Google Analytics is a powerful tool. And with a $0 price tag, it’s a tool that your nonprofit can’t afford not to maximize. Access to data alone won’t increase donations to your cause but understanding which reports to analyze and reacting to donor behavior can. When it comes to tracking and analyzing data, a lot can be learned by looking at other industries. Translated to the nonprofit world, these for-profit tactics can be the difference between simply accessing reports and understanding how to leverage data to serve your mission. Three ways to go beyond page visits and bounce rates? Enable Demographics and Interest Reporting, set goals and turn on Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking.
NOTE: If you haven’t activated your Google Analytics account, you’ll want to do that before diving into this post.
1. Enable Demographics and Interest Reporting to better know your online visitors.
From age and gender to general interests, Demographics and Interest Reporting is your go-to report for details on your online visitors. Capturing this data is crucial, though it takes only a few clicks to turn on: Open Reports in your Google Analytics admin dashboard, navigate to the Audience > Demographics > Overview report and click Enable.
When you dig in to your site’s demographics you can test assumptions about your online audience, determine the direction of a creative campaign or retarget where you spend your advertising dollars. Say you thought your typical visitor was between 25-34 years old and evenly split between male and female. But if data showed that your highest-value users are more likely to be older than 45 and female, you’d likely rethink your strategies and tactics in response.
2. Set goals in Google Analytics to maximize your conversions.
A goal represents a completed activity on your site, such as signing up for your organization’s newsletter or clicking ‘Donate Now.’ Setting goals that align with your nonprofit’s digital strategy allows you to measure effectiveness and adapt tactics to improve conversions. Google Analytics does not automatically track your goals, so you need to determine which actions are important to your organization for the reporting to be relevant to your nonprofit’s strategy. Through Google Analytics, you can set four types of goals to track conversions:
1. Destination: A specific location on your site, such as the URL for your Thank You page.
2. Duration: How long someone spends on a page, like the checkout page for your online donation.
3. Pages/screens per session: How many pages does it take for the prospective donor to get your online donation page.
4. Events: An action on your site, such as signing up for a newsletter or downloading a white paper.
If your nonprofit wants to know if prospective donors are watching a video on your website, you’d set a Google Analytics goal for this event to see if your efforts are paying off. Instead of only knowing the number of people that have visited the page, you now know how many are actually engaging with the content as well.
Once you’ve set your goals, the reports will appear in your dashboard so tracking is at your fingertips (instead of hunting through tabs to make sense of numbers). Remember to name your goals in a way that make sense to you as this is how you’ll find them moving forward.
3. Track online donations with Enhanced Ecommerce for new donor insights.
Donating money online is a comparable transaction to purchasing a product, so why not track your donor’s online journey the way a retailer tracks a customer? Before you get started, make sure your website supports Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking (this may be a question for your nonprofit’s website provider or developer).
When you activate ecommerce tracking, you’re able to better understand who your donors are and how they interact with your nonprofit online: How many times do they visit your site before making a donation? Which social media platform is more likely to guide them to your donation page? How many prospective donors make it to the confirmation page and leave before completing a donation? Then use that data to inform and adapt your practices. (With the examples above, you could consider a landing page with more information, increase your ad budget on Facebook and pull back on Instagram or streamline your checkout process).
There are two types of ecommerce reports in particular that you should reference:
1. Shopping Behavior Analysis: By combining constituent behaviors, transactions and events, this report follows how people respond to just about every event throughout your entire website, from landing on the site to making a donation.
2. Checkout Behavior – Compared to the Shopping Behavior Analysis, this detailed report focuses on the prospective donor’s actions on your checkout page. For each step of the donation process, you can create a tag to track how a donor reacts to your site (such as creating an account, entering payment details or confirming their gift).
Instead of just seeing where your donors come from to get to your site, you can see how they move through it, how much time is spent on your online donation page and at what point they may leave before completing the donation. And when your nonprofit is working to increase those conversions, having – and understanding – this data can make a big difference.
Enabling demographics, setting goals and activating ecommerce tracking provides you with Google Analytics’ Multichannel Funnels reports to better understand your visitors’ online journey. While Google Analytics may not provide the whole story when it comes to how and why an individual interacts with your site, it is an integral piece of your nonprofit’s online narrative – one that can lead you to drive action and increase donations for your cause.