If you’ve read more than a couple of our articles or have watched any of our trainings, you’re aware of the importance of tracking and measuring your marketing’s results.
After all, if you’re not tracking your results, how will you know what’s working and what’s not?
We recently devoted an entire training to one of the best ways to track the effectiveness of your website and your online and offline marketing campaigns… Mastering Google Analytics.
Unfortunately, “tracking metrics” isn’t as easy, or as much fun, as it sounds! 😉
And this can be especially true when it comes to using Google Analytics.
Today, I’m going to try to and make using Google Analytics a little easier…
However, before we dive in, I’m going to assume you already have Google Analytics installed on your website.
You do, right?
If not, then that’s your first step. Start with our “Mastering Google Analytics” STAR Training.
Now, don’t get me wrong… Google Analytics does a great job of tracking your site’s visitors as they go from page to page on your website. And if you take the time to review the Mastering Google Analytics STAR training while you get comfortable with Google Analytics, you’ll be far ahead of most business owners when it comes to understanding what’s working and what’s not about your online and offline marketing endeavors.
But, if you don’t know what you’re looking at, Google Analytics can quickly become confusing and more than a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry if this has happened to you or if it does at some point in the future… Believe me, I’ve been there. I think anyone who’s used Google Analytics for any period of time has experienced some form of analysis paralysis.
Thankfully, some great software tools are available that simplify Google Analytics and make accessing and understanding your analytics data a much easier and more pleasant experience.
And now I’m going to show you five of my favorites.
But, before we get started… a quick warning…
Just because I’m recommending these tools, doesn’t mean they are the perfect fit for every situation. If they seem like they can help you, great. Give them a try. Keep those you find useful and toss the ones that aren’t.
Okay, let’s get started with one that more than a few of my clients have found invaluable…
Quill Engage is a relatively new service that plugs directly into your Google Analytics account and translates your analytics data into an easy-to-understand report.
All those numbers and graphs that we looked at in our Mastering Google Analytics training? Practically gone!
With Quill Engage you can choose to receive a weekly or monthly e-mail that presents your Google Analytics data in plain English.
Here’s an example of what their reports look like…
Why do I recommend Quill Engage?
Well, let’s face it… Google Analytics can be tough to sort through. This is especially true if you’re not sure how the various reports in Google Analytics relate to each other.
Quill Engage not only presents your analytics data in plain, straightforward English, it, in effect, tells you a story about that data that you can easily understand and act on.
Quill Engage’s developers are still working on the software and have plans to include new data sources – such as the ability to track goals and conversions – as well as add new delivery formats so you can more easily access and share your reports with others.
And Quill Engage is free… at least for now. While I don’t know what their pricing plans are for the future, I recommend giving it a try today. Even if they do decide to charge for this service going forward, chances are current users will get a discount if/when the time comes.
Now, let’s take a look at…
This tool is specifically for those who are running ongoing search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.
Google is constantly updating and revising the algorithm that determines where sites rank in their search results… And if you want to find out whether or not Google’s latest algorithm changes have affected your site’s rankings, then Panguin is the software for you.
Panguin is a simple yet invaluable little tool that plots your Google Analytics traffic data and then overlays this with each of the major (and most of the minor) updates that Google makes to its algorithm.
Panguin allows you to see at a glance whether or not your website’s traffic has been impacted by any recent algorithm updates.
Take a look…
Each one of those vertical lines is a known update to Google’s search algorithm.
As you can see, as soon as you give Panguin access to your Google Analytics data, you’ll be able to quickly tell whether or not the changes in your organic search traffic (be they positive or negative) are due to Google’s latest updates.
Again, this tool is definitely not for everyone. However, I use it frequently for my SEO clients and, if you’re actively using search engine optimization to drive prospective clients to your website, Panguin can be an invaluable resource in the weeks immediately following Google’s next algorithm update…
Best of all, Panguin is free and I don’t foresee Barracuda Digital (the company responsible for its creation) charging for it anytime soon simply because they’re using the tool to promote their other Internet marketing services.
Next, let’s look at one of my favorite tools…
We’ve talked quite a bit about the importance of creating and using marketing funnels, and we’ve got even more planned on the subject…
Like the other tools covered in this article, PadiTrack connects directly to your Google Analytics account and displays your analytics data in a much easier to understand format.
However, unlike the others, PadiTrack’s strength is its focus on simplifying the tracking of your marketing and sales funnels.
Here’s an example of what PadiTrack’s reports look like…
As you can see, PadiTrack shows you the conversion rate for each step of your marketing funnels.
So, for example, if you’re leading prospective clients to a lead magnet, and then taking people who sign up for your lead magnet to a sales page on your site, and from there to a shopping cart to complete their transaction, PadiTrack will show you the percentage of visitors who complete each step of the process.
This means you can quickly see problematic areas in your conversion processes, such as a confusing call-to-action or an opt-in form or shopping cart that may not be working properly.
You can also view how well your funnels are doing against specific segments…
For example, using Google Analytics you can create a segment of your website visitors that are from a new e-mail campaign, traffic driven by a specific keyword in organic Google searches, or from new visitors to your site who came from a specific AdWords campaign, and then track their behaviors across the same or different marketing funnels.
Pretty cool, huh?
PadiTrack offers several additional reports for $29 per month. But this conversion funnel tracking report is free and I consider it one of the few “must haves” if you want to make sure your website funnels are performing as effectively as possible.
Okay, next up we’ve got…
N2K is all about what you need to know… Hence the name, N2K (Need to Know).
What does it do?
This tool is the proverbial new kid on the block. But it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on if not putting to use today.
While N2K is similar to Quill Engage in that it provides users a one-page overview of their Google Analytics data, the big difference is in the formatting… And it is a big difference!
Here’s what I mean…
As you can see – unlike Quill Engage, which focuses on helping your data tell a story – N2K presents your analytics data in a columnar format that allows you to quickly scroll through your analytics data and see month over month (or year over year) trends in your traffic sources, devices, etc.
N2K presents all of the complicated data gathered by Google Analytics in compressed but comprehensive focus areas. You can do a quick health check on a variety of topics:
- Device types
- Landing pages
- Traffic sources
- And many others…
So, why use N2K instead of Quill Engage?
Whether or not you decide to use one of these tools over the other will likely boil down to your personal aesthetic preferences. Would you rather “read” what your analytics data is saying or view a quick snapshot of the important drivers and changes over the last month?
Of course, you don’t have to choose between the two… You can easily take advantage of both. In fact, you may find some data easier to understand when presented by Quill Engage, while finding other important data only when using N2K.
Personally, I find N2K’s incredibly detailed yet straightforward report invaluable when it comes to quickly seeing what’s trending higher and what’s heading south.
Lastly, for all of you mobile device fans out there, there’s…
GAget for iOS and G Analytics for Android
Now you can track your analytics on the go!
Of course, as we discussed during our Mastering Google Analytics training, I don’t recommend you check your analytics more often than once a month, at most… That is, unless you have a website with a LOT of traffic or want to check on the effectiveness of a particular marketing campaign.
However, if you’re taking an extended vacation and want to keep on top of your website… Or if you’re one of those people who does most of their computing on a mobile device and you want to check your traffic sources on the go… Yep, there’s an app for that.
So, what do these apps do?
Both GAget and G Analytics are designed to help you easily manage your Google Analytics data on your mobile device. And both offer a complete rundown of your site’s statistics so you can easily monitor your stats from anywhere.
I’m firmly in the “Apple camp” and find that GAget does a great job of making Google Analytics available in a streamlined format for iPhone (iOS) users.
In fact, GAget is so user-friendly, I often use it as opposed to logging in to Google Analytics itself…
GAget automatically checks for updates and makes the cumbersome task of reading through charts and statistics easier, faster, and simpler via its intuitive dashboard.
Likewise, G Analytics for Android’s interface is, in my opinion, more intuitive than Google Analytics’ standard layout. It’s easy to setup, and it works really well in terms of summarizing your data…
While GAget may cost a couple of bucks and G Analytics offers a free version and a “pro” version for $3.99, both are more than worth the nominal one-time fees.
As I said at the outset, you don’t need to use all – or any – of these analytics tools in order to start tracking your results with Google Analytics…
However, each of these tools helps enhance and simplify your tracking efforts and I recommend giving each a try and seeing which are a good fit for you. Then sit back and enjoy the process of analyzing your website’s data and finding out what’s working and what’s not about your marketing now that it’s easier than ever to do so!
Which tool interests you most? Are you already using another analytics tool that you like? Let us know below… And, as always, let us know your thoughts and questions!