Google Analytics for employers

Turn the gaze inwards

Google Analytics (GA) is the best marketing software ever invented. It’s easy to use, it’s free and it’s packed full of insight.

However, organisations typically only use it to measure external stakeholder website interaction. They will actively filter out all internal traffic as it can massively skew the numbers (for example we set up a new view in GA and filter out all traffic coming from our office every time we onboard a new client).

However, the filter can be reversed to only include employee visits. You’ll need an office with a static IP address and edit permissions at account level in GA, but then it’s fairly straightforward. Very easy to set up an internal traffic only view. Official advice on views and filters here.

Once you’ve created a filtered view to only include traffic from employees within your office/s, you can start digging into the data to get a handle on how your employees are using your website and digital assets.

Here are a few jumping-off points.

Recruitment – do you advertise jobs on your site? If so it might be useful to know which roles are most popular with your employees. Does that indicate dissatisfaction with current roles? Are they reviewing salaries or new responsibilities available to them if they were to step up/sideways?

Have you recently been through a merger or acquisition or have you been on a massive recruitment drive? If so you would expect to see your ratio of new versus returning visitors to tip in favour of new for a couple of quarters. And if it doesn’t, what does that indicate? A lack of interest in the organisation perhaps? If new traffic has increased, then what is this new stakeholder group looking at on your site? What is this group searching for? If you understand this, then it could be the proverbial canary in the coalmine helping you address issues preventing proper integration of new employees.

Leadership – a lot of organisations have leadership profiles on their websites. But how much do your employees know about them? Which website leadership profiles get the most views? Which images get the most clicks? What’s the average visit duration?

Content interaction – obviously there are lots of different types of content – some designed to support your sales efforts, some for existing customers, some for employees e.g. Great Places To Work announcements and coverage of employee socials. What are the levels of internal engagement? How long are employees reading blog posts for? How far do they scroll through the content? Do they read one post in a series of posts and then leave the site (i.e. is your bounce rate for that one post extremely high?). How often are they interacting with your video content? Maybe you could set up event tracking to let you know how many times a video message from your CEO has been played? Official advice on event tracking here. You may decide, for example, to KPI your HR/comms team with ensuring the message from the top is viewed X number of times – set up a goal in GA and link it with the appropriate event.

As a side note, it’s easy to work out which are the top pages on your site: open GA and navigate to Behaviour -> Site Content -> All Pages. It is worth learning more about event tracking however, as it’ll give you a lot of information regards stuff like clicks on important links on your site, webinar registrations, video plays etc.

Site search – use the ‘Site search’ data in GA to figure out what employees are looking for once on your site. You’ll need to activate this setting in the view you’re using but it’s well worth it. Official advice on site search here. Once again, what’s being searched for? Does it indicate you have issues that need to be addressed?

Values – lots of organisations have values and mission statements, but you’ll often find employees don’t know what they are. If they’re available on your website then you can check to see how many employees have visited pages on your site associated with them. Only happening around appraisals? Suggests they’re not living them!

Source of information – which pages are most popular? Which international offices use the website the most? (If you have more than one office make sure you’ve included all of their IP addresses.) How do the different offices use it differently? Which content’s most appealing? Do you need to make more of an effort with foreign language content to suit employees in other countries? Are your sales team using the content your marketing teams spend so long curating? For example, your customer case studies, your demo pages and your blogs.

Time – what times are employees accessing your site? A minor detail but one that gives you an idea if they’re burning the candle at both ends. Appreciate this filtered approach won’t update you when they’re working from home but it may still throw up some useful insights.

Entry terms – connect Google’s Search Console tool (also free and an amazing resource) to your GA account and use the ‘Queries’ report to identify what employees are searching for in search engines before accessing the site e.g. <name of your company> plus search term modifiers like ‘benefits’, ‘history’, ‘blog’ etc. Make these assets easier to reach from the homepage and consider why employees are searching for them in the first place.

There you have it. A few ideas on how to wield the awesome power of GA for internal comms good. It’s not a perfect solution, as it won’t track employee usage when they’re working from home (which obviously at the moment is the main way of working), but it’ll give you a nice snapshot over longer periods and can be especially useful in times of business change.

Inevitably with GA new ideas on how you can use it will occur to you as you experiment. It’s definitely a tool that requires usage to master. The good news is Google offers a free course to help you get up to speed which can be accessed here. Happy analytics!

Luke Budka, head of digital PR and SEO, at B2B growth agency TopLine Comms

Luke is head of digital PR and SEO at B2B growth agency TopLine Comms. He’s interested in how PR powers SEO and doesn’t think there’s a lot of a difference between the front page of a newspaper and the first page of Google’s search engine results pages.


Alison Boothby, senior reporter, simplycommunicate

Alison Boothby is simply's senior reporter.

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