Google is the master of the web, and using their tools like Google Analytics is a must to find out how consumers are getting to your website, how long they stay, and what pages they visit. In this workshop at Rocks Digital 2017, Beth Kahlich answers these questions and more.
Why Businesses Should Use Google Analytics
Simple answer = It’s FREE.
Business owners can use Google Analytics (GA) to find out:
- Where is the best place to spend marketing dollars?
- What products/services people are interested in?
- Where does the website need improving?
Agencies can use Google Analytics to:
- Show results from activities to clients
- Inform clients without overwhelming them
- Provide guidance for internal teams about what is working/not working
Corporations can use Google Analytics to learn:
- Are we reaching our goals?
- Activities = Results? This can help you re-align sales/marketing activities.
- Is your content strategy working/driving traffic? Driving engagement?
How Does Google Analytics Work?
You place a snippet of code into the backend of the website, and that code sends information to Google Analytics. Even if the websites doesn’t have Google Analytics, Google can see general data about how people interact with your site. (Search>Click>Return to Search indicates that they must not have found what they wanted).
Important to note: Google Analytics numbers are NOT exact. Even though there seems to be an assumption that Google Analytics numbers should be spot on, they’re not always. And really, it’s more about finding TRENDS than exact numbers.
Basic Info in Google Analytics
- Sessions = visits
- Users = visitors to the site
- Page Views – will be higher than sessions, as visitors usually visit multiple pages
- Bounce Rate – don’t obsess too much about it. They may have gotten the information they needed just from looking at the one page.
You can also look deeper at how many people looked at specific pages and for how long.
eCommerce = More advanced
Using Google Analytics with eCommence
- Shopify – least confusing integration
- WordPress with Woo Commerce – harder than it looks
- Magento – open source; it’s advanced, so get an expert
All of these have the ability to connect with GA. You will need help for the more advanced functions because you want to make sure that things are set up correctly in order to get good, usable data.
Initial Setup of Google Analytics
- Account Name – use the company name, not the URL for the Account Name
- Property – the name of the website (again, NOT the URL)
- Website URL – this is where the URL goes
- Set your time zone
Then set up your filters and start tracking your data!
Must-have Google Analytics Settings
- Multiple Views
Goals = what do you want to measure? They are important but harder to set up.
A Simple Google Analytics Goal to Get Started – How many times did people look at more than x pages of my site?
- You can use dashboards, which are summaries of data. These can be emailed to stakeholders to keep them in the loop.
- You can also use Google Data Studio, which allows you to make charts from Google Analytics data. (Yes, it’s FREE!!)
- Within each primary section, the left sidebar is divided into tabs, which then have sub-tabs grouped according to data type.
- The AUDIENCE tab helps you analyze data about the people who visit your website.
- The AQUISITION tab tells you how people arrived at your site.
- The BEHAVIOR tab lets you know which pages people visited.
- The CONVERSIONS tab tells you how people take action on your site.
- All of the data can be segmented and compared by date ranges.
How to Stay Focused
- Don’t get overwhelmed
- Know before you go
- Have your questions ready – How many visitors this month? Where did they come from? How long did they stay? What did they look at?
Want to learn more? There’s always the Google Analytics Academy, Lynda.com, plus plenty of other resources, such as Beth’s Google Analytics training.