Tracking, collecting and understanding data are absolutely vital in marketing, but many event organizers don’t use them to their full potential. This is an obvious mistake since such tools provide invaluable insights into what works for you and what does not. Companies making data-driven decisions report significant improvements in both productivity and profitability. If you want to start tracking data, improve your marketing efforts and grow your event business, here’s a quick and easy-to-follow beginner’s guide.
You need the right tools
At this point, Google Analytics (GA) probably needs no introduction. It provides you with the full spectrum of tracking statistics and marketing analysis for website, app, digital and even offline data. Best of all, it’s a free tool, with a paid enterprise version available. Here’s an overview of what you can do with GA:
- Analyse website traffic: shows if people clicked on a paid ad, found your site via a search, followed a referral link, etc.
- See traffic history: analytics can show you how visitor traffic has changed over a period of time – daily, weekly, monthly – which helps you understand if a marketing campaign has been successful for example.
- Monitor page popularity: shows which of your pages are visited more frequently, so you can improve them further to sell your events even better.
- Get bounce rate info: shows if people leave your website after viewing a single page which usually means at least some part of the content is not good or not relevant enough.
- Analyse traffic flow: shows you what visitors do on your website and how they do it, so you can make any necessary adjustments to content and navigation to manage that flow more effectively.
- See additional visitor info: provides additional information about visitors on your website, such as the location from where they are accessing the site.
Where Google Analytics lets you track traffic patterns and visitor behavior on your website, Weemss
lets you collect extensive customer data through your events. There’s no better platform for this – first, because with Weemss you’re the sole owner of all of that data, your customers don’t get marketed to by a third-party service, and you communicate with them directly. Second, it lets you automate that data acquisition and manage everything with ease. And third, it works great with Google Analytics!
- Build extensive customer database: create custom registration forms to collect the exact information you need from every single attendee
- Connect to your other apps: you can connect Weemss to your prefered CRM service, email marketing software, invoicing app, and 700+ popular apps and services on the web.
- Export data: the data you collect through Weemss can be easily exported for use outside of the platform at any time.
- Manage registrations: make changes and edit the data within a registration, add partial payments, cancel tickets.
- Get detailed analytics and reports: GA doesn’t track the sales data, but Weemss does, so you can monitor every key performance indicator for your event and make improvements.
According to a survey by MIT Center for Digital Business, companies that have the data needed to make data-driven decisions and actually make decisions based on it, have higher productivity and profitability.
Setting up GA
All you need to use Google Analytics is a Gmail account. GA is a powerful tool and things can be a bit overwhelming at first, but don’t let that scare you! You will get used to the numerous menus, settings and graphs pretty fast. Plus, it’s well worth the time and effort!
First off, you’ll need to create a GA account
- Go to www.google.com/analytics/
- Click on the Sign In button, choose Analytics and press Sign Up.
Choose a website to track
- You will need to give a name to the account, as well as the name of the website you want to track, its URL and a few more settings.
- If you’re reading this, we’ll go right ahead and assume you’re doing this for the first time, which means the GA account will become your primary one. You can add additional websites and mobile apps to track later.
ProTip – In the Website URL field, make sure to select the HTTPS:// option if your site has the necessary security protocols installed. And if you still haven’t added an SSL certificate to your site, well, you really, really should!
ProTip – The Industry category field is optional, but we recommend that you set it. Choosing the industry that matches the focus of your website will allow you to see benchmark data by Google. It’s a good way to compare your site’s performance against sites of the same and similar industries.
Set the Data Sharing Settings
- The data sharing options give you more control over the information that gets shared with Google.
- Choose your data sharing preferences, or leave all the recommended settings on for best results.
Get Tracking ID
- When you’re done setting up your primary GA account, click on Get Tracking ID.
- Before you receive your tracking ID you will need to accept Google’s Terms of Service.
ProTip – Notice the “You are using # out of 100 accounts” message at the end of the settings! You can create many Google Analytics accounts under your primary account, to track different websites or mobile apps.
Install the Tracking Code
- After you click the Get Tracking ID button you will receive your tracking ID that looks something like this: UA-XXXXXXX-X (only instead of X-s you get numbers).
- Under Website tracking you will see your Google Analytics code.
- Copy that code and paste it into the HTML code of every webpage on your website. That way Analytics will be able to track everything and provide you with complete data.
- If you don’t have a site and are instead using Weemss to create a webpage for your event, simply go to Analytics > Tracking, provide your tracking ID in the Google Analytics Tracking ID field there, click SAVE and you’re good to go!
ProTip – A safe place to paste the tracking code is at the end of the HTML code of a page, just before the closing head tag. Please note that installation might differ on some platforms and some technical knowledge might be required.
Understanding your GA reports
It’s time to learn what to make of all the data that Google Analytics tracks. It can be difficult to understand at first, but spend some time with the tool and you’ll be making data-driven decisions before you know it. The different reports and stats are on the left side-bar in GA. Categories that you should focus on, at least at the start, are Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. As an event organizer, here are some key metrics that will help your business.
The sources of incoming traffic can be from direct visitors (people who type in your URL in the browser address bar); search visitors (those who did a search query and found your organization or event); and referrals (visit your website because it was mentioned on another site, social media, etc). Keep in mind that these three sources usually have different levels of conversion. Someone who’s typed in your URL directly is more likely to buy a ticket for the event, than someone who was just browsing and happened upon your event. Still, all three traffic sources can provide a good stream of revenue. If you wish to maximize results, focus on each source individually and work to boost each of them.
The stat that shows you single views of a web page on your website by a visitor. While high page views could mean the quality of the content on the website is great, it could also mean visitors are not able to find the information they need and they keep looking for it. There’s also a chance that a page is not displaying correctly on their device and they keep reloading it.
ProTip – Don’t go overboard with the amount of pages on your website. The ultimate goal is to convert a page view into a purchase. The more pages the potential customer needs to go through before deciding to make a purchase, the less likely it is that they will complete the whole process.
Many website owners focus on generating traffic. But high traffic only really matters if you have high conversion rates. A website that doesn’t convert is bad for your business. To improve conversions you need to know what works and what doesn’t for your events. Google Analytics lets you track event registrations and tickets bought through Weemss. This is done by setting up a custom Goal:
- Go to Admin from the top navigation menu;
- Navigate to the corresponding account and website for the event you want to track;
- In Views find and click on Goals;
- Create a new goal and choose the “Custom” option;
- Name your goal and choose the Event tracking option;
- Enter the following goal values and save your goal:
Category Equals to Weemss
Action Equals to Registration completed
Label Equals to XXX (the X-s have to be replaced with the right number, which is displayed in Weemss’ Google Analytics Goals section in Analytics > Tracking)
You need to monitor visitor behavior on your website, especially when it does not convert well. This would allow you to understand what people do on your site and how you can influence their behavior into more conversions.
This is the percentage of visitors that leave your site without exploring it. A bounce is when visitors stay on the first page they visit without going anywhere else, or if they stay on that page longer than 30 minutes. Needless to say, you don’t want to have high bounce rates.
ProTip – Visitors come to your website with a purpose, like finding out about your event, purchasing a ticket, etc. Make it easy for them to complete that purpose. To reduce bounce rates you can do some tweaks to your site:
- add a clear call-to-action to get people to register or buy a ticket for your event
- improve readability by making the content short, simple, and to the point
- make the landing page (or pages) more visually appealing
- optimize your site and shorten load times
- provide an option for them to continue browsing (like a “Find out more” section)
- make the site responsive, because many of the visitors are probably viewing it from a mobile device
Exit pages help you find out where and when do visitors leave your website or abandon their cart (do not complete their registration). Knowing this you can modify the process towards better results. For example, the steps a potential customer need to go through to complete their purchase, should be only to two or maximum three pages from the moment they press the CTA button. Again, the more complicated that process is the less it is worth the hassle for the buyer.
Not a stat, but a very important feature. By default Google Analytics shows you the last 30 days of website activity. You can adjust the period for which you want to see data and you can even compare data for two different periods. This way you can see data from before and after you changed something on your website, as well as find out which changes have a bigger impact on your sales.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that gives you a wealth of information about your website’s traffic.
Combine it with Weemss’ amazing features and you have everything needed to build a more successful event business. Today, such intelligent software solutions allow you to collect, analyze and gain insights from your data even if you don’t have much technical knowledge. You will learn how people interact with your website, identify any problems, and improve visitor engagement and conversion rates.
Featured image by Timur Saglambilek licensed under CC0 1.0