What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is undoubtedly one of the most powerful web analytics tools available today. With close to 30 million websites using Google Analytics, it definitely dominates the market. It provides you with unparalleled access to your website’s performance and insightful information about your visitors.
But what’s even more surprising is that there are still so many businesses that don’t use any tracking or analytics tools. If you don’t constantly monitor your website’s performance, you won’t know if it’s working or not – and you may be missing out on a huge potential market.
Google Analytics launched in 2005, when Google acquired a company called Urchin. Since then, it is the most widely used web analytics platform used worldwide and it received more than 100,000 signups in its first month alone. Website owners can use Google Analytics to track visitors, monitor a website’s performance, and learn more about their audience – including mobile traffic.
The platform uses the Google Analytics Tracking Code, which is essentially a snippet of code that a website owner can add to every page of the website. When a visitor visits a page, the information is sent to the Analytics server and this is available in the form of many reports on the webmaster’s dashboard.
Healthcare providers across the world are using Google Analytics to improve their website’s search engine optimization and get valuable insights into their online visitors and patients.
Why Dentists Need to Know About Google Analytics
Dental providers are increasingly realising the benefits of using modern technology to promote their practice. While the dental industry has been rather slow to move to digital platforms and adopt digital tools, times are changing and dental providers are increasingly using systems that are designed to run their practices – and their websites – more efficiently.
Did you know that 71% of consumers use search engines to find a solution to their healthcare problems? And seeing that the top three results on Google’s search engine results pages are reserved for PPC ads, it’s the ideal opportunity for healthcare professionals to get their practice in front of the right audience.
This is why proper analytics are so important – you need to know how people find your dental practice, where they come from, and how much time they spend on your website.
Whether you have an established dental practice or only recently decided to advertise your practice online, you can benefit from using Google Analytics.
Do you know how many patients visit your dental practice every month? Do you know how they found you? Do you know how many of them set up an appointment online or which pages they spent the most time on? Do you know how many of them use mobile devices?
Google Analytics can track all this, and much more.
Installing Google Analytics for your dental practice is relatively simple and your dental marketing consultant can assist with your account setup, if you are unfamiliar with the process.
According to the National Institutes of Health, medical professionals should recognize that patients are using the Internet as a source of health information and be prepared to assist them in finding quality, accurate medical information to help them make decisions.
How Google Analytics can Help Your Business Make Data-Driven Decisions
When it comes to using data and analytics to drive your dental practice, companies like Google and Facebook are leaders in data technology. But, as any CEO or business owner will know, making important decisions all comes down to collecting evidence, processing it, and making decisions based on the facts.
Data-driven businesses are three times more likely to see a significant improvement in decision making, which is why Google Analytics has become an invaluable tool for healthcare professionals.
Here’s a list of the most important data that you can get from Google Analytics:
- How visitors find your website. This will help you determine which of your efforts are paying off. You’ll be able to see if visitors found your website directly, from a search engine, or as a result of another referral website (for eg. Facebook, Instagram).
- Where your visitors are coming from. This is very important if you are targeting a specific audience group.
- The browsers your visitors are using. This will help you to know what browsers to focus on when you develop your website.
- What keywords visitors used in search engines to find your website. This part is crucial to your SEO efforts. Knowing what people are searching for will help you determine if your campaigns are on the right track.
Most importantly, Google Analytics can help you understand what actions your visitors are taking when browsing your website. With the help of goals, you can find out if people are taking certain actions, for example filling out a form, or making an appointment online.
Daily reports will give you all the information and data analytics you need to make the right decisions in terms of your dental practice’s online performance and website structure.
Google Analytics Account Structure
A Google Analytics (GA) setup will be made up of different structures, and it’s important to understand the very basics of what each of these structures represent. With the help of your dental marketing consultant, you can have your GA setup implemented in a few easy steps.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the more important aspects of your GA structure:
Your account will be your main access point in GA. Accounts form part of an organization, and you can have a single account, or multiple accounts linked to an organization. When you set up your dental practice’s GA, you need at least one account so that you can identify all the properties you want to track.
A property can refer to your dental website, a mobile application, or even a point of sale device. Properties are linked to accounts, and you can have multiple properties that you can track at the same time. You can collect data from these properties, with the help of a tracking code.
A view refers to how you view data for a specific property, so it’s basically a report (a collection of data). You can view data for one or multiple properties at a time, for example, view all the data for your dental website, or view only the data for traffic that comes from your PPC (paid ads) campaigns.
Major Categories within Google Analytics Interface
GA offers information in five different categories: real-time, audience, acquisition, behavior, and conversions. Each of these categories provides you with data and there are subcategories that allow you to dive even deeper into the information provided.
Real-time reports show you what is happening right now, in real-time, on your dental website. Most users are happy with a monthly report, but if you are testing out features on your website, or running a specific ad campaign, real-time data can be very helpful.
This section will provide you with more information about the people visiting your website. YOu can view their demographics, geographic information, and interests, among other things. You can also see what browser and software they are using to view your website.
The acquisition section of Google Analytics will show you how people are finding your website. Did they click on an ad? Did they open an email campaign? Did they find your social media profile? Were they referred from another website? This section will tell you how people are finding you online.
This section will provide you with more information about what people are doing when they visit your dental website. What pages are they navigating to? What are they searching for? How much time are they spending on each page? This can help you determine which pages or sections on your website you should pay attention to, to provide the information they need to convert them into customers.
You can use GA to set up goals and events, which you can use to track conversions. This is essentially a measure of success, for e.g. when someone makes an appointment online, or when they fill out a contact form for your practice to contact them. Reaching goals is important because it measures how successful your marketing efforts are, so if you know what success means for your practice, you can set up goals and events to track this.
Important Google Analytics Vocabulary
Here’s what we’ll be covering in more detail in our mini series:
% New Sessions
This refers to the percentage of visitors who are visiting your website for the first time.
Avg. Session Duration
This is where GA calculates the average session duration by taking the total duration of all sessions and dividing them by the total number of sessions.
Avg. Time on Page
The average time that users spend on a specific page.
The bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who leave your website from the landing page they entered with, without browsing any further.
This refers to the internet browser that users use to view your website with.
A campaign can refer to the method of how users discover your website, such as an ad campaign, social media campaign, email campaign, or more.
Campaign content or data refers to the information that applies to a specific campaign in GA. You can use campaign tracking to see how visitors reach your website
This refers to the city that a visitor is located in.
This refers to the country that a visitor is located in.
The device category will refer to the device a visitor used to visit your website, for eg. mobile, tablet or desktop.
The entrances are the total number of visitors who entered your website on a specific page.
The exits are the total number of visitors who left your website from a specific page.
This is what marketers see as goals, in other words, when the goal has been reached. Completion could be when a visitor books an appointment online, for example.
Goal conversion rate
This is the percentage of visitors who completed a goal. For example, a visitor who made an appointment with your practice.
This is the main term or phrase that best describes your business, which you want to rank for. Your keyword could be ‘dentist in california’.
A single page that appears as the destination page when someone clicks on a specific search engine result.
Also referred to as the source, and this could be from organic search, a web referral, or a PPC ad, as an example. It’s the source where a visitor or traffic comes from.
This refers to new users who haven’t visited the site before.
A page refers to a single web page on your website.
Page load time
This is the time it takes for a single page to load. The faster your loading speed, the better.
Pages / Session
Pages per session refers to the number of pages someone visited while browsing your website in a single session. It is also used as a metric for engagement.
This refers to the number of times a specific page was viewed by visitors.
This refers to the geographical region where your website visitors are physically located.
A session in Google Analytics refers to interactions that took place on your website during a specific time frame.
This refers to the source where your visitors come from. A source is the origin of your web traffic, for e.g. a search engine such as Google, a referral website, social media, and more.
Unique Page Views
A unique pageview aggregates pageviews that are generated by the same user during the same session.
Users refer to the visitors who started a session on your website.
If you need more information on setting up Google Analytics for your dental practice, or how GA can help you succeed online, get in touch today and find out how we can grow your practice together.