Thanks to everyone who joined us for our webinar yesterday on “Understanding the Constituent Journey with Google Analytics”! You can view an outline of Michael Gaines' presentation here. For those of you who weren’t able to join us, here are some quick highlights. If you manage your office’s website, chances are you’re familiar with analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, that monitor and record web traffic to your site. However, how many visitors you have is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to website analytics. Read on to find out more about gaining insights into your constituents and how to apply that insight to your website.
Tools to Know:
Google Analytics is a free and easy-to-use analytics tools that you can link up to your website to track traffic, behavior, audience demographics, and more. Ask your website support team to set up a Google Analytics account for you or learn how to do it yourself.
Google’s Data Studio is another free tool that helps you monitor your website. It connects to Google Analytics and allows you to handpick modules to create custom dashboards and reports.
1. The Journey
Where do constituents go on your website?
Find out what pages your constituents are visiting with the Content Drilldown in Google Analytics, which will give you a list of pages on your site from most visited to least visited. To find this feature, go to Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown. From there, you can infer why constituents are visiting your site. Maybe it’s to learn about an issue position, to request funding, or to visit D.C. This analysis will not only give you insight into who your web visitors are but also how you can make their journey on your website easier to increase repeat visits.
Where are they coming from?
Just as important as where your constituents go on your site, it’s important to know where they’re coming from and how they got there? Are they being referred from social or finding your site with a direct link? Are they on a desktop or mobile device? Where are they geographically (i.e., Are they in your district?)? All this and more can be found under the “Audience” module in Google Analytics.
What actions do they take?
Although the content drill down will tell you the most visited pages, it won’t tell you how users got there. Take a look at the Behavior Flow function (found under Behavior > Behavior Flow) to see a flow chart of how people are navigating your site. Hover over each segment to view through-traffic, sessions, and drop-offs for each page. You may find that people are using convoluted ways to visit a webform that could easily be called out on your home page. Use this information to inform your design decisions and decrease that drop-off rate.
2. Setting Goals
How should you track your goals?
You can actually create and track goals within Google Analytics, including where visitors are going, how long they’re staying there, how many pages they view in a session, etc. Examples of goals you may have for constituents are to:
Visit a specific issue page
Complete a form (e.g., contact or newsletter signup)
Increase regional repeat visits
4. Track your progress
How can you monitor and share your analytics?
Although Google Analytics is a great resource for in-depth insights into your website, it can be a lot to handle, especially if you’re sharing analytics with other people on your team. This is where Data Studio comes in. Use Data Studio to create a dashboard of the analytics you want to highlight and then embed it somewhere accessible to everyone, such as the backend of your website. For example, we used an iframe to embed a custom dashboard into our CMS backend, HillTop. This way we can regularly monitor the analytics most relevant to our website without actually leaving our website.
How often should you review your goals and analytics?
Although you’ll be able to monitor your analytics daily with Data Studio, we recommend doing an in-depth analysis of your analytics monthly or quarterly at the least. Try to carve out time in your schedule to review your site’s analytics and share them with your team, revisiting your goals and looking for any new patterns in web traffic.
5. Optimize Your Website
How can you reach your goals?
If constituents aren’t going where you want them to go or doing what you want them to do, then it’s time for you to take action. One way to do this is by promoting the pages you want your users to be visiting. For example, if you’re looking for more enewsletter sign-ups, maybe it’s time to tweet out that webform or plug your newsletter during your next telephone town hall. (Read other ways to drive traffic to your site.)
If self-promotion isn’t getting you where you need it to be, it may be time to think about a website redesign. A simpler menu navigation or an announcements section on your home page may be the key to driving constituents where you want them to go. Our team of web experts can redesign your website and set you up with monthly auto-reports from Google Analytics and a Data Studio dashboard. Talk to your account manager or email email@example.com to learn more about our beautiful, user-friendly websites.