How to measure and understand user behaviour

A guide to acting on results to improve your marketing strategy

1 Overview

The challenge

Once you’ve launched your website into a new market, the key challenge is to understand who visits your website, how they access it and what they do when there.

The aim

Make informed choices about your marketing strategy for a new export market. Improve user experience by measuring website visits and their behaviour, and discover insights about how users interact with you.

Introducing Google Analytics

Understanding user behaviour is really helpful in a new export market where interactions are less easy to predict and where your marketing strategy for a new market could be in its early stages. By tracking the number of users interacting with your application, the number of user sessions and the screens or web pages they visit, Google Analytics can help you hone your website or marketing strategy. That way it will better reflect the needs and interests of users in your new market.

2 Getting started

Use Google Analytics to gain an even richer understanding of how your users interact with individual application screens or pages on a website.

Google Analytics can help you understand your new market by:

  • Tracking each small interaction on a video player, downloads and on form submissions
  • Measuring the number of important business actions that users complete, as well as analyzing e-commerce transactions and purchases

Before you start, have a plan

Before you begin using Google Analytics, talk to people. Discuss your business objectives with the people in your company who will be using Google Analytics data. Include people who make the day-to-day business decisions as well as marketers and product designers. Ask them what key pieces of information would help them better understand your users’ behaviour. Then document these answers and create a simple measurement plan to guide your Google Analytics implementation.

Your measurement plan should include:

  • Your overall international market business objectives

  • The strategies and tactics that would support these objectives

  • Key performance indicators to measure the success of your strategies and tactics

  • Segments to understand what drives success, including segmenting your marketing activities and your most valuable users

  • Targets for each key performance indicator to understand if your business is reaching its goals in your potential market abroad

Get the measure of your users

Google Analytics has a number of great features to help you measure the behaviour of users in your potential market abroad. Let’s take a look at them, before discussing how to best use the raw data.

1. Set your goals

In simple terms, a goal is an activity completed by a user. Whether your goal is a completed purchase transaction, a game-level completion or a completed “contact me” form, Google Analytics will give you critical information about your specified goal. This will allow you to better understand if users are completing the behaviours you want them to complete, and evaluate the effectiveness of your online export market.

Goals are applied to the specific pages or screens that your users visit. They give information determining:

  • The number of pages or screens viewed in a session
  • How long users stay on your site or app
  • Events triggered while users are on your site

Every goal can have a monetary value so that you can see how much each completed goal is worth to your export market.

2. Improve your e-commerce

Any new export market has a range of unknowns. Keeping a close track of your export market’s shopping patterns will allow you to make informed decisions about how to adapt to meet your users’ needs. Enhanced e-commerce tracking gives you a detailed understanding of your users’ behaviour throughout the entire online shopping experience, from the number of clicks to product views and all stages of the checkout process.

3. Keep on track

If you want to get to the finer details of how your users are interacting, then Google Analytics’ flexible event tracking tool will do this by tracking the data you need. Downloads, mobile ad clicks, flash elements and video-plays can all be tracked independent of other web page activity.

Got a mobile app? Then use event tracking to better understand how your users are sharing your content or how they use a search function. For a website, use event tracking to track file downloads, and sharing of content.

4. Customize your questions

Your business is unique. You know what you want to measure and understand better than anyone, which is why Google Analytics offers custom dimensions and metrics. It’s a handy way to get answers to any questions you have about user behaviour in a new market.

3 Keep up with your users

You’ve got the data, but how do you use it? Google Analytics can help you translate data about your export market into a coherent story to help you better understand user behaviour.

Like all entrants into a new market you want to make sure that any success is not just part of a honeymoon period. So it’s a good idea to keep track of the level of user interest: consistent numbers in line with your initial expansion plans are great, but if they dip below those expectations, you should reassess your marketing efforts and check that you are targeting the right audience. An Active Users report will monitor your users’ engagement over one day or up to 30 days.

Study group behaviour

Why not get to know a whole group of your users at the same time? Say that you’ve just launched a new game, and want to measure user engagement from the first day of its launch, but don’t want to see what any other users on your site are doing. Cohort Analysis lets you do just that. It isolates and analyzes the behaviour of any group of users who share a common characteristic on a day-to-day basis, week to week or month to month.

Cohort Analysis gives you the opportunity to see swathes of behaviour and discover how and when a group of users disengages. This gives you the valuable information that you need to know when to acquire new users to make up for the group who have just left you.

Keep your users engaged

Once you have users on your site, you can track their every move so that you can discover what content keeps them engaged. The Behaviour Flow report visualizes the paths that your users travel from screen to screen, page to page, and is a great way to see which areas are putting your users off and which are truly working for your new users, and ultimately for your export market.

Get the market your business deserves

Users in every market behave differently. They are as unique as your business. By using Google Analytics you can help ensure that you have a market that you want to do business in, and that it is one that will want to do business with you.