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July 28, 2020

Preparing for Success with Google Analytics

With limited time and resources, Google Analytics is a powerful tool to understand your audience better, make informed marketing decisions, and prepare your organization for future success.

While waiting for clarity on a path forward for live events, we're looking for ways to do more and do better with fewer resources. To help, we can utilize Google Analytics to gain meaningful insight into not only our fans, patrons, and donors, but also how we communicate with our audiences, who they are, and, more importantly, how they respond to what we have to offer.

As the intro article in a series on getting the most out of Google Analytics for live events, we'll make sure you are getting the data you need to make the right decisions by opting in to applicable demographic and reporting features. With the proper setup, you will have confidence in your data when making marketing decisions and answering questions from executives about who your fans are and what is working well.

If you haven't used Google Analytics before, or have tried, but got overwhelmed by the amount of data in the platform, don't fret! You do not need to be an expert or even intermediate-level Google Analytics user to deploy these recommendations. Additionally, opting in to these features should not require code updates. All you need is access to edit your Analytics property and 5-10 minutes.


First things first...

If you want to track sales and revenue, make sure you turn on eCommerce reporting. This step may seem obvious, but it is easy to overlook. Even an experienced Google Analytics user can come back to verify data a few days after implementation, only to find it wasn't turned on during the initial setup. Not that I'm speaking from experience.

To turn on eCommerce reporting:

  1. Navigate to Google Analytics' admin section, select the view from which you want to report on eCommerce in the far right column
  2. Go to the Ecommerce section and toggle the slider to the on position.
    • Do not turn on enhanced eCommerce reporting. As of this writing, enhanced eCommerce reporting has not been rolled out to all Paciolan sites. While it will not do any harm, all enhanced metrics will be zero, which can make evaluation more difficult. Look for another post on enhanced eCommerce later this summer.



With eCommerce reporting enabled, you can easily see sales trends and find opportunities for maximizing revenue or shifting strategies to increase volume. In the example below, the four highlighted items, which are all related to a three-day event, have an average purchase price higher than the top-selling items. When totaled, they generated nearly twice the revenue of the top-selling items on fewer sales. In this case, you may consider additional marketing efforts generate more sales and revenue for these higher-value items.



Next, gain insight into your consumers…

Enable demographic and interest reports. To enable this option:

  1. Go to the admin panel
  2. Navigate to Property Settings in the middle column of your screen
  3. Toggle the slider.
    • While you're here, I also recommend ticking the box to allow manual tagging to override auto-tagging.
    • Manual tagging will help align reporting across channels and aid in evaluating your marketing mix, but that is a topic for a different post.



Now that you're collecting demographic data, you'll be able to see the general makeup of your site users. Not all users allow their age and gender to be shared, but typically, you will have enough data to provide directional insight. Demographic reports can expose shifts in your fanbase over time, such as the one seen below. Over the last few months, we’ve seen the percentage of site users begin to skew younger, which aligns with Google sentiment surveys about the fan’s willingness to return to live events. With this insight, you can adjust strategies to speak more directly to these users or make more of an effort to regain fans lost in older age groups. Additionally, this data can confirm institutional knowledge of who your fans are or shine a light on an under-served set of patrons.



Last, take full advantage of everything Google Analytics offers... 

Enable remarketing and advertising reporting features.

  1. These options are found in the property section (middle column) of the admin panel.
  2. Once there, navigate to Tracking Info, then Data Collection.
  3. You may also see an option to enable Google Signals, which is a new version of Google's advertising features.
    • Signals allows you to measure and remarket to cross-device users.

Please note, enabling remarketing or Signals within Google Analytics requires you to adhere to the Google Analytics Advertising Features policy.



By taking a few minutes to ensure you have turned on eCommerce and opted in to the powerful demographic and remarketing features in Google Analytics, you are now better equipped to know your fans, patrons, and donors and make data-driven marketing decisions. In future posts, we'll cover the all-important cross-domain tracking set up to view the entire customer path to purchase on your site. We'll also review practical applications of basic reporting, demonstrate audience building for remarketing, and share best practices from Paciolan's Google Analytics consulting service.


The Google Analytics Series:

authorPost by Mark Baker, Digital Marketing Specialist, Paciolan