Google Analytics is king in the world of website performance tracking. It keeps tabs on a variety of important measures of your website’s health and is widely used amongst businesses of all sizes. The problem is most people don’t know how to get value out of Google Analytics. It’s cool to see where your visitors are coming from or how many people are on your site right now, but how do you get insights out of GA that lead to more dollars in your pocket and time to spend elsewhere?

Don’t invest time in analytics just for the sake of it. Do it so you can get actionable, meaningful information at your fingertips quickly and conveniently. Here are some ways that you can use Google Analytics the right way that will make it worth your time.

Build traffic funnels to understand where your weak points are and how to fix them

From the moment users enter your website, your goal is to get them to take a certain action. Depending on your business, this might be to make an online purchase, sign up for a service, or even just schedule a meeting. When you think about your website, you should always be thinking about how to most effectively navigate users to that desired action. Understanding your site flow and creating a formalized funnel process is a must for SMBs who want to optimize their website. Once a funnel has been established and monitored, it will be much easier to identify where you are doing a great job of retaining your traffic and where you have room for improvement.

Determine the most efficient way to spend your marketing budget

Many SMBs explore different acquisition channels for their site. They might invest time or money in search engine optimization, paid search, social media, email marketing, and other digital strategies. There are a variety of opinions about the best possible approach, but the truth is each website has its own unique combination of digital traffic acquisition channels that would optimize overall traffic. Monitoring data from acquisition channels can be a very practical tool in determining which channels have the best value for you. Don’t just look at total traffic numbers- you should track channels by bounce rate, conversion rate, and cost per conversion as well!

Understand your customers’ personas and which visitors to your site should be targeted more directly

There are a lot of different ways you can categorize your web visitors- demographics, location, device type, and traffic source to name a few. Understanding how different segments of these visitors behave differently shines light onto which of these personas are more valuable than others. Maybe mobile traffic from social media in France is particularly likely to purchase from your site! Creating custom tables and reports that measure traffic behavior segmented by combinations of dimensions will help you identify who your real target customer is and how to most effectively target them while avoiding spending time and money on low-quality traffic.