How to use Google Analytics

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Google Analytics is one of the most comprehensive free tools for tracking statistics data about your website. It is easy to integrate and use, it provides the basic data for inexperienced marketers, as well as in-depth analysis, perfect for the large companies and online businesses. The possibility to create custom reports and set up campaigns with goals makes Google Analytics a perfect tool for monitoring your online presence, and analyzing conversions, traffic, etc.

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Get the free PDF version of this tutorial (32 pages)

Click here to Download the Free PDF version of this Tutorial (32 pages)
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Theory

Google Analytics is a web-based application offering both free and premium version. The main feature of this Google’s product is to track visits on the website and to display relevant statistics. Integration with Google AdWords allows tracking of the online marketing campaigns. E-commerce section offers the insights into sales and conversions. One user can have 50 site profile, meaning one can track up to 50 website using Google Analytics.

 

Guidelines

* You have to have a Google Account in order to access Google Analytics.

* You have to integrate Google Analytics into your website in order to get access to the data.

* Data collection limit

Every user interaction can be sent to Google Analytics as an individual hit, including (but not limited to) each Pageview, Screenview, Event, or Ecommerce transaction. As a result, a single session can result in many hits.

* Data processing latency

Processing latency is 24-48 hours. Standard accounts that send more than 200,000 sessions per day to Google Analytics will result in the reports being refreshed only once a day. This can delay updates to reports and metrics for up to two days. To restore intra-day processing, reduce the number of sessions you send to < 200,000 per day. For Premium accounts, this limit is extended to 2 billion hits per month.

 

Instructions

1. Setup

Go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ and click on “Access Analytics”. Have in mind that you will have to use your existing Gmail account (or to create a new one) in order to use Google Analytics.

google_analyticsOnce you login you will see four tabs available at the top:

– Home

– Reporting

– Customization

– Admin

Before you are ready to start using Google Analytics, go to the “admin” tab of your Google Analytics account. Here you will see the option to create an account, that is, to add the website to the analytics.

google_analytics_005aClick on “Create new account” and you will need to provide the following information:

– Account Name

– Website Name

– Website URL

– Industry Category

– Time Zone

google_analytics_006It is very important not to leave out the time zone, because if you do and you want to analyze the time when users access your website later on, you will not see the actual results.

Once you have completed the form and accepted the conditions you should copy and paste the code to your website. It is necessary to insert this tracking code on the website in order for Google to be able to track your website’s activity.

On the other hand, you can send the code to the person responsible for managing your website.

This code must be in the header of the website source code before </head>. After you place it there and make sure that it appears on every page of the website, Google will begin collecting all the statistical information from the website.

2. Main sections

Reporting

After you have created the account, every time you login you will be redirected to the homepage of the Google Analytics account. The homepage displays all of your accounts (if you have several accounts) and only the most important statistics, which include:

– The number of sessions

– Average session duration

– Bounce rate

– Goal conversion rate

google_analytics_002These figures provide a quick look into your account, but in order to access the detailed information about the website and the extensive statistics, use “reporting” tab.

This segment contains all of the information related to your account, such as visits, referrals, bounce rate, average time on the site, etc.

google_analytics_003aCustomization

The third tab enables you to create custom reports which can be downloaded. This options is particularly useful as you will be able to track only the metrics you are interested in. In addition, each sector of the company can generate a custom report containing the information related to their sector.

Admin

The fourth tab enables you to access all of the relevant settings for managing your Google Account and monitoring the performance of your website.

google_analytics_018a

3. Dashboard

There are several sections within Reporting tab of the account. The first one is the dashboard which combines the most important metrics into a comprehensive outline. However, you can create custom dashboards, in order to adapt the metrics to your needs.

google_analytics_007For example, the dashboard on this image shows the statistics related to the new and recurring users, sessions by country and by browser, etc. However, you might be interested in tracking traffic related to referrals and keywords. If so, you would create a new dashboard with custom metrics assigned to it.

The dashboard represents the overview of the statistics based on the segments. In order to fully examine the data, you should use the following segments that are available in the menu on the left side of the screen.

Shortcuts – This feature enables you to create shortcuts for your reports, which will make them easily available. You will find out more about reports and creating custom reports from the following sections of this document.

Intelligence Events – The overview of the intelligence events represents the alerts related to the important changes happening on your website. Whether it is the drop in page views, the increase of bounce rate, etc. Analyze the data by day, week or month.

google_analytics_009aReal-Time statistics – Monitor how users behave on your website, which pages they visit, and which keywords or links referred them to your website at this moment. You can use Real-Time overview and see all of the data about the current visitors, or you sort them based on:

– Location

– Traffic sources

– Content

– Events

– Conversions

google_analytics_010Audience – Analyze the audience based on different criteria. You can analyze the data for a certain a period, or compare them to a period you select. Use the date box at the top right corner to select a period. The audience overview displays the most important data, related to the number of visits, as well as the user behavior.

google_analytics_008While the overview sums up the most important metrics, you can examine each of them separately in order to focus on a certain segment in particular. The audience metrics include:

– Demographics

– Interests

– Geo

– Behavior

– Technology

– Mobile

– Custom

– Users Flow

Acquisition – Use this feature to create campaigns and track the traffic and referrals, get social network signals and SEO overview of the traffic.

google_analytics_011This part of Google Analytics helps you discover how people get to your website (whether it is organic search, direct traffic, social signals or referrals), as well as which keywords help people find your website.

If you set up specific goals in Google Analytics, or if you integrate Google Webmaster Tool, you will get insights into even more detailed analysis of user acquisition.

Behavior – Find out how visitors behave on your website (it includes landing pages, exit pages, page timing, usage of site search, etc.). It is also possible to generate In-Page Analytics in order to see the percentage of clicks on each segment of the page. For example if you examine the homepage of your website, In-Page Analytics shows what is the percentage of people clicking on the featured articles, on “About Us” section, a banner, or any other part of your homepage.

google_analytics_012Conversions – This features enables you to create campaigns and goals in order to closely examine the performance of your website. Setting up goals and using tracking will help you evaluate your efforts in order to measure how good your performance is. You can set up monetary values, or you can choose certain type of action to be considered as conversion.

The available segments are:

– Goals

– Ecommerce

– Multi-Channel Funnels

– Attribution

4. Custom reports

In order to fully customize the data and create useful and practical reports, you can use “Customization” option, available in the tab at the top of the page.

Click on “+New Custom Report” button to generate a custom report.
Provide the title of the report, choose the metric groups, filters (optional) and you will be able to access the custom report.

google_analytics_004Benefits of custom reports are:

1. Focus on the most important metrics

If you run a small company and you want to get the overall image of your website’s performance, you might not need all of the data available in your account. In this case, you can choose simply those metrics that help you quickly assess the performance.

The most basic metrics, that can help you with this include:

– Sessions – the total number of sessions within a period of time

– Pageviews – the total number of pageviews within a period of time

– Avg. Session Duration – the average time on site during one session

– Data Hub Activities – the number of social mentions

– Entrances – the number of time visitors entered a website through a specific page

– Bounce rate – the percentage of single-page visits

2. Create custom reports for different people / departments

In cases you have different people or even whole departments in charge of separate segments, you can create custom reporting system for those departments. For example, those in charge of setting up and monitoring Google Ads, can track the report related to the Advertising metrics, which include the number of clicks, the costs per goal conversion, impressions, etc. On the other hand, the team in charge of the presentation of the website on social networks can track metrics related to social mentions and referrals from social networks.

5. Report templates

Google Analytics allows users to share the report settings when creating custom reports. Therefore, if you are not sure how to create your own custom report, download the configuration settings from these popular report templates:

Organic Keyword performance (by Anna Lewis)

Simple Referring Sites Data (by Anna Lewis)

Download SEO reporting suite (by James Gurd)

Download link analysis report (by SEObook)

Download realtime organic dashboard (by Dan Barker )

Social Media Report (by Eric Siu)

Top Converting Landing Pages (by Greg Habermann)

6. Goals

Goals are a great feature for finding out whether your effort is really paying off. There are different types of goals, depending on the activity you want to monitor.

Go to the “Admin” tab of your Google Analytics account in order to create a goal.

google_analytics_013aUse “+ New Goal” button to create a new goal.

google_analytics_014aProvide the name of the goal, and then choose one of the four goal types.

google_analytics_015Choose the value that will represent your goal. For example, your goal is to track the number of pages visited per session and you could choose greater than 5. This means that your goal will be achieved when users visit more than 5 pages of your website during a visit.

It is also possible to assign a monetary value to the each goal.

google_analytics_016After you have created the goals, you can track the progress. Since in this case we have chosen a certain number of pageviews as a our goal, we can go to the “Acquisition” segment and click on “Overview” to see the percentage of conversions, that is the number of visits resulted in more than 5 pageviews.

google_analytics_019As you can see from this image, direct traffic is most likely to contribute to realization of the goal. Assigning the monetary value will help you calculate the profit and then compare it to the investment.

 

Additional Resources

While the previous part of this Google Analytics guide was mainly focused on how to set up and manage Google Analytics account, we will now focus on leveraging the data in order to increase the performance of your website. The additional resources we suggest here are going to help you with working with Google Analytics software and successfully analyzing the data about your website’s performance.
The first great resource, which can serve as a Google Analytics tutorial, is the Google Analytics help center. It is perfect for both beginners and advanced users, as it starts with the basic terminology and the process of setting up Google Analytics account, and it leads you to more advanced processes of analysis and reporting. Additionally, you will find lots of training resources inside this helps center, such as Analytics Academy, an online course about Google Analytics software. One section of the center is devoted to explaining the additional features and main benefits of Google Analytics Premium.

Other links related to the usage of Google Analytics, include Google Analytics Terms of Use and Google Analytics policies.

Understanding Google Analytics

Understanding how Google Analytics works, how it collects and process data, is going to help you to properly understand and analyze the data obtained through Google Analytics. This process consists of four parts: collecting, processing, configuration and reporting. The video also provides information on how collecting data from mobile apps differs from tracking websites’ data.

Digital Analytics Fundamentals – Lesson 3.1 How Google Analytics works

This presentation will show you how to take the most out of your Google Analytics account. While statistics data about your website are important, you need to know how to interpret those insights in order to understand what those mean for your business. This will help to fully integrate Google Analytics into your business and it will enable you to really benefit from the data you collection about your website’s performance and the behavior of the visitors.

Connecting accounts

While Google Analytics is useful on its own, as it can provide so many data about your website’s performance in terms of traffic, audience, conversions, etc. there are two more Google accounts that could help you boost the usefulness of the Google Analytics account and its data.

Link Google Analytics and Google AdWords

Google AdWords is an advertising program used for creating and managing search engine ads. It is great tool for increasing paid traffic to your website, but the tool alone does not provide enough data. Although you will see the data about the number of users who clicked on your ads, you will not see how the users behaved once they reached your website. Additionally, you will not be able to see the steps they go through before the convert. Google Analytics will help you with this data, as it will detect the clicks originating from search engine ads, and then it will show you the path users take on your website. You will see how the users are engaged, and whether or not you were able to convert them.

If you use Google AdWords account as part of your search engine marketing strategy, then it is advisable to link these two accounts in order to maximize the visibility of the data about your website. Linking these two accounts, you get the full picture about customer behavior, which will help you with customization of campaign.
The following video shows you how to link Google Analytics and Google AdWords account:

Link Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a service provided by Google, which allows monitoring the performance of the website and discovering any problems that might affect ranking of the website. It provides the data about website usability, links, crawling, etc. The main benefit of connecting Google Webmaster Tools to Google Analytics is the additional data processing. For example, while Google Analytics only tracks traffic from the pages which have tracking code, Webmaster Tools will show the traffic data for all the pages of your website that users reach through search results on Google, regardless if those have Analytics tracking code embedded.

In addition, the data about keyword may differ between these two tools, so combining the keywords data from both of them will help you get more in-depth data about keyword usage. Linking these two accounts is very simple, provided you used the same Google email account to create both of them separately.

Here is a video tutorial to show you how to link these two accounts:

How To Link Google Analytics to Google Webmaster Tools

Since Google Analytics is important part of any online business nowadays, it is important to understand how it works and what kind of options you have to explore and use the great potential of this free tool. In order to explore the most detailed and advanced options of Google Analytics account, you should go through the following book on Google Analytics.

Google Analytics, 3rd Edition

The book is a great Google Analytics guide, starting with the introduction to Google Analytics and its dashboard. This will help you get acquainted with the tool and the options it provides. The topic covered in the book also include filtering and setting goals, which is ideal for creating custom goals to track the performance of specific aspects of your website. The book also shows you how to integrate Google Analytics into your business and how to link other Google accounts. The part about generating different kinds of reports based on the metric you want to track is quite useful as it shows you how to focus on analyzing visitor’s behavior, analyzing traffic sources, event tracking, e-commerce tracking, etc.

Having been able to implement Google Analytics successfully into your business, you will see a lot of advantages when it comes to understanding your audience and improving your website’s performance.

——————————————————————————————————-

Get the free PDF version of this tutorial (32 pages)

Click here to Download the Free PDF version of this Tutorial (32 pages)
——————————————————————————————————

 

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