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Google Analytics + Marketing Automation: How to Get Better Insights About Your Audience


If you are considering a marketing automation tool, you may be pondering: “If we’re paying for a robust marketing automation tool, why do we need a separate web analytics tracking tool? Doesn’t the marketing automation tool provide all that I need?”

While you’re asking the marketing automation vs. analytics question, don’t forget your sales or executive team. They probably want to know how all that marketing data works with the data in their CRM.

Connecting and analyzing data in this multi-device, multi-channel world can leave you feeling like there is simultaneously too much and too little data. The best method to overcoming this data fragmentation issue is to understand what kind of data each platform offers and how it can all work together so you can have a full-circle view of your customer.

By going full circle, you gain the most comprehensive view of how your marketing is performing. All that data enables you to build better websites, content, and interactions with users.

Fundamental differences

Both Google Analytics and marketing automation tools track activity of website visitors by using a snippet of code that engages cookies for users so the site can respond accordingly on their return visits. But what you can track is different.

Google Analytics:  All users remain anonymous and contribute to the collective data. Any demographic or socioeconomic data around those users comes from what Google knows about them.

Marketing automation: When users fill out a form on your site, that individual information goes directly into your marketing automation platform data. It puts a name with social profiles and potentially a face with your database. Now, you can track how this individual interacts with every aspect of your marketing from first to last touch, which are primarily top-of-funnel activities. In addition, marketing automation platforms go beyond your website to incorporate your emails and social media content, too.

CRM: This software typically is connected to the sales team. It also is used to track the individual prospect through the sales process but typically focuses on activity in the middle and bottom of the funnel.

TIP: Many marketing automation tools have built-in CRMs or can be connected to the most popular CRMs. Integrating the two enables sales and marketing teams to better communicate. They can see all the data available that helps complete a sale, which helps them understand which leads are good (and why).

How to use anonymous data from Google Analytics

Because Google Analytics is anonymous, it is a wonderful source for big-picture information. You can track your audience without knowing names and dig in to see things such as this:

  • Topics people come to your site to find but don’t
  • A high-level overview of how well your paid advertising campaign drove traffic to your landing pages and how many converted into leads
  • General demographic information, such as age, gender, interests, and geographic location about your landing-page visitors

You can also create custom dimensions within your analytics to tag various posts to see what topics are most popular by learning how long these anonymous visitors stay and what actions they take next.

For a marketer who is trying to build a persona or an editorial calendar, this is awesome information. Based on the folks who downloaded your guide, you are able to access information that will help guide your decisions. For example, the data may indicate that you should target U.S.-based technophiles between the ages of 18 to 24 and 45 to 54 on desktop computers, and that mobile and gender are not important factors.

How to use personal data from marketing automation

On the marketing automation platform side, you can look at how a specific user fits that buyer persona and determine how that person engages with your content and site.

For example, if you want to determine whether an individual who downloaded your guide is qualified to become a sales lead, you’ll need to know exactly who that person is. A marketing automation platform enables you to learn:

  • What else has this specific person (not the type of person) done on your website?
  • What other social or email marketing has the lead interacted with that could have influenced conversion on this asset?
  • What company does he or she work for?
  • How many employees does that company have?
  • Does it have the budget to afford your services?
  • Is this person in a position to make a purchasing decision?

All these questions should influence how you speak and market to this new lead. If he or she has downloaded your guide but never visited a service page, then it may not be time to cold call about your service. You are likely better served going the slower, nurture route. You may want to drip additional pieces of content related to the topic of the guide he or she downloaded via email or retargeting to familiarize him or her with your brand. Marketing automation software can simplify this process.

TIP: I prefer to use social log-in buttons as an easy way for visitors to sign up for gated content. You can gather all kinds of data and only require the visitor to log in through their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Google accounts.

Use social log-in buttons for gated #content. You can gather all kinds of data says @JennyKnizner. Click To Tweet

Because marketing automation data provides who the specific individual users are, you can match a name with the activity and connect that person to your CRM data, too.

Gain maximum marketing insights

Marketing insights are the deep measurements of successes that look beyond increases in monthly page views and decreases in bounce rate. There is so much more you can learn beyond “Did users complete an action?” or “How do people find us?”

The best marketing insights are discovered by reviewing the full experience of prospective customers over time, from their first anonymous interactions to their most recent conversions and beyond. This is best accomplished, of course, through integrating Google Analytics, marketing automation, and CRM platforms.

An integrated system enables you to see a direct relationship between the website, social media, email, and other channels. You can also see how prospects are navigating their experience with you. Cross-channel questions can be answered including:

  • How many people clicked through on your email but didn’t convert?
  • How many of the people who converted on your website came from social media?
  • Does online advertising or organic search result in more leads?

This integration also allows you to answer customer-centric questions like:

  • What first attracted customers to your service pages?
  • Was it different from what influenced them to buy?
  • What are the most common marketing experiences of people who end up buying?

Integration also answers ROI questions critical to determining budget and time allocation such as:

  • What online advertising campaigns bring in the sort of leads that most often convert into customers?
  • Does social media actually drive sales or is it just an engagement tool?
  • Is the money I’m putting into this content-promotion campaign resulting in quality leads?

If you aren’t sure which platform to pull data from to answer these questions, check out this handy infographic from Curata on a content marketing metrics and analytics model.


To truly understand the effects of your marketing efforts, from social media campaign ROI to your site navigation experience, don’t be afraid to look at and integrate all the data available from Google Analytics, marketing automation tools, and customer relationship management software.

Want more on content strategy for marketers? Sign up for our Content Strategy for Marketers weekly email newsletter, which features exclusive insights from CMI Chief Content Adviser Robert Rose. If you’re like many other marketers we meet, you’ll come to look forward to his thoughts every Saturday.

Cover image by Olu Eletu via