• Blog
  • Mar 25, 2018
  • By Jeff Keenan
Why Google Analytics will fail to help optimize your website

Good websites turn visitors into customers. Using attribution tools instead of just Google Analytics, you can measure which touchpoints boost sales and know exactly where you should improve your site next.

The majority of companies rely on Google Analytics to measure how their website influences the top of the marketing funnel. But what you really need to know is how your content affects conversions further down the same funnel.

Content is only as good as how much it effects the bottom line – many marketers would agree with that statement, but the metrics they use and the improvements they make to their website often don’t reflect that.

Stats show that measurements like “web traffic” and “views” are still the most popular content marketing effectiveness metric, so Google Analytics might seem like your best friends. 63% and 59% of marketers use web traffic and views, respectively, and most tips and tricks you read about are designed to maximize these metrics.

Just because these are commonly used metrics doesn’t mean they are suitable. Quite the contrary.

“Views” and “web traffic” are comparable to sports metrics like “ball possession” or “passes completed.” They are important ingredients to success for many teams, but what you’re really after is increasing “games won” or for companies “revenue generated.”

Good content marketing influences the bottom line. Generating many “views” and “web traffic” that fill up the top of your funnel is a requirement for commercial success for many companies, but they are useless if no lead reaches the bottom of the funnel. If Google Analytics is the only tool you’re using to help optimize your website, you could be in big trouble.

That’s where marketing attribution comes in.

Analyzing previous buyers, to attract future buyers

Marketing attribution tracks visitors from the top of the funnel to the bottom – from the beginning of the customer journey to the end. Therefore, attribution marketers are able to see exactly which roads lead to Rome, and which ones don’t.

Once you know which string of touchpoints is most likely to convert a visitor to a customer, you can start to work backwards. You can optimize your website to guide more visitors towards the touchpoints that have been proven to lead people to a purchase.

Using attribution focuses analysis and therefore improvements on BUYERS, not VISITORS. So, rather than getting more people to come to your website, you want to get more BUYERS.

Instead of optimizing a landing page for more form completions from visitors, you want more “form completions” for BUYERS. That makes a world of a difference on your bottom line.

Two common mistakes you wouldn’t have made with attribution in place

You think focusing on viewers rather than buyers would never happen to you, right? Well, you wouldn’t be the first to focus your efforts too high up in the funnel without even realising it. Consider these examples:

1. Cart full of shoes, wallet full of unspent money

Your company runs a landing page that offers a discount on a pair of shoes.

Ads on Facebook and Google are working great to drive traffic to this landing page.

You’ve plowed through plenty of tips and tricks to optimize the page in ways that convince visitors to add the shoes to their shopping cart. And luckily, your efforts have paid off. Shopping carts are filling up nicely.

But the question is, do full carts lead to purchases?

Optimizing for “add to cart” is completely different than optimizing for “buy these shoes”.

How to improve

All attribution reports focus on the segment of visitors who convert on your website. For storefronts, this means they are buyers.

So start with an attribution report about people who purchased those shoes from your landing page and work backwards to see which marketing touchpoints in the attribution chain were most often influencing the purchase decision.

Maybe it was that encouraging testimonial at the third step of the check out process. Maybe it was the extra long warranty offered at the second step of the check out process.

Armed with this knowledge, you can increase spend on effective touchpoints and reduce or eliminate spend on others.

2. Agenda full of product demos, wallet full of unspent money

Your company has a signup form on the website for people who want a salesperson to contact them.

This could be for a demo of your product or some other type of sales contact. You have a lot of web pages on your website, a blog, and lots of content for download.

You add buttons all over these places in an attempt to “optimize” your visitor’s experience for the sales contact call-to-action. But the question is, do demos lead to purchases?

Optimizing for “demo requests” is completely different than optimizing for “buy this product”.

Before you know it, you’ll have spent all your salespeople’s available hours holding demos for clients who weren’t likely to buy in the first place.

How to improve

Instead, use an attribution report to see who has completed that form in the past and exactly what content was important in their attribution chain.

For example, find out which blog articles were most frequently viewed before the conversion… not which articles are the most popular to all visitors. See which downloads are completed prior to conversion as well as which web pages are visited.

Now, you know exactly where to put the calls-to-action. Eliminate request-demo buttons from everywhere except the blogs, downloads, and web pages that commonly appear in attribution chains that end with a purchase.

So, if you want to know what your next website improvement should be, don’t rely on Google Analytics for those web traffic and pageview counts. Take a look at attribution and focus on how those visitors turn into buyers.