The Google Analytics tool is a simple and essential element of good design for online storefronts. Knowledge about your customer base is power, and these analytics give you a chance to determine who is visiting your site, where they come from, whether they approach the store via a bookmark, an external link, or a search engine query, and where they leave your site. If you dig a little deeper into Google Analytics, you can also find the seeds of how to improve your conversion rate.

Create Explicit Goals

Every business needs goals, and you can have your analytics work toward meeting those goals. The administration panel in Google Analytics offers you the chance to create custom goals for your store. You can select traffic goals, which allow you to focus on hitting a certain milestone of click-throughs on your website. You can set duration goals, seeking to make sure that people stay on your site for a certain length of time. You can also use the Smart Goals tool to have Google determine what goals will be most useful to you, or you can create a custom goal of your own. Setting these goals allows you to analyze one section of your site in detail, giving you more flexibility to make adjustments as needed.

Identify Your Core Audience

One of the most important steps in any marketing campaign is determining who you are trying to talk to. Ads that land outside your target demographic are unlikely to generate traffic, much less conversions. By using Google Analytics, you can take a careful look at who comes to your website, where they are physically located, and how they prefer to browse. Ideally, this should line up with a demographic that you have decided serves as your core audience. If you are attracting a demographic that you weren’t expecting, you need to do one of two things. First, you can redesign your store to better target the audience you want. Optionally, you can shift your ad campaigns to connect further with the audience you have already captured, using your analytics to help steer your marketing efforts.

Study Your Bounce Rate

Google Analytics provides a breakdown of the number of people who visit your site for an extended period of time versus the number who “bounce” off your site – that is, the people who decide at first glance that your store is not for them and never get past your landing page. Checking your bounce rate can provide you with insights that might help decrease that number and convince people to stay on your site longer. This is especially useful if you have recently made changes to your landing page, as you can determine if those changes make visitors feel more welcome. If your bounce rate spikes, try to mitigate it by creating a clearer call to action or redesigning the visuals of your landing page to create something clearer and more attractive.

Figure Out What Content Resonates

When you look through your analytics, make sure not to focus so much on the big picture that you lose sight of the smaller details. You can perform analyses of specific pieces of your site, delving into every department and blog section to see what gets the most traffic from your target demographic. Those high traffic areas of your site are the parts that resonate with the general public. By taking a careful look at what parts of your site work the best, you can determine how you might want to revise other product pages to boost both traffic and conversions.

Monitor Behavior Flow

Perhaps one of the greatest features of Google Analytics is its ability to delve into the flow of a user’s session on your website. The term behavior flow refers to a move beyond basic statistics and toward in-depth analysis of your visitors’ movement through your website. By monitoring where visitors went on your site, how long they spent before clicking to another section, and whether they ultimately made a sale, Google Analytics can give you an idea as to why the customer came to your store. Were they browsing or did they intend to buy? Behavior flow monitoring can tell you. All of this information is presented in a visual manner, making it easy for you to break things down in a matter of moments.

When used properly, Google Analytics is a tool that can tell you much more than just who visited your website and how they got there. The more you use the tool in the manners listed above, the more power you will have in creating new conversions.