Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics

Understanding the data behind your brand is crucial to making the right decisions and developing a strategy – you want to know how many people are visiting your site, where they’re coming from, if they’re converting, and more. ​

Without this data, you have no real way of knowing which marketing channels are working the most effectively. Google Analytics removes the guesswork and enables you to take a deep-dive into information about your audience.

Terminology

Using Google Analytics comes with a glossary that can look a little confusing to new users, but once you have a grasp on the terminology, understanding your data becomes a lot easier.

User - The individual viewing your site, which is a unique browser cookie, technically speaking. A user can visit your website numerous times, creating several sessions. Each unique browser cookie is counted as a separate user, so more than one user will be reported if that individual browses your site on different devices.

Google Analytics Dashboard

Session - A session is a single visit to your website, and might include more than one page, as well as transactions.

A session timeout defaults at 30 minutes, so if the user is inactive for this amount of time, a new session will be reported if they interact again in some way, such as viewing another page.

Page View - As the name suggests, a page view is what is reported by Google Analytics when a page has been viewed by a user. Likewise, ‘Pages per Session’ refers to the number of pages a user has engaged with in a single session. 

Average Session Duration - This is a top-level view of the average amount of time users spend on your site.

Google Analytics doesn’t count the time for the last page viewed during a session, so it’s worth noting that the data for this is slightly inaccurate compared to the actual amount of time people are spending on the site. 

Bounce Rate - A ‘bounce’ is counted when a user’s session only contains one page view, meaning that they’ve come to your site and left after only viewing one page.

The bounce rate is the percentage of sessions where this has occurred, providing a good understanding of what content is and isn’t performing well on your site. However, context is important with bounce rate – users may find everything they’re looking for on that page without needing to explore the site further.

Traffic - Traffic refers to the number of visits and visitors your website receives.

Getting Started

Once you’ve set up a Google account, you can log into the go to the Google Analytics page and follow the installation process.

An important part of the set-up process is inputting the tracking code, which will be provided as part of your installation, and needs to be inserted into the code for every page you want to collect data for.

Analytics_Dash2

Another key aspect of making the most of what Google Analytics can do for you is defining your goals and what you want your website to achieve.

Goals are specific actions that you want users to make on your site, such as transactions or engaging with certain pieces of content. 

Maybe you’re looking to increase your traffic overall, or to track events such as social media clicks, whether videos are played or if a user makes a purchase.

Goals can easily be set up via the Admin link – once you’ve determined what you want to monitor, Google Analytics will track these actions and attribute them to the appropriate marketing channel, so you can run reports on how the site is performing.

Analytics_Goals

Reporting

Google Analytics defaults to displaying the last 30 days when any report is generated, but you have the option to change this to examine how the site has performed during set time frames.

There are four core areas and reports you can create within the Analytics platform. These include:

Real Time - This shows you exactly what’s happening on your site at present.

Audience - This provides information about who is viewing your site.

Behaviour - This section lets you know what content your audience is interacting with.

Acquisition - This tells you how your visitors found you (Organic / Google Ads / Social / Referral etc)

There are sub-reports you can create within each of these sections too, such as Demographic or Technology, to see what devices users are viewing your site on.

Mobile reporting is particularly worthwhile, as mobile is overtaking desktop browsing, so it can (and should) influence your strategy and content creation. You also have the option to segment your data for a closer look at your audience.

For example, if you want to look at the data for users based in a particular location, or for users who have converted, segments are a great way to do that.

Conclusion

Of course, there’s far more to Google Analytics than just these features.

From creating campaign tags and using Google Tag Manager to linking up to Google Ads and Search Console, you can examine data at as granular a level as you want.


Bottom line is you NEED to track the data in order to improve your campaign performance. If you need help with getting this set up for your business do get in touch...

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