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It is well renowned in today’s digital market that to any organisation, consumer analysis is crucial to building a successful marketing and sales strategy.  But with a recent study by Marketing Week showing that a shocking 29% of marketers admitting to making fewer than a quarter of their decisions based on facts and data, are you really maximising your true potential?

Glasses on graph paper and reports.Customer Behaviour is Always Right

The first step of a successfully online analysis is understanding your customer. Remember, Happy Customers are Repeat Customers. Once you fully understand consumer behaviour and spending, you can target your sales approach accordingly, saving you (and them) time and energy. How did they find you? Which Keywords are working? Which platform are they using? (Desktop/Mobile etc).

So how do you find this out this minefield of information?

Google Analytics

Google Analytics as many of you already know, is a free tool that gives you insights into your web traffic and marketing effectiveness. It is free to use, and will reveal everything you need to know about what is happening and when.

After a year of updates, tweaks and additions, their newly launched interface (v5) is available to all, with Google switching off the ‘old’ GA in January 2012. We have previously covered the recent addition of real time stats to the mix, but here is a quick overview of some of the other new features to help you along your way and make the most of your Analytics.

Multiple Dashboards:

You now have the freedom to create up to 20 personalised dashboards for your site, situating and adding widgets to maximise individual user preferences. This update is fantastic for companies with multi user/inter-department differences and needs,  increasing efficiency ten fold.

Key Word Clouds:

The ‘Key Word Cloud’ visualises and demonstrates top keywords based on specific user criteria, such as bounce rates, pages per visit etc. A slick approach to a main commodity in your marketing approach.

Webmaster Tools

With use of the Webmaster tool, You can now see which Google property drove your site traffic. These stats work similar to those provided to Search/Marketing Agencies, providing data on where your ‘impressions’ are originating and your Click-through-Rate (CTR).

Its worth noting, the numbers aren’t 100% accurate, but the information provided is apt enough to evaluate trends and provide the insight needed to target campaigns and increase the effectiveness. For example, if the majority of hits are from smartphone usage, ensure that your site is optimised effectively for a smaller screen. (read more about this here)

Having this information can (and will!) reduce marketing costs dramatically, with targeted campaigns and stronger initiatives you will see guaranteed results.

Site Speed Reports

This follows on rather nicely from the previous point. A slow loading page will increase your ‘bounce rate’ and lose your reader/customer interest, which with the majority of the population using smartphones and pads over the traditional desktop, is crucial to avoid at all costs.

On top of this, slow speeds will be providing a negative reflection of your page to search engines. As a knock on effect, this  ill influence Adwords ‘scores’ and your overall organic rankings online (thus increasing your marketing spend).

With speed tracking, you can analyse which pages this is occurring and rectify problems and issues as flagged.

Multi-Channel Tracking

Before the launch of this feature, when a conversion took place on your site (subscription, sale, etc), the last link clicked was credited with a referral to you. With this new update, GA  can see what other mediums your visitors used, and can track back to their initial point of reference, whether it be organic, ads, social networks or referrals.

With this, you are able to find any hidden channels contributing to your conversions and sales, and get additional insight on where to invest your marketing strategies in future.

What Else is Happening Out There?

So, you can now see and understand what is happening ‘on site’, but what else is going on?

Social interaction can make or break a company, with more money being invested year on year into social media monitoring and 54% of small/medium business already (or planning to) heavily using and relying on Social Media to enhance their brand and attract new sale opportunities.  (Forbes Study 2010)

As well as the above updates, GA have also included a “social reports” function, showing a break down of how many of your site’s visitors are socially engaged with the page. The reports itemise the social source, and what action occurred, such as number of tweets, +1s, likes, et al. There are many other plugin’s and widgets available for similar uses, check out a selection and see which works best for you and your site.

As well as on page options, there are numerous other free tools available to maximise your social media monitoring, such as ‘Facebook Insights‘ (Analysing your users and interaction on page) and ‘‘ (providing shortened unique links, ideal for Social Media use, and gives a specific target to track) to multiple other online options available for various costs and packages, depending on what you want to see, and how often you want to see it. The key to this, is finding what works for you. Do your research. Whether its self management (which can be time consuming for smaller businesses with limited resources) or whether you outsource to a specialised agency.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Marketers will tell you pay-per-click (PPC) is an important tool in the ‘how to’ of building business. And although surveys show 49% of companies are increasing investment in their PPC budgets, only 57% find it a ‘somewhat effective’ marketing tactic. Judging by the high number of businesses neglecting their analysis, its no wonder as to why. Invest time into your existing visits. By doing so, tracking where your customers are coming from and what they are looking for, you are integrating seamlessly with your sales force, maximising potential missed leads, improving your cost-per-acquisition (CPR) and squeeze more from your budget.

“Knowledge is Power”, and in this case, a more clean cut, highly affective approach to your marketing strategy.

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