Understanding Google Analytics
When you’re running a small handmade business like me, every penny counts. You need to invest time and money into marketing channels that work. So today I’d like to introduce you to a little “gem” of a method using Google Analytics to find quality sites to market on.
But before I go any further, you need to become more acquainted with how Etsy has our Google Analytics integrated. There are some small nuances to understand when interpreting reports. See this post here for details: Understanding Traffic Sources to Your Etsy Shop. If you don’t have Google Analytics running yet, I HIGHLY suggest you do it. Like… now. See Etsy’s directions on how to get it up and running.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way… We’re going to be using the Referring Sites report to find the sites delivering the best traffic to our shop. See the “Pop-up Video” style image at the end of this post showing you exactly where to go to get this information!
How to Get to the Referring Sites Report
Log-in to Google Analytics, referred to as “GA” from here on out. Select Traffic Sources–>Referring Sites from your left navigation. Make sure your date range is long. View at least 2-3 months’ worth of data. If that doesn’t give you enough traffic to look at, broaden your date range to 6 months.
Reading the Referring Sites Report
Determining Which Sources Are Best
Ok. So, now you’re looking at your report. What you’re looking for are sites that deliver quality and engaged visitors. How do you measure this? By looking at Pages/Visit, Avg. Time on Site, and Bounce Rate.
Here are some definitions of these:
- Pages/Visit: The average number of pages viewed during a visit to your site.
- Avg. Time on Site: The average duration of a visit to your site.
- Bounce Rate: The percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page).
Ok. So we’re looking for sites that are delivering us quality visits. Quality visits are those with a good amount of pages/visits(+2), a decent time on site (+/- 1 minutes), and a low bounce rate (50% or less). Of course, these values will be relative based on how your shop performs, so see how your users behave and choose your values accordingly.
Sorting Your Report
A really quick way to get at the best data is by sorting. Pressing the “Time on Site” column name will sort your sources from lesser to greater or greater to lesser. I suggest this method. Make sure it’s sorted from greater to lesser.
You can, however, sort your data even more granularly using the “Advanced Filter” option at the bottom of your screen. Do this by:
- Clicking “Advanced Filter”.
- Clicking the down arrow in the green source box and selecting the “Visits” radio button.
- Pressing the down arrow in the “Less Than” box and selecting “Greater Than”.
- Enter “1″ in the open field.
- Press “Apply Filter.”
Now you are viewing all traffic sources giving you more than one visit. If you’d like to change the filter, select “Edit Filter” at the bottom. To remove the filter, press “Clear Filter.”
This sorting option will be particularity useful to those sites that get a lot of visits. However, if the data you are looking at is manageable, then I suggest considering every site no matter the number of visits it gives as long as the traffic it’s delivering is quality.
Using the Data
So, we’ve got our list. Now we must put our investigative hats on and visit these sites to see if they’re relevant to us. Luckily this is super simple from within the GA interface. To visit a site, simply press the pop-out icon to the left of the blue site name. This will open the site in a new tab or window. Visit the window and take a look at the content. Looks good? Jot the site down. Moving back to the GA window, click the next site you’d like to investigate. The next site will open in the same window the previous one did. Review it. Jot down notes if its a keeper. Do this over and over, creating your site list as you go!
Now you have a list of gold! Here are a few options on what to do with it!
- Buy ad space.
- Hold a giveaway or other promotion.
- Fan, follow, and subscribe.
Pop-Up Video, the GA Version
Click to enlarge.
And in the truest sense of practicing what one preaches, I’d like to let everyone know that I came to partner with Handmadeology by doing the research outlined above! I saw quality incoming traffic to my site from Handmadeology, visited Handmadeology, and offered my services. It worked for me. It’ll work for you!