Using Google Analytics for Targeted Traffic
To increase your digital marketing performance, you have to access the relevant data and analyse it turning it into useful conclusions and decisions. You can use lots of various tools but almost surely Google Analytics will be one of them.
Analysing your website targeted traffic you will be most interested in the following parameters characterizing each visit:
#1. Source answers the question where your landing page visitor has come from. It can be another website, another page of your website, or a direct URL entered in the browser address line manually or by a QR code or otherwise. Sources can be represented as clickable links to the source URLs.
#2. Channel aka Medium describes the traffic type. It can be:
- Organic search, i.e. from search results minus Ad.
- Paid search, i.e. from search results market Ad.
- Display, i.e. from banners published on websites belonging to an advertising network.
- Referral, i.e. from websites featuring links to your websites.
- Social coming from targeted ads or free social media.
- Email, i.e. your subscribers who receive mailings sent with a specialized software;
- Direct, i.e. those who already know your address.
#3. Campaign connects the particular hit to the campaign the message that brought this hit belongs to.
In order to increase your website’s profitability you need to know which sources, channels and campaigns bring you more targeted traffic and higher conversions. The best way to track these is using specific UTM tags with each link you promote through PPC, display campaigns, referrals, email, etc.
Configuring custom UTMs
As we mentioned in one of our previous articles, targeted traffic stands for visitors who are really (and predictably) interested in your offer.
These people are naturally connected by the need they manifest. But besides the common need, they are similar in many other ways. Maybe they are triggered by the same creatives. Maybe they visit the same websites. Maybe they tend to surf the web in a similar manner, let’s say moms in some Instagram community way tend to copy links spread by their community leader (say trainer) through an Instagram chat and insert them in their mobile browser. This will be counted as direct traffic, although they visit your website for the first time.
Whatever the customs of your target group are, you can track them by the source, the medium and the campaigns they react to. That is why each message you publish that invites people to your website should contain a properly UTM-tagged link, where UTM tags specify all these criteria. You can read the native Google guide to UTM tagging here.
OK, we know what parameters to track and we know this is done using UTM tags. Now, what does the GA have to offer us to carry out the segmenting?
We need segmentation to figure out what reaction each particular marketing activity has elicited from each target group. Aggregate data will never give you those insights and may be misleading instead.
Splitting every report into segments you can follow the behavior of your selected targeted traffic segment or you can go even deeper and compare different representatives of one segment (e.g. people who pressed a highly targeted link) with respect to their actual behavior and success to get what they were looking for.
In Google Analytics, you can form segments according to the criteria you specify, compare between them and the total averages, and take cost-saving and sales-boosting decisions.
The most important tips regarding segmenting with GA follow.
- Any report can be represented in segments, be it a report on audience, behavior, acquisition, or conversions. You will find the segmentation tool just below the report’s title. It features one view for “All Users/Sessions” within the predefined timeframe by default, that looks as a blue circle. To the right, you see a gray circle that suggests your adding another segment. Use this tool specifying criteria attached to your target groups;
- Think of segments as grouping visitors with similar behavior. Which traits of behavior to specify as the segment criteria is up to you. Specify a bunch of criteria that describe a meaningful segment of your targeted traffic. For example, you may be interested in people from Florida who entered the given landing page from a mobile, read it, had two sessions, added a product to the cart, but left without a purchase;
- Consider categories and filters for segment definition. What of them describe your target groups? They include Traffic Sources, Date of First Session, Demographics, Behavior, Technology, Enhanced Ecommerce.
- Use advanced options as Conditions and Sequences to make segments even more specific. Condition is a bunch of criteria that must hold simultaneously. Sequence is a series of conditions applied one by one in a certain order. For example to analyse visitors who first start a cart and then leave with no purchase you need the tool “sequesnces”.
- Use preloaded System segments, including Converters, New Users, Organic Traffic. You can also take them as a basis for your custom segments;
- Assign the “user” scope to analyse the user’s story with your website including all sessions;
- Assign the “session” scope to analyze the entire session performed by one user at one time;
- Assign the “hit” scope to analyze single actions on your website like pageview that are parts of session;
- 4 segments per report. You can form more segments but only 4 of them will be available for comparison;
- No PPC cost analysis. Segmented views are not designed pof paid search efficiency comparison, use campaign analysis instead;
- Use conversion segments to create funnel reports for mutiple channels.
Segments as Audiences
Since segments provide you with highly targeted data regarding your traffic they can be regarded as a foundation for an Ad Audience. That is another way to create targeted traffic based on what you know about your audience.
The prerequisite for these manipulations is having your Google Analytics and Google Ads synchronized.
For example, you can decide to show a promotion banner to a specific audience that it will be of interest for. To do so, you select the segment and click on “Build Audience”. You get an Ads audience whose definitions are preset in accordance with the segment’s criteria. Name this Audience and click Save. Now you can show your highly targeted creative for a highly targeted offer to the audience that is similar (but not limited to) the people who have already visited your website, look like belonging to the given target group, and demonstrate promising behavior.
Using inbound links
Another way to create targeted traffic offered by the Google Analytics is Inbound links. This kind of traffic is direct and highly convertible. They do not help to improve your search rank and can be thus overseen as unimportant, but they drive traffic itself, which may be more important than better position on the search result page.
To sum it up, in this article we have discussed how to analyze your predefined target groups, how to split them into smaller segments based on their special criteria and behavior, and how to create new targeted traffic using segments as audiences or creating inbound links.