The idea of paying for leads is a hard one to swallow when you start a business. But once you have some cash flow, it can seem to be an easy way to acquire new customers. That’s only true, though, if you can turn those eyeballs into email addresses and those email addresses into money in your bank account. What can really help you make a better decision is to first review two Google Analytics reports.
Listen to Season 1: Episode 24
The Lure of Running Ads
It seems simple enough to run ads. Just set your audience, create your ad, and Facebook, Google, Twitter, or LinkedIn will put that information in front of a bunch of people who are looking for businesses just like yours.
At least that’s what their marketing tells you.
If you’ve ever run ads, you know it’s a bit more complex than that. However, it’s easy enough to figure out. The real conundrum comes when you spend $1,000 or more on ads and don’t have at least $1,000 worth of new customers to show for it.
The whole point of running ads is to spend money to make money while attracting to your business the people who need your service. But that can’t actually happen without a few things that are in your control but often overlooked:
- Making sure people can get to your page within their expected timeframe.
- Tracking that they’re doing what you asked them to do after they click on your ad.
The Two Google Analytics Reports You Need
Here are the two reports critical for you to check in Google Analytics before you start spending money.
If you don’t already have Google Analytics set up on your site—or some other sort of tracking mechanism—definitely don’t drop a dime until you have that data tracking in place (I feel like that could be my new rap album).
You’ll find the first report under Behavior. It’s called Site Speed. Why is this important? Well, if you pay money for a click and a person clicks on your ad and it takes them to a page on your website, but that page doesn’t load in the time they think it should (which is immediately, by the way), they’re going to go do something else before they ever even see the offer you have for them (hello, TikTok). You just paid money for nothing.
Understanding your site speed is absolutely critical to ensuring that the click you paid for resulted in someone seeing your offer.
The second report you need to check is under Conversion, called Goals. Most people go to this report and see that there’s nothing there. And if that’s the case for you, you have some work to do before you can run your ads.
Goals have to be defined and set up by you. Google Analytics doesn’t have any defaults here. Goals tell you if people have done the thing you asked them to do on your website. If you’re running Facebook ads or Google ads, they certainly are keeping track of “conversions” for you. Fine. But if you don’t set these conversions as goals in Google Analytics also, you’re missing additional critical data about what else these users might have done on your website. Are they a returning user to your website or a new user? Solely relying on analytics from the advertiser, you’re missing out on a lot of context and historical information that you could be building up over time. Also, having these goals set means that you can see other sources of traffic besides just the paid one.
Save Money (or at Least Spend It More Wisely)
Checking these two reports before you start spending money driving people to your website means that you’re not going to pay for clicks that go nowhere. And you’re getting more than just the potential conversions: You’re building your information set to make sure that you can make more intelligent decisions in the future. You’ll have more context about what’s happening. And you can see information about what happens when visitors don’t buy, which sometimes is just as valuable—if not more valuable—than a conversion.
Help for Google Analytics Is Here!
Ready to bust the uncertainty of growth and make more profitable decisions based on facts, not feelings? We can help. Our analytics and reporting service, Insight Pro, properly sets up metrics in your business and serves them up so you can make decisions based on the information that matters to your success. Check it out!