Being in charge of a digital marketing team means that, yes, we <3 analytics, and yes, we check them on a very frequent basis. But every now and then something clicks in your head about analytics.
Your stats are real people.
When we build websites or do digital things for our ministries, it’s very easy to get caught up in sheer numbers.
- How many people came?
- What were their browsers so I know what I have to code to?
- Are we getting enough traffic to justify my paycheck?
But, in truth, as a ministry, we can go deeper.
How were people effected by our site?
What got me thinking about this is an unannounced iOS project we’re working on here at B&H (hint: a new feature of our site was added in support of the project that purposely puts samples of our content out front on the product page). In the app we placed some Google Analytics code to track the usage of the app, and being that only 3 people have access to test the app I had the realization, “That’s me.”
Seeing my actions as Google Analytics stats was like an out-of-body experience. Thinking, “Yes, I did that action,” and “Wow, did I really spend that much time testing?”
With just a touch of foresight and pinch of programming magic, tools like Google Analytics lets us call out certain actions and put the events that we think are most important - things that real people did, in real life - right into the reporting dashboard for the team to see. We can know if the user did what we hoped they would or not.
At Your Church
Let’s discuss and think about how we can use events to track the things that matter the most to us as digital ministers. What are the things that aren’t “out of the box” for Google Analytics?
- How might you enhance your ministries through a better understanding of what people are actually doing on your sites and apps?
- How valuable is it to be able to share with your pastor that specific sermons had a certain number of views or there have been a sudden uptick in the number of prayer requests of a certain type?
Events in Google Analytics have 4 elements:
- Category: Where you want to group the event? Sermons, forms, or prayer needs
- Action: What actually occurred? Read, submitted, or request
- Label: This is the real power of events in Google Analytics. We can apply real world language to our analytics. For example, sermon name or prayer request type. If you set up the page to send good information, you can get a great perspective on what your users really are doing in a way that you can quickly share with non-techies.
- Value: Add numbers to be attached to the event. If you set up a prayer system, you could use this to see how many prayer requests have been submitted
For me, using events adds just enough of a touch of understanding to our analytics to remind us that we really are tracking the real actions of real humans.
How else can we be reminded that the users of our developments are real humans with real needs?