Despite its popularity for well over a decade, not many B2B marketers actually know how to use Google Analytics to see how well their marketing is working.
The beauty of Google Analytics is that numbers don’t lie. They tell a story of what kind of visitors are coming to your website (gender, age, place of origin), what interests them (web pages they view, how much time they spend on the website) and whether they are converting (destination URLs and form-fill conversions).
Only by comprehending the key stats in Google Analytics can B2B marketers determine how well their marketing activities are working and what, if any, changes to the marketing strategy need to be made.
Here’s how to use Google Analytics to check on these key B2B tech marketing activities:
Validate buyer personas
Google Analytics is a great source of insight into the demographics of visitors to your website. While not as deep in demographic details as some website analytics tools, it does help you validate how your marketing is resonating with your target buyer personas. If your key decision-makers are female between the ages of 35-55 but your website is only seeing 30% of its traffic from that demographic then you may have a problem.
You’ll need to be sure that your marketing messages (both written and visual) are what your buyer personas want to see. You should also make sure that the channels you are using (social media, email, SEO, Google AdWords, PR, etc.) are reaching the right demographics. For instance, women between the ages of 35-55 may be more likely to be on Instagram or Pinterest over Facebook and Twitter.
Every marketing campaign you run will have a call-to-action (CTA). How successful the CTA is at driving engagement becomes a litmus test for the campaign. Google Analytics can tell you how well the campaign is performing by reporting on traffic for campaign landing pages, conversion rates for form fills, and the number of pages visitors engage with. Results from these metrics and others can tell you how effective CTAs are at driving visitors with any kind of buyer intent. Lackluster results (brief time on site, few pages per session, no conversions) means your CTA has failed to drive interest or appeal to the right buyer persona.
One option is to A/B test your CTAs in order to see which one resonates more with your target audience. It’s generally advisable to not A/B test too much at a time (typically just one thing like the location or color of your CTA button on the landing page) so that your experiment is focused on one highly measurable attribute.
Measure email campaigns
Speaking of testing CTAs, Google Analytics can help augment your email client analytics reporting by showing similar onsite metrics. A/B testing email campaigns should always be built into email campaigns. Fortunately, most email clients and marketing automation platforms allow it. The winner of an A/B test is typically based on either opens or click-throughs and thus is not the best measurement of a successful email campaign. For this, you should refer back to metrics like onsite engagement with associated landing pages, form fill conversions, pages/session, return visits, etc.
Improve lead generation conversion
Lead generation is the ultimate litmus test on how well a company’s marketing plan is working. Lead gen happens when website visitors fill out some kind of form, say a newsletter sign-up or a white paper download form. If your website is doing a poor job of converting leads then a fix must be found. Fortunately, your Google Analytics account can help you pinpoint the problem. Are you not getting many visitors on the landing page? Then the problem may be with the marketing channel you are using: email, social media, Google AdWords, etc. Getting good traffic to the website but not seeing any conversions? Again, you may be dealing with a CTA issue or the overall alignment of your marketing message/campaign with targeted buyer personas. The point of this is that Google Analytics can show you ways to tweak and improve your site content by showing areas that are underperforming.
Google Analytics was designed to analyze website analytics. But along the way, after Google acquired the app from Urchin Software in 2005, it also became a tool for managing Google AdWords, Google’s pay-per-click advertising platform and a major backbone of its revenue stream.
For some B2B tech companies, PPC campaigns are a significant part of the lead generation strategy, which is why Google Analytics is invaluable for not only measuring campaign effectiveness but discovering ways to improve the ultimate outcome. Pay close attention to the Acquisition section of Google Analytics to measure your campaign metrics: cost-per-click, users, sessions, bounce rate, etc. Goal completions is a key metric and usually involves a form fill (contact form, download form) to which you can assign a value in order to measure a crude form of campaign ROI.
Connect PR to lead gen
In a previous article, we wrote about how to use Google Analytics to measure the impact of PR. Rather than rehash the same content, we want to emphasize how Google Analytics can be a digital footprint of a PR campaign. Driving visitors into the sales funnel has rarely been an expectation of PR, yet it can and does drive traffic to a website from referral sites (e.g., media outlets) and thus can be measured accordingly. Failing to do so misses a golden opportunity to measure the effectiveness of your PR initiatives in hopes, of course, correcting messaging or media targets to optimize for better results.
Enhance account-based marketing
Google Analytics, along with a capable marketing automation solution, is capable of assessing the effectiveness of your account-based marketing (ABM) program as well. Not every B2B tech company chooses to deploy an ABM strategy, or it may do so with its largest clients/prospects while keeping a traditional demand generation strategy in place for the rest.
Regardless, with ABM you need to know what messages and CTAs are resonating with your high-potential target customers and prospects. ABM relies upon a tight coordination of sales and marketing but the measurement of the digital website is still important. By using landing pages, event RSVP forms and personalized email campaigns it’s possible to use Google Analytics to measure engagement and see what works, what needs tweaking, and what needs ditching.
Triumph at trade shows
B2B companies still invest heavily in annual trade shows and industry conferences. With marketing assets and content produced for every marketing channel imaginable, it means a company must measure results with pinpoint accuracy to determine how effective each and every marketing activity was at delivering the desired outcome.
Say as part of your ABM activity you Invite a group of target prospects to an exclusive dinner with your CEO and CRO at a trade show. You would want to track responses to RSVPs and click-throughs to and engagement with a custom landing page. Google Analytics can show you the traffic to the custom landing page, conversions, and other items like time on site, devices used, and more.
In short, Google Analytics can provide deep insight into how well a trade show performs in terms of digital metrics and should be included, along with reporting from a marketing automation solution, in any post-mortem reporting a company does when calculating its overall performance.