’re setting up custom goals, you would find that under conversion goals. So those three reports are the essential pieces to really understand what’s happening when people get to the site, what’s bringing them to the site? And then what what’s getting them to convert.

Adama 22:49

All right. And regarding the key metrics that we talked about today, can you also remind us what is key metrics? And what do they do for you. So the

AJ Davis 22:59

key metrics that you want to keep in mind are how many users you have to the site, you want to keep in mind how many sessions you have, which is different, because users may come multiple times, and you want to be looking at those usually have a 30 day window, you want to know the number of conversions. And if you take the number of conversions divided by the number of people, you have your conversion rate. So that’s a really important metric to understand how well your website’s working for you. And then if you have other specific questions like, Where are people coming from? Where are they spending their time? We’ve talked about those reports as well today. At the core, we want to understand how many people are coming to my site? And how many of them are converting? I don’t want to keep track of that over time.

Adama 23:41

All right. Thank you, AJ, for his recap. So you can as we said, open your own Google Analytics account today for free, and maybe send to this episode again, while you are going to analytics so that everything will make more sense to you. And you will like basically having an audio tutorial to walk you through everything that you need to understand about Google Analytics. So yeah, basically, we just covered the key metrics that you need to be focusing on if you have a website, thanks to Google Analytics. So yeah, I don’t know if you have one last tip regarding key metrics, and especially for beginners who are not tech savvy. And who might be afraid of you know, jumping on it and making a mistake.

AJ Davis 24:31

Yeah, I would say don’t be afraid. There’s not really a thing such as a mistake in this the mistake of not taking a look and not understanding what’s happening. Yes. So my tip would be to make sure you have the data set up and collecting. And if you’re not sure it’s collecting, well reach out to a company to help you with it. Our company helps with that we have a lot of experts in the field that really understand how analytics should be set up and what events you need to have so that you can really get a good read on your business. So don’t be afraid to try it and don’t be afraid to ask for help. To make sure that you’re getting the information you need, so you can take action and grow your business.

Adama 25:04

Yes, definitely. And I would also add to that just, you know, try, explore. And as you said, also, don’t hesitate to ask for help. But you will not make you know, any big mistakes by just trying to figure out by yourself, and then asking even 20 for help. So regarding what we are going to cover next week, so overall user experience, aka UX as well, and what every website needs to be focusing on in order to be user friendly. But can you tell us more about what we are going to cover next?

AJ Davis 25:40

Next week, we’re going to take a much deeper look at some of these principles for your website. So in our first episode, we talked about how your website needs to communicate what problem you’re solving, how you’re solving it, and why people should do business with you. And we’re going to be taking a much deeper look and giving you specific actionable things to make sure your website’s working correctly. There are some heuristics that we’ll be talking about that generally work across the board. And then we’ll also be talking about types of things that you should consider testing, or we’re just not sure that they always work across the board or your audience can be different. So we’ll be having a good conversation about what your website needs, and how to be reflective and curious to make it better. We’ll be talking about what elements your website needs, and ways to identify things about your specific audience so that you can better communicate and serve them with your website.

Adama 26:31

Awesome. So yes, I hope you are as excited as we are for next week program. And I too enjoyed the first episode, let us know actually, in the notes, if you have any questions, we will be happy to answer them. Also, you can contact directly he website experiments And she also does website audit for free. I’m currently at experiments on that comm slash audit, so do not hesitate to contact her if you need any more support. And with that, I wish you a nice week and

AJ Davis 27:06

we will talk to you soon. Thanks so much for having me again. I look forward to next week.

Adama 27:11

That’s already the end of it. Thanks a lot for listening. I hope you enjoyed it. If she did give me a five star review on Apple podcasts or Google Play, Chef recipes official fans and comment to let me know that you like these kind of subjects. Also, if you want to hang out with me, follow me on Instagram at HDIW Oh, watch more of my entrepreneurial journey and my services. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast to get notified when a new episode comes out. Until then, I wish you a nice day and I talk to you soon. Take care Bye

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