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Valentina Pacitti
15 April 2022
Reading time: 6 min.

Google Analytics: how to use it for Growth Hacking

When it comes to Growth Hacking, it isn’t enough to know the best strategies in the industry or what the competition uses the most. What matters is understanding what works for your business. And there’s only one way to know that: measuring traffic and customer behavior. How? With analytical tools like Google Analytics. Let’s look at why Growth Hacking and GA are so closely related.

Have you decided to try Growth Hacking to grow your company or startup? Great idea! Thanks to this method, many companies have expanded their horizons (and earnings!).

Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Airbnb and PayPal have become the big companies we know today thanks to Growth Hacking. But it isn’t enough to apply a new marketing strategy to succeed.

Measuring the results obtained with consistency is an integral part of the process and the litmus test of user liking. It is therefore a good strategy.

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Growth Hacking: a creative but rigorous methodology

Growth Hacking is an innovative approach but not a new one. It’s been a decade since Silicon Valley’s most talented marketer, Sean Ellis, talked for the first time about using a growth-based marketing methodology that broke with traditional patterns.

Since then, marketers, or rather growth hackers, have experimented with different techniques and channels and optimized their processes.

What has emerged, still the basis of Growth Hacking today, is the need for a phase of continuous experimentation, followed by a phase of verification of results to modify strategies that do not convert as they should or could do it better.

This process is essential for conscious and informed marketing budget allocation and to ensure that a company grows quickly at the lowest cost.

Pirate Marketing doesn’t strike one as a methodical and rigorous approach, does it? Actually, the opposite is true.

The Growth Hacking method is creative and disruptive compared to more traditional marketing techniques but develops within a precise and scrupulous framework. 

To grow you have to experiment. But in order to know which direction to take, you need to check your results.

Analytics and Growth Hacking: inseparable companions

Growth Hacking uses tests to interpret user behavior and adapt the product or service to what users want or need.

Data is critical to understanding what direction potential customers’ preferences and needs are headed in, achieve sustainable growth.

This means that, in addition to knowing his target audience, channels and growth strategies, a growth hacker must also be able to use analytics.

Google Analytics, Search Console, Tag Manager, and Tableau are just some of the digital tools that let a growth hacker know if the strategies put in place are working or not.

Analysis and data management: the two greatest challenges in marketing

By collecting results on views, subscriptions, purchases, bounce rates, and more, a marketer can make informed decisions and go the right way.

But managing data isn’t always easy, and marketing teams often encounter two major challenges:

1. Management of analytics tools

Data is collected from different sources and often, when a new tool is introduced, data from previously used platforms is shelved. This causes periods of “inactivity” when it is necessary to restore a database.

2. Data analysis ability

In many companies, there is a special job description to cover general responsibility for data. And none of the other team members are responsible for this area.

This practice causes a number of problems because even the designer or copywriter must be aware of their performance, to change approach if the results are not satisfactory.

Google Analytics reports available to Growth hackers

If used well, Google Analytics can help your business grow.

You don’t need to be an expert to benefit from the information GA provides: the main user data, traffic channels, devices used and the most viewed content are available directly on the tool’s Home page.

More detailed and specific data can be accessed through the practical drop-down menu that opens on the left in the following sections:

  • Customization (connected to Google Data studio, to create custom dashboards and reports).
  • Real-time (to study data in real-time).
  • Public (to know detailed information about site users, e.g., demographic data, location and devices they connect from).
  • Acquisition (to get more in-depth information on traffic acquisition channels and main user behaviors on each).
  • Behavior (here we find useful information about views, average page time, bounce rate and pages with the most views).
  • Conversions (if you have set strategic goals, such as sessions on a thank you page, downloads or a specific purchase amount, you can check if the goal has been reached).

How to use Google Analytics for Growth Hacking:

Google Analytics is a powerful platform that can be used by companies across all industries. If you can use it and interpret the data it provides, you get all the information needed to boost your company’s growth.

Here are some analyses that you can carry out with Google Analytics to improve your Growth Hacking strategies on the spot:

1. Analysis of mobile traffic

In the Public report you will find valuable information about the devices of users visiting your website. How many connect from mobile or tablet? How many use Android instead of iOS? Which mobile devices generate the most conversions?

Answering these questions lets you adjust the pull of your strategies, adapting your content to the characteristics of the devices your audience segment uses most.

Not only that: you can check why certain devices or mobile operating systems do not receive conversions (it might be a responsive design problem) and solve them.

2. Analysis of channels and traffic sources

Where does the traffic that converts best on your site come from? In the All Traffic section of the Acquisition report, you can find out which traffic acquisition strategies work best—SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, paid ads, collaborations with other brands or media—and push them further to increase your revenues.

3. Analysis of user behavior

From the Google Analytics Behavior report, you can retrieve interesting information about your users’ liking for what you post on your website.

For example, you’ll find out

  • how many people convert at the first visit
  • which formats and content have the most impact on engagement
  • where modules and call-to-action pages perform best

Optimizing landing pages based on this data can dramatically increase conversions.

What if results of the latest content published aren’t electrifying? No problem, that too is part of Growth Hacking methodology.

As Arthur Bloch said, “No experiment has ever completely failed: it can always serve as a negative example”.

4. Funnel analysis

When you set goals in your Google Analytics account, you can see useful data to improve your Growth Hacking strategies in the Objectives section of the Conversions report.

In particular, you can click Channel View and check traffic movement of along the conversion funnel.

Analysis of the funnel helps you, for example, to identify troublesome steps for the user that hinder conversion.

You may find that many users leave the site when asked to enter personal information such as date of birth or phone number.

With holistic funnel analysis, you may also find that while most traffic comes from mobile, conversions are mostly desktop. Knowing this will help you improve your Growth Hacking efforts.

Are you ready to take advantage of Google Analytics to do Growth Hacking?

Remember that in order to achieve any goal, you must know if you are on the right road.

You can start with GA and then delve into the data with more specific tools, such as the tool dashboards used to manage your daily marketing activities.

For example, with MailUp you can know the real time statistics of your email campaigns, with reports about the recipient or sending.

Take advantage of your data and you’ll see that your Growth Hacking strategy will lead to even better conversions!

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Valentina Pacitti

Copywriter and translator since 2012, in charge of SEMrush Italia's blog since 2015. Words are my means of communicating with people - I read and write plenty of them. I like to know them inside and out, so that I can pick the best ones for every story I'm telling. Simple, clear, precise - this is the writing style I prefer. I'm more offline than online, but you can always find me on my social channels to discuss ideas and projects.

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