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How To Turn Google Analytics Data Into Fuel For Your Digital Marketing

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How To Turn Google Analytics Data Into Fuel For Your Digital Marketing

John: Hey guys. Welcome back to the Life is Digital podcast. I’m on board with our Chief Strategist, Jon Parks, again today. Make sure to subscribe in the comment section below and on your preferred podcast provider. Hey Jon, how are you today? How are things going?

Jon: Good morning, John. I’m doing well. Hope you’re doing well.

John: Absolutely. Definitely starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I think as things are settling in, people are starting to learn a little bit more about how digital tools can be effective. And I thought for today, we could continue our conversation on some of the bigger pieces that we’ve been talking about – about how digital platforms and digital marketing can really impact your business in the future, right?

And, as I was thinking and putting together some of the notes for today’s conversation and some of the things that we talked about, I thought maybe we could do a quick little update section of some quick industry trends or things that you might be seeing that could be really helpful for small businesses. So, what are some of those industry updates that you might have for us today?

Jon: Yeah, it’s a good question, John and very timely. There’s an announcement that was just made yesterday, further update from Google, just clarifying something that they had shared the first time a couple of weeks ago. It has to do specifically with a benefit to small and medium-sized businesses or really any advertiser, but specifically SMBs. And, it has to do with Google Ads credits. So, what Google has said that they’re going to do is they’re going to make credit available to advertisers to continue using on the Google Ads platform. So, this is their way of being able to help out businesses in a very tough time right now through the advertising platform. But, there’s a few key qualifications that you’ve got to meet in order to be able to get this credit. The first thing is that you have to have been running an active campaign like actually spending money on a campaign 10 out of 12 months in 2019. So, it’s a pretty big time frame. You need to have had campaigns running for sure, during that time. And, they say that you have to have been running campaigns in either January or February or both are fine as well, of this year, right?

Ten out of 12 months of last year and at least one month or the other of January or February of this year in order to be eligible.

Now, what they’ve also said is that they’re gonna start rolling out these credits at the end of May. So, they’re gonna automatically show up in your account, if you’re eligible. And, there’s been a lot of questions. What is this credit? What does that actually mean? They’ve not been very clear about that, other than just saying there will be a credit that shows up in your account. So, it will be some amount of money that will be eligible for you to be able to spend, to apply to your campaign. You’ll find out more details when it actually shows up in your account. So, maybe I guess a little different from the Federal Government, which said “We’re gonna give you a specific amount of money.” Google is saying, “We’re going to give you an amount of money but we’re not gonna tell you until it shows up.” So, we’ll see what that actually looks like, but I think the big deal, John, is that if there’s a business out there that is curious about, “Do I qualify? Do I meet these requirements?” That’s something we can help out with. We can actually look into your account. We can go in and help you figure out if you meet those qualifications and then ultimately, if you do meet those qualifications and you’re thinking about trying to use it, you want to get the best use possible out of that credit, we can also help you with trying to optimize that and make sure that you spend those dollars in the best way possible.

John: That makes a lot of sense. And I think this is even more validation for the need to be in the marketplace and dipping your toes in and running campaigns. Even if this isn’t a huge amount of spend, just getting familiar with the platform and presenting your business online, this is the way of the future people are gonna be looking be online for products and services.

I wanna dive a little bit more in today for what you said about optimizing the spend and optimizing the platforms and I thought we’ve talked a little bit about paid campaigns. We talked a little bit about marketing over the last couple of weeks. Maybe, it will be good today to talk about building the digital foundation of your website, your Google Analytics. What is Google Tag Manager? These are some things that are important, I think for business owners to understand that yes, we can run campaigns. We can help you with that. You can turn things on and you can spend a little money to get your toes wet.

But really, what does it mean to understand the data and the analytics properly? So my question for you, Jon, would be is what’s kind of the first step to take when building a digital foundation?

Jon: Well, yeah, and those are very important items. Obviously, we talk about that with a lot of different clients and prospective clients as well, just helping them to assess the space. To me, John, the first thing that comes back to is your website and we’ll start with the obvious. Do you have a website at this point? Hopefully you do. We still encounter some that are building that site but you absolutely have to have that site in place. Now, what you build it on or what it looks like, those are important questions but for purposes of tracking campaigns or monitoring performance, those aren’t as important questions right now. What really is important is, just making sure that the message, the call to action, is very clear on the site. Are you trying to get phone calls? Then, you need to make sure that your phone number is not only highly visible on that site, but it’s also clickable because people are going to pull your site up on a mobile device and they’re going to click to call, so we want to make sure that that click action, is trackable right?

So, there’s some basic foundational things when we’re building the site or when we’re setting the site up that need to be taken care of, but really beyond that, the very first thing that I want to do is make sure that we at least get Google Analytics put in place as quickly as possible so that we can start building a baseline of data. Maybe you’ve already got Google Analytics in place, and that’s fine, we still want to review it because I always find there’s a lot of little tweaks and adjustments that need to be made. We’ve talked a little bit about that before in previous episodes, but we want to make sure that it is custom fitted to you into your business and your needs. So, if you don’t have Google Analytics installed, we need to get it in there right away. If you do we want to review it to make sure that that it is wrapped around your unique needs.

John: Sure. So, let’s talk a little bit more about that. So, what differs and maybe from how you can set up Google Analytics in a basic way and what is a real advanced Google Analytics set up? So I guess my question would be, why do we need to set up Google Analytics and an advanced manner to give us that.

Jon: Well, plainly put, most people that put Google Analytics into a site, just take the little JavaScript code, they put it in where they’re supposed to put it in so it will track page views and then they walk away. And, that’s very good because it’s giving you a lot of data, just by its base installation. It will tell you the number of visitors to your site and where they went and the flow that they took to get there. And, all of that can be very helpful information, but what we want to see is we want to take that a step further.

So, here’s an example. Maybe you’ve got a small video that you play somewhere on your landing page, right?

And, you want to know, are people actually are watching that video? Do they click play and watch it all the way to the end? We paid a lot of money to create this three-minute video and make it look really good. Are people actually watching it? Those are real questions.

Well, by default, Google Analytics is not going to easily track that information. So, when we talk about an advanced set up, we’re talking about introducing a new piece called Google Tag Manager and Google Tag Manager allows us to be able to get extra bits of data. So for example, I can go in and can set up to do tracking of that video and we can tell you every time somebody clicks play. We can tell you when they click pause. We can tell you when they reach the 25% mark, 50% mark, 75%, 100% mark – all of that kind of stuff.

You don’t get that with just a standard Google Analytics implementation. You’re going to need to take the steps further.

There are things with demographic tracking, right? By default, Google Analytics will not just capture your demographic information. So, when we say demographic we’re talking about gender. We’re talking about age ranges, not specific ages of people but ranges, right?

And, we’re also talking about other little in-market segments, things that Google can bring to the table. Well, you have to go in and turn that on. It’s not difficult to do but you got to know where to go to turn that on to bring that data in place, right?

And then the last big thing and this is probably the most important thing is we have to set up goals inside of Google analytics. Google Analytics doesn’t know what is a conversion to you. Conversion might be the fill out of a form, a conversion might be a phone call, right?

The conversion might be a purchase of something.

Well, we have to go in and configure that the right way, so that Google Analytics will actually pick that up and give you that data. Once we’ve got the data, then we can do the analysis.

John: That makes a lot of sense, and I’ve heard a little bit about Google Tag Manager in terms of why it’s beneficial to put the code into that container.

Can you tell me a little bit more about why Google Tag manager is important versus just dropping some code onto the site?

Jon: Yeah, absolutely. First things first, I wanna say I always describe Google Tag Manager as like applying rocket fuel to Google Analytics. So, what I mean by that is just like with the video example that I just discussed, we’re able to give extra pieces of information from the site into Google Analytics, and it just makes it much more valuable, right?

But Tag Manager is so much more than that. It’s a way to consolidate all of these tracking tags that, if you don’t spend a lot of time in the technical space you maybe you don’t care as much about… But we’re talking about things like Facebook Pixel which opens up a world of data from Facebook or LinkedIn. LinkedIn has the LinkedIn Insights Tag. It’s the same situation on LinkedIn, right? So, we’re able to get a lot of this extra information, but it puts it all into this one spot. And, what happens is if I wanted to put a Facebook pixel tag in place or if I wanted to put a LinkedIn insights Tag in place and I don’t have Tag Manager, I’ve gotta go in and manually put this into the code throughout my site.

Well, a Tag Manager container gives us one location. We put the Tag Manager container in place and now we can deploy as many tags as we want. We don’t have to go back and manipulate the site a bunch of times. So, it’s really a technical benefit but from a marketing standpoint, which is what we’re concerned about, it just makes that flow much easier and consolidates everything so that if you have a conflict with something, you know where to go to look for it.

John: That makes a lot of sense. So, we’ve built the website and we put this proper tagging and tracking in. What is the value of having the data and what do we want do with that? And now, once we build this digital foundation, how do we use it?

Jon: Absolutely, yeah we definitely don’t want to collect data just for the sake of collecting data and that’s another common mistake that we see people make out there. They’ll put that analytics tag on their site, collect data, and then walk away and never look at the reports.

So the real benefit of collecting the data is coming back to do the analysis.

And what I always try to do with that is I’m approaching this with questions. I’m gonna look at Google Analytics with questions, so a question might be, How many conversions did we get this week? this month? But, even more than that I might want to get in and say, How many conversions did we get from that email campaign that we sent out versus that came in through the paid search campaign?

But even within the paid search campaign. I might want to go further and say, which specific keyword is really generating those conversions? But, then I might want to take that a step further, and say, Is it more men or women with that keyword that are generating conversions? So, I’m digging and getting more data and more insight that I can then take and plow back into the campaign and I might return back to the campaign and say, “We’re going to adjust the targeting settings to focus on women between the ages of 35 and 44 who are located in North Carolina because those are the ones that have really produced a lot of valuable conversions for us.” We can take those kinds of insights and restructure the campaign.

John: And I guess that’s really the value to small businesses is that when we work with the company, we’re able to help them distill that information, so not only can we help them build the platforms correctly, get the tracking in place, set them up for success in terms of running campaigns, but then we can help them also understand that data and be able to make better decisions when it comes to like we said, adjusting a paid campaign or understanding how well your email is performing. Because, I like what you said there that this data is not just about paid or just inside Google Analytics. This is giving you a more robust understanding of your overall digital marketing.

So I think that’s important for business owners to understand is that these tools, while they may be a lot of information upfront, distilled by an expert and helping you to understand that in while we’ll consider in more layman’s terms… I mean you do this and help me on accounts every day is to give us better information to make better decisions. And ultimately, I think that’s what’s important for business owners. It is that they wanna be able to have actionable data that turns into results, and ultimately, that’s either more sales, more conversions or whatever their key performance metric is for growing their business online.

Jon: That’s right, and John, I think something that’s important to call out and you see this all the time as well, so you may be able to speak to it. If you own the business, if you are running the business, if you’re working in the business, you’ve got a lot of other responsibilities, like running the business, right? So you don’t have time necessarily to sit there and do this level of analysis and figure out the answers to these questions. So, you’re kind of stuck in this position of “I need to run the business and all that is required with that, but I also need to understand the analytics.” Well, maybe, we can just take that off the plate for you all together, right?

A good analyst can step in and can help you understand that. We can also move a little bit faster just because we do this all the time and we can get that data to you very quickly and help you understand what some of those trends are and how we may need to reshape things.

John: That makes absolute sense. And like I said, I think in terms of us wanting to help small businesses, this is our goal to inform and give some teachable moments of what’s going on in the industry and why these pieces are important and then inform and say, “Hey these are some things you might be able to look at that could impact the business positively.”

As we’re kind of wrapping up for today, what’s maybe one or two takeaways that we can give in terms of where we think the industry is going or why these are important?

I’m sure you have maybe one or two nuggets to take away from our conversation today.

Jon: Absolutely. First things first is, you really could never collect too much data, so you wanna have as robust and understanding about your site as you possibly can. And, when we say too much data, what we really mean is we’re talking about the performance of the site and how people are engaged with it and using it, because the data that we get is anonymized. We don’t know that specific people did specific things we just know that, generally people or classifications of people did certain things and that’s what we want to know.

So the more of that kind of data you can get, the better off you’re gonna be in terms of making some decisions around what to really drive your marketing.

But, I want to go back to something where we started today which is, don’t exit the advertising marketplace.

You hear in those requirements to meet the credit from Google ads for this year that you have to have been active in the space for 10 out of 12 months last year, and at least one out of the first two months of this year in order to qualify for that ad credit.

Well, how many people run a campaign for a little while, back off of it, run a campaign for a little while back off of it, right?

Not saying that you need to do things just so that you can get the credit right but do it because you need to stay consistent. People need to hear and see about your company, your offerings, your brand, your voice regularly, consistently. We often talk and you probably have some insights on this as well.

We often talk about needing to make sure that your value proposition is very clear and that the people that are making decisions, they may not be looking to buy today, but they may be looking to buy next week, next month, six months from now.

You want be top-of-mind and you have to stay active in the marketplace with paid search, with paid social, with organic social, with all of these things that we talk about in our podcast.

John: That’s a great point. I think in closing, today I think that’s probably the one big takeaway that I get from all this is about being consistent and consistency in your messaging and your marketing and your value proposition. I think that consumers tend to make decisions to engage with companies that they feel are consistent as well, right?

If they like they see your message every day, they see the reviews you’re getting, they tend to see from other people have engaged with your products and services, and that’s got them on that constant continual drip or constant top of mind, front face on a platform like Facebook or Google ads, or whatever you’re using to promote your business, your website, etc.

I feel like consumers are more willing to engage with that business. Because, maybe that’s just the way it is, but they tend to make those connections to other parts of your business as well. Ex: consistencies in customer service.

Will I get my product on time? Will this business be around if I start to engage with them and become a brand ambassador for their business? Are they gonna be around in six months? How consistent and how long term is the owner of this company thinking about where their investment is in the community and their customers? So, showing that on a place like social media or paid search, or other areas or on your website, updating your information.

We talked last week about Google My Business. All of these total facets of your brand and your company only continue to encourage and impress your customers with that sense of… “Yeah, this is a legitimate organization. It’s gonna be here for a while. They love what they do, and I love what they do.” And ultimately, that’s the best customer interaction. You’re providing a service or you’re providing a benefit to the community, of course, but people love their favorite pizza restaurant. Not just because they love pizza, but because they love the experience. They love the customer service. They might love the owner or they love taking their friends there. It’s a bigger engagement. And, so I think that focus on consistency is probably the biggest thing that we can encourage business owners right now. Sure, there’s a tough current climate, but it won’t last forever, and being consistent now and in the future is gonna engender that trust with your customers.

Jon: Yeah, totally agree with all of that you just said right there. Consistency is very important, not only in business, but also in advertising. People have to know that you’re there, you’re gonna continue to be there for good times and bad. And the ones that do, that will be the ones that will come out of this in a much stronger position.

John: Awesome, awesome, well Jon as always, I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today. I think this is a really cool episode. Folks, don’t forget to subscribe in the links below or as we said on your favorite podcast platform, and tune in next week as Jon and I will have some continued conversations. Jon, thank you again, I appreciate your time, we’ll talk to soon.

Jon: Absolutely, thanks John, have a great day.

John: Thank you.

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