Google Analytics provides website owners with over 10,000 metrics to help analyze how your website and digital marketing is performing. However for most financial advisors, there are 10 basic questions you’ll have that you can look to Google Analytics to answer.
1. Who is visiting my site?
The AUDIENCE section of Google Analytics gives insight into WHO is visiting your website. Some important sections under this tab to note:
Geo: the Geo tab allows you to drill down and see where people are visiting your site from by location (Country, State, City). This is a metric I tell all advisors to pay close attention too, since most financial advisors have a specific geographical area in which most of their business comes. For instance if you primarily do business in Tampa and Orlando (FL) and Philadelphia (PA), you’d want to see those geographic regions representing the largest percentage of your site visitors.
New vs. Returning – Ideally you would like to see a good mix of new visitors (prospects for your firm) and returning visitors (current clients, or “warm leads” that have not engaged your services yet but have you on their radar. If you spend time producing original content (blogging, adding new articles, etc) you will most likely see a higher percentage of new visitors than someone who does not produce any original content.
2. How much time do visitors spend on my website?
Google Analytics “Average Session Duration” will tell you the average amount of time visitors spend on your site. You can also monitor this metric across any other metrics, making it extremely valuable. You can see which page on your website (or even which blog post) is the one visitors spend the most amount of time reading. For instance, if you first go to the “Behavior Tab>Site Content >All Pages> and then click on “Average time on page”, you’ll see in descending order which pages visitors are spending the most amount of time on.
Advisors are often surprised to learn that a typical financial advisor’s site has an average session duration of just under 1.5 minutes!
3. Are my site visitors quality visitors?
Understanding whether traffic to your website is quality traffic is crucial. It is far better to have less traffic overall but have that traffic be quality traffic than simply have a large number of visitors that are not high quality. Here are some ways to tell if your site visitors are high-quality visitors (also note above the point about monitoring geographic location).
Bounce Rate: For most financial advisors, a bounce rate between 35-65% is good (the lower the better). If your bounce rate is above 85%, the majority of your site visitors are never viewing more than one page on your site. However depending on the layout of your site an how often you bog, your bounce rate could be much higher without any cause for concern. That is because a.) single page scroll sites will ALWAYS have higher bounce rates since visitors never have to “click” to view other pages of the site – just by scrolling they can read all pages and b.) if you regularly blog, some visitors who have an interest in any given blog topic will find you (but may not always need financial services and could easily “bounce” after reading your post).
Average Session Duration: If most visitors are not spending more than a minute on your page, this is another cause for concern. Typically, quality visitors will spend more time actually looking through your website, learning about you, your team, and the services you provide. The longer the site visits, the better (if you see site visits that show “Average Session Duration” at 0.0 seconds, with a 100% bounce rate – that is referral spam, which all Google Analytics accounts suffer from).
4. What the top 3 pages on my website?
To find out which pages of your site are being visited most often, simply go to the main “BEHAVIOR” tab, then click “Site Content” then “All Pages”. You’ll now see a list of all pages of your website, with the pages with the most views listed first. Keep in mind that this metric may be different than the top three landing pages (landing pages are the pages by which a visitor enters your website).
5. What are my most read blog posts?
Similar to number 4 above, you would follow the same steps, but then filter out any static pages of your website (/about or /services for instance) to see which blog posts are the top three most popular (this assumes you have one google tracking number for both your website and blog, which are hosted at the same domain).
6. What are the top sources of traffic to my website?
The ACQUISITION tab is the section in Google Analytics that will show you where your site traffic is coming from (or HOW visitors find your site). It is broken into:
Direct: the user types your domain name directly into their browser. For instance www.blog.twentyoverten.com
Organic Search: the user conducts a search (via Google for instance) and your website appears in the search results, which they then click
Referral: the user clicks on a link to your website from another source (blog, other website, email – social media is not part of this)
Social: the user clicks through to your site from a social media platform such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter
7. Which other sites are sending traffic to my website?
You should ALWAYS pay attention to what other sites are sending traffic to your website! The Referral section mentioned from the list in #6 is one you should take a deeper-dive into monthly. After clicking on “Referral” from the list (Again, to get there go to Acquisition>All Traffic>Channels> then click “referral”), you will see a list of the top referral sites sending traffic to your website. For instance, if you are an advisor that belongs to an organization like NAPFA, Guidevine, etc, you would hope to see traffic coming from those sites.
8. Which Blog Posts Bring In the Most Traffic from Referrals?
One of the best ways to see which content you produce resonates most with your audience is to monitor which of your content pieces are being shared by others. Google Analytics allows you to do just that through the “Acquisition” tab.
To view referrals:
- Click on the Acquisition tab on the left-hand sidebar of Google Analytics.
- Select All Traffic.
- Click Channels.
- In the table that appears on the main screen, you’ll see that the first column is labeled “Default Channel Grouping.” It lists the various channels that include Social, Direct, Organic Search, and Referral. Click Referrals.
- Then at the the top of the page, you can choose the “secondary dimension” of “landing page” to see which pages of your website (or pieces of content from your blog) those referrals are landing on.
9. How many people are finding my website from doing a simple search online?
If you go to Acquisition>All Traffic>Channels> Organic Search– this will give you insight into how much of your traffic is coming from people simply doing a basic search and finding your page. For instance, if someone were to type “financial planner in Cleveland, Oh” and find you site. If your organic search traffic is the smallest percentage of your website traffic overall, you know you have an SEO problem and need to take steps to address it and improve.
10. How does my site performance compare to other financial advisors?
It can be tough to benchmark how other advisors are performing, but Claire Akin from Indigo Marketing Agency did a blog post with some benchmarks based on the clients she works with. We also offered some insight into the metrics we see with the financial advisors we work with in this post (which will be updated soon).
Our biggest piece of advice would be to know your own numbers, and then either ask for a consultation with someone who knows the industry or do your own research to benchmark against your peers (or business owners with similar firm sizes).
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