5 Ways IT Can Get More From Google Analytics

Many companies use Google Analytics to view website traffic and visitor click-through data, but that's only the beginning. These five tips will help you examine traffic, keywords, bounce rates and visitors in order to improve your website.

By John Brandon
Thu, October 11, 2012

CIO — In the enterprise, there are often two kinds of corporate websites. There are those that seem frozen in time, presenting stale information to visitors and languishing in disrepair—and there are sites that vibrant with life, where IT staff post frequent updates with rotating banners to display company news, rich graphics encourage Web travelers to explore, and the latest Web 2.0 programming tricks improve the user experience.

As with any IT project, the difference between languor and life is usually good data analytics. Many companies use Google Analytics to see which sections of a company site are the most active, to research which keywords visitors use to find your site, and to explore how visitors click through an ecommerce portal to make a purchase.

Though the data is readily available to view, experts say it's important to act on that data as a way to breathe life into any company site. Here are fire ways to do just that.

1. Use Dayparting to Examine Hourly Traffic

David Handmaker, CEO of Next Day Flyers, uses dayparting, or the division of the day into several segments, to examine when customers search hour-by-hour. The company uses Google Analytics to generate reports on the most common time period of the day when customers make purchases and uses this data to understand purchase patterns.

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For example, Handmaker might see a bevy of visitors, but no purchases, during the morning hours. He can monitor how this traffic turns into purchases at the site. Handmaker also tracks when an ad is placed online, notes the traffic that it generates and adjust his ad placements accordingly.

"When we see trends with times of the day, one of the things we do is raise bids and allocate more of our budget for those times when conversion rates are the highest," he says. On the other hand, "trends for days of the week are a little different, as they can reveal the psychology of customers. Once we take part in an analysis we can adjust our ad copy or offer promotions that will speak to their behavior."

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