Using Google Analytics To Measure The Five Must-Have Elements For Business Objectives

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You probably hear plenty of chatter about why GA is important but really, it’s one thing to login and view default dashboard metrics (quantitative, numbers-oriented info such as visitors per page or averages) but learning how to craft dimensions (characteristics of users such as location, traffic source, and interaction such as a page) into actionable results is something entirely different. Combining those two items is what digital analytics are all about.

Digital analytics is the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your business and the competition to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers and potential customers have which translates to your desired outcomes (both online and offline).
~ Avinash Kaushik, digital marketing pioneer

The first stage in this process is defining your five must-have elements for business objectives. Traditionally, those objectives encompass are associated with mainstream commercial enterprise but we’re going to adapt/tweak them for the arts management field:

Once you’ve defined each objective, you’ll use them to begin creating an effective measurement strategy (the product of implementation strategy and data analysis). The good news is this is a very straightforward process.

Using Google Analytics To Measure The Five Must-Have Elements For Business Objectives

Forget The Funnel

Unlike a traditional conversion funnel, digital marketing focuses on more of a linear conversion path where patrons enter, exit, and return via a multitude of points inside your website.

GA will help you determine how to tap into where via the linear conversion path (i.e. page visits/session) patrons enter the process and what messages they need to hear. In turn, your five business objectives will then help you craft one or more of those messages.

Ideally, your landing pages will be where you spend the majority of your time guiding visitors toward your higher priority business objectives but each and every page in your website should be designed to encourage a successful conversion regardless the visitor’s linear path.

For instance, if a visitor shares a page’s information at their respective social media account, you need to make sure GA is setup to capture that metric. So even though you have social share links embedded into your webpages you won’t know how exactly how effective they are if you don’t tell GA how you want to record those shore actions beyond the default settings.

The key at this stage is connecting all of this to GA by making sure you have the most efficient configuration possible to collect and process the data then visualize those results via the numerous reporting dashboards. These are known as the four fundamental components for turning Analytics into action.

Configuration

These include filters and custom events along with connecting to expanded GA products (AdWords, Console, etc.)

Collection

Getting data into your GA accounts, this is accomplished via the Universal Tracking Code.

Processing

Transforms data using your GA settings, this often works seamlessly with the “Configuration” component.

Reporting

Where you access and visualize data via stock and user defined dashboard modules.

Out Of The Box, Know That GA Is A One-Size-Fits-All Solution

You shouldn’t expect GA to be a tailor-made solution for your measurement strategy. Instead, you’ll get far more out of your digital analytics by using the default settings a good starting place for creating a relevant game plan:

  1. Determine what you want to measure. Spoiler alert: keep it simple then expand. Related skills include implementing the standard GA tracking snippet while more advanced customizations include goal tracking via the ecommerce module (assuming your website generates revenue). You’ll also branch out into using filters to normalize your data so that your reports are consistently accurate and useful. All of this will be wrapped up in campaign tracking.
  2. Confirm your technical platforms. These include your website and potentially other platforms such as a ticketing provider, email marketing provider, e-commerce, and social media outlets.
  3. Refine, expand, contract, and start the process over. Use custom dashboards, custom reports, and Data Studio to simplify the reporting process. Along the way, if the cyclical pattern doesn’t feel natural, you may need to allocate additional time toward more frequent review.

Along the way, you’ll begin to discover the boundaries of your existing GA skills and whenever one prevents you from implementing your measurement strategy, that means you’ve entered the three evolutionary stages for implementing GA:

  • Standard Features

    Even the stock tracking code can be modified with some simple point-and-click changes to the basic settings. These require no special skills and most users have little trouble implementing most measures such as search tracking, activating demographics tracking, and filtering out certain visitors.

  • Custom Features

    These include creating custom goals, e-commerce filters, and related tracking settings. you’ll also want to consider linking other Google platform products such as adwords, tag manager, Search Console, etc. This requires an intermediate skill level and the ability to verify that the modifications are being recorded and not disrupting other tracking efforts.

  • Next Level Custom Features

    These include creating custom reports and dashboards either inside GA or via their API. This requires an advanced skill level while the latter tasks also require developer level understanding of programming.

About Drew McManus

In addition to my consulting business, I'm also the Principal of Venture Industries Online but don’t let that title fool you into thinking I'm just a tech geek. I bring 20+ years of global broad-based arts consulting experience to the table to help clients break the cycle of choosing one-size-fits-none solutions and instead, deliver options allowing them to get ahead of the tech curve instead of trying to catch up by going slower.

With the vision of legacy support strategy and the delights of creative insights, my mission is to deliver a sophisticated next generation technology designed especially for the field of performing arts. The first step in that journey began in 2010 when The Venture Platform was released, a purpose-designed managed website development solution designed especially for arts organizations and artists.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, lead a team of intrepid arts pros to hack the arts, lead an arts business incubator, and love a good coffee drink.

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