5 Basics of Google Analytics

If you constantly find your self wondering how to use Google Analytics (CA), you are not alone. Although Google Analytics has been around for several years now, there are still many marketers that feel overwhelmed even just opening the platform. It is a key tool in learning more about your website and audience and how you can ultimately reach your marketing goals.

In this blog we are going to go over the 5 basic measurements that will give you key insights to the overall effectiveness of your website.

To get started, go to and sign in. Once you sign in, click the “audience” drop down menu on the far left and then click “overview.”

WHAT: “Total number of Sessions within the date range. A session is the period time a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. All usage data (Screen Views, Events, Ecommerce, etc.) is associated with a session.”

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: The number of website visitors is a great indicator to the effectiveness of a CVB. It’s important to not only know how many people visit your website, but to also compare it year-over-year.

WHAT: “Pageviews is the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.”

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: This number provides a grand total of the number of pages that were viewed on your website within a certain time frame. This can be a much more impressive number to share, and can highlight an effective website for inspiration.

WHAT: How long people spend on your website.

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: The longer people stay on your site, the more likely they are to convert. If you are seeing session durations under 90 seconds, it’s time to make your site more engaging. 

WHAT: The average number of pages people visit on your website.

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: This metric helps determine if your website inspires people to click around, or leave from the homepage. We like to see websites with 3+ pages per session.

WHAT: Percentage of people who “bounce out” of your website.

HOW: Audience > Overview

WHY: High bounce rates can indicate a couple things:

1) Your content does not match the promise of what they hoped to find.

2) Your page took too long to load.

3) The content was unappealing (bad imagery, useless information, too much information, etc.)

4) The content was so useful that people did not linger on the page because they found what they needed. Keep these things in mind when evaluating a page with high bounce rates!

Note: Average session duration, pages per session and bounce rate: These metrics are also tracked for individual pages on your website. The majority of this data can be found on the left side bar under Behavior > Site Content.

Now that you’ve learned these basics of Google Analytics, continue your learning at the links below:

For more hot tips on digital marketing and tourism, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us across social media at the links below!

How to Find Great User-Generated Content

(And what to do when you find it!)
Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

User-Generated Content (UGC) is a huge part of tourism marketing. People are constantly posting images during their travels, which provides great opportunities for DMOs to repost this content on their own channels to promote and inspire tourism. In this blog, you’ll learn the best ways to find great UGC on Instagram and what to do when you find it. 

Tagged Images

Some users make it super simple by tagging you in their photos, so the first place to start is looking at the images you’re tagged in! Navigate to the “tagged photos” portion in your Instagram profile to see what you’ve been tagged in. A best practice is to check-in on this a few times a week (at least) to make sure that you’re not missing out on any impressive content.

How to See What Images You're Tagged in On Instagram User-Generated Content UGC

Check Your Hashtag For User-Generated Content

Did you know that you can search your hashtag on Instagram to see all of the posts that have used it? You can do this by either navigating to the search bar and typing it in or by clicking your hashtag that’s in your bio. This will take you to a screen displaying both popular and recent posts using your hashtag!


Location Tags

Using a location tag is a method for users to post about the places they visit during their trip and a great way to know for certain that an image was taken at a specific destination. To find a specific location tag, simply navigate to the search bar and start typing in the location. You should see the location pop up in the search results. If you see a location tagged that you want to look at in your feed, you can also click on the tag above the image and it will navigate you to a page displaying both popular and recent posts at that location. Remember, don’t just check city tags, but also local attractions, restaurants, and more! 

What to Do When You Find User-Generated Content

Now that you’ve found the perfect image for your feed, it’s time to save the user-generated content to your collection and get approval from the user to actually use the photo in your feed. Follow these steps to make sure that you’re asking for permission in the right way:

  1. Save the image to your collection so you can easily refer back to it when necessary. See below how to add it to your collection:
Save User-Generated Content to Your Collection on Instagram

2. Like the Image!

3. Comment on the image using verbiage something like this:

“Great photo! With your permission, we’d love to use this in our blog. Let us know if you have any concerns.”

How to Ask for Permission for User-Generated Content UGC Tourism

4. Once you receive a response, you can reply and thank them for giving you permission!

Posting the User-Generated Content with Credit

Finally, make sure that when you post the image on your own social feeds, you tag the user in the image, or give them photo credit in the comments. If you’re putting it in your blog, be sure to give them image credit. If you are embedding the photo directly to your website, it’ll automatically give credit where credit is due.

Following this quick approach is an integral step in giving your brand a voice. You also show your visitors appreciation for posting their images of your location. Integrating user-generated content in your blogs and social media feeds will allow future visitors to see others experiencing your destination and can inspire them to do so as well. For more new and exciting ways to use digital marketing to enhance your destination marketing organization, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us across social media at the links below.  

TwoSix Digital Reflects on Why Travel Matters

This year, the U.S. Travel Association will celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week May 5 through May 11. The week is an annual tradition set to celebrate not only the U.S. travel community but also to unite the different values that travel holds for the economy, businesses and personal well-being.

Read more by checking out our Spark page below!

TwoSix Digital Reflects on Why Travel Matters

5 Email Marketing Metrics that Matter

Knowing the success of your tourism e-newsletter is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. Here are 5 metrics to make sure you pay attention to when you’re reviewing your latest newsletter. Be sure to check out our blog about 5 Big Email Marketing Challenges, Solved, to help you come up with ways to improve these numbers!

Check out our blog for more answers!

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Twitter & Periscope Strategies for Content Marketing Success (VIDEO)


Brian Matson presenting at E-Tourism Summit

By Brian V. Matson, TwoSix Digital Senior Director of Strategy and Education

I recently had the opportunity to make my first trip to San Francisco, CA to attend and be a presenter at E-Tourism Summit. It was a fast paced few days with a talented group of destination marketers.

I’ve heard about this event for several years but have never had the chance to attend. My luck changed when I was asked to present at the Summit. Event organizers asked me to present my thoughts on Twitter and Periscope…in 15 minutes. 15 minutes!? I’m used to doing half day workshops! Needless to say the short timeframe provided the perfect opportunity to deliver a quick, informative (and somewhat brutally honest) take on the two social channels.

When it came to Twitter I stressed how important it is to get back to basics and to use the network to give content more opportunities to succeed.

  • Listening VS Engagement – Of course a huge part of Twitter is listening but when’s the last time you went and started a conversation? Get off your heels and be more proactive. Too much waiting around happening.
  • Be Human – We’ve been chanting this “be human” thing for years but it’s still something that users need to be reminded of. Put the robot voice down and be an approachable human being.
  • Recycle – DMOs have boat loads of content that is far too often  seen as a one hit wonder. Develop sharing schedules to get content pieces out into the world again.

Jn9mecpThe main takeaway that jumpstarted a bit of a larger conversation came in extending the stories being told on Twitter. Instead of telling the same stories or sharing the same pieces of content from network to network we talked a bit about how we could extend the story with different perspectives, additional content and more integrated layers to extend the discovery process.

Attendees were mostly interested in Periscope and my handful of tips seemed to be well-timed as attendees were starting to give the application a go.

  • Go horizontal – Periscope opened up horizontal video! This is actually huge as the broadcasts are actually usable in other channels now.
  • Engage with audiences – Get some help monitoring and recognizing commenters. A second pair of hands can go a long way.
  • Developing a regular schedule – By all means experiment with Periscope, but success comes when it finds a regular home in your content planning process.
  • Using WiFi Networks – Save your data plan and find strong WiFi networks. The app can eat a data plan like nobody’s business.

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 1.00.05 PMThe biggest point that really got people thinking in terms of broader content marketing opportunities was within the simple flip of a switch in the settings of the Periscope application. The saving of broadcasts lead to a great discussion about distributing Periscope content within your greater content strategy.

There currently aren’t a lot of DMOs that are leveraging this tool but those that are doing experimenting are doing some great things. St. Pete/Clearwater is broadcasting sunrises, seal rescues and other various events. Leroy Bridges presented an additional session with Periscope examples at the summit that is worth checking out. Periscope and live streaming applications in general certainly were getting a lot of notice at E-Tourism Summit.

I was happy to see that the session got a solid response from those in attendance. It was voted the best session of the summit which considering the massive amount of content and speakers at the event was a real surprise. I had a great time in San Francisco and look forward to another E-Tourism Summit in 2016.

In case you missed the session you can check it out below!

You can download a copy of the presentation slides here.