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Google Analytics has become a powerful and democratizing tool for small businesses looking to make smart decisions based on data they never knew they had. While tracking things like cost, revenue, and transactions is definitely important, there are also some other metrics that can be incredibly useful for fine-tuning your marketing.

Track time to purchase.

One of the best things you can do with analytics is to apply it to data you already have to find out things that you didn't know you already know. Essentially, you know who has made a purchase, so if you want to know more about what a successful buying journey looks like you just need to work backward to see what other data you've collected about them.

A great example is figuring out your average time to purchase, or the time it takes from when a user first visits your site to when they make a purchase. It's useful to look at this both in terms of number of days and in terms of number of visits. Knowing these numbers lets you know where the "tipping point" is, the thresholds where a timely email or special offer can turn a "maybe" into a "yes." Once you have those numbers in hand, you can set up a marketing automation campaign and landing page designed solely around converting those on-the-fence prospects.

Impression counts vs. clickthroughs

Impression counts and clickthroughs on their own are some the bread and butter of analytics, but comparing the two is where the magic happens. If you've been working on a content marketing campaign and have a bunch of content that doesn't seem to be getting the attention it deserves, the first place to look is for articles with high impression counts but low clickthroughs. These pages represent an opportunity because they're registering on Google's radar but aren't attracting the clicks they deserve, which means there's something wrong with your optimization.

Unique purchases

This metric looks at the total number of times a specific product was part of a transaction (you can also do it with a set of products). Again, this falls under the category of what you already know about your customers.

If you have something that sells a lot, but only has a small number of unique purchases, then you know that people want to buy it in bulk. You might want to offer a discount for large purchases to encourage more people to buy, or even reach out to your biggest buyers and see if you can work out a deal.

Use what you already know.

Using analytics can help tell you something new about data you've already collected. The trick is to make sure you're specific about what you want to know more about. By getting into the nitty-gritty details of visitors you know became buyers, articles that are doing well without optimization helping them, and products that sell, you can learn what is making them successful and apply those lessons all over your business.