Computer with google analytics on the screen to help improve the customer journey

You probably already use Google Analytics (or a similar analytics solution) on your website but are you using it to its full potential? In this article I’m going to show you how you can improve your customer journey with Google Analytics, and increase your conversions.

Improve the Customer Journey

Google Analytics provides valuable insights that can help you shape your business success strategy.  Whether you own an eCommerce store or an informative blog, using Google Analytics will help you to improve the customer journey.  It allows you to track and understand your customers behaviour, what they’re looking for, how they’re engaging with your business and how you’re providing what they need.  

By carefully analysing this data you can highlight areas of success, any pain points and gaps in the customer journey. If you consistently measure and improve the journey you’ll push customers further down the sales funnel and see an increase in conversions.

There are many metrics and data sets you can use to improve the customer journey, below is a summary of a few of my favourite reports. You can get the full list by downloading my Google Analytics cheat sheet here.

1. Streamline the journey (Navigation)

Found in: Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages

For many GA users this function is pretty hidden – but once you find it, it’s something you’ll use over and over again. You’ll find the navigation summary at the top next to the explorer tab.

Within the navigation report you can view the navigation of users on a page – where they came from and where they went next.

By viewing this data you can come to some conclusions as to why users may have taken the path they did. If you identify common paths you could offer the information on the same page to save the user unnecessary clicks to try and find the right information.

For example, if many users navigate to the “Delivery Times” page half-way through your checkout process, this would show a good opportunity to display this information within the checkout process.

2. Identify problematic pages (Exit Rates)

Found in: Behaviour > Site Content > Exit Pages

When a user reaches a key page on your site, you ideally want them to proceed towards the related point of conversion (i.e. email sign up, add to basket). However, if the page they land on doesn’t meet their needs – for example, doesn’t answer their question, too complicated, wrong product – then they may leave the site and go elsewhere.

The ‘exit rate’ metric is the percentage of views for a specific page that result in the visitor leaving the site. You can see the exit rate for every page that is tracked, as well as the average for the site overall. If you review your pages and find any that are higher than average then you should investigate these in more detail – why is the rate higher?

Review the content of the pages that are performing poorly and try to determine why they might not be meeting user expectations.  Are there areas for improvement? Is it obvious what the user needs to do next? Is there a way to navigate to the next page? 

3. What your users are looking for (Internal Site Search)

Found in: Behaviour > Site Search > Search Terms

If your site has an internal search engine then Google Analytics can track what people are searching for.  Most businesses overlook this function in Google Analytics, however, the customer data here offers so much to improve the customer journey.

The data may show gaps in your product range (if you’re seeing lots of searches for a product or service you don’t sell) or areas of potential expansion (areas that are being searched a lot).

Most importantly, the internal site search data will help highlight issues with the customer journey.  If users are searching for products or services that you already provide, this may suggest that people are having trouble finding the relevant pages. From this, can improve the customer journey by making these pages more visible, or improve the navigation.

4. Where users drop off (Funnel Visualisation)

Found in: Conversions > Funnel Visualisation

The conversion process is typically spread across multiple pages of a website – for example, adding products to a basket, entering your details, payment page and finally the confirmation page. Your hope is for most users to make it to the confirmation page, but this isn’t always the case.

You can the funnel visualisation report (you’ll need to set up each stage in google analytics) to map the customer journey through this process and analyse where users are dropping out. This can be helpful to provide insight for areas where you can improve the customer journey.

For example, if 80% of users who get to the payment page but only 40% move to the confirmation page then perhaps there is an issue – the page doesn’t feel secure? The payment option they want to use isn’t offered? 

5. What led to the conversion? (Goal Conversions)

Found in: Conversions > Goals > Overview

You can assign a number of goals to help you track the customer’s journey based on their actions (CTA’s). For examples, Let’s say a new user who just landed on your website, has subscribed to your weekly newsletter subscription. This is a business goal, as it helps you nurture them into a customer thereby adding to the success of your business.

You can set numerous goals to study each conversion that takes place. And with this information, we can identify successful (as well as problematic) areas of your site. 

Example goals could be

  • Newsletter sign ups
  • Order completions
  • Watching a video
  • Downloading a white paper

In addition, setting up goals helps you to understand what marketing actions are working and what areas you need to improve.  Getting 30 new leads each month from your website is great, but unless you understand what assisted the conversion, how do you expect to increase that number? Goal conversions are the primary metric for measuring how well your website is fulfilling business objectives.

6. Improve engagement (Page Views and Bounce Rate)

Found in: Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages

Good content helps you reach out to users. This is why businesses create informative blogs, how-to videos, infographics etc that can add value. You need to keep a track of what content receives a lot of engagement. Then you can streamline your content to suit your customer’s needs.

Google Analytics generates a breakdown of the page views each of your blog posts have received. It’s important to monitor what is being read and what is popular to you can generate more relevant content.  There’s no point wasting time writing about a topic that users aren’t interested in.  

It’s also important to look at the bounce rate of your pages.  If you’ve seen a high bounce rate you’ll need to dig in to find out why. 

It could be that your page is not optimised properly or the content isn’t relevant or engaging enough. You can then work on improving your page to ultimately improve the customer’s journey.

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Google Analytics
Cheat Sheet

Tips and tricks to help you
to increase your conversions

In conclusion

Google Analytics will help you improve your customer journey and increase your conversions.

If you’ve got a Google Analytics account and you’re not sure what to look at, I suggest focusing on these key elements when analysing the customer journey on your website.

Using these simple reports will allow you to identify whether users are enjoying your website and help find opportunities to improve your offering.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all aspects of Google Analytics but these are the basics I would start with.

And finally, if you’re looking for more in-depth analysis of your customer journey’s or help setting up your Google Analytics from reports, funnels and goals, get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.

I offer various packages depending on your needs, so it doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or you’ve been reviewing your customer data for years and need a fresh pair of eyes.

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