How to Get More Traffic: A Data-Driven Approach
This post covers how you can use your Google Analytics data to engage and grow your audience. It’s a follow-up to our guide on how to analyze your visitor funnel (your ‘AARRR’ funnel) using a single-page report. Make sure to check that out if you haven’t already.
OK, let’s do it.
Grow Your Audience
The first step of the AARRR visitor funnel focuses on visitor acquisition or how your get people to your site. For many of us, we use a variety of different acquisition channels to send people to our site. We may use social media marketing, guest blogging or cost per click advertising. However, it is important that we track these efforts and understand how to effectively acquire new users.
The main pages you should look at when trying to grow your audience with Google Analytics are:
- Audience > Overview
- Behavior > Site Content > Landing Page
- Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium
- Audience > Interest > Overview
Google Analytics Audience Overview and Your Audience
The audience overview is the first dashboard you are brought to when logging into Google Analytics. This page will show you how much traffic your site has seen in the past month as well as the comparison between new and returning users. At the top of the page you will also see a graph that depicts the daily traffic your site sees, followed by numbers of sessions, users and page views.
The two numbers we will focus on are the sessions and the users. Sessions are the number of times people visited your site while users are the number of people (or more accurately, number of unique devices) who visited your site.
Obviously, you want to see a high number of sessions and users, preferably a higher number than you had the last month. This will tell you, quite simply, whether or not your site is gaining in popularity. By dividing the number of sessions by the number of users, you can also estimate how many times each user visited your site in the last month.
The new vs. returning users pie chart is able to tell you in a split second whether or not your site is attracting new eyes. If your goal is to attract new users, which if you’re focusing on growing your audience, it obviously should be, then you will want your new users to make up a decent piece of your pie.
How Landing Pages Can Grow Your Audience
The landing page is the page in which people enter your site. It could be your homepage, a page someone found through search, a page from a post shared on facebook, etc. Since it’s the first page that a visitor interacts with, you need to make sure it creates a good experience for them.
When looking at the landing pages on your site, your focus should go straight to the bounce rate. The bounce rate shows you the percentage of people who entered your site and left without interacting with it at all. If the bounce rate is high then you need to check your landing page for glitches and/or optimize your content for higher engagement (we’ll talk more about this in an upcoming post).
A “good” bounce rates depends on a few different things, like your industry/niche, the purpose of your page, what kind of content you publish, etc. Generally speaking, for a pure content or mostly content site, anything over 75-80% is considered high. Don’t obsess too much over the bounce rate, but do keep an eye on it. It’s more informative to see which of your pages have a significantly higher bounce rate compared to the average for your whole site, which indicates anomalies of some sort and you try to fix those pages.
Another number to look at is the average session duration. This number will tell you how long, on average, people are spending on the landing page. If the number is 00:00:00 then nobody is reading your content and you need to find out why.
One caveat here: if a user comes to your site and doesn’t interact with the page (no link clicks, form fills, etc.) and closes the window, this is counted as 0:00:00 time spent on the page. So, they could actually be reading your content and then leaving. The bottom line is: don’t obsess too much over time spent on page, especially if you have a high bounce rate, which you should focus on reducing first.
Three tips for grabbing attention are: BIG, bold, and bullets. Making your content easy to read and engaging as opposed to long-winded or overly technical writing will encourage readers to stay engaged with your content longer.
After looking at the bounce rates and average session duration of your pages, you should have a pretty good idea of which landing pages are the most effective. Once you get a good idea of which pages are performing the best, you should compare them to one another to see what they have in common. If your listicle articles are pulling people in, keeping their attention and sending them to other pages, then maybe you need to post more listicles. If your blogs about office life are attracting more people and keeping them interested, then perhaps you should stick to blogs about office life.
How tracking your medium can help grow your audience
The source of your traffic is where the users were before seeing your content and the medium and is how the user got to your content.
For instance, the first listing says that the users were doing a Google search and clicked on an organic link to your site. An organic listing is a listing that you did not pay for and that your site ranks for based off of your search engine optimization. To learn more about what different sources / mediums mean, you can visit the Google Analytics Documentation on traffic source dimensions.
Knowing where your effective traffic comes from (effective meaning traffic that is beneficial and interacting with your site) will allow you to create better marketing plans. Whether you are spending money on a cost-per-click campaign or guest blogging, you will be able to see right away whether or not those campaigns are proving effective traffic. The campaigns that are working and sending a majority or your effective users are campaigns that you need to use more often. Perhaps this means guest blogging on a certain blog more, or targeting the same audience on Facebook during your next campaign.
Growth through Audience Interest Overview
Knowing your audience is a very important piece of knowledge for any marketer or entrepreneur. Oftentimes, we feel as though we know who our audience is, but get surprised when we learn who they really are.
When forming your marketing plan, it is important to take into consideration what your audience is interested in. If you are able to place your content on sites with products or content that your audience is interested in, you will be more likely to catch your audience’s’ attention.
By using Google Analytics Audience Interest Overview you will be able to which affinity categories and in-market segments your audience belongs to. An affinity category is a category that your audience is interested in and an in-market segment is a segment in which your audience is looking to invest into. These are important pieces of data to be aware of when planning your next guest blog or product to introduce to promote.
Putting it all together
If you are looking to create a one-stop, go-to place to analyze and track your growth, Google Analytics allows you to create your own customizable dashboards. We have created an Acquisition and Growth dashboard for you to have all of the metrics previously explained in one place.
To set up your dashboard:
- Click the button above; you will be taken to your Google Analytics account (sign in if you are prompted to do so).
- Select the view of your Google Analytics account that you would like your dashboard to be in. You can see more about setting up Three Essential Google Analytics Views if you haven’t done so already.
- The dashboard is named “01. Acquisition & Growth” — you can change it if you like or keep it.
- Click “Create” — and you’re done.
Now you have a go-to dashboard to go along with this guide so you can make data-driven decisions that grow your audience.