Google Analytics is an important free tool that you need to utilize as a financial advisor. If you regularly check and understand Google Analytics, it will help you to be more effective in your online marketing, better understand your website’s performance, and make changes that improve your SEO and the user experience.
Google Analytics is installed on at least 10 million websites, is used by 64% of the Top 500 US Retailers, 45% of Fortune 500 companies, and 55.9% of the top 1 million domains.
But does it work? What are the most important Google Analytics metrics for financial advisors? How does your site compare to others in the industry? Read on to learn more!
How Does Google Analytics Work?
What Data Does Google Analytics Say About Your Website?
Well there are actually over 10,000 metrics that you can view about your site! Here are just a few examples:
- How much traffic is coming to your website?
- Where your traffic is coming from?
- What are visitors doing once they are on the site?
- Which of your blog posts are the most popular?
- Where are your site visitors located in the world?
While there is a plethora of data provided by Analytics, we wanted to break down the most important aspects that financials advisors should pay attention to. There are four main sections we suggest advisors become familiar with within the Analytics Dashboard – Real Time, Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior.
1. Real Time
Want to know who’s on your website right now? Real-Time data gives you access to that data instantly. For instance let’s say you just gave a presentation and now you want to see how many attendees are checking out your site in real time. This is a great tool for watching site visits live.
This tab gives insight into WHO is visiting your website. Some important ones to note:
- Geo: very important because most firms have a specific geographical scope; therefore pay attention to your geographical area
- New vs. Returning :especially important if you are using your site as a prospecting tool
- Mobile: who accesses your website via a mobile device
- Benchmarking: allows you to compare traffic with others in the industry. You can setup your account to be part of the “financial services” industry and look at your data compared to others.
This tab gives insight into HOW users find your website.
- Direct: the user types your domain name directly into their browser. For instance www.twentyoverten.com
- Organic Search: the user conducts a search (via Google for instance) and your website appears in the search results, which they then click
- Referral: the user clicks on a link to your website from another source (blog, other website, email)
- Social: the user clicks through to your site from a social media platform such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter
This tab gives insight into WHAT users do once they land on your site.
- What pages do they enter the site on?
- Where do they go next?
- How long do they stay on each page?
- What page do they exit from?
What are the Most Important Metrics for Financial Advisors?
In our Webinar Replay: Google Analytics For Advisors – Which Metrics Should You Monitor? (also embedded below), we’ve covered:
- Who is visiting my website?
- How are people finding my website?
- What are visitors doing once they land on my site?
- What are the most important metrics for financial advisors to monitor?
- How does my website compare with the activity other financial advisors are seeing?
- How often should I monitor my analytics and make adjustments to my website?
Advisors are often surprised to learn that a typical financial advisor’s site has an average session duration of just under 1.5 minutes!
1. New vs. Returning Users
Ideally you would like to see a good mix of new and returning users. You’d like to see prospective clients checking you out but also see your current clients coming back to your site over and over again to login to their accounts, read your latest blog posts, etc.
2. Bounce Rate
If you have a popular blog, your site-wide bounce rate may be higher as a good percentage of visitors may come to your site, read your latest blog post, and leave. You can work to improve your bounce rate by always linking old blog posts within your latest post. Financial Advisors should aim to have their bounce rate between 40-60%. you should note that single page scroll sites will ALWAYS be much higher as the user never has to navigate to another page on anything to see all the content.
3. Referral Traffic Sources
You should ALWAYS pay attention to what other sites are sending traffic to your website!
4. Organic Search Traffic
This will give you some insight into how much of your traffic is coming from people simply doing a basic search and finding your page. For instance, a prospect may find your website by typing in “financial planner in Cleveland, Oh” to the search bar.
5. Average Session Duration/ Average Page Time
People are often surprised to learn that a typical financial advisor’s site has a average session duration of just under 1.5 minutes! You have a very short window of time to make an impression – so make sure your landing pages are optimized to present your Unique Value Proposition and Call to Action!
If you do not have a website that has been designed to display beautifully on mobile, and yet 25% of your traffic is coming from mobile devices, you need to update your site ASAP!
7. GEO Location/City
Most financial advisors have a specific geographic location in which they work. By selecting to see how your site is performing for visitors in the specific area in which you are located, you will have a much better idea of how your site is actually performing for your target audience.
Your web strategy should be constantly evolving to optimize traffic returns for the site Measure, Learn, Refine and Repeat!
An Example of How to Use Google Analytics as a Financial Advisor
Let’s say you spend 5 hours each week writing up 2 blog posts, one on general financial planning topics and one on market commentary. You share both posts via an email blast as well as on social media. The market commentary posts only take 30 minutes to write whereas the financial planning posts take 4.5 hours. You wonder if it is really worth it to write the financial planning posts.
You can use Google Analytics to help you decide what to do. You can track:
- If your market commentary only takes 20 minutes to write but only gets 2 new views each week, where the financial planning posts are getting 15-20 new views, perhaps it is worth it for lead generation purposes to keep spending the time.
- Which posts get people to stay on the page the longest?
- Which financial planning topics are most popular? Let’s say your college planning posts are always popular. Perhaps you plan a College Planning and Saving series and then link within each post to old posts on the same topic.
Remember that first you have to install Google Analytics on your site to be able to start tracking it (if you built your website on the Twenty Over Ten app it is already installed for you). You won’t have much data at first because it only starts when it is installed, so the earlier you set it up the better!