Using Google Analytics at your nonprofit can give you a ton of meaningful data. You can learn who your audience is, how they’re getting to your website, and what they are doing once they get there. This can inform testing strategy.
This blog is provided courtesy of Engaging Networks Accredited Partner, Firefly Partners and authored by Monica Malmgren, Digital Strategist at Firefly Partners.
Using Google Analytics at your nonprofit can give you a ton of meaningful data. You can learn who your audience is, how they’re getting to your website, and what they are doing once they get there. As you understand if your visitors are finding what they need and if they’re responding to your calls-to-action, you can then use Google Optimize to test elements of your site and make improvements based on the results.
To get the most out of Google Analytics you first need to make sure that your tracking code is set up correctly on all pages. If your donation forms, blog, or other resources are hosted separately you will also want to ensure that you’ve enabled cross domain tracking.
Setting up multiple views is another important step. A master view that includes all your filters, goals, and current configuration settings is one you use on a regular basis. A testing view is a place where you can try out new filters, goals, and configurations before enabling them on your master view to guarantee you won’t compromise any data integrity.
Filters are also important in collecting accurate data. You’ll want to set up your instance of Google Analytics to filter any internal IP addresses from offices and staff that might inflate your pageviews. Utilizing filters to exclude bots will also help you keep your data clean.
Demographic reports help you learn more about who is coming to your website, and who isn’t. One example of a way to use the demographics report is to examine the age of your site’s visitors. This can help you see which age groups are underrepresented. If you have ecommerce tracking set up (which we highly recommend) you can also track donations by age group. If you find that certain age groups are not donating as much, you can strategize ways to better target those individuals.
If you know what channels – such as search, email, or social media – are driving visits to your site, you can make informed decisions about where to focus promotion of fundraising campaigns, events, or advocacy actions. Setting up conversion tracking for different channels can show you those that are most effective for specific goals, and therefore more valuable. You can also learn where there are opportunities to improve your acquisition and focus efforts there as well.
What your visitors do once they get to your site is invaluable. One feature of the navigation section of Google Analytics is the Homepage Next Path report. This shows you the first page that your site visitors go to after your homepage. You can use this report to understand if your site prioritizes the right internal pages. If you really want to direct people to your blog, but most are going elsewhere, you can make strategic decisions on how to more effectively promote the pages you want people to visit.
Google Optimize is a free tool that you can connect to Analytics and Google Ads. It allows you to test elements of your site. After you’ve determined areas of your site that are underperforming using Google Analytics, you can run experiments in Optimize that will help you deploy winning strategies. You can test text, colors, fonts, placement, form fields, images, and more. You can compare various versions of the same pages or forms, and then implement the version that best accomplishes your goals.