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Using Google Analytics to get Actionable Insights

Have they never segmented people who bought from the store vs people who didn’t, to understand what behaviors have resulted for people to buy or not buy? what pages/content influence to buy or not buy? what channel combination influence to buy or not buy? What devices influence to buy or not buy? Have they never used google analytics to get an actual data-driven insight? Do they even know what a Data-Driven Insight is? Let’s start with the why? Why Google Analytics?

  1. Free for life

  2. Amazing capabilities to track almost everything on a website (Install page analytics chrome plugin for heatmaps. click here for a good article on how to use it)

  3. Amazing Segmenting Capabilities

  4. Ability to easily pull data from an API to be used for Machine Learning and AI (NEXT LEVEL!)

Google Analytics does an amazing job as a central place to analyze data, without working in silos. The ability tag with UTM’s, the ability to create custom dimensions and the ability to upload offline data makes google analytics one of the best resources out there to get actual data-driven insights for your business.

How to Get Actionable Insights with Google Analytics?

What is an Insight? Insight is the understanding of a specific cause and effect within a specific context.

Ok! Ok! It can be a little confusing. It’s simpler than you think. Let me break it down. Let’s take the following example of an awesome campaign built on a key insight.

Let’s break this campaign down into the insight trinity to get a better understanding.

The Insight Trinity

1. Observe — How things or people behave, and the outcomes due to these behaviors (Data, Research, Common Sense etc..) Snickers Observation: People get restless and angry when they are hungry, but people do not want to be that restless angry person generally

2. Unravel — Why people or the things behaved in the way they behaved, what the reason behind the behavior?(Surveys, user experiments, interviews etc) Snickers revelation: Hunger has psychological and emotional consequences

3. Action — A new angle or a new perspective to put things into action based on the learnings from our observations and revelations. Snickers Action : By Helping you overcome hunger, Snickers helps you stay you!

A Powerful insight can be the basis of a new communication strategy, a new proposition or a brand new idea — Yonathan Dominitz

Can we get this level of insights with Google Analytics? YAAAASSSS!

Getting Actionable Insights with Google Analytics

Let me use Airbnb as an example to make it more digestible. The process is applicable for anything, any tool including google analytics. Airbnb wanted to improve the number of room nights booked per listed property.

More room nights = More revenue = Growth!

1.Segment — Profitable Vs Unprofitable Airbnb Segments: Properties with high room nights(Profitable) vs Properties withlow room nights (Unprofitable)

2.Find Commonalities — What is the common thread in the profitable segment that doesn’t exist in the unprofitable segment Airbnb Commonalities: Properties with high room nights had high-quality images, which was missing on properties with low room nights.


Airbnb Insight Trinity

1. Observation: People tend to book properties with high-quality images

2. Revelation: High-quality images results the users to get attracted to the property, and also build trust about the property.

3. Action: Encourage all property owners who are listed on Airbnb to upload high-quality images of their properties.

Results: Next Level Growth!

Enough with examples, let’s get our hands dirty.

E-commerce Insights — Apparel

Why you no buy?
  1. Create two advanced segments (Users who viewed a product page and bought something vs, users who viewed a product page and didn't buy anything

  2. Get a list of ale vents triggered for each segment

Now look for an event that has triggered in the segment where users have bought something which is not available in the segment where users haven’t bought anything.(Vlookup is your friend, use it :D)

People who bought viewed the sized guide


Insight Trinity:

1.Observation: People who view the size guide has a higher conversion probability

2. Revelation: The biggest concern that online apparel shoppers have is if the size will fit them (Learned through surveys, user experiments)

3. Action: Give prominence to the size guide (Run an experiment to validate your observation)

The thinking will be the same how you apply it to your own industry is completely up to you. Although the process is simple but insights are often misunderstood. Just an observation is not an insight. Your bounce rate increasing is not an insight, it’s only a place to start. Identifying there is a problem is the 1st step to getting an actionable insight.

Movement Process to Get Insights

1.Identify the problem: There are only 3 problems that can exist in a business.
  • Not being able to improve revenue

  • Not being able to decrease cost

  • Not being able to deliver a good customer experience(inability to meet customer expectation)

2. Identify the root cause of the problem
  • Observe — though data, research papers, observations etc

  • Unravel — surveys, interviews, research papers, user experiments

3. Identify a way to solve the problem
  • Action/ Hypothesis

  • Validate the action/hypothesis with experiments

Insights play a key role in business growth. If you look at the common thread of companies that has successfully navigated this fast-changing technological space and has become successful, they have continuously put their data into work to get actionable insights.

I truly believe that Google Analytics plays a major role in helping businesses grow by facilitating all the necessary tools to get actionable insights with ease.

In the grand scheme of things where internet plays a key role in the wealth distribution of the world, google analytics helps to do it more effectively.

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