The Starter Guide to Google Analytics
Google Analytics provides insights about the visitors to your site as well as detailed statistics about engagement, sources and the efficiency of your marketing campaigns. Google Analytics has a very useful and user friendly interface however, there are quite complex feature that befuddle a lot of first time users. Most often, business professionals keen to harness the analytic ability of Google Search. In the next few brief and understandable paragraphs we will discuss:
- Why you need Google Analytics?
- How you can get it?
- How to use it?
“Google Analytics is like the market intelligence tool you never had. It can track website visitors in real time; imagine you had a gatekeeper at your website, someone who keeps a log of all your visitors and keeps an eye out for the ones already inside”
Why every Website needs Google Analytics.
If you have a website or any sort of a business that relies on online traffic, you need detailed statistics or pinpoint market research tools. Not all the businesses use such analytical data. However, a lot of them should. Statistically, Google Analytics can help you improve engagement up to 47%. You can list your own increase in engagement in the comments section below.
- The number of people who visit your site
- The websites that refer visitors to your site
- The pages on your site that are viewed the most by your audience
- The demographics of your web traffic
- The effectiveness of different marketing strategies
There are a lot more features of using Google Analytics besides these, but for the sake of clarity, we will just focus on the ones listed. Now, let’s look at how you can get Google Analytics on your website.
Installing Google Analytics
Choosing the associated account
First and foremost, you need to set up a Google Analytics account, where you will receive all correspondence from Google Analytics. but before that you need to select an account where the Google Analytics account is situated. Preferably, it should be the same account that you registered as your property’s webmaster account. This allows you better insights into SEO and traffic statistics.
“It is highly recommended that you set up the Analytics account using your own Google account, one that you plan to keep. A Google Analytics account set up by one of your employees or service provider to oversee your assets; results in them keeping your data in case you part ways. That data can be reclaimed through backup and restoration of the data. Or by asking the disgruntled employee to grant you admin privileges to their Google Analytics account, but that is one messy breakup. Instead, create the account in your own name and grant permission to the individual analytics account”
Setup your property and the associated account
Ok, now you have the Google account. Go to the Analytics Section and sign up. You will be prompted to enter information regarding your website and or mobile app. Fill out the forms and proceed to sign in to your account.
The Google Analytics ‘Hierarchies’ help organize your account.
1 Gmail account =>100 Google Analytics Accounts
1 Google Analytics Account => 50 website properties
1 website property => 25 observers
<An image for hierarchies>
A single Google Analytics accounts can be used in lieu of ‘projects’ (for example, one analytics account might be enough for your work websites while the other can be used for your personal projects.)
There are no wins or fails when it comes to setting up your Google Analytics Account- it’s simply the matter of organizing your properties. The accounts can be renamed. So can the websites. However, you cannot move a property from one analytics account to another. The only way to transfer a property is to create a new property in another Google Analytics account. The most valuable thing that you stand to lose is your analytics data.
Installing the Tracking ID
- Once you are done with the Google Analytics Accounts setup; click on Get Tracking ID button. Conversely, if you already had an Analytics account made. Click on the admin section. Click on create new Analytics account and fill the corresponding form. Then click on Get Tracking ID.
- A popup will bring the Analytics Terms and Conditions (you are recommended to thoroughly study it before clicking accept).
- Finally, you will get an Analytics ID. The Analytics ID is unique to your Analytics Account and is quite important for the specific website.
For those of you, however, who do not have a CMS website, simply copy the code before the end of the head tag on each of your pages. You can add the code using a text editor or the development IDE you used to develop the site. Add the code and then upload the modified file to your domain using an FTP program.
Pro-Tip: If you have an e-Commerce site where products and categories are listed; just add an SEO plug-in, go to your Online Store settings and add the tracking code as specified. Viola, all your site visitors and prospective buyers will be added to statistics as well as the products that generate the highest interest. Get an e-Commerce site from here.
Introducing the Google Analytics Dashboard
Setting up Conversion Custom Goals
The Goals section, accessible from the top most admin tab gives you unprecedented ability to define the goals of your marketing effort. You can tell Analytics if something important happens on your website.
A Google Analytics Goal can be a:
Click Event: if a visitor views a certain video, your contact info or simply subscribes to your blog by email etc.
Destination notification Event: The visitor reaches a specified page that is directly related to your business conversions process (arrival on “request a quote”, “add to cart”, “Thank you for Shopping” etc)
Duration of User Session: If the visitors spend a specified minimum time on your site or app. You will be notified.
Pages/ Tabs Opened: The visitor views a minimum number of pages. It is also a direct measure of engagement and is much more important than most people give it credit.
To create a new goal, click on the New Goal button. Name the certain Goal. Choose to use a Custom Goal. Select the type of Goal that you wish measured. Insert your desired URL if prompted in the destination type or click type event and the time or number of pages in the latter Goal Types.
Note: You can also choose to use templates to create goals. The choice rests with you and your technical ability. Google Analytics Basic subscribers can create up to 20 Goals.
Incorporate Site Search
Site Search is a great way to get valuable data from site visitors. Google Analytics allows seamless integration with the search box in your site to record and show the keywords visitors use to navigate the waters on your website.
To add Site search tracking in your Google Analytics:
- Go back to the admin tab, go to the View Column
- Click on View Settings
- Scroll down to the Site Search Settings. Toggle the Site Search Tracking feature on.
- In a separate window; initiate a search query on your website. Copy the resultant URL.
- Analyze the URL and determine the Query Parameter for your website.
- Enter this query parameter in your Site Search Tracking input.
Viola, now all Search queries on your website will be logged and recorded. You can get better estimates about what people are searching for on your website.
Add Additional Accounts
If you want to add a new Analytics account, you can do so by accessing the Admin menu, the drop-down under the Account column and clicking on the Create New Account link.
Once Google Analytics has been installed on your website, you should set up the corresponding goals and the site search. Wait 24 hours for it to gain any substantial data. Then that data will start to make some sense.
To view Google Analytics data
Once Google Analytics data has started accumulating in your Analytics account, you can decipher your website traffic. Each time you log in to Google Analytics, you will be diverted to the Audience Overview report. If you own more than one website, you will have to choose the website that you wish to access and then taken to the corresponding Audience Overview.
“The Audience Overview is one of 50 reports available to Google Analytics users. The analytics reports for other websites can be accessed using the Reporting link at the top. Click on the drop-down arrow beside your desired website to easily switch to other websites in your Analytics Account.”
The Google Analytics reports may look a lot similar to each other but they all contain unique data. At the top right most corner, click on the drop-down arrow next to your website. You can also click on the dates to change the time range of projected data sets being viewed. The Compare box is used to compare two data sets from one another. It can be from a different time range or from a different website altogether.
Beneath the main metrics, you can access a couple of factors such as the top ten entries with respect to languages, Countries, Cities, Browsers, Operating Systems, Service Providers and the Screen Resolution of site visitors’ device.
The full report link on each gives you detailed statistics for one of the factors. Or perhaps you would like to focus on visitors from a certain location or language. Clicking on that particular option will take you to the corresponding data set of visitors with the certain trait.
Hovering over the data sets in this view gives you statistics of the number of views from that particular option. Scroll down to the table and hover over individual column names to learn more about those metrics. In fact, the deeper you dive inside a particular trait or metric, to focus your research, the more interesting statistics you are bound to find.
“Google Analytics offers great interactivity features to access data reports, for instance you can hover over different points in the line graph to get detailed statistics for that particular time. Hovering over metrics beneath the graph tell you what each metric means.”
Rundown of the Google Analytics Reports
Now we come to the gist of our discussion, a summary of all the data visualization reports compiled through the Google Analytics. These reports are accessible from the left sidebar of an Analytics Dashboard.
This report is audience centric and tells you a lot about your visitors. In such reports you will find detailed statistics about your visitors’ demographics. This includes age, gender, etc. What their general interests are. Where they come from? (Location) What languages they speak (Languages). How often they visit your website (Behavior). The technology they use to view your website (Technology and Mobile) and the User Flow.
This report tells you all the details about what drove visitors to the websites (All Traffic). You will see traffic broken down by a couple of major categories such as Channels, Tree maps, Source/Mediums and Referrals.
The acquisition reports are further divided into Ad Words, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and Campaigns.
You can connect your Google Analytics to Ad Words to learn more about PPC campaigns and to learn more about PPC campaigns and to learn more about Search Engine Traffic drive due to Search Engine Optimization.
This report tells you everything you need to know about your content’s performance. The Behaviours report tells you all about your best performing pages and the worst performing pages. The results rely on the supposition that a click on the CTA is defined as a conversion and a visitor navigating away without being converted is a negative factor.
If Site Search is set up, you will get those Search Terms listed in this section and the Pages that they were searched upon. Additionally, you can find the current Site Speed as well as Suggestions on how you can speed up your site.
If you have successfully setup Goals in your Google Analytics, a new conversion metric will be established that counts when, on which place and how many of these conversions have taken place. You can also see the Reverse Goal Path that led up to the complete conversion.
Most of the metrics in the analytics reports have relations to the conversions. For instance, you can see the number of conversions made by visitors from a specific area, language or demographic. In the acquisitions tab, you can assess the number of conversions made by visitors from social media. Conversions are a measure of the success of your multi-channel marketing effort and the results that can be projected in the near future.
Shortcuts and emails
Not all the reports within Google Analytics will be decipherable at the moment. However, learning new things requires experimentation and exploring. When you find something that you find useful, add it to the shortcuts in your left sidebar for faster access. Or better yet set up emails that inform you of important mile stones in your analytic charts, or that inform you or someone else; weekly or monthly or at any other time period.
We hope that this Guide to Google Analytics proved to be useful. However, if you have any sort of queries or feel that a crucial section was left out in this blog; feel free to give voice to your question. That is an open invitation. We would be glad to help.