The sheer volume of data and oftentimes incomprehensible jargon used in the Google Analytics (GA) Reports can make them daunting to users.  How do you draw insights from so much complicated data?

SPM has created a “Rosetta Stone-like” template that breaks down GA into a set of actionable descriptors. First, we redefined the data points into behavioral terms that describe the quality of a typical visitor and their interaction with a website in general. We then reduced the hundreds of available metrics down to a few key data points that were most relevant to our client’s business plans, as well as the strategic objectives of SPM’s marketing plans.

The following provides just two examples of how SPM translates the Google Analytics “jargon” we encounter into more feasible terminology and how we use it to evaluate performance:

Time Spent/Average Duration of visit:
  • GA Technical Description:  The time spent on site for a particular visit is the sum of the time on pages for all pages that constitute that visit.
  • SPM Translation:  The greater the time spent on a page or site, the greater the assumed interest in learning more about the service line, hospital, etc.
Bounce Rate
  • GA Technical Description:  The percentage of visits that enter and leave a site from the same page.
  • SPM Translation:  Depending on the objective of the web page, this can be either a good or bad metric. For example, if the objective is to create a page that is as informative as possible, then a visitor entering and exiting from it is probably an acceptable behavior. The visitor collected all the information needed from that page and will make an appointment when convenient, or mentally store the data for later use, if necessary.

The Bounce Rate example also illustrates the importance of simultaneously examining several GA data points during our analysis.  Multiple data points produce a more complete picture of the behavior of the visitor, allowing us to differentiate between good and bad behaviors.

GA Img 2There is also opportunity to use Google Analytics to track visitors back to their original source(s), allowing SPM to develop a quality ranking of search engines, text ads and site-specific display placements to be used in optimizing plans and negotiations with vendors.

So how do our clients benefit? By taking our clients’ reports beyond the simple math of clicks, we’ve created a qualitative evaluation of the average visit/visitor.

Now, we can determine how best to optimize both the quantity as well as the quality of the visitors we seek. As an added bonus, we can use this information to help improve our clients’ websites.  Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) both benefit from our GA translations.

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Mike Lynn

Mike Lynn

Vice President, Director of Integrated Media at SPM Marketing & Communications
Mike shares in the oversight, management, and training of SPM’s media planning and buying team. He’s driven by what makes the consumer “tick” when it comes to their use of media to make healthcare decisions. Prior to joining SPM, Mike spent over 25 years at agencies just as JWT and FCB, developing strategic media planning campaigns for big brands such as Gerber Foods, Oscar Mayer, Kellog’s, and Jovan.
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