10 Google Analytics Hacks to Better Understand Your Audience

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for better understanding your site's traffic, but did you know there are key ways you could use that data to increase your ROI?

A. Set and Analyze Goals


If you're not setting up goals within Google Analytics, you're missing a powerful opportunity to truly understand the journey of your users. Set up goals for anything transactional: email sign-ups, checkouts, abandoned carts, creating an account, social sign-ins, and more. By checking these goals regularly, you can begin to see trends in your users that you could only guess about before. - Anshey Bhatia, Verbal+Visual

A. Increase Conversions With a Content Upgrade


Often, 80 percent of a site's traffic will visit 20 percent of its pages. By leveraging this data, you can create high-converting funnels. Go to Behavior > Landing Pages and identify the top 10 landing pages on your site. Many times, they're blog posts or feature pages. Create lead magnets specific to that material (also known as a content upgrade). With the proper email marketing, these can increase your conversions 2-6x. - Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

A. Increase Revenue by Learning User Behavior


In the "Behavior" section of Google Analytics, select "Site Content" and view your most viewed products and pages. Our company was able to increase revenue by moving our most viewed products to the top of our page, making them easier to find, and running deals and specials on them. We also work directly with Google AdWords and have an assigned account manager who helps us with optimization. - Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

A. Analyze Your Referral Sources


Where are your customers coming from? By analyzing your referral sources, you'll discover where your customers are spending time and what they're reading when they come across your company. Each of these referral sources are potential advertising and partnership opportunities that you should explore further. You can take it one step further and find more sites like your referrals to grow traffic. - Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

A. Customize Events for Enhanced Data Layers


Use custom event types to learn more about your users' actions and measure beyond the typical "Category, Action, Label" scenario that Google Analytics defaults to. For example, have the "Category" be the page title of the click, the "Action" pull the page section of the click (e.g. the header), and the "Label" be the actual link text. You just created a custom data heat map! -Dan Golden, Be Found Online

A. Conduct a Cohort Analysis


How long is the consumer life cycle? Do they buy immediately upon seeing your ad/site or do they spend several days researching? Using a cohort analysis report when mapping out your email marketing and remarketing strategies provides fundamental data that can positively influence your conversion rates. - Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

A. Integrate Google Search Console


The secret to understanding and optimizing your mobile and web audience is to link your Google Search Console to Google Analytics so you can share data between the two. Google Search Console shows critical information about how Google sees your website, including mobile usability, 404 pages, site links, and what sites link to you. These two data sources provide greater insight than one alone. - Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

A. Set Up Site Search


To better understand what your audience wants, you should set up Site Search in Google Analytics for your website. This will allow you to see exactly what visitors are searching for on your site, giving you a plethora of data to improve everything from SEO to conversion funnels. This is the most concise, accurate data for determining visitor interest and intention in GA. -Wesley Mathews, High Level Marketing

A. Test Variations With Google Experiments


Google Experiments allows you to A/B test design and content variations. Choose a percentage of traffic to visit a page you'd like to test and set a designated objective (a metric or goal) to track between page iterations. Test out your site's changes slowly with progressively larger experiments. - Kevin Conner, WireSeek

A. Implement Google Tag Manager


Google Tag Manager allows you to quickly and easily update tags and code snippets on your website or mobile app and configure and flag values of mobile apps. Adding tags to your website will allow you to better understand attribution and maximize ROI. Google Tag Manager also ensures that you will never miss a measurement or marketing opportunity. - Obinna Ekezie, Wakanow.com

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.