Grow Your Online Book Sales with Google Analytics, Part 1
Google Analytics is one of the most empowering tools for authors & publishers.
It takes the mystery out of what's driving your results so you can revise your website and refine your marketing. It helps you take your website to the next level with hard numbers about what works.
If you’re a publisher or author and you're not already using Google Analytics, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Most website platforms offer some sort of Google Analytics plugin. If you don’t have one – there are many articles out there explaining where and how to implement the Google Analytics HMTL code on your website.
And after you get your bearings, you can put on your data-detective hat and start sifting through the numbers to find the answers to your biggest marketing questions.
What Can Google Analytics Tell Me?
1. Who is Visiting Your Website
Google Analytics tells you how many people are visiting your website and viewing different pages. Just go to the “Behavior” tab, click “Site Content”, and then “Content Drilldown”. The Overview shows you the top URLs for your website, including data on the number of views for each page. This tells you which pages on your site are the most popular. Page views aren't the end-all-be-all metric for your website, but they're a pretty good indicator of what your audience is interested in most.
For example, if Book A's product page is outperforming Book B's product page, you can safely assume that Book A is driving better results - and you should probably capitalize on those results by promoting that book more. You should also push Book B a little harder, or adjust the way you're promoting the product page on your website, to see if it moves the needle on page views.
2. If Your Audience is Engaged
In the same “Content Drilldown” view, you can see the “Avg. Time on Page”. If it’s less than one minute, you can assume that someone saw the headline and clicked, but didn't stick around to read your content or take any other action. This usually qualifies as a soft bounce. A hard bounce means someone left within a matter of seconds - and this number is reflected in your Bounce Rate.
It sounds depressing, but it’s completely normal to have a bounce rate. And it can provide valuable information about the way you're marketing your books. Experts say a good bounce rate is below 20% for your overall website.
A page that has a high bounce rate might need stronger copy or a more relevant headline. Make some changes and check back to see if the Bounce Rate drops. If yes, you know what you need to do next time to increase engagement. If no, keep working on it until you hit the sweet spot.
On the other hand, if people are spending a significant amount of time on the page (more than three minutes), you can assume they are engaged in both your messaging and the book you're promoting.
3. Who Your Readers Are
This is the real treasure trove of answers. Google Analytics can show you:
- Where your readers live in the world
- If they’re male or female
- How old they are
- What device they’re using to read your content
This information can help you tailor your marketing message, promotional strategy, and website design.
4. How People Are Finding Your Website
In your Google Analytics dashboard, click the “Acquisition” tab and “Overview” to see a breakdown of where visitors are coming from.
- Search means they found you through Google, Bing, or another search engine.
Google now hides information about the specific keywords that bring people to your site as “not provided” data. However, you can still get some pretty good insights about search terms used to find your page through Wordpress, Authority Labs, Moz, or SEM Rush.
- Social means they came across your content on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or another social media
- Direct means they typed your URL directly into the search bar. (Chances are these are loyal readers!)
- Referral means they came to your content through another website.
If you know what website it is, you might want to advertise on that page or ask if you can write a guest post to drum up a little more interest with their audience.
This Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Promoting your books through your website is a no-brainer, but it doesn’t hurt to have some science backing up your decisions. In part 2 of this blog post series, we’ll share how Google Analytics can begin to inform your marketing strategies, discover what your audience responds to, and improve your bottom line.