If you’re running a business that has a website, you need analytics. Knowing how people are finding and engaging with your website is golden information that you can build on. Understanding which pages resonate the most and the least with your target audience and finding new pockets of potential customers can scale a business far faster than anecdotal evidence and trial and error.
Julian Juenemann knows about Google Analytics, one of the most popular web analytics tools. He learned about digital marketing through various startups he cofounded, and quickly became fascinated by a data-driven world. Launching JJAnalytics in 2013 saw him helping other business adopt his methods, to grow their businesses to new heights. He has since launched the MeasureSchool YouTube channel to teach this way of marketing to others. With over 150,000 subscribers, it’s become the leading source for marketers to learn data-driven analysis.
The new update of Google Analytics, GA4, has created exiting potential for entrepreneurs to improve how well their website converts and, therefore, the profitability of their business. Juenemann shares how the data can be applied to grow your business.
1. Visualize your funnel with GA4
“A funnel is a series of pages or actions your user takes to reach your goal,” explained Juenemann. “Not everyone will enter or even complete all steps.” With GA4 it’s possible to visualize your funnel and gain insights to improve it. Having an understanding of how customers are progressing through your site and converting to sale is valuable information to see laid out.
“In the Exploration section of GA4, select to create a new funnel exploration report,” instructed Juenemann. He explained that a pre-configured report will show by default, but “the magic lies in customizing it.” Customize your report by changing the steps on the left-hand side. Select the pages you want users to go through, to reach the desired conversion. For example, downloading your ebook, visiting a series of checkout pages, or reading a product page before putting it in the cart.
Once you have selected the steps of your funnel, it’s time to study it.
2. Understand and reduce drop off to increase sales
Before figuring out how to improve your funnel, it’s important to understand drop off. No website in the world has a 100% conversion rate because, “not every user will end up buying your product or submitting your form.” With the funnel visualization you have just created, you can now see the percentage of your website users that are dropping off on each step and understand which steps need improving.
GA4 portrays your funnel as a series of blue bars, each of which represent people who have visited that page. “Underneath each blue bar, you can see the percentage of users that dropped off on that step.” From here you can understand your most significant drop-off pages. This should involve looking at the page yourself and perhaps getting a second opinion from someone in your target audience, then reworking the page or making small tweaks. Edit the copy, add an explainer video, refresh the colour palette or add some images or diagrams that better explain a concept.
Improving your funnel’s pages will help more users travel through to sale. A tiny percentage improvement at each stage will make a dramatic difference to your overall conversion rate.
3. Retarget abandoned users
By now, you have identified which group of users haven’t progressed through your funnel to the end, and figured out where they are dropping off. You have your plan to improve your conversions. Next, it’s time to retarget those users who did drop off to entice them back in.
“GA4 has a great way of bringing abandoned users back to your site, made possible by the connection to Google Ads.” Connect the dots as follows. “Right click on the abandonment number and you’ll see an option to create a segment from these users.” A segment is a portion of people you can group together. “In the menu that opens next, you can mark this segment of people who dropped off as an audience.” Next, connect your Google Ads account to GA4 (if it’s not already) and upload this audience to your advertising account.
You can now set up a remarketing campaign to show ads to these people, meaning you have another chance to get them back.
4. Figure out where users come from
Getting in the heads of your website’s users means understanding where they have come from. GA4 tells you this information, so you can work out which traffic channels you should optimize or turn off. For example, if you’re spending to advertise on a certain website but not seeing the traffic, that budget might be spent elsewhere. Similarly, if you’re seeing a high proportion of traffic from Instagram or TikTok, you want to make sure your website matches the visual, short-form layout of those platforms.
“In the Breakdown section of your funnel exploration report created in the first step, add the user’s session medium.” Once you have done this, the table underneath will populate with the traffic sources by which your users entered your funnel. “This data is broken down by the different steps they took and gives you information about how different user groups find you.”
Knowing where users come from brings insight into what they expect to find when they arrive, so you can make sure they see what they want.
5. Improve your funnel
“Making any kind of changes to your funnel will impact the data,” said Juenemann. “An improved site layout might lead to more people entering step two of your funnel from step one.” Keeping a log of the changes you make will enable you to see which have likely been effective and which perhaps had the opposite effect.
“In order to see the effect of your changes in GA4, switch your funnel visualization to a ‘trended funnel’ to see the steps in a timeline chart.” GA4 presents the results of your tweaks and shows you the impact since the changes were made. You can then work out which to optimize further and which didn’t move the needle.
Keep making small edits until your drop-off rates decrease and you’re making more money or attracting more enquiries through your site.
Seeing and understanding data is a powerful tool, not to be dismissed by marketers and entrepreneurs. Knowing what is going on means making small, incremental changes that could vastly affect the popularity and success of a website. Understand these gamechanging features of GA4 to take control of your site and steer the ship accordingly.