When it comes to digital marketing and tracking the online performance of your digital storefront, one of the most powerful tools you can use is Google Analytics. In this article, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about using and understanding these metrics, from the beginner levels to the more advanced tracking.
The Basics of Google Analytics
Data is a powerful tool when used correctly. It can help you to spot patterns and make better-informed decisions. Google Analytics allows you to measure the performance of your website by inserting a tracking code into each page, which then collects information about how visitors interact with the site.
There is a lot of data that Google Analytics can pick up, from the source of the visitor to their age and whether or not they’ve visited your site before. This information is collected continually, and then put into reports for marketers to analyse.
Once you have your Google Analytics account set up, you’ll be able to add ‘properties’ and then once the tracking code has been installed, you can monitor the website's performance. You can view all of the website data, or add filters that will include or exclude certain data for more specific analyses. You can exclude internal traffic, for example, which is any views coming from your office. These filters can be set so that you can easily check them going forward.
Google Analytics allows you to set goals, which enables you to view how long it takes a conversion to occur. You can set various attribution models, which allows you to see which touchpoint had the greatest effect in securing the overall conversion. This helps marketers to understand what the turning point is for customers, as well as areas that could be improved upon. Note that since goals are set in advance, you’ll need to create them as soon as you set up each property. Another type of goal you can set up in Google Analytics is Event Goals, which tracks smart goals that ultimately help Google Ads advertisers.
Navigating the Platform
On your Google Analytics Home Page, you’ll see all the overview metrics of your site. From here, you can dive deeper into the specific data sets. While there are standard reports available, you can also create customised ones that are specific to your needs.
When checking in on your analytics, some of the most helpful metrics include the bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rate. With this information, you can optimise marketing strategies, create buyer personas, fix technical website issues, and even expand into new markets. There are various reports you can use, from key acquisition reports to behaviour reports.
Segments are a powerful tool within Google Analytics. This allows you to isolate and compare groups among your website visitors. This helps you to create niches for stronger relationship-building and more targeted marketing. You can segment based on converters vs non-converters, high-value customers, or one-time vs multiple buyers, for example.
Advanced Levels of Google Analytics
Let’s take a look at some of the more advanced capabilities of Google Analytics.
Google Analytics Glossary
You might know your views from your visitors, but let’s go over some of the other important terminologies you’re sure to encounter when using Google Analytics.
- Acquisition: How visitors arrived at your site.
- Attribution: The ways in which you credit sales and conversions to touchpoints on the conversion path.
- Benchmarking: Comparing your data to other companies in the same industry.
- Custom Dimensions: Importing company-specific data (like client ID's from your CRM to combine it with Google Analytics data). With this, you can also see custom metrics.
- Events: Tracking a specific type of visitor interaction on your web pages.
- Search Console: Tools and reports to help you measure your site's search traffic and performance.
Marketers can also track the performance of a specific campaign. To do this, you can consolidate all of the data from a specific campaign into a report. To do this, you’ll need to tag campaign links, as Google Analytics will not be able to provide campaign-specific data by default. This can also be added to Google Ads or email campaigns by enabling “auto-tagging.”
Marketers can add in their own custom metrics for Google Analytics to analyse. As mentioned in the glossary, by adding in your own custom dimensions and metrics, you can combine your analytics for a thorough measurement of your website. You can also track events (interactions) that are not automatically captured. Examples include specific pages, responses to a call-to-action, media plays, or page scrolls and clicks. To do this, a snippet of tracking code will be added to the link.
- Custom Session: You can set this up to see how long visitor sessions on your website are and how long campaigns will last.
- Cross-Domain Tracking: Tracking users and their sessions across multiple websites.
- User-ID: Tracking users across multiple devices and sessions (if they opt-in and allow this).
- Internal Site Search: To see how users search your site.
Finally, let’s discuss remarketing, a powerful marketing tool that enables you to display targeted ads to people that have visited your site in the past, with the aim of bringing them back to a website. These reminders strengthen the exposure of your brand and can influence conversions. You’re able to include targeted copy in the ads which often cost less than other PPC ads.
Google Analytics Crash Course Wrap Up
That wraps up our overview of understanding why to use Google Analytics and how to navigate the platform. As a marketer or really anyone with a website that wants to improve and better understand their audience, this is a must! You have the power of data at your fingertips.
If you'd like a marketing agency with close to 2 decades of experience to handle this for you, reach out to us at Nexa. We can get you set up and sorted with in-depth analytics reporting - and if you need a website redesign or marketing strategy, our team is ready at the helm!