What Do Customers Really Want? Google Analytics Can Help You Find the Answers

Do you truly know your online customers? If you answered “yes” but don’t use Google Analytics, then you might easily be mistaken. Your website might bring in quantifiable numbers of customers — and it could be responsive on mobile devices while satisfying the basic criteria of good SEO — but what about the performance metrics you can’t see?

Do you truly know your online customers? If you answered “yes” but don’t use Google Analytics, then you might easily be mistaken. Your website might bring in quantifiable numbers of customers — and it could be responsive on mobile devices while satisfying the basic criteria of good SEO — but what about the performance metrics you can’t see? What about dissatisfied visitors who bounce within seconds, or the folks who fail to convert after placing items in their online shopping carts?

And what about the willing, eager shoppers who you’re completely missing out on? What if your audience doesn’t care about half of your blog posts, PPC ads or Facebook updates? It’s easy to get excited about new leads and sales from online marketing. Too often, though, business owners and novice marketers leave money on the table by failing to look deeper into their websites and marketing efforts.

In short, they fail to ask: “Am I honestly reaching my customers?”

You can find answers to this question with Google Analytics, a free service that offers near endless amounts of data about how people interact with your website. Follow the data, and you’ll eventually learn what your customers really want. Then, and only then, will your business fully benefit from your website and marketing efforts. Here, we’ll dig deeper into how Google Analytics can help you learn more about your customers.

Why Do People Visit Your Website?

You’ve probably heard the terms “advertising funnel” or “conversion funnel” thrown around. In marketing, “funnel” is the term that describes a consumer’s journey toward becoming a customer.

It might begin with someone searching Google for cheap men’s running shoes, then clicking a sponsored result from Nike and ordering shoes online. That said, funnels can also be more complex. The same person might see a blog post on Facebook written by a local running store. He then follows the blog and reads new posts over the next few weeks. Eventually, he clicks through to the running store’s website from a link in the blog post, and he ends up buying a new set of trainers.

Waiting for Justin

While watching The Grammy’s on January 26, I became totally engaged with a new series of TV spots from MasterCard. In them, they suggest that a viewer may get a surprise visit from Justin Timberlake—a priceless surprise to be sure. Feeling optimistic, I quickly ran out to my front porch and made sure the light was on, the doorbell was working, and then I freshened up my lipstick ’cause hey, you never know.

While watching The Grammy’s on January 26, I became totally engaged with a new series of TV spots from MasterCard. In them, they suggest that a viewer may get a surprise visit from Justin Timberlake—a priceless surprise to be sure.

Feeling optimistic, I quickly ran out to my front porch and made sure the light was on, the doorbell was working, and then I freshened up my lipstick ’cause hey, you never know.

I frantically added a post to Facebook, just to alert my friends and neighbors (in case Justin went to the wrong house) that they should redirect him to Chez Goodman.

It seems I wasn’t alone in my efforts, because most of my Facebook gal pals had the same reaction: “Getting out of my sweatpants now,” one friend added, “I’ll be ready!” “He can surprise me anytime,” another one commented.

But the classic post came from my adult son who is, I would surmise, right in MasterCard’s target wheelhouse. Even though I knew he was glued to the Grammy’s, his pithy addition to my post was one word: “Huh?”

Aside from MasterCard missing the mark with the youth audience (ok, I admit that if he was a girl, the reaction might have been different, but that’s 50 percent of your target, MasterCard!), my son didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. He may have been distracted by the antics of fellow Canadian Justin Bieber, but that’s a story for another day.

The spots, it seems, and the accompanying promotional message didn’t even register with him or his roommates.

As I continued to dream about the potential visit from Justin, I started wondering how this promotion might work, because I knew it would be complicated to manage, and a visit to the site with the rules and regulations reaffirmed it: 10,596 words later, I was totally confused.

Of course there was the standard “no purchase necessary” rule (right up front), yet in order to be eligible, you have to be a MasterCard cardholder—wait… isn’t that a “purchase”?

The rules go on to talk about how to enter via Instagram or Twitter using a hashtag #pricelesssurprise. Then folks from teamDigital (who?!) will select 150 potential winners in a random drawing. They’ll then notify those potential winners who will then enter Phase 2 of the contest, which involves creating a 90-second video. A panel of judges (which may include Justin!), will select the Grand Prize Winner based on “Relevance, Creativity and Overall Appeal/Entertainment Value” (translation: it will bode well for MasterCard when aired publicly and will not embarrass Justin) AND (and this is the fun part), the finalists may have to submit to a background or criminal check, answer additional questions and sign releases. I guess they want to make sure that Justin isn’t surprised by some lunatic answering on the first ring!

Net-net, this seems like way too much work for this Justin fan—and that’s probably a good thing because I don’t plan to switch from American Express anytime soon.

So the light may be on, but I may not be home. #SorryJustin.