What Is Google Analytics and How Does It Work?
Google Analytics, or GA for brevity, is a web analytics tool that gives in-depth insight into the online performance of your website and company.
Getting started with GA is simple, and you can start tracking critical data for your online company almost immediately. The more you want out of Google Analytics, the more complicated it becomes. It will be more advantageous to you if you devote more time to it.
The more relevant data you have for the channels, the more potential for improvement, new ideas, and understanding how everything is related in relation to the whole company.
Google Analytics works brilliantly with other Google services, so if you’re utilising them for marketing, you’ll need GA to keep track of their success.
You can only improve the return on investment of your website and enterprises if you have access to online data and know precisely how your activities function.
Data is an important aspect of any digital marketing plan, and having the appropriate tools in place before you start marketing ensures you achieve the outcomes you desire.
Web data can assist you figure out what’s going on with your website, since a successful company is a fast-paced machine that adapts rapidly to ever-changing elements.
We’ll learn about Google Analytics and its numerous advantages for your company, as well as why utilising GA is critical for understanding your online performance.
What are the Advantages of Using Google Analytics?
The fact that Google Analytics is free is maybe the most appealing feature. This opens up the platform to anybody having a website, resulting in a wider community of users who can exchange knowledge and advice. There are several resources for learning how to use Google Analytics, making it accessible to users of all skill levels.
Another benefit is this: Analysts of all skill levels may benefit from Google Analytics. You may do more basic level analysis on your site’s performance using Google Analytics, but deeper analysis is also possible. You may not only see which marketing channels bring traffic to your site, but you can also see which sites people come from at various times of the day, what landing page they arrived at, and how long it took for the page to load for them.
Who wouldn’t want information from the world’s biggest search engine on their website? As search engine marketers, we spend a lot of time trying to please Google. It’s extremely advantageous for strategic planning to have a platform that can give us some of the information Google is collecting on our site. You’ll be able to make improvements to your site with a data-driven plan rather of depending simply on intuition if you use the information in Google Analytics.
Finally, we utilise a number of Google products as marketers, including Search Console, Google Ads, Data Studio, Google Tag Manager, Google Optimize, and others. All of these tools are compatible with Google Analytics.
Create a Google Analytics account: The World Wide Web Tag
Step 1: Create a Google Analytics Account
Navigate to Analytics: Sign up for an account or log in to Analytics.
The Google Analytics landing page may be accessed using the URL in the previous paragraph.
To begin for free, click the “Start for free” option.
Step 2: Enter the Welcome Page
You are invited to the solution after making an account or logging in.
To continue, press the “Start measuring” button.
Step 3: Create an account
You must choose between two options.
- Enter the name of your account.
- Choose which information you wish to share.
- Select “Next” from the drop-down menu.
A single account can have multiple tracking IDs. With an account, you may monitor many websites.
Step 4: Property setup
The service you’re measuring is called property, and it might be anything from a website to an application to a link tree.
- Enter a property name.
- Please choose your time zone.
- Enter the currency you’re working with.
- Select “Next” from the drop-down menu.
Step 5: Add business information
Analytics tailors your experience based on the data.
- Choose an industry category.
- Choose the size of your company.
- Check the items that correspond to how you want to utilise Analytics.
- To continue, click the “Create” button.
Step 6: Terms of Service Agreement
Read and understand the terms of service.
If you agree, check the GDPR box and click the “I accept” button.
Step 7: Email subscriptions
All of the boxes may be checked or unchecked.
To continue, click the “Save” button.
Step 8: Select platform
Select the platform on which you’ll be collecting data.
Then, to proceed, choose the appropriate platform.
Step 9: Data stream setup
Details about the data stream should be included.
- The address of your website.
- The name of the stream that you wish to give it.
- Decide whether or not to allow improved measuring.
- To proceed, click the “Create stream” button.
The improved measurement may provide greater context to the data. Gaining a better grasp of traffic.
Step 10: Web stream overview
A complete summary of the web feed may be found here.
The following are the main points to remember from the overview.
1. Stream URL
The associated site’s URL is the Stream URL.
2. Measurement ID
Your data stream’s identification is the Measurement ID.
Measurement ID is a feature of Google Analytics 4. Tracking ID is used in older versions. You can’t have it both ways.
3. Tagging instructions
Choose between Tag management and Global site tag (gtag.js).
The Global site tag will be used in this lesson.
The best and fastest approach to get it up and running is to use the Global site tag.
Step 11: Global site tag (gtag.js)
Select the “Global site tag (gtag.js)” row from the drop-down menu.
A code sample may be found here.
The piece of code is a script that allows Google to track data on your website.
The Measurement ID may be found in the code snippet’s second final line.
Step 12: Enter the code snippet
Copy the code snippet.
Include your Measurement ID in your message.
In your HTML, look for the <head> tag.
Just below the <head> tag, paste the code snippet.
The code should be saved and published.
Google Analytics Tracks a Wide Range of Metrics
Google Analytics allows you to monitor a variety of variables.
You must set a time range for your data regardless of whatever category you concentrate on. This manner, you may compare a current timeframe to previous timeframes to observe what’s changed and whether what you’re doing is working.
Try to recall your marketing objectives while you study the data. Otherwise, the whirlwind of numbers may overwhelm you.
To get you started, let’s look at some of the most prominent metrics.
Tracking Visitors With Google Analytics
Tracking visitors reveals who’s coming to your site, how many visitors you have, and what they’re doing while they’re there. Bounce rates and session lengths are examples of this.
These figures are unnamed and ambiguous. You can’t collect personal information about particular website users.
Go to the “Audience” section of Google Analytics to learn more.
Tracking Traffic Sources With Google Analytics
Another useful measure provided by Google Analytics is traffic origins.It responds to the question of “how do people find my website?”This information is accessible via the “Acquisition” page.
You can see how much traffic originates from social media, Google Ads, and the Google Search Console, for example.Knowing where your visitors come from and what they do once they get on your website might help you focus your marketing efforts.
Tracking Content With Google Analytics
By watching user activity, Google Analytics may help you learn how well various pieces of content work. Are they, for example, more likely to frequent specific pages than others? Is there a difference in on-page time for different kinds of content? This may help you figure out what works and what doesn’t, so you can make better content and marketing decisions in the future.
This information may be found in the “Behavior” section.
Tracking Conversions With Google Analytics
Let’s get right down to business. When visitors come to your website, do they purchase (or do anything else you want them to do)? That’s what conversion data from Google Analytics can tell you.
These measurements aren’t created automatically like the others. Conversion analytics, on the other hand, needs you to create objectives, which are often the pages that visitors are routed to when they convert. Allowing Google Analytics to track visitors to these last pages may offer more detailed information on how people arrive, how many convert, and other factors.
Track Mobile Performance
You should assess how effectively your website operates on mobile devices as they become more widespread.
These figures may be found under “Mobile” in the “Audience” section. Website analytics are split down by device types in this section. Look at how your site appears and acts on that sort of device, for example, if you see that specific device users are spending less time or money on the site.
Other Common Google Analytics Functionality and Uses
Google Analytics is always releasing new features that might help you achieve your marketing goals.Consider a couple of them in further detail.
Find out what people are looking for on your website
If your website has a lot of material, people may be able to utilise the search feature. Knowing what people look for on your site may help you figure out why they’re there, enabling you to plan and generate more relevant content.
To get this information, go to the “Behavior” section and select “Site Search.”
Identify Your Worst Performing Pages
Is there any material on your site that isn’t working well?Then you may want to try optimising those pages for search engines, deleting extraneous material, or creating whole new content.
Go to “Behavior,” then “Site Content” to see which pages aren’t doing well. Then, to rearrange the pages by popularity, click the arrow. This indicates which pages get the least amount of traffic. Do anything you want with the knowledge, but before you toss it into the abyss, think about identifying a reason.
Find Where People Abandon Their Shopping Carts
A common e-commerce issue is people leaving shopping carts while shopping. If you can determine why visitors are abandoning your site, you may make improvements to assist them in converting.
To begin, develop a sales funnel to assist you in determining your goals. Include each stage of your checkout process in the sites you wish to monitor, such as cart, check-out, shipment, and confirmation. Then, to observe how individuals behave as they go through the funnel, select “visualise your funnels.”
You could see a trend develop in terms of when users leave carts and make changes as a result.
See Your Most Important Analytics First
Many of the most frequent statistics are available on the Google Analytics dashboard, as we discussed before. You may, however, create a custom dashboard to view just what you want. Under the “Customization” menu, locate the “Dashboards” option. You may either choose a pre-built dashboard template or create your own.
Google Analytics Reports
The left-hand sidebar of GA may be confusing. You have six reporting alternatives (all with cryptic, ambiguous names), and selecting any of them only expands your possibilities.
Let’s take a look at each report as a group.
Google Analytics Real-Time Report
The Real-Time report, as its name implies, provides you with information on what is occurring on your site right now. You can see how many people are visiting your site, which pages they’re looking at, which social media platforms they’re using, and where they’re coming from, among other things.
While this report is entertaining to glance at on occasion, it is most likely the least useful. Here are some examples of how Real-Time may be used:
Check how much traffic a new social or blog post is bringing you.
Find out right away whether a one-day sale or event is generating traffic and/or conversions.
Check that the tracking URLs and custom events you just created are functioning properly.
These are helpful, but the other reports, as you’ll see, are significantly more powerful.
Google Analytics Audience Report
The GA Audience report provides a high-level summary of the site you’re considering. Once a day, look at this report to see how you’re doing overall.
There are expanded menus for “Demographics,” “Interests,” “Geo,” “Behavior,” “Technology,” “Mobile,” “Cross-Device,” “Custom,” and “Benchmarking” under “Overview.”
Examine each of these parts to see what you can learn about your visitors from them.
You could wonder what this report’s worth is.
You’re having retention issues if you have more one-day users than long-term customers. You need to find out why people aren’t returning to your website or app.
I’d also suggest segmenting this information; for example, you could see that people in a given age range have considerably greater retention than the average.
Acquisition Reports from Google Analytics
Organic, direct, referral, email, social, sponsored search, display, affiliate, and other sources of visitors are broken out in the Acquisition report (Other). (When GA is unsure how to classify a segment of traffic, it utilises the (Other) category.)
Channels may be accessed from All Traffic.
Click on any category to learn more about each source.
You’ll see landing pages (which URLs your visitors accessed the site on), source (which website brought them to yours), or keyword data depending on the category (which query took them to your site.)
To view this data in a visual manner, go to All Traffic > Treemaps. This article will show you how to view and modify the Treemaps report.
The following report, Source/Medium, divides the overall category of traffic (as shown in “Channels”) into search engines and domains.
It’s handy if you want a more detailed look at how visitors arrive at your website. For example, you could see that LinkedIn accounts for 70% of your referral traffic, whereas Pinterest accounts for just 5%. It may be time to shift your marketing team’s focus, depending on their priorities.
Referrals, the most recent report, provides the particular URLs that sent visitors to your site, i.e. your referral traffic.
I’d want to add something “As a supplementary dimension, add “landing page” to see which pages on your site are generating referral traffic.
Behavior Reports from Google Analytics
I utilise the Behavior reports the most out of all the reports in GA.
This study examines all of your site’s blog articles, landing pages, and web pages.
To begin, go to Site Content > All Pages. This displays the most popular pages for the current view and/or segment. It’s important in and of itself – you should always keep an eye on your most popular URLs — but I enjoy it even more when I’m looking at traffic increases or dips.
To give you an idea, my website’s overall traffic may have decreased by 10% month over month. I’d go to Site Content > All Pages and set the date range to current month rather the previous month (making sure the days of the week match up).
Then I can check how page visits fluctuate depending on the URL:
This allows me to see which pages had less traffic and contributed to the drop.
Helpful hint: I like to change the “Sort Type” from “Default” to “Sort Type” “Because I selected “Absolute Change,” the results are ordered by the largest percentage differences rather than total views.
I also include Page Title as a secondary dimension so that I can see the name of each page in addition to the URL.
Another of my favourite reports is landing pages. A landing page is defined by Google Analytics as the initial page of a session, or the visitor’s first contact with your website.
This report may be sliced and diced in a variety of ways.
To begin, you may add Source/Medium as a supplementary dimension if you’re interested in the sources (organic, paid social, direct, etc.) that are bringing consumers to the landing page.
This is essentially the inverse of the report we previously introduced.
Second, you may add the relevant system segment to observe which landing pages people visited from a given source, on a specific platform, or within a specific category.
You could be more interested in the landing pages seen by mobile and tablet visitors, so you choose Mobile and Tablet Traffic.
Alternatively, maybe you’re interested in people who have purchased anything, so you choose the “”I’ve Made a Purchase” is a part.There are several possibilities available here.
This report displays the last pages that people browsed before leaving your site.
That’s a bit perplexing, so let’s have a look at an example.
I’m looking for a spot to have supper with my buddies, so I start looking “Nearby Mediterranean eateries.” When a good-looking location appears, I click on it. First, I have a look at the menu. They offer a hummus sampler, which is delicious. After that, I go to their press page. It directs me to a recent Eater piece, so I exit the site to read it. The cuisine was praised by the reviewer. I’ve made my decision.
My departure page would be the Press page.
You may have heard that analysing your departure pages might help you figure out why people are leaving your site; nevertheless, I believe this example demonstrates why that method isn’t always appropriate. Just because someone has departed doesn’t indicate the material is defective.
Conversion Reports from Google Analytics
If you have a website, you most likely have a goal in mind for the people that frequent it.
Visitors to ecommerce stores are encouraged to join their mailing list, create a user account, add items to their basket, and/or finish the purchase confirmation procedure.
Media firms want users to spend as much time as possible on their site and/or see a specified number of pages (all the better to maximise their ad revenue.)
Visitors to B2B websites should be able to download an ebook, register for a webinar, or schedule a call with a sales representative.
All of these factors, and many more, can be measured using Google Analytics.
A goal is effectively a pre-defined conversion (which is why this info shows up under the Conversion section.)
Goals may be divided into four categories:
Destination: When a user arrives to a certain page, such as a product page, purchase confirmation page, or thank you page, this objective is fulfilled.
Event: When a predetermined event occurs (such as the Events you may set up as, well, Events – imagine viewing a movie or posting something on social media), this objective is accomplished.
Duration: When a user’s session lasts longer than a pre-determined time, this objective is accomplished.
Pages/screens per session: When a user visits a certain number of pages (or screens for an app) every session, this objective is met.
The first two are extremely beneficial. The last two are a waste of time. (Let me know on Twitter @ajavuu if you have an interesting use case for Duration or Pages/screens per session.) I’d be delighted to be proved incorrect.)
Take a look at these guidelines for establishing, revising, and sharing your objectives after you’ve identified them. This approach on determining target values is also quite useful.
Go here to see how you’re doing in terms of your overall goals. When I compare date ranges and/or look at objective completions by section, I get the most out of this report.
Looking at goal completions by device, for example, indicates that mobile visitors subscribe to the blog newsletter much less often than desktop and tablet visitors. Because might be because it’s difficult to sign up for the newsletter on a phone, or it could be that mobile users are searching for a certain item and exiting the site as soon as they find it. I’ll have to delve further to figure out which scenario it is.
You’re now ready to track.
Google Analytics is an extremely useful tool for any business since it provides you with actual data that you can use to build your company. As your data monitoring grows more advanced, bookmark this tutorial and return to it.
Best wishes on your Google Analytics experience.