So you’ve been in the online auction game for a while and are used to how things are done. But, are you taking advantage that all the information that your analytics data is giving you? That information is chock full of valuable ways to improve your next auction, increasing user engagement and driving bids up! There are plenty of tools out there for you to explore but today we are going to work through two of the most common – Google Analytics and Google Webmaster.
Google analytics is a platform that focuses mainly on user engagement. While it does alert you to things you need to work on, this is a great place to go to find out more about your users. It has the answers to questions such as…
Who are my users?
Google Analytics allows you to find out a lot more about who your general audience is. It gives insights into age, gender, location and the language they speak. This lets you know who is reacting to your marketing and showing up to participate in your auction. If it’s the people you want – great! If there is a new demographic popping up it will help you tailor your marketing or site to that group should you decide to pursue them. Perhaps you need to start translating your pages into a different language or switch your marketing campaigns to focus on a different area of the country. These insights allow you to cater more directly to your customers, making it more likely that they will participate in your online auction, driving the final bidding price up!
Where are my users coming from?
This is another way to see if your marketing campaigns are working the way you want them to, or to see how you are ranking in Google. Part of the acquisition portion of Analytics is the ability to see what type of traffic you are getting, whether it is from a direct search on Google or from a link on a social media post. Knowing how your users are searching for you will help you focus your efforts so that your time and money are used to directly bring in potential bidders who will interact with your auctions.
Are new people visiting my site or do I just have returning traffic?
Analytics can tell if these people have visited your site before. If you are seeing a lot of new traffic, then you know that a specific campaign or a certain auction lot is driving a lot of first time bidders into your auction. Or, on the other hand, it might be signaling that you marketing is still working for your past customers but that you’re missing out on new audiences. If you’re focusing on just your past target market then maybe that is what you want! It works best to have goals in place so that you know if the data you’re seeing is good or bad for your auction site’s plan.
What browsers and devices are users interacting with my site on?
Another cool feature of Analytics is that it allows you to see what platforms potential bidders are using to end up at your auction. This lets you make sure that your auction site is compatible with the browser that most people are using. If most people are coming from Chrome but your website has speed issues loading on Chrome (a nice tip that Analytics lets you know), you will want to fix that right away so that you aren’t losing potential bidders. Or, if you see that more and more people are participating in your auctions from their mobile devices, you’ll want to make sure that your site is mobile responsive, as well as potentially implement proxy bidding for users that tend to bid on the go to make their lives easier.
What content are people looking for on my site?
Analytics allows you to look into things such as what landing pages users end up on, what they are searching for in the search bar on your site, and the last page they were on before they exit your site. This gives you a lot of insight into what your users are looking for when they come to your site. If they are exiting from the same page they land on, they might have found the information they are looking for right away or maybe they bounced off the page after realizing your auction didn’t have anything to do with what they were searching for. The specific things that people are searching for in your site search will clue you in to what new auction items you might want to try and add for your site. If the most popular exit site is your ‘thanks for bidding’ page that’s great for you! Strong conversions! But if it happens to be a page that you know has been slow to load recently, you know you should get onto fixing that ASAP. It’s all about giving people a better user experience so that they stay on your site to bid, improving your auction results.
How many users are converting to place bids?
Well would you look at that, Analytics has a nifty little tool for this as well! Besides looking at common exit pages to see if people are leaving after bidding, this tells you straightforward if people are bidding. It will also give you all the stats behind the people who visited the page, letting you see exactly how many people actually converted over and bid compared to everyone who visited the auction page. This again gives you an opportunity to see if your marketing efforts are working and are helping your auctions improve.
Google Webmaster focuses more on the troubleshooting side of site management. It uses bots to pick up on errors in your auction site that impacts both your rankings in Google and your user experience. Correcting these issues will make your site function better as well as improve your rankings, allowing more bidders to find you and thus be more likely to bid on your site. Some things that Webmaster picks up on includes:
Specific issues with mobile usability – no one wants to have problems with your auction website when trying to bid on their phone
Link management – Webmaster give you a list of backlinks, internal links, and external links so that you can see who is trying to connect to you. Making sure to continually audit you backlinks diverts poor pages from linking onto you to steal your link juice, you can disavow them right from Webmaster. It also lets you keep an eye out for relationships that you might want to make with another site that is linking to you. Maybe you can strike up a deal to be featured on their page before an important auction or at least gain more information into how your auction site is coming up on other sites. It also alerts you of 404 errors to your site pages so that you can add redirects to them so your users end up where they need to be. A list of things that Webmaster is able to pick up for your site can be found here.
Managing your sitemap directly – this lets you tell Google exactly what you want them to crawl instead of just guessing, and potentially pulling in bad pages. This will help you rank higher in Google because they will know exactly what your site is about.
Site performance – Webmaster may be primarily there to alert you of issues, but it also has tools to track your site performance. With information such as the total impressions as well as monitoring the click through rate, this is another good page to pair with Google Analytics.
These two tools are a great place to start when diving into using data to improve your next auction. The insights that you can gain from these tools are invaluable and uncover so much that will help you become better and better at managing your site and increase the final bidding price for your auctions. This is something that will take some time to learn, but after the first few times working with the systems you should start to get the hang of it!
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