top of page
Image by Muneeb Syed

Fresh Cuts

  • Writer's pictureDrew Donaldson

What a Trip to a New Orleans Voodoo Shop and Google Analytics Have in Common

You shuffle down the bustling boardwalk, Mardi Gras beads rolling under your shoes as you scan the shops for the name on the paper in your hand. It’s a quiet morning; revelers are finally asleep after a long night of celebration. But not you. You have one purpose in mind today. And after another block, you find your destination, or should we say destiny.

A small, reddish-brown building, tucked away from the others, flashes an “Open” sign on its window. Directly above the paint-peeled door hangs a sign which reads (underneath a large drawing of a weird eyeball-hand hybrid thing), Madame Growth’s Voodoo Shop.

This is it. This is where your business colleagues said to go. This is where they said their lives changed. And this is where you intend to spend the next hour of your day (for a remarkably affordable $297).

The Clock Starts

After adjusting to the incense-fumed store, you pay the cashier the required amount and follow the willowy figure into a back room, dimly lit with fake flickering candles. So far, this is meeting every voodoo shop, and fortune-teller convention you can think of, and the enormous crystal ball in the middle of a circular table is par for the course.

A large woman enters the room, draped in fabrics of different colors and patterns, and sits in the seat next to you. Practically occupying the same space now, you feel her breath on your neck. Scooching away slightly, you ready yourself for the words your friends told you to say. As silly as you feel saying it, you turn to the woman next to you and utter (while staring at the mole on the side of her nose), “The door is closed. You have the key. Can you tell me what you see? What does my business hold in store for me?”

She nods slightly and puts her hands on the ball and after some awkward swaying, mutters almost inaudibly, ”I see….I see...ah yes, Google Analytics is in your future.”

You pause. Google Analytics? You haven’t ventured into the analytics game yet, mainly out of fear of newbie inexperience and potential misuse. But, Madame Growth sees it in your future, so maybe it’s time. “Go on,” you say. “Explain more.”

Madame Growth Explains Google Analytics

Madame Growth forms a triangle with her hands and whispers an elaboration.

Google Analytics (GA) is a tool that is used to check the success of marketing efforts, namely on your business’s website or app. The data provided by this analytics platform will help you make important decisions about the best paths forward for your business. It’s like tea leaves. A message will be left at the bottom of your business mug; you have to interpret the pattern of the leaves and pivot or double down accordingly.

Curious Finger Drumming

Feeling a bit more comfortable with Madame Growth’s je ne sais pas, you ask curiously, “What patterns will GA help me track?”

She looks off into space for a moment, staring at a corner of the room. And then suddenly (and somewhat forcibly) grabs your hand and takes out a magnifying glass (where was she hiding that?) and studies your hand. Is she seriously reading my palm?

Murmuring hmmmms and mmmmms, she throws your hand away as abruptly as she snatched it. She closes her eyes and hums an eerie little tune, and then, flashing her eyes back open, she says, without taking a breath:

“When you sign up for Google Analytics (free to anyone with a Google email), you will be provided a dashboard, where you can track different metrics of your website or app. Would you like to know what metrics you are destined to work with?”


Madame Growth Foresees the Metrics

Adjusting her headscarf (was that a rat that just peeked out between the furls?), Madame Growth addresses the empty air, “Ghosts of business owners past, hear my call. This young entrepreneur has a future with Google Analytics. What metrics will he track?” She places her head on the table and several minutes lapse in silence. [You are just about to get up and leave when she sits bolt upright and shouts with gusto, “Acquisition Data! Behavior Data!”

You lean forward, curiosity renewed. “You’re talking about users, correct?”

Acquisition Data

Precisely! The spirits say that GA’s user acquisition data will provide an understanding of how prospective customers came to learn about your business. People can access your website using paid or unpaid search engine results, social media connections, or by directly typing the URL. Whatever the channel, GA will track the metrics of how people landed on your website.

Behavior Data

Licking her finger and sticking it in the air, Madame Growth continues.

Yes, yes. Behavior data is different. It’s not focused on the how, but rather on the what of the user experience. GA’s behavior data will show you what prospects are actually doing on your website. Consider these user behavior metrics that GA offers:

  • Bounce Rate: This metric will tell you (in percentage form) the number of visitors who only accessed one page of your website before leaving.

  • Visitor Sessions: This metric measures, within the scope of a 30-minute session, the number of visitors who arrived at your website. It will also break down the average length of time a user spends on your site and the percentage of visitors that are first-timers. Finally, it will also tell you the average number of website pages viewed during the half-hour window and the last page users accessed before leaving.

  • Goal Completions: This metric will tell you how many users completed a CTA (i.e. the number of conversions you’ve made). Pro tip: Goals must be set up before they’ll be tracked.

  • Website Pages: This metric offers insight into what pages customers interact with on your website. It also provides the total number of pages that were viewed on your website.

Taking a sip out of a water bottle (branded with a picture of the eyeball-hand thingy and labeled with “Madame Growth’s Voodoo Water”), she starts to tear up.

My business friend, the spirits say you can craft better website formats and content if you use behavior data to inform your decisions. This is the golden ticket to the conversion show, which we all know will land you on the revenue stage one day. And I see that for you. I see sales in your future! It’s so beautiful!

She blows her nose into an oversized hankie and dries her eyes (ewww, why didn’t she dry her eyes first?).

The Ole’ Pocket Watch

You squirm uncomfortably in the hard wooden chair and check your watch. You are down to the last 15 minutes of your fortune-telling session with Madame Growth. What else do you want to know? Your mind is swimming with information and Madame Growth is tapping the table with overly-long, poorly-painted fingernails, adding to the pressure.

You finally decide you want more of a benefits breakdown of using Google Analytics. You understand what GA is and what data it provides. But, you want to know more about what happens when you actually start using it.

So, you ask Madame Growth: “What will happen to my business if I start using Google Analytics tomorrow? What does GA promise?”

Ah yes, good question. Do you have what I asked you to bring? You almost forgot you had it in your pocket. Your friends told you that Madame Growth might ask for an object that you hold near and dear to your business heart, a nostalgic token of your newly-built enterprise.

You fish out your father’s pocket watch. He gave it to you the day your business opened. “Your time is now more valuable than you know,” he said. “Make sure you don’t waste it.” You carry that pocketwatch to every team meeting and sales pitch. It’s the perfect symbol of your business.

You slide the gold watch over to Madame Growth and she takes it in both her hands, oddly sniffs it, and places it on the table in front of her.

Here is what I see for your business, should you sign up for GA tomorrow.

Madame Growth Perceives the Benefits

This is what Google Analytics promises new business owners, taken straight from their benefits website, which I see in my third eye (she points gently to her forehead, indicating that I must have missed her trio of eyeballs).

“Build a Better Picture”

GA’s reports and dashboards offer an accessible glimpse into how users “engage with your content.” This will help you build a better picture of what is successful and what is not. For an even fuller picture, you can connect GA to your CRM platform.

“Get Insights Only Google Can Give”

Google’s specialized machine learning offers exclusive data-driven observations about your users. Want to know what type of visitor is most likely to convert or which customers have “high revenue potential”? Google’s metrics can provide that information.

“Connect Your Insights to Results”

GA can be used as a stand-alone tool, but it is more powerful when used in conjunction with Google’s “advertising and publisher products,” like Google Ads or Display & Video 360. Using your analytics data, you can tailor these other efforts to make sure you are reaching your ideal audience.

“Make Your Data Work For You”

Interpret your data efficiently and then share those reports with other team members using GA’s collaborative functionality. You can trust that GA’s data is “secure [and] accurate” and thus maintain your website and app with assurance and flexibility. Should you need help, though, GA offers technical support on a global level.

As Madame Growth reaches the last words of her benefit explanation, she appears visibly drained. She reaches inside her layered garb (what else does she have in there?) and pulls out a bag of circular cookies (aptly named “Madame Growth’s Fortune Cookies”) and begins to nibble on the corner of one. Looking refreshed, she tells you that the session has now concluded. She pushes the pocket watch back in your direction and heaves herself up out of the chair.

After she places a tip jar on the table, she pats you on the shoulder and says, “Your business future is one of success, young man. You are a rising star.” And then she shuffles out of the room, leaving a trail of cookie crumbs in her wake.

You stand up now, feeling a bit drained yourself. Maybe you’ll grab a bottle of voodoo water and fortune cookies on your way out. Crafty woman, you think. She was marketing her business while trying to help mine. That deserves a tip. You slide a twenty-dollar bill into the jar and make your way to the exit.

You step back out onto the streets of New Orleans, feeling hopeful about the future. Madame Growth sure knows her stuff but as you do you're accosted by a man in a cool blue suit and a bright red necktie who hands you a business card with burnt edges.

“If you liked what you learned in there, you’ll love what we have for you in here”

You read the card, Hotjar. As you look up to meet the man's gaze you find that he’s vanished. New Orleans is a weird place you think and begin walking toward the address on the back of the still smoldering card.

GroHaus: We Know Stuff

Crystal balls, tea leaves, guru spirits, and token omens. We offer our clients these (not really) and so much more when they become part of the GroHaus team. Feeling unsure about your ability to interpret business analytics? No worries. Our dedicated marketing specialists are trained to help you with every facet of your marketing endeavors. We know our stuff at GroHaus. And Madame Growth makes appearances at our company picnics. So, there’s that too. Join today. Your future looks bright.

Image by Canva


bottom of page