In digital marketing as well as in life, there’s always more to a story than what first meets the eye. This is especially true for website owners and business professionals who look towards powerful programs like Google Analytics to gain insight about visitors to their website.

When utilizing these analytics programs, we tend to ask ourselves a set series of questions.

  • How many people visit my website?
  • What’s my most popular page or blog post?
  • From where does my website’s traffic originate?

If we want to truly make the most of programs like Google Analytics, we need to ask ourselves more than just these questions.

Understanding user experience requires more than just knowing the Who, the What, the Where, and the Cost-Per-Click.

It involves telling a story about user intention and what drives us as people to make the decisions we do.

While these basic metrics are essential for any business to know, the deeper insight comes with understanding why your site receives those clicks you’re so proud of.

  • Why did this ad work, and that one didn’t?
  • Why did this blog post generate 11,000 views, and that one only got 5?
  • What can I learn from this and apply to my marketing to better structure the consumer journey?

Despite its many powers, there is no single metric in Google Analytics (or in any other analytics software) that can offer all the answers.

But there’s good news.

With those metrics, you can discover the valuable information necessary to understand the story, not just the statistics, of user behavior on your website.

For example, let’s say your small business just upgraded to a custom website- but it’s not delivering the sales you expected.

By examining your analytics data, you discover nonetheless that your website is generating plenty of clicks and an impressive range of visits to both your product catalog and your contact page. You can tell from your bounce rate that your visitors are sticking around for a while. So why are your users not taking that final step? Why are your sales not increasing?

To find the answer, we need to treat data as more than just numbers and graphs.

If you look at each element of information as insight into your customer’s persona, you’ll begin to notice certain patterns and trends emerging.

Use this data to ask bigger questions about your user experience story.

  • Why did that user visit your website? What was their goal or objective? What were they trying to accomplish, or what information were they seeking? Data including the medium through which the found you, the page they originated on, and the series of pages they clicked through in what order can help inform this information.
  • Based on their click journey, what do they value? Why did they click on the pages they did, and why did they stay that certain length of time on each? In addition to the possibility of leaving your website, what other navigation options did they have on each page, and why did they choose the one did (including if a call-to-action was fulfilled)?
  • Which possible paths did your user have to choose from, and why would some users select a certain one?
  • What stories are you telling with the layout of your website, the structure of its elements, your calls-to-action, and the arrangement of your content? Which of these stories is the most compelling? Is that narrative cohesive and vivid, directing users through the sales funnel and making it easy and attractive for them to find what they need, or is the story of your website scattered, vague, and unintentional?
  • What other stories might you tell that could guide them into making a sale?

We can use data to structure stories that help us learn about our users, and we can use those stories to narrate a better customer journey through our websites.

With this new perspective, it might be easier to spot the broken “Submit” button on your contact/sales page prohibiting successful transactions.

Ensuring that you’ve created a clearly defined story for your visitors to follow will help you identify potential areas of weakness in your website’s structure and functionality.

After all, our users are people, not metrics or data. And people live through experiences. Perhaps by telling the right story, we can deliver an experience to close the deal- and create a positive user experience on the way.

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