Improve B2B marketing results with Google Analytics
How can B2B marketers make the most of Google Analytics? Columnist Stela Yordanova offers some tips to help you better analyze website engagement and conversion.
Many B2B marketers have unique challenges when it comes to measuring digital marketing performance. Difficulties include long sales cycles, complex products and services and multiple influencers and decision makers. How can B2B marketers best use Google Analytics to improve website performance and marketing results?
In this article I offer several get-started tips to help digital marketers analyze website traffic, engagement and conversion — by channel. A subsequent article will address customer personas and custom segments.
Understand website engagement by channel
User engagement metrics like Bounce Rate and Time-On-Site can help you analyze the effectiveness of website content. Since content is marketed via a number of channels, gaining insights on how each digital channel performs is essential to analyze where content marketing is suffering and where strategies need to be revisited and improved.
There a couple of ways to look at user engagement by traffic source.
Within your Google Analytics account, navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. You will see a table with data for each marketing channel, such as Organic traffic, Paid traffic, Social media, Referral and so on. Marketers should analyze and compare engagement metrics for each channel, including: Bounce rate, Pages/Session and Time on Site.
Another way to analyze user engagement for each digital channel is by navigating to Audience > Behavior > Engagement and using advanced segments to separate each marketing channel. This report shows number of sessions and page views by session duration.
The New vs. Returning visitors report under Audience > Behavior is also a great way to look at engagement by channel when using advanced segments. This report helps you understand the relationship between new and returning visitors and how this ratio is changing over time.
- High number of sessions with high bounce rate. This means you are able to drive traffic from a particular channel, but visitors typically do not look at more than one page on your website.
- High number of sessions with low session duration. This means users don’t generally engage with the content and are not encouraged to stay longer on the website.
- Big discrepancy between new and returning visitors where new visitors percentage is much higher than returning visitors. This means that most visitors are not motivated to return.
If engagement metrics are suffering for a particular channel. there could be a number of reasons, including:
- targeting keywords that are not relevant to the page content;
- the content does not provide an answer to the visitor’s query;
- issues with the landing page design;
- issues with page content/text; and
- technical issues.
It will require detailed analysis and testing to understand what needs to be improved in the content marketing strategy for that particular channel in order to drive more engagement.
Understand conversions by channel
B2B marketers need website visitors to convert into qualified leads and customers. This requires a detailed analysis of how website visitors take various actions.
Depending on your business, a “conversion” may be a white paper download, newsletter sign-up, demo request, free trial or other desirable action.
Conversion is measured in many different ways, depending on the website business goals. Whether you are using conversion goals or events to track visitor actions, here are a few ways to understand conversion by marketing channel.
The Acquisition > All traffic > Channels report can be adjusted via the goals drop-down menu to analyze goal completions and conversion rates for each channel.
If you have set up events to track conversions, then you can look at total and unique events for each marketing channel by selecting advanced segments and navigating to the Behavior > Events report.
- High number of sessions and low conversion rate. This means you are able to drive traffic from a particular channel, but your landing pages are not motivating visitors to take the desired actions.
- High number of generated leads but low conversion to sales. This means your marketing efforts are probably driving lower-quality, less-qualified leads.
If you are using events to track user activity within a registration form, watch for drop-offs at all steps to identify where most users leave the process.
Here are a number of questions to ask if your B2B website’s conversion rate is lower than desired:
- Am I reaching the right audience for each digital channel?
- Am I adequately describing products or services on each ad?
- Am I using an easy-to-understand and compelling call to action?
- Am I offering too many options/actions on the landing page?
Channel analysis drives actionable insights
Measuring overall traffic is helpful, but it’s probably not sufficient. B2B marketers must understand how results vary by each channel. Specifically, look at metrics and trends that provide insights into engagement and conversion. Make sure your Website Performance Dashboard illustrates root causes and improvements.
In my next article, I’ll address how B2B marketers can successfully utilize customer personas and custom segments to improve digital marketing results.