When was the last time you logged into your Google Analytics account?
If you are intimidated by Google Analytics, you are not alone. The options to monitor your website data is endless, and when you first jump in, it can be confusing.
But this is one beast you want to tame. Your future self will thank you for learning this platform.
Let’s jump into understanding what you need to pay attention to and some Google Analytics best practices for Realtors.
What is Google Analytics?
A good place to start. If you are not using it, or have never logged in since you signed up, GA is a tool that helps you take an (exceptionally) in-depth look at your website’s performance.
It is the heart of all of Google’s marketing tools (Search Console, Google Ads, Data Studio).
It is FREE, and it is an incredible way (really the ultimate way) to track your website traffic, see how your users are interacting with your pages, and gives you insight into how your website is found (search, social, PPC, etc.).
Why is Google Analytics important to my real estate business?
Especially now (during the COVID-19 pandemic) Google Analytics is pivotal to understanding if your efforts are working.
- Is anyone looking at my listings?
- Are my CTAs converting?
- Who is on my website RIGHT NOW?
- Who is searching for real estate in my area?
- Did my social post work?
Google Analytics can give you answers to these and so, so many more questions.
Google Analytics is important because this ties directly into your bottom line. The more effective your online presence means more leads for you.
What are the most important Google Analytics metrics?
Google Analytics lets you track more than 200 metrics that cover your entire funnel, from acquiring leads to converting them.
What is a Google Analytics metric?
"A Google Analytics metric is a unit of information that tells you how some aspect of your website or mobile app performed during a specific timeframe in the past." --Databox.com
1. UsersThis means your website's unique visitors.
When any new visitor lands on your site, they get a unique client ID from Google, which is stored as a cookie in their browser.
This is the most tracked Google Analytics metric because it shows you how many NEW visitors are visiting your website.
This helps you understand your reach. This metric should always be growing.
2. SessionsSessions on the other hand, is a record of every visit to your site, both previous users and new users.
So if someone who visited your website yesterday, comes back today to look at a listing, a new session is counted. So one user can log multiple sessions.
This helps you understand how your website visitors are using your website, with the end-goal being that every user has multiple sessions (a sign that your website might be useful!).
3. Average Session DurationThis is one metric that often gets overlooked, and it shouldn't be. It really is the ultimate metric to showing how your website (and listings) are performing.
Average session duration tells you how long visitors are staying on your website, on average.
This tells you unequivocally that your website is providing value. If you session durations are low on average, you need to spend time on adding value.
Especially in real estate, your users should be spending a lot of time on your website. They should be scrolling through pictures, reading descriptions, and clicking through your website a lot.
4. Bounce RateBounce rate on the other hand, shows what percentage of visitors are coming to your website, but leave, or "bounce" after landing on a page.
Bounce rate is a controversial metric. Sometimes you know are purposefully driving users to specific pages only (like a landing page), knowing that they will “bounce” after viewing it.
But overall, your bounce rate should be something you watch because it shows engagement. More engaged users are the ones who become clients.
5. PageviewsThis is a very generous metric, but it will give you an idea of content value on your website.
Pageviews simply show how many times your pages have been visited. So one user can view a page multiple times, each time being counted as a page view.
6. Goal CompletionsThis metric depends on how you have set up your Google Analytics property.
If you have set goals for users on your website (like registering, staying on a page for x seconds, saving a listing, etc.), then this metric is one you should be watching.
7. Pageviews by PageThis is a metric that I personally watch a lot.
Pageviews by page shows the number of pageviews by each page.
I always expect to see my homepage ("/") at the top of the list, because this is where search results drive the most traffic, and this is the easiest URL to share. It is where I want people to start.
From there though, I am looking for what are the most popular pages that people are visiting. For you, that could mean listings, or your community pages, or services pages.
Because organic search traffic is often influenced by trends, this is the one metric I can use to track what is important to my users, and catch things that may not have been on my radar.
8. Percentage of New Sessions
This metric is simply the total percentage of first-time sessions on your website (within the time frame that you select).
This is an important one to watch especially if you are starting new social campaigns, or driving traffic from elsewhere, and want to see your overall conversion.
9. Sessions by ChannelSessions by channel is another great metric to pay attention to.
As you are busy on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter driving people to your pages/listings, you need to measure if your audience is actually coming over to your website. This activity is measured under “Social”.
This will also give you a health check on your organic traffic, which is important to SEO, and can show you if you are gaining or losing in SERPs. This activity is measured under “Organic Search”.
You can also watch “Referral” traffic, which are visits that come from outside the search engine. This is usually linked to your website that is mentioned on other websites (like a mention in an article or blog post).
“Display” and “Paid Search” are your paid channels. So if you are running a PPC ad, your traffic percentage is measured under this metric.
“Other”, which our SEO team gets asked about a lot, is traffic that Google can’t measure by default. You can often fix these by clicking on the “Other” link and telling Google what category these referring sources fit into.
“Email” measures things like your Drip campaigns or anytime a user comes over to your site from an email.
The “Direct” metric is measures instances where a user types your URL directly into your search bar, or accesses your website via a saved bookmark (sometimes this will include organic searches as well, depending on browser issues).
10. Pages Per SessionLast but not least, is pages per session.
This is a great metric to see how many pages, on average (within your set timeframe) a user goes to during their visit (or session).
This ties in well with bounce rate. Ideally, you want your users to go through multiple pages (4+) each session. This means they are curious/interested/engaged. If your metric is low here, it would be worth having an SEO audit done to find out why.
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