LaFleur
MENU Scroll

Google Analytics: Nothing to Fear and Everything to Gain

Google Analytics is an online tool that helps web property owners understand their digital traffic. If you aren’t already using Google Analytics, you’re missing out on invaluable information, which in turn makes it impossible to properly interpret your results and optimize your web properties.

The Google Analytics platform allows you to see where your users are coming from, gather information about their demographics, find out which of your webpages are the most popular and successful, and much more.

We created this quick but thorough primer to help you better understand and use Google Analytics. Once you get comfortable with the platform, you’ll be able to collect and interpret the resulting data to make changes to your web properties. By doing so, you’ll increase traffic and conversions, which should result in more and better leads, clients, and customers.

Installing and Setting Up Google Analytics

After you’ve finished creating your website, landing page, or other digital property, you should install Google Analytics before going live.

Since Analytics is a Google property, all users are required to have a Google account. If you have multiple Google accounts, you should use the one most closely associated with your daily professional duties. You should plan on this being a lifetime account. If you don’t have an account or aren’t comfortable using a current account, you’ll need to create one here.

Do not let a co-worker or separate webmaster create the account. Employees and webmasters come and go, and you want to maintain full and sole control of the account at all times. You can always add others to the Google Analytics account later, but for now, create it for yourself using the Google account you’re most comfortable with.

Once you’ve created a new account or chosen to move forward with an existing one, visit Google Analytics and follow the basic “sign up” prompts. If you have one website, you only need one account. But if you have several digital properties, you should create separate accounts for each one and make sure you can easily identify which is which. Analytics does not allow you to move properties between accounts, so organize your account properly from the start to avoid losing data down the road.

After the initial sign up is complete, Google will provide you with a tracking ID to place on your website(s), which you’ll need to install on every page of the site. Tracking ID placement will vary depending on the type of web property you want to track and how that web property is built. Here’s a comprehensive instructional video to help you install the ID properly using Google Tag Manager — our preferred installation method.

The next phase of the initial setup is to set your Goals. This is a simple but very important part of the process that will let Google Analytics alert you whenever a user has performed a desirable action on the site, such as generating a conversion by completing an online form.

To create a goal, just visit the admin section of your Analytics account. Under the View column, select Goals and follow the prompts.

Finally, if your website has search functionality, you will want to set up Site Search, which allows Analytics to track searches on your site. You can use Site Search to figure out what topics your users are interested in. Then, you can reconfigure your site’s design to push traffic toward relevant pages. You can also upgrade the content on those pages (copy, callouts, graphics, videos, etc.) to create a better user experience.

To set up Site Search, run a search on your site and copy the query parameter from the URL bar in your browser. (This will usually be an “s” or a “q.”) Then return to the Analytics Admin page. Click on “view setting” under the View column and scroll down to turn on Site Search settings. Paste the query parameter, click “save,” and you’re good to go! You should start seeing data from your web properties within 24 hours.

RELATED: Analyze This! Leveraging Google Analytics to Optimize Your Law Firm’s Content Marketing

Understand the Terminology

Before assessing the data at your fingertips, you need to understand some of the basic terminology involved. Some of these terms and phrases might sound complicated, but once you have a fundamental understanding of what each of them means, you’ll be that much closer to putting the pieces together and mastering the Google Analytics platform.

Below, we’ve provided simple definitions to some of the most common terms you’ll see in Google Analytics.

  • Attribution is how Google credits conversions within relevant marketing channels. Analytics users can control attribution by exploring the different models within the platform.
  • Bounce rate is the percentage of users who leave your site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate often indicates poor content or misleading navigation.
  • Conversions are actions users take that satisfy a specific goal or objective. For example, completing a form fill on a website is a commonly tracked conversion.
  • CPC is an initialism that stands for cost-per-click, which is a term most commonly used in the paid digital advertising arena. CPC denotes the average cost you pay each time a user clicks on your advertisement.
  • Dimensions are data attributes that provide information about how a user arrived at your site. These dimensions are laid out in rows in Analytics.There are four main dimensions:
    • Source: The point of origin that brought the user to your site (i.e., a search engine like Google or the URL of a referring site)
    • Medium: The general category of the source (i.e., organic search, paid search, email)
    • Campaign: The name of the referring paid advertising campaign, when applicable
    • Channel: Customizable categories you can use to segment inbound traffic
  • Filters allow you to view, exclude, or transform defined subsets of data within the reporting tools of Analytics. For example, if you want to exclude views of your site that originate from your office, you can do this by adjusting filters.
  • Keywords are the terms and phrases that search engine users type in to try and find what they’re looking for. Knowing which keywords bring users to your site — and which ones you’d like to target — is an important part of getting results from your website. Google Analytics allows you to view organic and paid keyword reports, which can help refine SEO strategy and paid digital advertising campaigns.
  • Landing Pages, sometimes referred to as entrance pages, are the pages that each user starts on when they begin a session on your website. Landing pages can be either organic (pages that users can find through search engines or through the navigation on your website) or dedicated (separate pages designed and optimized specifically for conversions, usually accessible only by clicking an advertisement).
  • Measurement protocol allows you to send raw data directly to Analytics without having to use Tag Manager or a tracking code. It’s especially helpful when attempting to combine online and offline data into one set.
  • Metrics are the quantitative measurements of your site’s data. For example, the number of sessions and the number of pages per session are metrics. Google Analytics lays out these metrics in columns within the platform.
  • Referrals are user visits from third-party sites. Reports in Analytics allow you to see which sites your visitors are coming from.
  • Segments are another way of filtering the data in your reports. There are default segments already in place, but you can also create custom segments that better fit your tracking needs.
  • Sessions are visits to your website. A session could involve a single user visiting any number of different pages. Sessions don’t necessarily have a time limit, but if the user remains inactive for 30 minutes, the session will time out. If the user performs a new action after this, it will register as a new session.

As you become more familiar with Google Analytics, you’re going to be seeing these terms regularly. Begin to understand them now, and you’ll be better equipped to gather insights from Analytics and apply what you’re learning.

RELATED: Big, Smart, Profitable: How to Leverage Data for Your Law Firm

Analyze the Data

It’s not enough to just collect data through Google Analytics; you need to analyze it and act on it. When you first created your site, you and other key stakeholders involved in the process should have established key goals and objectives you wanted to accomplish. Now, you can view the data to determine whether those goals and objectives are being met. If they’re not, you can make the necessary adjustments. If they are, you might consider updating your expectations gradually and optimizing the site to continue meeting and even exceeding those expectations.

Each time you log into your account and visit a specific web property, Google Analytics will greet you with an Audience Overview report stocked full of sub-sections. The initial landing page offers a helpful summary of your web traffic. The information is not in real-time, but it does provide useful information regarding users, sessions, and page views, among several other key performance indicators (KPIs). Click the drop-down calendar to adjust the period you want to review. You can view the metrics by week, month, year, or any custom period you choose.

When you scroll down below these primary metrics, you can view additional information about your website visitors such as their languages, countries, browsers, and operating systems, among several other options. You can either view the full report or click on each link to learn more about that specific metric.

Once you get past the Overview section, you’ll find numerous metrics that you should look at regularly. Here are four that every Google Analytics user needs to review daily.

  1. Visitors: To create the best possible digital experience for your users, you must understand how they’re behaving on your web properties. This includes total visits, unique sessions, pages per session, average time on site, and bounce rate.Each industry, business, and site are different, so the numbers themselves will vary. Instead of obsessing over the specific figures, keep an eye out for major increases and decreases. Note how or why they might be occurring as well as the effect they may have on your bottom line.
  2. Conversions: Several metrics act as indicators of overall success, but none more than conversions. When measuring conversions, you should look past the raw total number to understand what’s working and what’s not. This includes examining the cost per conversion, which attribution model you’re using to track conversions, the most common conversion paths on the site, the demographics of users who convert, and which inbound links are generating conversions.
  3. Sources: Traffic sources are important because they indicate how well your link-building strategies are working and how familiar the public is with your site or business. Traffic sources are divided into three main categories:
    1. Search: Visits to the site that result from users typing search terms into Google
    2. Referral: Visits to the site that don’t originate from a web search (links are the most common form of referral traffic)
    3. Direct: Visits to the site that begin with a user typing the specific URL into their browser or choosing the site from a list of bookmarks
  4. Landing pages: Since most of your conversions will likely come from visitors to your landing pages, these pages are extremely important to monitor. If they are receiving plenty of visits but no conversions, that’s a good sign you need to optimize them, especially if you are using paid digital advertising to direct the traffic. Landing page best practices include adding relevant keywords, writing headlines that align with your most effective keywords and key phrases, creating actionable CTAs, and inserting high-quality videos.

Listen to Our Podcast: All Analytics Talk (Rise of the Machines!)

LaFleur Uses Google Analytics to Guide Our Strategies

At LaFleur, everything we do is based on collecting and interpreting data, and we know that the best way to do both for digital marketing purposes is usually through Google Analytics. That’s why several of our team members have earned Google Analytics certifications and why we link all AdWords activity to Analytics.

If you would like to learn more about our approach to using Google Analytics or how we can help kickstart or improve other facets of your company’s digital marketing initiatives, we would love to speak with you. Please call (888) 222-1512 or complete our brief online contact form today to learn more about us and receive a free site audit.

   

References

Hines, K. (2015, June 24). The absolute beginner’s guide to Google Analytics. Moz. Retrieved from https://moz.com/blog/absolute-beginners-guide-to-google-analytics

Mangold, B. (n.d.). The ultimate Google Analytics glossary. Loves Data. Retrieved from https://www.lovesdata.com/blog/google-analytics-glossary

Sentance, R. (2018, May 10). A guide to the standard reports in Google Analytics: Audience reports. Search Engine Watch. Retrieved from https://searchenginewatch.com/2018/03/29/a-guide-to-the-standard-reports-in-google-analytics-audience-reports/

Email: Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can help marketers of all skill and experience levels better understand their users. Click here to learn about some of the common terminology, how to create your account, and some of the key metrics you should be tracking.

Big, Smart, Profitable: How to Leverage Data for Your Law Firm

A Brave New World

In the not-too-distant past, all it took for an attorney to build a large and profitable client roster was to run a successful, ethical practice while generating inbound referrals and quality word-of-mouth advertising from past and present clients.

While this remains an effective way to operate your firm, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to thrive in today’s competitive legal atmosphere without digging into the data to determine where your practice’s strengths and weaknesses lie, what your ideal client type is, and what the most effective marketing strategies for your firm and practice areas are.

1 Furthermore, failing to collect, analyze, and leverage relevant information from your digital marketing strategies and your daily operations limits your firm’s potential for growth, and it also adversely affects your revenue by directing your resources toward the wrong locations, practice areas, and demographics.

Now don’t get nervous: the sky isn’t falling (yet). There’s still time to adapt to this new paradigm, as the legal industry is surprisingly one of the last to hop aboard the data train. And you don’t have to be a tech wizard or a mathlete to get caught up to speed, either. Analyzing and incorporating data really isn’t all that difficult if you have the right platforms and processes in place. From there, it all boils down to developing common-sense solutions to glaring inefficiencies. Read on to find out how.

The Tools of the Trade

Before you can begin to track data, you need to install the proper tools that will help you gather and organize it. The best place to start is with the granddaddy of them all: Google Analytics.

When installed properly on each of your web properties, Google Analytics allows you to track every bit (or byte, if you’d rather) of vital information, including site visitors, traffic sources, and bounce rate, among dozens of other helpful metrics. This information can then be segmented according to demographics, technology, behavior, date of first visit, time of day, date ― the list goes on.

Once you’ve put effective and accurate tracking methods in place, you can alternate preferred reporting settings to get real-time information regarding your marketing campaigns. Click here to view an excellent series of tutorials on this subject, straight from Google themselves.

If your firm is running a paid search campaign — which you likely should be, if for no other reason than to protect yourselves from conquesting (which is when opposing firms capitalize on your name) — then you’ll want to sync your Google Analytics with Google AdWords. (You can now also track your Bing Ads campaigns in Google Analytics by installing Universal Event Tracking ― UET.) 2

As a standalone tool, the AdWords interface is a great resource to track clicks, impressions, and conversions. Without adding the Google Analytics component, though, you’ll lack access to other important metrics derived from paid search campaigns, including bounce rate, pages per visit, average visit duration, and percent of new visitors.

By using Google Analytics to determine which landing pages aren’t performing, you can either work to optimize those pages or delete them altogether and switch your emphasis to the areas where you’re achieving the most success. Even better, when you drop landing pages that aren’t working, you can transfer the search terms or display ads associated with them to landing pages that are performing. (However, be sure to update the verbiage of your advertisements and existing landing pages before undertaking any drastic changes to the campaign. Adding irrelevant or superfluous information can drastically influence your AdWords Quality Scores and Ad Ranks, so take the time to update your campaigns across the board ― from keyword creation to landing page copy.)

Lastly, you’ll want to take a long look at your competitors’ marketing efforts and stay up to date on industry trends and best practices. One great tool for keyword research ― for both organic SEO and paid search ― is the aptly-named SpyFu. This inexpensive resource allows you to peek behind the curtain and get a comprehensive understanding of how your competitors are approaching search.

Among other things, SpyFu allows you to view the keywords that competitors are bidding for in paid search, the keywords that are generating the most traffic to their websites, information regarding cost-per-click and search volume for their keywords, and projections for what they’re spending on their campaigns. By leveraging this data, you can create a robust and effective list of organic and paid keywords and also determine your firm’s keyword costs for successful campaigns in the future.

Data Mining: Clairvoyance and Client Acquisition

2016 saw the release of two great television programs that relied on the dual premises of clairvoyance and the supernatural to advance their complex narratives: Stranger Things and The OA. And maybe it’s because I recently binge-watched each of these in rapid succession that I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how collecting quality data and then using that data to predict future outcomes has become something of a modern-day magic trick ― the sort of sleight of hand that can make even the most inept charlatan appear to be a powerful sorcerer to the untrained eye.

3 The truth is that this sort of predictive analytics isn’t magic at all; it’s based on nothing more than a willingness to set assumptions aside in favor of the story told by objective data. For instance, if you keep losing out on what initially seem to be promising leads, it’s probably not because of that rival attorney across town who’s vengefully poaching your clients because you received a higher score on your Mass Torts final in law school.

Or maybe it is. But you won’t know either way unless you are actually tracking the data. There are plenty of other explanations for why leads don’t consistently turn into clients: maybe your support staff isn’t following up with your leads in a timely (which really means immediate) fashion. Maybe your email drip campaign open rate is suffering from a precipitous decline that started with the hiring of your new freelance copywriter. Maybe your paid search campaign is receiving hundreds of clicks, only for those clicks to redirect to a broken landing page. Whatever the case might be, don’t automatically assume that a particular tactic is failing or succeeding because you see short-term plunges or spikes. The name of the game here is determining direct causation, not coincidental correlation.

By undertaking a thorough audit of your former clients within the last three to five years and cross-referencing that information with the profit (or loss, as the case may be) your firm leveraged from each client, along with the amount of time and resources that went toward achieving those profits, you can develop a data matrix that helps you ascertain exactly who you should be targeting with your marketing efforts. From there, it’s a matter of adopting the proper targeting strategies to achieve success and tracking the data (always tracking the data!) gleaned from your chosen strategies to build on your success.

Putting Data to Use When Practicing Law

In addition to lead generation and client acquisition, data continues to expand its impact on the actual practice of law. Still, many attorneys, even despite the high-tech tools available to them, tend to rely exclusively on their skill, experience, and intuition when practicing their craft. While these are no doubt valuable attributes, though, they simply aren’t enough in a modern context — especially when more lawyers are getting on board with data-driven tools every day.

Instead, you need to supplement these timeless skills with clear and objective information from automation and analytics tools that have been designed to optimize the legal profession. From case result projections to improved e-Discovery to client engagement, leveraging the data at your disposal streamlines work processes and improves not just your digital marketing results, but actual client outcomes as well.

For instance, many firms are now providing reporting to their clients in real-time via customer portals with individual logins and case profiles. This practice can benefit your firm in several ways, but the two that come immediately to mind are: 1) Such reporting increases client satisfaction by allowing clients to access the progress of their case and measure that progress against pre-established key performance indicators (KPIs) when they want; and 2) It decreases the amount of time and effort that you, your colleagues, and your support staff must expend reaching out to your clients to answer questions, inspire confidence, and quell an 4 xiety. Clients appreciate the transparency and convenience of customer portals, and they free up your staff to focus on legal case work and lead follow-ups with prospective clients.

Emerging data technology can also assist the day-to-day legal operations at your firm through more efficient e-Discovery. Without assistance from technology, reviewing this massive amount of information (sometimes hundreds of gigabytes) can overwhelm you and exhaust valuable resources. Certain analytics tools, however, can scan the text and metadata of these digital documents to determine how often they have been viewed, updated, or redacted, as well as identifying the use of key words and phrases most relevant to the case in question ― possibly bringing out the importance of a document that you might have otherwise assumed to be inconsequential.

Ask yourself: Would you rather have your best paralegal or a bright and innovative associate attorney manually searching massive databases one query at a time, or would you like to automate this process with the use of content analytics capable of near-document grouping, concept searching, and assisted review? The answer is obvious: harnessing the power of big data in your daily operations drastically reduces wasted time, liberating your staff from tedious work so they can focus on the aspects of your caseload that truly require a subjective, human touch.

LaFleur: Data Is Our Middle Name

OK, so technically our middle name is “Legal,” but you get the gist. We predicate our marketing strategies on automation platforms that allow us to expedite and optimize our clients’ campaigns. At the same time, we track massive swaths of data, even while these platforms continue working to bring in new leads that subsequently become quality clients for your firm.

Additionally, we are committed to streamlining the daily operations of our clients’ firms, and we regularly consult with them to find new ways of improving their practice. Our thoughtful and well-researched suggestions have trimmed expenses and created new opportunities for many of our clients, and we thrive when working as a team with key stakeholders to uncover and execute sensible solutions to complex problems.

If this sounds like the type of marketing partner you’ve been looking for, we’d love the opportunity to speak with you. Please contact us by completing this brief form or by calling (888) 222-1512. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Related Articles

References

What does “Big Data” mean in terms of e-discovery? (2016, October 13). FindLaw. Retrieved from http://technology.findlaw.com/electronic-discovery/what-does-big-data-means-in-terms-of-ediscovery-.html

Steiner, D. (2016, April 28). Data analytics and your law firm. Law Technology Today. Retrieved from http://www.lawtechnologytoday.org/2016/04/big-data-law-firm-data-analytics-influencing-cases/

Vallaeys, F. (2014, August 13). These 10 analytics reports will improve your AdWords results. SearchEngineLand. Retrieved from http://searchengineland.com/10-analytics-reports-will-improve-adwords-results-198918