(As published in the Sunday Star Times, May 24,2015)

Last week we covered how you can use Google Analytics to track positive stuff happening on your website, including sales leads, online purchases and newsletter subscriptions. We did this by configuring the “Goals” section of your Google Analytics account.

Now that you have goals in place and are tracking the right things, you can use the numbers to measure and monitor how well your website performs, based on the traffic it receives.

For instance, you may now see that just five percent of your visitors take up your option of requesting a quote. Or that a measly two percent actually whip out their credit card to buy from your online store. Not great.

How can you improve these numbers and the success of your website? Uncover all you can about those who DIDN’T make a purchase or become a lead (ie those who didn’t get in touch for more information). Use your Google Analytics account to learn who they were and what pages they clicked – doing this will hopefully help you figure out what it was that stopped them from becoming a customer.

In the “real world”, this bit of the process is a bit like having someone standing outside your bricks and mortar shop and asking those that leave empty-handed a few questions.

Google Analytics can tell you some good stuff about your website visitors, including:


  • Whether this was their first visit to your website or if they have checked it out before. Those who have looked at it previously are classified as Returning Visitors. If they are Returning Visitors, GA can tell you how many times they have visited your site prior
  • How long they stayed on your site
  • Where they live, physically – right down to their country and town
  • Their gender and age bracket. Getting access to these two pieces of valuable information requires you to configure something called Demographic Reporting within GA. It’s a relatively small technical hurdle to overcome, but helpful to have
  • Whether they were on a mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer
  • Where they visited online just before they came to your website: Facebook, LinkedIn, browsing the search results of Google, clicking on your online – advertising or following a link in your email newsletter


Learning these things about visitors who fail to become customers will give you helpful insights you can use to tweak your website. Depending on your results, your actions to improve may include: fast-tracking your mobile website project knowing that people arriving from a mobile phone are twice as likely to convert compared to those using a desktop computer; reevaluating your spend of a specific marketing channel because so few visitors from this group end up as buying customers; or making your newsletter subscription option on your website even more prominent because you can see what a good job it does “warming” subscribers up who then go onto request a quote.

The more you know about the “who” behind those who don’t convert, the easier it can be to understand why your results may be struggling. Use your Google Analytics reports to do some detective work on your non-converters and see what valuable – and profit changing – information you can uncover.

Next week I’ll cover how Google Analytics can show you the paths these non-converters took around your website before they left without buying – very helpful indeed.


Chris Price owns Ark Advance, a web optimisation business that specialises in online marketing. www.arkadvance.com