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Since it's free, and ubiquitous, small businesses are likely to be relying on Google Analytics for online measurement.
Indeed, our Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2013 found that 56% of businesses rely exclusively on Google for data analytics, while others use GA in conjunction with paid analytics services.
Even if you're no data expert, you can still find some valuable insight from the basic reports in GA, which can be very useful for your business.
Also, ready-made custom reports and dashboards can save you a lot of time.
As the UK is celebrating its first Small Business Saturday on 7th December 2013, I've rounded up some useful examples which should be helpful for SMEs.
(By the way, if you don't have Google Analytics, read this post by Google's Daniel Waisberg on setting up and using Google Analytics).
What should you be looking at?
It's likely that many small businesses will set up Google Analytics, but will stick to the default reports and settings.
Another issue is knowing what to look for. This will of course depend on the kind of business you run. For example, as a publisher, we're looking to increase traffic and audience engagement, as well as awareness of our reports and events.
Ecommerce businesses will have slightly different objectives. Traffic is still important, but there is more emphasis on converting as much of that traffic as possible.
The key is to focus on the data that you can have an impact on, or that tells you something important about user behaviour on your site.
For example, if you see that particular site search terms are popular, then you can investigate further, see how the searches perform on your site, or perhaps it may tell you about a product you don't stock, but should.
Here are a mixture of custom reports, segments and dashboards which will be useful for small businesses...
Small business dashboard
This dashboard, from Google, allows you to see lots of key stats at a glance in real time.
Stats include revenue, traffic, conversion rates, as well as some useful data on site search performance.
Download the small business dashboard. (make sure you're logged into Google Analytics first).
Ecommerce conversion report
This one, from Depesh Mandalia, can be used to identify issues and opportunities on ecommerce sites.
Tab one, 'by keyword' is about tracking keyword performance against sales to identify paid search opportunities. The second tab can spot high level conversion issues, breaking down by browser and version.
Tab three will allow you to breakdown visits and conversions by device to identify any issues and opportunities. Tab four (not relevant for all businesses) is a Country > City > Landing Page breakdown to spot trends and opportunities.
Tab five breaks campaigns down to Year > Month > Day > hour which can be helpful when running other short-term marketing campaigns to understand the impact they have on your bottom line.
Thanks to Google's encryption of search referral data, this report is perhaps less useful than it used to be, but it looks at your most popular keywords and shows visitor metrics, conversion rates, goal completions and page load time.
Other tabs also show engagement and revenue metrics.
70 facts about visitors
This is a handy one from Dashboard Junkie, which provides a host of useful information about your visitors: geography, devices, browsers, and so on.
There's a lot of information there, and it should alert you to possible issues and areas for further investigation.
Daily ecommerce report
This one, from Justin Cutroni, allows you to keep tabs on the various acquisition and conversion channels at a glance.
I'd be interested to hear how smaller businesses are using Google Analytics, as well as more suggestions for useful reports as dashboards, so let us know below...
Oh, and here's some more posts on Small Business Saturday: