Trial by Analytics.These Google Analytics Mistakes are Killing your Conversions.

Google Analytics is one of my favourite Google offerings of all time. That’s why I get up in arms when I see its massive power wasted. Here you have an amazing and powerful tool, which can help you review the performance of your website,yet I see it being misused so often. I know the sheer amount of data can be overwhelming, but there are a few grave mistakes you need to avoid at all costs – especially small hotels.

Here are the most common mistakes in my experience:

Not checking for Error Pages in Analytics

Imagine browsing through an e-commerce website – you are about to purchase your favourite gadget but an error page pops up: “Page Not Found”.

Like you, your potential guests are likely to pull their hair with frustration too. Error pages are formed when you delete an old page or change the website URL without properly redirecting it. They not only frustrate visitors, but are bad for SEO too.

Keep abreast of 404 error page visits within Google Analytics. If there’s a high instance of errors, there might be an issue with your site setup, or how the visitors are landing on your site.

Not just that, hotels should put in a lot of effort into their error pages. The main objective is to provide information to visitors, enabling them tonavigate back to working pages,while showing them your brand’s personality.

Make sure it doesn’t look like this:

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I really like the way Hilton does it…

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…or you can inject some humour like TripAdvisor:

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#AskAviArya tip – A common reason for 404 errors is when another website links to your page incorrectly. You can check this easily by opening the Referrals report in GA.

Not checking the Geo-location of Visitors

I’m a big fan of this awesome visual report – it shows a breakdown of the website visitors’ locations through their IP addresses.

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The report can be quite specific; it even shows the city that visitors are based in.

The real fun is using it in combination with ecommerce tracking – another amazing feature. Once setup correctly, you will be able to see Key Performance Indicators such as conversion rate and total revenue generated, according to a visitor’s location. You can see the top performing areas and their generated revenue!

This is particularly useful if you are looking forward to targeting new territories. For example, if you see that around 15% of online revenue has come from New Delhi in the past 12 months, you can target specific users in this area and run a PPC advertising campaign.

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You can also use the Language report to check the language used by the visitors.

Obsessing over Data Accuracy

Face it folks –data accuracy is a myth. The way internet is used now, arriving at highly accurate data sets is super hard. In my experience, getting insights from the analytics reports which you already have is more important than aspiring for highly accurate data – which is like finding a needle in hay.

The data in a GA report may not match with the data from other reports such as AdWords. Moreover, getting accurate data from GA, as well as your booking engine, is highly challenging. Small hotels may not find it rewarding to waste resources on this. Call in advanced technical help only when you need it.

My advice – Know what you are looking for, and don’t miss the forest for the trees.

No Goals = No Use of Analytics

I meet a lot of managers who lead a hotel’s marketing efforts, yet do not understand the relevance of analysing goals and reviewing the conversion funnel. For crying out loud, some do not even know the difference between clicks and impressions. If you haven’t set goals for your website, staring at web analytics is a futile exercise. It’s like making sense of a Picasso painting,which is hanging upside down.

The Goal funnel basically allows you to track visitors’ arrival to an end goal. You define what the end goal is, and the path to reach it. A typical conversion funnel might look like this as given below:

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You may find that 80% of people, for instance, drop out at room search stage. Careful analysis of the data will help you answer “why?”

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An example of the top referral sites from the Ecommerce Report

#AskAviArya tip – make sure you understand the basics of funnel evaluating before you start analytics. Only then integrate GA into your website (and booking engine!), to start reviewing your ecommerce conversion funnel.

Do you know someone who’s making these mistakes while using Google Analytics? If so, share the wisdom with them!

I’ll come up with my next blog soon – meanwhile, you can catch up with the episodes of the #AskAviArya show here –