Use Google Analytics to Evaluate Your Landing Pages
Let us assume that you have launched an e-commerce website for your company that is going to specialize in widgets. The first thing you have to do is to determine how your website is going to be structured and the pages you are going to include. The first item is your home page that introduces your company, Acme Widgets. You have pages that are dedicated to the different categories of widgets you have (custom, stamped, heavy duty, etc). Next you have a page for each type of widget (plastic, stainless steel, lead, etc).
That’s all important, but you want to structure your website to sell as many widgets as possible. Once you have had a history on your website, you will be able to ask the question – “Do you know what kind of landing page (home/category/product) will give you the highest level of sales?”
Google Analytics provides the tools to analyze your website traffic to be able to find the answer to this question. We will be going through Google Analytics to answer these questions. (If you are a subscriber, you can use this article as a guide to generating and understanding reports that will be of value to you. If you are not a subscriber to Google Analytics or are unfamiliar with the service they offer, visit google.com/analytics and take a tour).
This is where you will be using two of the features of Google Analytics – Advanced Segments and Custom Reports. Using these two features you can find out which is the best type of page on a dollar basis.
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First step is to go to Content>Landing Pages
This is the starting point. You will be given three metrics – entrances, bounces and bounce rate. The information you’re looking for, however is the dollar amount. The dollar value of every landing page can be calculated by created a custom report.
Basically, this Custom Report uses Abandonment Rate, Entrances, Goal Completed and the Value (per customer) as the metrics. Dimension is defined as “landing page.”
This report will give you the per visitor average value for visitors starting on the page. Let us just assume that you get an average value of $0.57 per landing page. This means that the average for all visitors to the web page is a purchase of $0.57. Statistics generated show, however, that on a consistent basis, some pages generate a higher dollar value. For example, visitors starting off on the home page have a $4.50 per visit value. How does that compare with other pages? Other than reading each statistic, Google Analytics’ Advanced Segments will compile and generate the necessary report.
Creating an Advanced Segment
Look carefully at how your website is laid out. There should be a unique identifier that allows you to segment the types of landing pages. Your webmaster or web developer will be able to help you. The basic structure is as follows. In Acme Widget’s simple website, every page contains the phrase widgets .html. Every page for the categories contains category .html. The home page is denoted as home .html.
How is a category segment created?
- • Go to Advanced Segments>Create New
- • Dimension: Landing Page
- • Contains “category.html”
- • Name it “Visitors to Category”
- • Save and Apply to report desired
Using this report, I can compare the visitor spending of individuals who to my category pages are spending $0.98 – much better than the $0.57 average.
To do a comparison to other pages, you need only the change the parameters. Let us run this report to calculate the amount spent by a user landing on a page of an individual product. The same entries as in the previous example are used, with the exception of changing the definition of landing page to include “widgets.html.”
- • Go to Advanced Segments>Create New.
- • Dimension: Landing Page
- • Contains “widgets.html”
- • Name it “Visitors who land on widgets”
- • Save and Apply to report
For Acme Widgets, visitors landing on a product page spend an average of $8.93. This obviously takes the guesswork out of the decision-making process for Acme Widgets.
This process of analytically comparing the revenue generation of one page to another means that Acme Widget can understand the sources of revenues.
Overall, this theoretic analysis offers substantial lessons for anyone wanting to understand the profit centres of their own website and develop or change strategies to improve revenues and profitability.
The best way to approach this analysis is to set goals for your website and the various pages, then run the reports and segments you need to gauge your success. Once you run through this once or twice, you will be able to follow your data on an ongoing basis.
- • Work with both your marketing and web development staffs to understand, develop and apply the following.
- • Make sure your URLs have a unique identifier that allows you to define segments by type of page, along with other parameters.
- • A quick way to understand home/category/product is to look at as home/broad/specific. Generally the more you make the landing pages specific and focused, the more you improve your profitability.
You do not need to be selling a product or service. If you are using your website to gather leads, you can apply the same ideas. Assume that every time you gather 100 leads, you have 8 leads that, when followed, spend an average of $200 each. You can calculate the value of each form completed: 8 x $200 = $1600 gross sales. $1600/100 = $16.00 per lead.
You now have a basis to calculate various landing page values. You should realize the value of Google Analytics in calculating the monetary value of your landing pages. It is type of information that will help you make the decisions you need to manage properly.