As you know Google Analytics is the most widely used website statistics aggregator out there. If your new to Google Analytics and a beginner, I thought it would be a good idea to provide an introduction to Google Analytics. First, it’s important measure your numbers, second its important to know your numbers and use them to your advantage. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize the data’s epic insight. It’s not that people don’t see the value in the information; it’s just that they don’t know what to do with it. Remember, you can’t measure what you don’t track!
To use Google Analytics, you must have a GMAIL account. Once you have that, you can sign up for a Google Analytics account. Then you must set up your Account, Properties, and your views. This is the most critical step, because if you get your account, properties or views wrong you will have inaccurate data, which is the worst result possible. One thing that causes inaccurate data is NOT filtering out certain IP addresses, and other factors. If you don’t use the Filter function, it will count everything you do on your website as a click and there lead to inaccurate data.
I am holding 15-minute complimentary calls to discuss your individual Google Analytics account setup. On this call we’ll talk about your installed codes or tags and if you have them properly installed. Believe it or not, most people don’t even realize how much information they have at their fingertips if it is installed correctly. So don’t delay, register for your complimentary call > http://meetme.so/SandraTempleton. Calls are limited, so when the calendar page disappears, so does this free offer.
Next, add the tracking code or tags directly to your site, you must have access to your website source code, be comfortable with HTML (or we can help you with that too). Keep in mind it can take a couple days for you see data results. Get in touch with us on our contact page if you need help.
Let’s get comfortable with analytic definitions, you need to understand them so you understand your data.
Understanding Google Analytics Key Definitions:
The dashboard is where you can create your own graphs, this way you only have one place you must go to review your data. So, if looking through all the tabs in Google Analytics overwhelms you, you can have someone set this up for you.
2. Time on Site.
Again, straight from the horses mouth, “time on site is one way of measuring visit quality. If visitors spend a long time visiting your site, they may be interacting with it exclusively.” A high time on site statistic shows that you have effectively fascinated or captivated your viewers enough for them to stay for an extended period of time. Fascination is key to motivating consumers to buy into what your business has to offer. (More on fascination next Tuesday.) But, be wary of this statistic. Time on site is not the holy grail to customer fascination with your content; it could be misleading in the cases where those darned goldfish (short attention spans and all) leave that browser open even though they may not actually be viewing your site. (A sandwich or TV after all can easily win the fascination contest.)
3. Length of Visit (Visitor behavior).
Another quality indicator, this is similar to Time on your site. The graphs provided with this data give a more detailed picture of user visits (better than just an average number from Time on Site). With this, you get a picture of the whole distribution, but remember this data is skewed by the aforementioned sandwich/TV lovers.
A hit per Google is an action that results in data being sent to Google Analytics. Each time the tracking code is triggered it must be triggered by a user’s behavior. Examples may include the following.
- Page tracking hits
- Event tracking hits
- Ecommerce tracking hits
- Social interaction hits
- User signups
5. Bounce Rate
As Google puts it, “bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.” Bounce rate is one of those factors that can impact your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking. So, we need to make sure to keep your bounce rates low to help boost your SEO positioning. Think about it, if your entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors (or if the most important information about your business and the products/services you offer) your bounce rate will likely be high. It’s an important statistic that defines the quality of your entrance page content.
A segment is a subset of sessions or users that share common attributes. Segments allows you to analyze groups of data for the best analysis.
A filter is defined as something you want to include or exclude in the data analytics.
8. IP Address
IP is defined as Internet Protocol address; it is used to identify your computer on the internet. When your computer sends a request, for example, if you search for something on Google, it tags your request with your IP address. This way it knows where to send the request results back to.
You will see dimensions listed quite frequently in Google Analytics. A dimension is just a description or characteristic that can give you different values. Some example of dimensions may be:
- City Name
- Exit Pages
- Session Durations
A goal is defined as a configuration setting that allows you track actions that happen on your website.
A conversion is a completed activity that you wanted the user to take. An example of this may be purchasing your product, or signing up for your newsletter which you must set up as a goal otherwise it cannot be tracked or measured.
Leadfeeder has a nice article of more Google Analytics terms; be sure to check them out at Google Analytics Definitions.
How to Understand Google Analytics Screens
Google Analytics starts with understanding your Google Analytics key definitions, see definitions above. An introduction to Google Analytics wouldn’t be complete without going over the Google Analytics screens. Customization’s are above the report menu and is where you can create your dashboards, custom reports, shortcuts, and any custom alerts. The Google Analytic screens I mentioned are also referred to as reports. The reports menu can be found on the left side of the Google Analytics main page below Customization’s.
Reports are where your different kind of reports are displayed. The overall categories are:
The customization section is where you can create custom Dashboards, add features to your dashboards. You can create shortcuts and create custom alerts as shown below.
The Real-time Report is where you can see real-time events, how many people are on online, top referrals, top social traffic, top keywords, active pages, and locations. The Real-time section even shows Events and Conversions. For Conversions to show up, you must set-up your goals first.
The Audience Report is where you can see audience details such as demographics, customer interests, geo location information, behaviors, what browsers are using, browsers, mobile, benchmarking. User flow is essentially to seeing where users are dropping off your website, so you definitely want to check this section out.
The Acquisition Report is where you can see acquisition such as all traffic, AdWords (you can connect your AdWords account to your Google Analytics account) which is a fantastic feature. You can also access your search console which was previously known as Webmasters tool. You must set up the Search Console for you to reap the benefits here. You can also see your social information and campaigns as well.
The Behavior Report is where you can see visitor behavior such as Site Content which would be your individual pages (individual pages or posts in WordPress). It also displays site speed, site search, and events. To fix any site speed issues, you want to dig into the search console mentioned above.
The Conversion Report is where you can see conversion activity, this is basically the results of the goals you have created and how people are reacting to your offers, whether they are signing up for a course, an optin, purchasing a product. Here is where Google Analytics gets powerful.
Each section under conversions has it’s own overview section. For example, for the Goals overview, select Goals > Overview.
I hope you have gotten a good understanding from this introduction to Google Analytics. As you probably know, the most effective companies are ones that know their numbers. The way to improve the performance and the results that you are getting is to know your numbers. So don’t delay, get the Google Analytics code or tags on your website so you can start tracking your numbers. If your site needs help, you will be able to see where. Remember, by improving your numbers, you improve the quality of your site and the type of traffic you draw to your site and can more easily convert visitors into paying customers. If you need help with the codes and / or tags, get in touch with us on our contact page.
Questions: Do you use Google Analytics? Do you know how to use Google Analytics in order to improve your website? Leave us a comment below, we would love to connect with you.