5 Things to Check Often in Google Analytics

If you’re in a rated market, you’re likely checking the ratings each month to determine how well your radio station is performing.  Google Analytics is a free tool to help you tell how well your website is performing and it can give you all sorts of valuable insight, such as where your website visitors are coming from, which pages are most popular, and how long visitors stay on your site.  Once a week, radio programmers and the appropriate staff members should take some time to review their website statistics.

We spoke with Johnny Boswell, the owner of Boswell Media in central Mississippi, about how he utilized Google Analytics in his online strategy.  Johnny has three radio stations and two unbelievably performing news websites: https://www.breezynews.com and https://www.kicks96news.com.

Here are the setup steps that you will need to perform inside of Google Analytics for each of the websites you wish to track: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/9304153.  Once you set up each “property”, you will be presented with a small bit of code placed on your site that relays back information about the user and the page they’re on. This code will need to be added to the header or footer of your website so that it appears on all pages. If you have a service that hosts your website, they can help you with that.

Once you have that code in place and you’re collecting data, here’s what you should be looking for:

1. Total Unique Visitors

How many people are coming to your website? Is that number going up or down?  Pageviews and sessions are great figures that you can use to sell, but most agencies will want to know your unique visitors because it’s the best indication of a website’s reach. Knowing unique visitors over a set period allows advertisers to understand the value that the site can provide.  If you only went by pageviews, that could mean only a few visitors touched every page on your site and that would not interest potential advertisers.

2. Traffic Sources

Once you figure out how much traffic you have, you will want to know where it’s coming from. There are several main channels:

Direct Traffic: People who are typing your website’s URL directly into their browser. If you do not have a content marketing strategy in place, this will probably be the number one source of website traffic.

Organic Search: If people type something into a search engine like Google and your website comes back as a result, it is called “Organic Search.”

Paid Search: If you are paying to advertise your website in search engines, you may get traffic when people click on one of those paid advertisements.

Social Media: People who come to your website through a link on a social network like Facebook or Twitter.

Referral: People who come to your website through a link on any other website.

Google Analytics can become a deep rabbit hole and let you dig down into your website even further like devices your visitors are using, locations, and other demographics.

3. Top Pages and Top Landing Pages

Knowing what kind of content works best for your audience is valuable because it allows you and your team to produce more content like that to keep those visitors returning.

Hopefully, you are sharing your pages and posts in newsletters and over social media.  If you don’t have a content marketing strategy in place, your homepage will likely show the most visitors. Those homepage numbers might be good to show advertisers, but take that page off the table when you’re looking to know what kind of content works best. You may be surprised by how much of your website traffic doesn’t come through the front door. They may be directly clicking on the articles that interest them from your daily newsletter or from posts you’ve shared via social media.

4. Bounce Rate

Are visitors sticking around once they get to your website? When a visitor comes to your website and then leaves without going to any other pages, it is called a “bounce.” The bounce rate tells you what percentage of your visitors are leaving your site without exploring it further. The lower the bounce rate, the better. To put bounce rate in our terms, think of it as “Time Spent Listening”.

Lots of things can affect bounce rate, like your website design.  If the visitor cannot navigate around quickly and find things, they will simply leave… or bounce. If you are seeing a high bounce rate on your homepage or just in general, then you may want to perform a usability test to see what could be causing it.  Is the menu laid out properly with easy-to-understand terms?

Also, pay attention to the bounce rate across platforms. If your bounce rate is low on desktop computers but high on mobile devices, then the design of your responsive or mobile site may be the issue.

5. Goal Conversions

In addition to seeing the regular traffic on your site, Analytics can also track specific goals.  A “goal” is an action that you want your website visitors to perform like signing up for a particular contest or joining the newsletter club. When a visitor reaches a goal, it is called a “conversion.” They’ve performed the action you wanted them to. Inside Analytics, you can define multiple goals and measure how many conversions each one gets.

You can also discover which factors result in more conversions. Let’s say you assigned a goal to the “Thanks for entering our contest” page. Google can track where the person came from to get to the contest page, so you’re able to determine if you received more signups from direct links, your newsletter, or from social media shares.  This can be a great insight for other things like selling tickets to a major station event.

Here are some goals you may want to set up for your station:

  • Advertising Page/Requesting Advertising Information
  • Signing up for the station newsletter
  • Purchasing tickets to a station event
  • Entering a sponsored contest
  • Clicking a specific banner ad
  • Listening to the online stream (you might be able to get this from your provider)

Instructions for setting up goals: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1032415.

Conclusion:

There are alternatives to Google Analytics, but they all come with hefty price tags.  It’s just hard to beat this free tool that can help you build your radio station’s online audience.

It can help you determine where your traffic is coming from (social media? search engines? direct traffic?) and decide how you can strengthen weak traffic sources and take advantage of strong ones.

It can help you figure out what kind of content is generating the most interest and traffic, so you can try to produce more of that to keep visitors returning.

And it can help you determine what keeps visitors from staying longer.  If your bounce rate is higher for a specific platform (desktop, tablet, or phone), then it will help determine what can be tweaked to keep them longer.

A great way to stay on top of Analytics is to have your reports emailed to you each week.  If you are running a WordPress website, be sure to install Google’s official “Site Kit” plugin to track stats directly within the WordPress dashboard.

Need help with your radio station website?  Reach out to us.

Jim Sherwood serves as the chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects. Jim is a 30+ year radio veteran with a resume spanning several small, medium, and large markets including roles as Digital Content Manager, Program Director, Production Manager, and Morning Show Host.