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Google Analytics 101 for Banks & Credit Unions

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Analytics are indeed worth your time, here’s why and where to start.

At BankBound we’re constantly talking to financial marketers from banks and credit unions across the country. While each financial institution clearly has unique marketing challenges specific to their local market, it’s also true that most marketing departments are short-staffed. Nearly every marketing director we’ve spoken with is handling most/all aspects of marketing for their institution. With only so many hours in a day, marketing directors at banks and credit unions are stretched to the limit as they manage social media channels, radio promotions, billboard creative, direct mail campaigns, in-branch promotions, online ads, website changes, SEO, customer email campaigns, charity donations, community events, and more- all while staying within budget! It’s a lot.

Given the average job description of most bank and credit union marketers it’s not surprising to us that nearly everyone we talk to has a keen interest in website analytics… but hasn’t quite gotten around to it. We get it, but we also think it’s time to rearrange your marketing todo list.

Why should you care so much about analytics? Simply put, proving ROI substantiates our existence as financial marketers. It proves not only what marketing efforts are successful, but also which efforts are unsuccessful which is equally important. Marketers who rely on gut instinct cannot be taken seriously when they ask for more budget, more people, and more say in strategic planning.

How Google Analytics Can Save The Day

It’s difficult to capture an accurate return on investment from many marketing mediums, but not so with digital. Like it or not, nearly everything online can be tracked, analyzed, and reported on. Increasingly, even offline marketing channels like direct mail, billboards, radio, and the like can be more accurately tracked by integrating digital tactics into traditional marketing. Here are just a few metrics that Google Analytics can help you measure:

  • Conversion actions: online applications started and completed, mobile app installs, clicks for directions to a branch, phone calls, lead form submissions
  • Conversion sources: facebook, direct mailing, billboard, online ads, Google search, etc, including which sources are contributing to a user’s conversion journey
  • User demographics: age, gender, location, mobile device
  • User engagement: top landing pages, top exit pages, where new visitors spend the most time, how frequently repeat visitors return to the site, search queries used to find your website

How to Setup Google Analytics on Your Bank’s Website

Getting started with Google Analytics is really quite simple. All you need to get started is a Google Account (use a generic email as best practice), then sign up for an Analytics account.

Once you’ve signed up you’ll be provided with a unique Tracking ID for your website along with some code. Add Google’s provided code to the <head> section of every page across your website.

With Google’s tracking code now added to every page of your site you’ll now be able to measure the source of your visitors, a number of details about those visitors, and also how they engage with your bank’s website.

But Wait, There’s More

Unfortunately, most financial institutions get to this point and call it a day. While it’s true that you’re now receiving a lot of useful data from your website visitors, all those lovely numbers probably don’t mean a whole lot to your executive team. Instead, give your team the data they really want; return on investment.

Within Google Analytics you can configure conversion goals to measure results and track return on investment. To configure a conversion goal you’ll need to go to Admin in the top navigation bar, then Goals, then New Goal. Follow the prompts to create a new goal, and try to identify a monetary value to assign to each goal you create. For example, if the average mortgage closing for your FI generates $6,500 in revenue, but typically only 1 in 10 mortgage leads actually close, then you could value mortgage leads at $650 each. This is a difficult exercise for any business, but one that is extremely beneficial for making informed marketing decisions.

Now that you’ve successfully configured goal conversions for every valued action on your website, you can begin to analyze the performance of various marketing channels by going to Reporting in the top navigation, then Acquisition, then All Traffic, then Channels. You can see a performance breakdown by traffic source and medium, or by specific campaign as well. Over time, you’ll be able to make month over month or year over year performance comparisons by adjusting the Date Range of your report.

Additionally, you’ll be able to see how each campaign or channel contributes value by going to Reporting in the top navigation, then Conversions, then Multi-Channel Funnels, then Assisted Conversions. This information is incredibly valuable for allocating marketing budget, since it provides a more accurate view of each channel’s true contribution to the bottom line. You may think that your visitors simply search for your website in Google then submit an online application after a single visit. However, often times a visitor’s conversion path is much more complex and may involve multiple touch points from various advertising campaigns, social media, and other channels before that final Google search happened.

Final Thoughts on Analytics for Financial Institutions

You’ve likely already setup GA on your bank or credit union website, but that’s not enough. Take the time or hire help to ensure you’re accurately tracking every possible conversion action on your website that has value. You can prove the true ROI of your online marketing efforts and even offline marketing efforts by actively integrating analytics into all of your campaigns. Armed with these insights, you’ll be able to make smarter marketing decisions that save time, generate better results, and make those annual budget conversations a whole lot easier.

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