By Ginger Broslat (Ocala Chapter)
Louis Gray presented Google Analytics tools available to PR practitioners to better measure results to plan more effective communications plans.
Gray encouraged participants to think about how PR plays into the customers’ journeys on the site:
- Establish goals, metrics and targets.
- Measure what matters most.
- Provide content that drives traffic to your site.
- Tells stories with data.
What you measure will help you make better decisions and improve success. Google Analytics can develop reports to effectively retrieve and visualize data in a meaningful way to guide future efforts.
When measuring the results of a site, it is important to visualize the customers’ journey, or actually view it in real time, which Google Analytics provides. The view must look deeper than the amount of clicks. Example: A site with opening audio has an option to click to mute the sound–not valuable in interpreting customers’ experiences.
Sites utilize analytics to implement remarketing campaigns to follow and provide more touch points with customers. Example: Searching a site for a product without purchasing, then seeing ads for those products on other sites.
The role of PR in the modern customer journey is to provide content that leads to return visits. In the past, site visits would have sharp peaks and valleys correlating with campaigns. Effective content should sustain that tracking to be more engaging, leading to a sustained increase in results.
Before launching a site, or making changes to better manage results, first, make a plan.
- Determine business objectives.
- Define business strategies.
- Identify key stakeholders.
- Identify and categorize channels.
- Set holistic key performance indicators (KPIs).
It’s important to align content with business goals and have the metrics and benchmarks ready to measure and adjust as needed. Remember, effort doesn’t always equal results. The amount of time spent trying to measure that which does not matter is not an effective use of time. Avoid “vanity” metrics such as likes, page views and clicks. Look for paths to progress — paths customers took that led to a return on investment.
It’s no longer enough to drive users to sites. Strategic communications professionals go to the users. Through Google Analytics, PR professionals can access four main reports to learn more about users and where to find them:
- Audience – Who are the visitors?
- Acquisition – Where are they from and how did they get to the site?
- Behavior – What did they do once they were there?
- Conversions – Did they convert and how?
Neocortex – Rational, decision-making
Limbric – Emotional
Reptilian – Instinctive
The goal of content – and the results measured – should engage all parts of the users’ brains. Facts tell – stories sell.
Once data is collected, Google tools can help portray the results visually. The Databoard lets you explore insights from Google research studies, share them with others and create your own custom infographics. Visit – https://think.withgoogle.com/databoard/
Learn more about analytics through the Google blog – http://analytics.blogspot.com
Become an analytics pro through Google’s free online course – https://analyticsacademy.withgoogle.com/explorer
Follow analytics trends – twitter.com/googleanalytics
Analytics Advocate, Google
Louis Gray is the analytics advocacy lead at Google and has been at Google for four years. He has 17 years experience working in Silicon Valley startup marketing, PR and consulting roles, and is a well known early adopter and technology blogger, with his outlet at the eponymous louisgray.com. You can find all his work by searching Google or finding him on Google+ and Twitter.