Financial advisors and software developers share a lot in common, including their love of numbers, but both industries are fraught with jargon. When using services like Google Analytics, advisors may become quickly overwhelmed with the amount of data available and the terms used. The difference between a unique visitor and a page view may not be entirely obvious to a non-tech audience.

The good news is that only a few metrics are truly important to financial advisors, since the majority of Google Analytics’ complexity is designed to target more complex parts of the web, such as e-commerce or affiliate marketing.

Measuring Traffic Quantity

The most obvious starting point is determine how much traffic is coming to a website. After logging into Google Analytics, selecting your website, and then clicking on All Website Data, you’ll be presented with an Audience Overview line graph that shows the number of visitors reaching your website over the past hour, day, week, month, or other customizable date range. (For related reading, see: SEO Tips for Financial Advisors.)

The most important thing to watch in this section is that your traffic figures are on the rise, which suggests that you’re reaching a greater number of people over time. Often times, the best way to increase traffic is to either create content (such as a blog post) that drives organic search engine traffic to pay for traffic using programs like Google AdWords that send visitors to your website in exchange for a fee. (For more, see: Getting the Most Out of Your Web Presence.)

Determining Traffic Quality

The next step is determining how valuable the audience you’re attracting is by looking at their place of origin and other metrics. Under the Audience tab on the sidebar, you can click on Geo to see where your visitors are coming from by country, state and even city. The Demographics tab provides details regarding your visitors’ age and gender based on their Internet service provider’s location. (For related reading, see: A Guide to Corporate Social Media.)

The most important things to watch for here are for visitors in your target region and demographics. For example, a swath of visitors from Europe does very little good for a financial advisory practice in California. Similarly, a large quantity of younger readers may not be ideal for a practice that’s largely focused on retirement planning or estate planning. Try changing your content or ad campaigns to better target visitors if you’re finding that audience quality isn’t quite right. (For more, see: The Top Advisor Marketing Myths.)

Trace Audience Origins

The third most useful metric is tracing the origins of traffic to see how marketing campaigns are working. By clicking on the Acquisition tab on the sidebar, you can see an overview of where traffic is coming from, as well as drill down into AdWords campaign performance, search engine positioning, and social media referrals, which can help you optimize where you’re spending money to build an audience. (For related reading, see: How Financial Advisors Are Leveraging Social Media.)

For example, a financial advisor that’s using AdWords to generate traffic to a landing page with a form to learn more may want to link their AdWords account in order to gain insights into how many of those visitors are actually signing up. Those spending a lot of time promoting their posts on Twitter and Facebook can similarly see whether or not those efforts are producing tangible results. (For related reading, see: Financial Advisors are Feeling Cyber-insecure.)

The Bottom Line

Google Analytics is a great tool to help measure a website’s popularity and various marketing campaigns. For financial advisors, a great way to get started is by looking at these three simple areas before diving into the more complex areas. They can then focus generating traffic, ensuring that traffic is targeted, and honing their marketing efforts to focus on things that they know works. (For related reading, see: Web Site Tips for Financial Advisors.)

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