In our own words, not so technical, sharing why all voice actors with websites of some sort should make sure they are using Google Analytics
If you ask an expert in Google Analytics, “What is it?”, you may get a response similar to what you see here.
But in our own words…
Imagine for a moment that your home studio website was a “store”, and like any store, you need to know the times when people seem to be walking in and what they look for when browsing your store. We have all “browsed” in stores. We see products and prices. We have opinions on how they are displayed and we look around for certain items we believed were in the store prior to entering. We have opinions on whether or not that “store” is what it claims to be.
However, working online you are without the opportunity to flip over the Open/Closed sign and stand behind a counter. You cannot see who is coming in to browse or watch their faces at times when they may seem confused. So, if you have a website you cannot “see what people think” simply by having a website, alone.
And this is where Google Analytics come in: It gives you the ability to “see who is coming in your store” and “what they are looking at”. More so, compared to a physical store, you have the ability to track how long they stayed, how they got there, where they came from, how many visited, and most importantly, how many chose to walk in and leave immediately. Google Analytics may call this a “bounce rate”. If it were your physical store you can probably call this, “misleading or confusing display of what you offer in the store”.
Online, you have to be aware of how people are searching for your product. Offline, you may have physical means to make this judgement, “What we are doing is not working.” So, consider Google Analytics to be the voice actor’s “digital face time” because you can see what is happening in your store and often who is visiting.
To use a business example and explain why acronyms are bad
Take Realtime Casting as an example. We once used the acronym “RTC”, and that’s great if you do not like to spell or type out full phrases or like catch phrases. But unfortunately “RTC” is also an acronym for “Real Time Clock” and other things like “regional training center”, or “religious technology center”. Therefore, people looking to check accurate time, classes, or Scientology reports were walking in our store and leaving. When we decided as a company to stop using “RTC” in public our “bounce rate” dropped by 30%. We still have a long way to go, but it was a start and not the only thing we need to do.
We would not have known this without Google Analytics. We found the traffic leading to our website was coming from sources who had nothing to do with voiceover casting. The reason why acronyms are REALLY bad in an online, Google search-for-a-store environment is because online communication demands we think about the way we communicate. The use of an acronym usually happens when an inner-circle has discussed a topic so many times they become tired of using the grammatically correct phrase. The inner-circle expects everyone to know what the other is thinking by using a simple acronym. The voiceover industry is its own little world, yet to be found on Google, they must abandon the belief the entire Internet understands their world.
Some examples of acronyms that do not work online:
- VO – Offline, it was used for “voiceover”, but online “VO” stands for many things. You can see here.
- P2P – Voice talent have used this as “pay-to-play”. Online, “P2P” can mean a dozen things as well. The ironic accident is that “pay-to-play” are terms found in gaming, politics, and music. Videogame voiceovers, political spots, and singers or DJ’s are all terms you will find in the voiceover industry. This may just be a “happy accident”, yet the term “P2P” is mostly associated with “peer-to-peer” and other things that do not hurt when talent use the term. Still, talent should know why they were “found”.
All that aside: Your services or company name serve you more online, if spelled out completely. Simply put.
The True Importance of Google Analytics: Knowing what’s happening!
Have you ever talked to a person who boldly states, “This is happening all the time!” or “Everybody hates that! Don’t do it!”. Maybe you have heard, “They are all starting to do it now!”. The best one is, “You have to see this Youtube video everyone is talking about!”, then you go to it and find it has 300 views (many of which came from the owner of the video). Truth is about 15 years ago you could have gotten away with saying such things, but when you work with Google Analytics you learn really fast who is just blowing smoke.
It is important to have Google Analytics, if only to do some mythbusting for yourself. Myths busted throughout the years using Google Analytics at websites have offered us a clear understanding of the real story, beyond the emotional feelings of what we all say we want. As you may know, social media often gets emotional and although the activity may be very high you should know if it is actually helping to drive website traffic to get you work.
Perhaps, this is the most important thing Google Analytics shows us: What people say is truth and what actually happens are two very different stories. Only 3 out of 10 people complain when unhappy, so you have to know what those other 7 people did. If you find no one is coming in your store, or you get a bunch of traffic related to other industries, your Analytics just told you “Your store is not getting your message across!”.
Finally…never be too shy to do your research. Being smarter opens the door to your store and saves you money, even if it does set you apart from others who prefer to believe everything they are told.