Google Analytics 101: What gaming executives need to know
Too often we hear from our clients that they do not fully understand how to use Google Analytics or are not leveraging this data to optimize marketing decisions. So, we’ll take this opportunity to share some practical information that you can use today to identify strengths and weaknesses with your marketing efforts.
Google Analytics is a powerful – and free – marketing tool that measures the performance data of your website, digital and traditional marketing, apps, and social efforts to gain insight into your audience. Understanding your audience’s habits and preferences will help you make better decisions on where to spend your marketing dollars to reach your audience most effectively.
First let’s talk about your casino’s website.
Your website not only embodies your brand but is also the “home base” for anyone to find what you want them to know about your gaming operation. It’s also the place to keep a dialog going with everyone in your gaming “community,” which strengthens loyalty and helps create preference for your property.
Google Analytics provides a wide variety of data about how effective your website is:
- How many people visit your website
- How many repeat visits do you have
- How many website pages do your visitors go to
- Which website pages are being visited most often and are the most popular
- How much time visitors spend on your website
To understand how Google Analytics gives you this data, here are the key terms to know and what they mean to us as marketers:
Users: The number of unique individuals who visit your website. Monitoring the growth of your users tells you how effective your marketing efforts are in driving traffic to your website.
Sessions: A session is a “visit” or the number of times a user goes to your website. John Q Player could visit your website seven times in a month which accounts for seven sessions. Is your website compelling enough to inspire repeat visits?
Pageviews: Total number of pages viewed on your website. Example, John Q Player could visit four pages on your website during one session. Once on your website, are you cross-promoting events, dining, players card signs-ups etc. that will drive visitors to go to multiple pages?
Pages/Sessions: This is the average number of pages viewed on your website per session. The more a visitor engages with your website, the more they learn about your property and what you offer that appeals to them.
Average Session Duration: Learn how much time people are spending on your website. Higher average session durations mean stronger engagement.
Bounce Rate: A “bounce” is someone who only visits one page on your website before leaving. Example, if your bounce rate is 75%, it means that only 25% of your website visitors are digging deeper than the first page they land on.
Acquisition Channels: This one is an important one. Google Analytics tells you where your traffic is coming from both geographically and from what medium – Organic Search, Referral, Direct, Paid Search, Display, Social. There’s a ton of insight to be gained here, like:
- How many people are visiting your website from your local and destination markets?
- How many people get to your website from desktop computers versus tablets versus mobile devices?
- How is your Paid Search effort performing?
- Do your display ads and social media posts do their job and get your audience to click through the post to your website?
- Is your brand strong – which would be indicated by a high Organic Search statistic?
In a nutshell, the Acquisition Channels data tells you what channels are (or are not) working, if there are markets where your online presence is slipping, and if your social and display marketing messages are resulting in click-throughs.
Whether your audience receives your marketing message through direct mail, print, outdoor, TV, radio or digital, they’re heading straight to your website for more information and if they can’t find it easily (and attractively) then you’ve not only let them down, you’ve cheated your property out of opportunities to strengthen engagement and create preference for your casino. Google Analytics is a great tool to measure your efforts and guide you to course corrections that will make for favorable results. And isn’t that what we all strive to do – constantly improve our marketing and move the needle?