The Arts Marketing Association asked me to contribute an article to the latest issue of JAM - the Journal of Arts Marketing.

The issue focused on the role of data, and my piece answered one of the most common questions I get about Google Analytics - "what are the essentials I should be doing?"

So, following the 80:20 rule, I thought about how arts marketers could get as much benefit as possible from Google Analytics, in the shortest possible time.

My top 3 recommendations

I'm not going to repeat the entire article here, but these were my three takeaways. 

1. Make sure your Google Analytics account has been set up correctly.

Whether you're delving into your data or not, you absolutely must get the foundations in place as soon as possible. That means making sure your setup is error free and that you're collecting useful, good quality data.

If you're not sure what 'useful, good quality data' means then get some help. To get you started, we've made a simple dashboard to help you spot some of the most common issues (read on for that).

Future you will really appreciate it and your data can be working for you in the meantime. Which leads me on to…

2. Get your website analytics data working for you

Other people and tools should be making use of your Google Analytics even while you're working on other things:

  • Your advertising agency can use it to optimise your campaigns,
  • Your web designers can use it to find areas of your site that need improving,
  • You can set up custom alerts in Google Analytics to tell you when something notable happens. For instance, a spike in traffic to your 404 page.

Of course, this is all a lot harder if your Google Analytics setup hasn't been done properly and you have dodgy data, so don't forget to get that checked and sorted.

3. Focus on fixing

When it comes to diving into Google Analytics, start by finding things on your site that need fixing. Traffic to 404 pages and landing pages with high bounce rates are two prime examples.

Save yourself time by setting up custom alerts (mentioned above) or by using dashboards that will show you the information you need at a glance. Which leads me on to…

Free dashboards

We've put together some free Google Analytics dashboards and reports to accompany the article. You can grab them too. Let us know if they're useful.

Thanks to the AMA for the invitation to write for them. Tickets are now on sale for their Digital Marketing Day, which will be at the Barbican on 1 December 2017.