A Complete Guide to The Most Effective Analytics Formula

There’s no shortage of data online or metrics to track inside Google Analytics.

And that’s part of the problem. There’s too much and most of it is misleading or useless at best.

The trick is being able to filter out the signal from the noise. The helpful, actionable bits from the vanity metrics.

What if there was a better way? A way that didn’t make your eyes glaze over, and help you confidently (and accurately) determine your progress.

Curiously, one framework exists where you least might expect it.

For decades copywriters have followed a tried-and-true formula to transform strangers into buyers. Similar to how the buyer’s journey (more or less) that people move through before purchasing from you.

And it can help add a layer of context to the (otherwise) data dump inside Google Analytics. Here’s how to do it.

Applying AIDA to Your Analytics

To get the full picture, channel your inner-Don Draper.

No, not the drinking in the middle of the daypart. (Although that would be arguably more interesting.)

Direct response copywriting wants you to make a decision. It uses persuasion and aligns motivations to get you to do what it wants. Largely through decades-old frameworks like AIDA.

First, you get the person’s attention then you pique their interest to cultivate desire. Do all of that sequentially, and the action should be straightforward.

You get first-time visitors and repeat offenders (Attention). If they like what they see, they’ll spend some time reading through your content (Interest). Then, they’ll turn into micro-conversions on their way to becoming a sale (Desire). Finally, they’ll hand over their payment information and become a customer (Action).

Now let’s do this, Don Draper.

Open up Google Analytics and head over to the Dashboard section. You’ll see it under Customization (aka the part you always skip over). Once there, click on Add Widget.

Widgets are like little customizable metrics. You can already see one widget in the above image, Visits, that shows a basic number.

Our objective is to select a few simple metrics that we set up to see how our marketing efforts are addressing each stage of the buyer’s journey.

For example:

  • Attention: Visits by Source – ‘Visits’ in and of themselves aren’t beneficial. But viewing them by channel or source can let you know which promotional tactics are paying off.
  • Interest: Pages / Visit – You want people to stay on-site once they get there. And while a site-wide Bounce Rate might be misleading (for various reasons), an only Pages per Visit metric can give you some idea of how long people are sticking around and consuming your content (or not).
  • Desire: Subscribers – Subscribers can apply to all ‘micro-conversions’ on your site. That includes email subscribers, social followers, free trailers, and more.
  • Action: Buyers – Last but certainly not least, the whole point of tracking this stuff is to see how it impacts the bottom line. Comparing which channels or traffic sources, those buyers came from is a good idea as long as you’re not falling victim to last-touch attribution bias.

You can even combine some of these simple metrics in the same widget on your Dashboard.

For example, click on Add a Widget and then Table.

Now you can select a metric (like Source / Medium) and then two attributes (like Sessions and Goal Completions).

Hit Save and you should see a table that looks something like the following:

On the far right is the traffic channel sending visitors. The middle column shows Sessions (or visits). And the final one shows Goal Completions.

You can (and should) add more widgets to ‘round out’ your funnel. However, even this one table shows you a wealth of data.

Finding the most trafficked channels is obvious. Overlaying Goal Completions, though (whether those are micro-conversions like newsletter opt-ins or actual buyers), helps provide insight.

You should probably do a better job tagging those Direct visits to figure out why they’re converting so high (and in reality, where they’re coming from).

Spotting Trends in Your Analytics

A framework (like copywriting’s AIDA) can help add context so you can figure out what’s really going on.

It gives you a few simple, actionable metrics to zero-in on (so you don’t have to weed through everything else inside Google Analytics).

But to get the most benefit, you’ll have to compare those simple metrics against a few things. Specifically:

  1. Compare vs. budget or goals
  2. Compare vs. previous period
  3. Compare vs. previous year

Businesses are cyclical. Priorities change over time. Only looking at a single metric or two as of one point in time can be misleading. It doesn’t take these other factors into account.

But comparing them across a few different criteria will allow you to get a more ‘complete’ picture of what’s going on.

For example, social media sucks at sales. Right? That’s the typical stereotype anyway.

In reality, social media excels in a few areas. Like the middle of your funnel or new AIDA dashboard. You can’t always see it (unless you’re looking for it).

Facebook might not drive a ton of visits or show up as a leader in driving sales, but look at those engagement metrics:

Facebook visitors are sticking around significantly longer than most other channels. That’s encouraging. It gives you a new perspective of exactly how and where your marketing ideas pay off.


Raw data really can’t tell you what Sally or Steve are thinking.

What’s worse, these numbers come in from every corner of your business and are a little overwhelming, to say the least.

It’s best to take the meat and leave the bones. Figure out what is telling the story you are looking for, and focus on that.

Break it down, clean it up, and simplify, simplify, simplify.

Copywriting’s AIDA gives you the basic setup to dive into what you need, provide you with context for what you’re seeing, and know where to go from there.

Decide the metrics (the ones that will pay-off in the end, not just the ones that look good on a marketing report) that best meet your needs, and make sure everyone knows that’s where attention needs to be.

That will free up your time from the stuff that doesn’t matter, and will shift energy to what does. And Don Draper will be proud.