How many people come into your bank offices every day? How did they find you? When they walk inside, what do they see and do?

Now, consider how many people come to your website every day. Can you answer the same questions of your website visitors as branch visitors? Your website may very well be your busiest office. Applying data analytics, you can enhance your understanding of website visitors and optimize your online office.

Start with Data

Google Analytics is a free tool that gathers data on your website visitors through a small line of code. The code does not gather personal information, it simply tracks each website visitor as they arrive, use, and leave your website.

Once you have website analytics set up, you can review the data to find actionable insights for optimizing your website. If you are new to Google Analytics, take a look at their free training available online at this link.

Consider adding an IP exclusion in your analytics program to exclude your office IP address, so your data is not skewed by staff.

Understand Your Users

Once your analytics code has been set up for a few weeks, start by reviewing the visitor audience data. New vs. Returning Users identifies how many visitors are new to your website—and are potential new customers, versus those who are repeat visitors—likely already customers. (If you set up Google Analytics recently, all visitors will appear as "new" the first time they come to your site.)

Under Technology, view the type of device used to access your site. If your mobile users have shorter visits or fewer goal completions, it may be due to your website not being mobile-friendly.

Measure Results

Next, review how they came to your website and their landing page. The Acquisition overview section breaks down traffic by a few main categories such as direct, search engine, paid, and social media. Looking at the Source/Medium for all of your traffic will tell you whether they came from an organic search engine result or a paid online ad. Check the Landing Pages section to see which page they saw first. Determine if there are changes you can make to that page to better feature your products or help your customers.

To create a custom Source/Medium within Google Analytics, use the Google Campaign URL Builder to create a unique link. Start with the URL you would like linked from your ad, then add in the details of the campaign source, medium, and name. When someone clicks your Facebook ad for Checking accounts on Social Media, their visit using that custom URL can be tracked in the Campaigns acquisition section. This feature is perfect for measuring ROI and comparing online advertising channel effectiveness. Instead of only knowing how much traffic increased, you can see which channel brought in the highest quantity and quality of traffic.

You can also set up Events Tracking and Goal Tracking to measure specific activities on your website. Events Tracking can measure clicks to visit external websites, such as mortgage applications or online banking. Goal Tracking measures when visitors complete a meaningful activity on your website. Set up goals to measure when people visit your rates page, or when they complete an Event of going to your mortgage application.

Improve the Journey

Review your visitors' Behavior Flow. Paying attention to the user page flow can make you aware of any needed changes to website content and navigation. For example, if a lot of visitors are going from your CDs page to your online account opening for CDs, but no applications are coming through, they may instead be looking for rates. Adding a link to your CD rates page will improve their user flow. 

You can also see if a lot of visitors are leaving a certain webpage and make improvements to that page to help them stay.

Making these changes to optimize your website will result in happier customers and more conversions to new customers and accounts. Because your website is more than an online brochure, it is likely your busiest branch. 

Olson is the marketing director at Bank of Prairie du Sac and a member of the WBA Marketing Committee.