- Click here to read Part 1 of “Ask the Experts: Google Analytics for Real Estate.”
- Click here to read Part 2 of “Ask the Experts: Google Analytics for Real Estate.”
We recently got in touch with three analytics experts to explore how real estate professionals can use Google Analytics to measure – and improve – website performance. These experts are: Jeff Bernheisel, Project Manager at 1000watt; Tom Flanagan, VP of Marketing & Technology at Residential Properties; and Peter O’Neill, Web Analyst & Founder at L3 Analytics.
Placester: What do you think is the biggest blocker preventing more real estate professionals from using Google Analytics?
Jeff Bernheisel: I think the biggest challenge (anyone) faces in using analytics is just not understanding what it all means. All these numbers can seem very overwhelming at first.
Tom Flanagan: Time – or more accurately, lack of time – is always an issue for a busy Realtor®. Also, Google Analytics is a robust platform that can be intimidating to some users. It’s important to recognize how important data is to your business. Education is key. There are many great resources available online to learn the application and become more comfortable with it. Google‘s learning center is a great place to start.
Peter O’Neill: Lack of knowledge of where to start. The biggest barrier to using web analytics is not having not enough data, it is having far too much and drowning in it. My advice is always to start simple (a single dashboard containing just your key metrics) and always keep your business questions in mind – it is like a map keeping you on the right path.
P: Any Google Analytics tips or tricks that you’ve found helpful?
Jeff Bernheisel: Get familiar with the “visitor flow” section of Google Analytics. It’s a great way to see the segmented paths that your visitors take, where they click through, where they “bounce,” and ultimately where they land and stick within the depths of your site. There are all sorts of patterns you can extract from the data from which you can make changes to your site accordingly.
Tom Flanagan: I recently discovered a nifty “PR Dashboard” on Analytics Talk. The data is extremely useful. You can automatically add the preconfigured dashboard to your Google Analytics account.
[Editor’s note: Placester also has a Google Analytics dashboard that you can download for free. Click here to add it to your account.]
Peter O’Neill: So many, difficult to know where to start… When starting off, your key reports are the Audience Overview, the All Traffic report and the All Pages report. It is very important to have Goals set up for your website and to ensure that all your marketing campaigns are tagged so they appear in Google Analytics. Best tip, if you can’t understand something, ask for help. There are a lot of resources online and plenty of people willing to help on twitter (use the hashtag #measure).
P: Any words of wisdom for real estate professionals who are just starting out
with Google Analytics?
Jeff Bernheisel: First off, don’t be scared. It can be overwhelming but the numbers don’t bite. Secondly, YouTube is your friend. There are plenty of videos explaining analytics that can help new users get more comfortable with the platform.
Tom Flanagan: Google Analytics is always evolving. In fact, to better measure and understand the
multi-device consumer, Google recently released “Universal Analytics,” the next
iteration of the platform. The new platform is available now and I recommend
learning the new features. Also, I recommend these three fantastic resources:
- The official Google Analytics blog
- Analytics Talk: Digital Analytics for Business
- ThoughtFaucet: Gahlord Dewald
Peter O’Neill: If you don’t have the skill set already, buy the book Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics or attend a course. Then write down your top three business questions (as your guide) and start using the tool. It is difficult to break, unlikely you will be able to, so just try things. Be willing to ask for help. And it can be a very valuable investment to get some outside assistance to set up Google Analytics for you and get you started – there are a lot of Google Analytics consultancies around these days.
This concludes our three-part “Ask the Experts: Google Analytics for Real Estate” series. Want to learn more? Download our eBook on Google Analytics below.