Google Analytics Goals: How to Analyze Customer Journey Goals

Using Google Analytics to track your marketing? Want more insight into the customer journey?

In this article, you’ll find a useful framework to set up your Google Analytics goals and learn how to analyze what is and isn’t working with your marketing.

To learn how to analyze customer journey goals in Google Analytics, read the article below for an easy-to-follow walkthrough or watch this video:

3 Types of Google Analytics Goals for the Customer Journey

Before we jump into Google Analytics to figure out which goals are working and which aren’t, it’s important to talk about what you should set for a goal in the first place.

As an example, I’m going to walk you through a customer journey in my business. It’s a specific path that customers follow to purchase a training program, which ends on a thank-you page that says, “Great, you’ve got this added, so check your email in a few minutes for the login details.” That’s a perfect idea for a goal.

My guess is you probably have goals that are set up in a similar way because what you’re measuring for is when people complete the customer journey. But let me ask you a question: “Is that the entire journey?” The answer is obviously no; it’s just when they’ve completed the journey. And while that’s an important goal to set up, it’s not the only type of goal.

What happens before the journey? People first have to become aware of the offer—the training program in this case—so you have to set up a goal when that stage happens.

So we now have an awareness goal when they come to the offer page and a completion goal when they hit that thank-you page but there’s one more type of goal—an engagement goal. It’s when they engage along with the process.

When somebody first comes to your offer page, they’re aware of the fact that they’re on a particular page and could purchase the offer. In other words, they’re aware of the product.

You then continue to measure by setting goals to see if they’re engaging along the way. The engagement step in this example is when they land on the cart.

And finally, you have the goal that you’re probably already familiar with—the completion goal. This is when people complete the process that you want them to complete.

The model that I’ve just described is the one I want you to be able to use in your own measurement because it will tell you a story of where in the customer journey you’re losing people.

Note: This article assumes you know how to properly set up a goal in Google Analytics. Read this article for step-by-step instructions.

Now let’s dive into Google Analytics to look at some awareness, engagement, and completion goals that are already set up.

#1: Evaluate Awareness Goals in Google Analytics

My favorite report for understanding how goals are working—or how they’re not—is the source/medium report. To access this report in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.

screenshot of google analytics menu option of source/medium under all traffic under acquisition

This report shows you the goals you’ve set up and the results you’re bringing in by traffic source. This is great because you’re already halfway there; you at least have some idea what’s working.

Now let’s dig into some goals. Returning to the earlier example of the training program, we’ll start with the awareness goal of the offer page. Select this goal from the Conversions drop-down menu on the right side of the source/medium report.

screenshot of google analytics offer page awareness goals with the conversions menu highlighted with goal 13: wmp - 1- offer page noted

Now you can see all of the different traffic sources coming in and how many of those actually result in somebody seeing this offer. What are those traffic sources doing for your business?

In the report below, you can see that there are 55 total completions and Google organic is really effective in making people aware of this offer.

Read more

What Are the Differences Between a Customer Journey and a Sales Funnel?

My Post (19).pngThe primary difference between the customer journey and sales funnels is that sales funnels work to turn visitors into leads and leads into customers while the customer journey is a representation of the entire overall path a person takes from interest and awareness to consideration and conversion.

Depending on your marketing strategy, the customer journey might be very simple or it might be rather complex. Here’s an example…

Of course, not everyone’s journey is going to be the same.

A customer journey is just a representation of averages — it’s a representation of the way that you expect and/or intend people to become loyal customers.

And the goal of mapping your customer’s journey is to better understand how your target market learns about your business, what catches their interest, when and why they decide to buy, and ultimately, how you can guide them from beginning to end more effectively and efficiently.

In a sense, the customer journey is a more detailed depiction of your marketing funnel — of how you take people from awareness to conversion…


But what’s a sales funnel?

Put simply, a sales funnel is a series of pages intentionally crafted to encourage visitors to take one specific action.

That action might be opting into your email list, downloading a free resource, or purchasing a product.

And there are different sales funnels for different things, depending on what goal you’re trying to accomplish.

Our Tripwire Funnel, for example, is designed to turn cold traffic into paying customers… and it’s extremely effective at doing so.



And our Product Launch sales funnel is crafted to build anticipation for an upcoming product so that launch day is a big success. – Read more

3 Ways To Build Customer Loyalty During A Crisis

My Post (14)As we battle the current pandemic that is COVID-19, it’s important for marketers to keep their customers, or potential customers, at the forefront of their decision-making process. This might seem obvious so let me explain.

When I say, “keep the customer at the forefront of the decision-making process,” it isn’t just about the “put the customer first” or “the customer is always right” mindset. Instead, it’s about truly considering how the things going on in the world today are impacting the customer. This will differ from industry to industry.

Your brand might be in the higher education industry and potential students are worried if they’ll be able to start school in the fall and what that looks like. Your brand might be a retailer and your customers are worried about where their products are shipping from or how delayed their orders might be. Your brand might be a SaaS company and your customers are worried about going back to work soon and wondering what that looks like.

I do want to preface the rest of this post by saying that there’s a balance that has to be considered. Customers and prospects might be tired of seeing so much content surrounding the pandemic. Therefore, we need to be confident that any of the below strategies that we implement are going to improve the relationship between our brands and our customers, not harm it, and we want to bring a sense of calmness or relief, not fear.

Whether you’re able to advertise your brand during this difficult time or not, the three strategies we’ll discuss today are important for all businesses with an online presence. They will help your brand gain more customers, build loyalty, and increase the lifetime value of its customers.

1. Address The Crisis To Build Trust

Not addressing COVID-19 and the impact it’s having on your business could drastically affect users’ impression of your brand. Regardless of the industry that you’re in, COVID-19 is impacting it. If brands show their awareness of the pandemic and the impact on their business, users will have more trust and respect for the brand. See some excellent examples across varying industries simply addressing the impact, even if the impact is minor.

Education:

Retail:

2. Proactively Set Shipping Expectations

The longer people are forced to stay home, the more likely they are to shop online and the more they’re going to be okay with shopping online. It’s important that e-commerce/retail brands take this into consideration and proactively set expectations. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also important to alleviate uncertainty and instead ensure your customers feel their needs are addressed.

Some common shipping questions include:

  • How quickly can I expect my items to arrive?
  • Will shipping take longer than usual?
  • What precautions are the shipping team taking to make sure our items go out safely?

Below are two examples I have come across in the last week: – Read more

Three Tips For Lowering Customer Acquisition Costs And Increasing Sales

My Post (9)As professionals, executives and entrepreneurs, we’re always looking for ways to get more from less with our marketing dollars. Marketing budgets and strategies vary across different industries and businesses, but I imagine most of us would like to lower our customer acquisition costs through paid media while simultaneously increasing sales.

So how can you do this effectively in an increasingly competitive digital landscape, where consumer attention is shorter than ever, and it’s increasingly hard to stand out and be heard?

As a performance coach and entrepreneur, I recommend using the following simple paid digital media strategies to help create compelling results in your business:

Original thought leadership is king.

You might hear this sentiment a lot, but it’s true. Unique and original content and thought leadership is the most effective and valuable way to stand out in a crowded marketplace. By continuing to innovate and be a leader in your field of expertise, taking existing ideas and repackaging them together in new and exciting ways, and demonstrating authority and command of your subject matter, I believe you will always set yourself apart from your competitors.

The best way to do this is to develop a content strategy and create a list of questions that your ideal client or customer probably already has in their mind. This usually centers on the pains, frustrations, aspirations and interests that your ideal client would have as it relates to your space.

Remember not to assume you know all of this already; instead, get out there in the market and ask people what they’re struggling with and what they’re looking for. Be ready to test ideas and hypotheses, and take surveys and do digital focus groups to be confident in this list of questions. You can also use tools that help you analyze search engine traffic and the relevance of various topics and questions.

Once you do this research, create both video content and blog post content that can answer your audience’s questions. It then comes down to consistency and dissemination across all social media channels so that your content becomes exposed, seen and remembered.

Warm your audience up by leveraging traffic ads that offer free value.

Sometimes people make the mistake and run expensive paid digital media ad campaigns to extremely cold traffic that has never heard of them, their company, their product or their service. The better strategy is to run traffic ads surrounding the content and thought leadership pieces you create.

This helps to build a warm audience of prospects you can add value to for free, which will build your authority and create impressions and name recognition with your prospects and ideal customers. – Read more

How to Improve Digital Customer Experience: Test, Optimize, Repeat

My Post - 2020-03-12T144352.126.pngNow that media buzz over Superbowl ads is starting to fade, marketers can turn their attention to the least glitzy part of their jobs: testing.

While not a topic that typically wins much chief marketing officer recognition, to ignore testing can lead to lost opportunities, if not a lost job. When framed in the larger context of building a culture of experimentation, testing is a mandatory tactic of the modern marketer.

Carl Tsukahara, CMO of Optimizely, says every aspect of digital marketing and the user experience can and should be tested—not only to optimize ad performance, but also to increase the likelihood that prospective customers will have a fruitful journey. Tsukahara’s bullishness on testing—his company describes itself as “the world’s leading experimentation platform”—is not surprising. Still, it’s hard to imagine a CMO who can thrive without some level of testing and experimentation.

What was your mandate when you started at Optimizely?

The company had gotten to a certain point in its growth and was adjusting its strategy to focus on spending more time with enterprise customers. The company had grown as an A/B testing tool, but primarily sold to small groups and practitioners in a bottom-up sense. We realized is while it’s important to see the market bottom up, and to pay attention to a range of available prospects, pivoting toward bigger enterprise customers requires quite a bit of focus and effort. We had customers like IBM and HP and big companies that were saying they wanted to take this experimentation process and implement it. This became a strategic imperative for our organization, and we wanted to focus more on enabling that process adjustment for larger customers.

Where should testing fit into a content marketer’s toolkit?

So many places. A good way to understand is simply ask questions about your efforts. Let’s say you’re doing paid search via Google AdWords. I would ask this: Is the messaging in your ads right? Is the language you’re using correct? What about the experience that happens when somebody clicks through the link and gets to your landing page? Do you have the right images? Colors? Offer strategy? That’s just one example. How do you know if you can’t get 10 percent or 20 percent better? – Read more

How to Master the Customer Experience From Search to Transaction

My Post - 2020-01-24T124000.615.pngWhen it comes to purchases, two things are critical: driving visitors to your website and ensuring a positive experience once they’re there.

On January 15, I moderated a sponsored Search Engine Journal webinar presented by Kameron Jenkins of Botify and Greg Batchelor of AB Tasty.

They shared how marketers can create the most relevant, optimized customer journey from discovery through to transaction.

Here’s a recap of the webinar presentation.

Search plays a big role in the customer experience.

If you think about your website as a unit made of a bunch of individual URLs, the sum of those parts represents 100% of your company’s website investment – in time, money, resources, and talent.

Botify’s 2018 study found that, sadly, Google is missing about 51% of those pages.

Now, there are plenty of reasons why you wouldn’t want Google crawling certain URLs, but this 51% number actually represents “compliant” pages – in other words, pages whose signals indicate that they DO want them crawled and indexed.

  • They respond with a 200 status code.
  • They are the canonical version.
  • They don’t have a noindex tag.
  • Etc.

These websites wanted Google to crawl those pages, yet Google was missing them.

All of this leads to the fact that only 23% of pages on large enterprise sites receive any organic visits. In other words, we’re trying to drive conversions from just 23% of our pages.

Organizations that focus purely on the on-site experience are missing out on the massive conversion and revenue benefits that could come from adding more pages that you already have to the mix.

Focusing on SEO means you get more chances to convert – whether that be an ecommerce purchase, a lead gen form fill, or publisher paid subscription sign-ups.

The SEO Funnel + The Customer Experience

Here’s another way we can visualize the relationship between search and customers.

Botify - Search & Customer Experience

In purple, we have the SEO funnel, and the reason it’s represented as a funnel because each step is contingent on the one before it.

In yellow and orange next to it, we can see how each of those phases corresponds to a phase of the customer experience.

Having search engines crawl, render, and index your content is a prerequisite that has to happen before we have a hope of our potential customers finding that content via a search engine like Google or Bing and then converting on our site.

Crawl

In this first phase of the SEO funnel, it’s critical for SEOs (especially those that work on large sites) to focus on crawl budget optimizations like:

  • Using your robots.txt file to keep Google away from unimportant/duplicate pages.
  • Linking to the final/preferred version of your key URLs in your content and sitemap.
  • Cutting back on other things that can take up Google’s time like slow page load fetching/rendering JavaScript resources.

Render

Speaking of JavaScript, Googlebot is now evergreen, meaning it can navigate more modern JavaScript languages as it updates with the latest Chromium.

Google knows that JavaScript is essential in the modern web, so they keep making improvements to better understand JavaScript sites.

That said, it’s important to always investigate for yourself. For example:

  • Look at your log files to see how often search engine bots are crawling your JavaScript resources.
  • Run an HTML-only crawl and then another with JavaScript to compare the two versions – you might find JavaScript-loaded links and content that you don’t need to load with JavaScript, making it easier for Google to access.

Index

The result of crawling and rendering improvements is more key pages added to Google’s index.

As you can see in the diagram above, those are the prerequisites for a potential customer to be able to find in you via search and buy from you. It can’t happen without those steps. – Read more

5 tactics that encourage customer reviews

My Post - 2019-07-24T101028.160.pngMake sure your business pages are claimed and ready for reviews – then be ready with a strategy to respond to them.

In the crowded and ultra-competitive world of e-commerce, there’s one thing that almost everyone agrees helps you stand out: reviews. According to one study, 97 percent of online shoppers surveyed said that customer reviews factored into their buying decisions, and 73 percent said written reviews were more useful to them than star and number ratings. In other words, you don’t just need good ratings – you need detailed reviews that are helpful to your customers.

That can be a bit of a tall order, and the bad news is that there are no shortcuts to a glowing reviews page on Google, Amazon or any other platform that customers use to find your product. Any service that promises big, instant increases in reviews is probably selling snake oil. But there are simple steps that you can take to gradually build your reviews presence into a selling point for your brand that will also improve your SEO presence.

Here are five relatively easy, common-sense ways to get started.

1. Make sure your business pages are claimed and ready for reviews

The first steps toward getting more reviews involve making sure that it’s as easy as possible for customers to leave them. One part of this is something you should be doing anyway – making sure you have easy-to-find pages on Google, Facebook and other major review platforms. If a customer can’t easily find your profile, they’ll almost never leave a review. You can use the established best practices of local SEO to claim your business listings and ensure you’ve got easily accessible pages on Google My Business, Facebook Business and Yelp.

2. Ask customers for reviews (but don’t push)

Sometimes, you’ll need to reach out to customers and ask them for reviews. This doesn’t have to be painful, and it should never be intrusive. This is one area where it’s easy to annoy a customer if you go overboard. But it’s a good way to get some momentum on your reviews page.

Follow-up emails asking for a review are one common way of doing this. They’re usually sent after the customer receives their purchase, and they usually offer a direct link to the page where a customer can review the product or service. You can also add a “thank you” page to your site that asks customers to review once they’ve made a purchase. This is good for software downloads and other goods or services that the customer receives instantly.

Offering discounts and coupons to customers who leave reviews is an option that can deliver good results, but businesses need to be careful. First, check your review platform’s policies regarding paying for reviews. Yelp, for example, has a policy that explicitly prohibits merchants from asking for reviews at all, and its algorithm targets reviews they believe have been solicited. Amazon, meanwhile, is a little more lenient, but still prohibits “any attempt to influence or manipulate reviews.” If you ask your customers to leave a review and want to offer them something for it, you’ll want to ensure that your customers are posting the reviews on a platform that allows it. – Read more

How Google Uses Reviews To Understand A Business

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It’s been known for some time that Google looks at reviews for long tail information and that reviews with that information would lead to Google showing local listings for those terms.

In addition to the Local pack and Map results, Google’s search results are packed with review sites and content.

The Role Of Online Reviews In Search Marketing

We also have known that it wasn’t just reviews at Google that were used to expand Google’s understanding. Google is clearly looking at reviews at multiple sites across the web to better understand any given business and using those 3rd party reviews to increase a business’s visibility in search.

So it should come as no surprise that a patent was granted to Google that details some of the ideas and architecture used in that process. Google search expert Bill Slawski did a great job covering this patent from the larger entity point of view.

These days the Google Knowledge Graph and the entities within it have grown well beyond the Places shown in Google search and Maps, but Local was the origin point for all things related to the Knowledge Graph. Local has always been the test ground and often the first to roll out features that are then applied more broadly to other entities.

That is no more true than in the online review space and the ability of review content to influence Google search results.  – Read more

7 Reasons Online Reviews are Essential for Your Brand

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Having easy access to the web has radically changed the way people shop for almost everything today.

From mobile phones to dentist services, it’s rare to blindly make a purchase decision without reading through several online reviews. In 2016, 90% of shoppers read at least one online review before deciding to visiting a business.

More importantly, 94% of online shoppers reported that a negative review has convinced them to avoid visiting a business.

This means that whatever your industry, having a positive online presence gives you several key advantages, which is why it’s becoming a key part of branding.

Understanding why you need online reviews will help you optimize your customer experience to help create a positive online footprint. Let’s review these seven reasons why your consumers’ published experiences with your brand are vital.

mention demo

1. Social Proof Drives Purchases

We’re more likely to make a purchase if others around us—even total strangers—agree that it is a good decision. Today, online reviews are the biggest source of social proof, and they have a clear impact on sales.

For example, Seriously Silly Socks has been able to drive 60% higher average order value on the company’s website than its other sales channels, and it’s likely that the 3000 five-star reviews that populate the ecommerce site’s various product pages have helped a great deal.

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Image source: https://www.seriouslysillysocks.com/aeroplane-bamboo-organic-crew-socks-in-denim-by-seriouslysillysocks/

“We encourage reviews by emailing customers after purchase and offering a discount coupon in return for a completed review,” Andrew Gill, the owner of the company, recently told BigCommerce in an interview for a case study.

“This has been a major difference from the start of our journey to selling directly from our store and has reduced our reliance on shopping channels. Customer feedback creates that ‘social-proof’ trust that encourages other visitors to our store to buy.”

2. They Make You More Visible

Being a successful brand also means you’re a visible one.

Most shoppers will look on search engines like Google and Bing, or even on Facebook, when deciding what to buy. These websites all have their own unique ways of indexing and surfacing content, but they all value original and fresh content, and customer reviews can definitely help feed the content machine, keeping your brand favored by algorithms.

online-reviews-seo.jpg

Image source: https://www.yotpo.com/blog/reviews-seo/ 

Online customer reviews give you a steady pipeline of(hopefully) positive content that search engines value highly when choosing which results to return.

When you’re ranked higher, algorithms and people alike tend to see your website as an authority in your industry, which also leads to more exposure.

3. They Make You Look Trustworthy

Your brand can build significant trust and credibility from a steady stream of positive reviews.

One of the more interesting findings of recent research is just how powerful reviews are at building your company’s online identity.

Many shoppers distrust businesses that have ratings below(or even above) four stars. This leaves a small margin of error at the top, but companies with better average ratings are significantly more likely to see views converted to traffic and sales.

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Image Source: https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/ 

The way customers are talking about you is just as important as the fact that they’re saying your name. Having a highly positive footprint will eventually help you drive more sales. – Read more

How to Use Social Media to Bring In More Customer Reviews

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If you think online reviews don’t matter, think again.

In a world where 85% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations…

… generating positive customer reviews can make or break your business.

And that’s why you need a review acquisition process. Instead of passively hoping for reviews, you actively use social media channels like Facebook and Google to bring them to you.

Here’s a step-by-step process we’ve implemented and one you can use to dramatically improve the online visibility of your company. – Read more