Google Analytics has come a long way and is one of the best free tools you can utilize for doing in-depth research. It's easy to assume that a web developer's job stops at designing a website, but it goes deeper than that when you factor user experience into the conversation.
Google Analytics is indeed a tool that's primarily used for market research, but who says you can't keep track of metrics for an idea on how to improve on your UX design?
Remember that conversion rates are the largest priority for any website. And you can't have conversion rates when your users don't have great experiences while interacting with your website via mobile phone or through the desktop computer.
That means a UX designer needs to be interested in knowing what users are doing on the website. You need to know where your audience is coming from, how long they stick around, and how you can improve conversions.
When it comes to websites, a UX designer's definition of success lies in the ability to actively engage with users and meet business goals. And this can only be measured when you track user engagement with a tool. Doing it manually (or on your own) is impossible.
UX and conversions are largely intertwined concepts. You need to face the fact that even the best of digital marketing campaigns will fail to gather leads and achieve other goals if landing page UX misses the mark.
Before we move on to tackling the metrics you need to keep track of to make your UX better, it's important to ask yourself some simple questions first.
Keeping track of specific key metrics helps UX designers determine the behaviour of a user from the first moment they land on a page, up until they convert by availing a service or purchasing a product.
There is no such thing as a single UX metric by which you can evaluate your UX design. Nevertheless, Google Analytics is still useful at providing insight into how a website is performing and will help you optimize the website with better UX for better sales and conversions.
Two main areas that you need to focus heavily on are user behaviour and user intent.
You need to know what people are actually doing on your website because this type of information will help you discover potential problem areas, prioritize some of them, and even let you know if you need to tweak certain areas of your website to invest properly on design effort.
Behaviour flow reports show you a user's journey from the moment they land on a website right up to the time when they exit. It's a good solution if you're finding difficulty in visualizing information.
With Google Analytics' behaviour reports, you can identify pages that deliver the highest volume of traffic, and which paths they commonly take. But even so, the most common paths might still represent the minority of your customers.
This report is useful in helping you choose specific pages and looking at the next few pages that people go to. People you should be on the look-out for include the ones:
In addition, it also works to answer the following questions:
By thoroughly analyzing the behaviour flow, designers can optimize a user's journey to produce logical, meaningful, and easy steps to encourage them towards conversions.
Events can be any kind of user activity on a website that takes users to a new page -- as is the case with highly interactive websites. For this reason, Google Analytics has events tracking.
In this case, events are any kind of user action that you would want to track with analytics, but they're actions that would otherwise be invisible to general analytics -- like clicking on CTA buttons.
Google Analytics defines events as user interactions with site content that can be measured independently from a web page or a screen load. Event tracking comes in handy when you measure the success of flash elements and downloadable goods. It's also good for monitoring video plays, ad clicks, pop-ups etc.
Audience insights on Google Analytics are your UX designing best friend. Basically, it's a comprehensive breakdown of who your site visitors are. Details like interests, location, demographics, devices used, the regency of a user, frequency, time of engagement, etc, are provided.
Data you gather can help you act based on audience data. For instance:
One of the most important things you need to know about your customers and their relationship to your website is why they even chose to visit you in the first place. Were they trying to accomplish something? Were they looking for specific information?
Of course, a tool like Google Analytics can't possibly tell you for sure what your audience wants. Well, not yet anyway. What it can do, however, is provide evidence to support your theories or help you form one.
Looking at things people search for are useful for finding insights about your users' goals in their own words.
Pageviews let you know every time anyone looks at your page. And on the other hand, unique pageviews let you know how many individuals looked at a page at least once. So, for instance, if one person looks at a particular page seven times, that equates to seven-page views and one unique pageview.
Comparing the number of page views for a given page with the number of unique page views helps you figure out whether your target customers are looking at your content multiple times in one session, or only once and click away.
In addition, they're also great for measuring user engagement. Generally speaking, an increase in page views could mean more user engagement with the website. But don't count on it being always like that. Always check back with your goals and conversions.
If pageviews are very high compared to conversions, it means that although users move from one page to another, they can't find the information they need to follow through with conversion goals.
Bounce rate data lets you know which portion of your users visit your site and leave right after without clicking on anything, which indicates a lack of engagement.
For a more situational picture, a high bounce rate on a page most likely means they didn't click on the CTA button, fill out a form, or follow-through a goal you had set for a page.
Another thing bounce rate is great for is to judge the performance of your landing page or a website made especially for a PPC campaign or for boosting sales. If you have high bounce rates and low conversions, that might mean:
Average session durations show how long your users spend time on your site, and how much time they take to perform an interaction within a given time frame.
These insights are especially useful for sites that have blogs or sites that have long-form content to fill.
Take, for instance, longer time spent on a blog means that users are dedicating time to read your blogs. If the duration is less, you can try experimenting with blog content and changing the way your blog is laid out to increase customer retention.
Designing based on guesswork is not the way to go for any web developer looking to improve user experience. You need to follow a data-based process to construct the perfect bridge between meeting business goals and users' expectations.
Google Analytics is a great tool for measuring performance for a website, but as a UX designer, you need to know which metrics to focus on to gather insights and make decisions based on facts and not presumptions.
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