With the help of the Google Analytics Guide, you can gain the right knowledge of your data (your performance numbers) and your analytics (the reporting and analysis that interprets those numbers). Additionally, you can learn invaluable information about your site, and your overall strategy:
- How many people visit your site and how many stay there after clicking and landing on your page to explore your content?
- Who are your site visitors? What can you learn about them based on what they do on your site?
- Does your site offer a great experience for both mobile and desktop users?
- Which pages on your site (or which ads) are your top performers? What needs more work? What does this tell you about your digital marketing strengths, and how your strategy can improve?
- How did your visitors find your site (search engine, another website, ads, etc.)?
- Did someone land on your site/click on your content as a result of a specific marketing strategy?
- How does an engaged visitor move through my site? Do they go from landing to exploring to purchasing, or do they stop along the way to learn more?
- How many site visitors have become customers during a certain timeframe, or since a certain change to your site/content?
Analytics was built to give you insights like these. . . and there’s a lot you can do to customize your reporting, and fine-tune your results. However, you’ll need to learn how to customize and read these reports. This guide breaks down what you need to know about this impressive, free-to-use tool— and shows you how it can help you take your site, advertising, and more to the next level.
Getting Started with the Google Analytics Guide: Setting It Up
If you don’t have Google Analytics set up to collect your site or app data, don’t stress.
It’s easy to get started. Here’s how you do it:
Go to google.com/analytics and follow the steps below.
- Click SIGN IN > Analytics.
- Create an account with a username, password, and other fundamentals.
- Set up a property (your website or app) from which Google Analytics can collect data.
- Choose a reporting view (filter where you do and do not want data collected).
- Add the tracking code to your property (so the data will be retrieved correctly).
Pro Tip: Want to see your Analytics on the go? Download the app.
After the initial setup is complete, you can configure your Google Analytics account to your preferences and marketing goals. There’s a lot you can do at this stage:
- Set permissions for who in your organization can access your Analytics data (and what they can do within the platform).
- Link your Google Ads account to Analytics: This step is a must if you want to know if your digital advertising is working or how it influences your website traffic.
- Set reporting views (what reports you see) for your property.
- Set campaign goals according to the action you want site users to take.
- Add custom reports, segments (for specific user groups), and dashboards in the Solutions Gallery.
- Adapt your tracking code to gather additional data from site elements like video controls, buttons, and more.
- Add data collection features to get the most from your e-commerce platform.
Google Analytics Guide: Features To Know
Simply put, Google Analytics gathers your data and shows you what that data means about the site, apps, and ads you use to promote your brand, and how users and visitors are interacting with them. This is accomplished thanks to a variety of tools and features you can customize right from your Analytics account.
The power of Google Analytics comes from a combination of coding, statistics, and intuitive reporting. You can add the power of Machine Learning (ML) to get even better results. Here are the tools included in Machine Learning:
- Smart Lists: Generates custom audiences for remarketing.
- Smart Goals: Examines site signals to predict which ones are more likely to get you conversions.
- Session Quality: Looks at user session data and predicts who is likely to convert to a buyer.
Analytics reports tell you what’s going on with your site (and site visitors). And there’s a lot you can learn.
Learn About Your Site Visitors: Audience Report Types
Number of Active Users: in the last day, week, two-week, or 30-day period
Lifetime Value: Shows most valuable users according to their site interaction so you know how to better focus and target your marketing (and remarketing) efforts
Audiences: See how the Audience groups you created are interacting with your site.
User Explorer: See individual user behavior
Don’t Forget: Connecting Google Analytics to Google Ads means you can get detailed performance metrics for your Google Ads campaigns. If you’re a 360 user, you can get additional insights for Search, Display, and Video Ads.
Acquisition Reports show you how you gain new users (Google search, Google Ads, or social media, for example). Report results clarify where your digital marketing strategy excels, and where it could use more resources and support.
Behavior Reports as you might expect to give you the skinny on users’ behavior once they land on your site. You can see how they move through your site from page to page (behavior flow). Your Site Search report tells you what they search for within your website. Site Speed reveals how quickly people view and engage with your site content.
A website conversion rate is the ratio of your users who participate in the desired action on your site. Site conversions are the digital actions people take on your website (buying, downloading, clicking to read more, and so on). Google Analytics has several reporting tools designed to help you get more conversions from site users in your target audiences.
Are Audiences Taking Action? Conversion Reports
E-commerce: Learn about site/app purchase activity and user behavior leading up to their purchases.
Goal Flow: Your conversion goals are the actions you want people to take (ad click, blog post clicks, click-to-pay, etc.). Goal flow reports show you how users navigate your site before the goal conversions. This helps keep your site experience intuitive and user-friendly.
Multichannel Funnels: How much did website referrals, ads, and user searches factor into your conversion rates, and meeting your conversion goals?
Analytics 360: More Features For More Data
If your business has an extensive network of sites, and large quantities of data, your team may consider the paid version of Google Analytics. Analytics 360 offers:
- Greater integration capabilities for Ad Manager, Display/Video/Search Ads, Campaign Manager and Search Console (formerly Webmaster tools): Because there is greater integration between Google products, you have enhanced data onboarding and remarketing capabilities. Your users will see more targeted ads after they visit and interact with your app or site.
- Advanced Funnel Reporting: See more insights to better understand the impact of your site/app structure and content on your sales and marketing funnels.
- Advanced Attribution Modeling: Get more detailed information about when clicks happen and where they come from.
- 400 Views per Property: Twice as many as standard Analytics
- Custom Metrics: Customize up to 200 metrics and dimensions for data gathering and analysis.
- Data Freshness: The data visible on your Analytics dashboard is guaranteed to have been gathered within the last four hours (usually sooner).
- Unsampled Reporting: View reporting for large quantities of data, rather than results based on a subset or sample.
- Unlimited Data: Process as much data as your team needs to succeed.
- Raw Data Access: View your data before it is processed for Analytics reports.
Quick Note: Analytics 360 includes more reporting and customization options. But it’s built for large enterprises. You can get much of same the top-quality support, features, and insights with the standard, no-cost version.
Making The Most Of It: Google Analytics Guide Best Practices
Google Analytics is about more than gathering data and running reports.
It’s the roadmap to understanding who is visiting your site, clicking your ads, and interacting with your app. Setting up an account is important, but it isn’t enough. Your sales and marketing teams and your web developers need a seat at the table. Here’s what our team suggests to get more from your Analytics dashboard.
Set Solid Goals
Starting out with goals that are most relevant (and highest priority) is a good guide for any strategy. There are a number of goals you can set in Google Analytics, which fall into several broader categories.
To Set Goals: Conversions —> Goals —> Overview —> Set Up Goals
To View or Edit Existing Goals: Admin —> Goals —> View —> + New Goal
Take Advantage of Integrations
Integrations allow you to share and link data strategy across Google products. There are
a number of Integration options for Analytics, and here are some of the most advantageous:
Google Search Console: Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is where you manage how your websites appear on Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Linking Search Console to Analytics means you can see how your site ranks, and how many people click your site from their SERPs.
- To create a Search Console account: Go to www.google.com/webmasters/.
- In Search Console, navigate to Crawl —> Sitemaps. Add your XML site link to allow Google to track and index your site(s).
- To link up the two in Analytics, go to Admin —> Property Settings —> Search Console
Google Ads: This integration gives you the same in-depth look at your ad performance that Analytics already gives you for your website.
To set this up, go to Admin —> Google Ads Linking within your Analytics dashboard and follow the steps
E-commerce Tracking: You can see which clicks are connected to which purchases, as well as the average revenue per sale.
To create and activate this link, select Admin —> Ecommerce Tracking.
Google Analytics Guide: Tackle It Together
You’ve made it far enough in this guide to know, mastering Google Analytics is a lot to do alone, Keeping up your performance numbers for your website, app, e-commerce, and Google Ads— and knowing what those numbers mean for your marketing strategy— could quickly turn into a full-time job. You have a business to run, so we recommend tackling Google Analytics together. That could mean divvying up responsibilities according to the strengths of your team, working with a digital marketing agency, or both.
We work with entrepreneurs and in-house marketing teams to bring you real-time reporting, up-to-the-minute analytics, and data-driven recommendations customized to your business so you can reach your goals.
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