A Quick Tutorial to Get You Started on Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a powerful, feature-packed tool that can help you understand how well your web presence is doing, and how your campaigns measure up. It is pretty impressive even in its free version, and the information it provides can enable you to fine-tune your approach towards campaigns and lead acquisitions. Let’s get started:
- Metrics and Dates
Once you log in to Google Analytics and click on a project, you’ll find yourself looking at the Audience Overview section. If you’re not there yet, click on Audience on the left-hand panel and then click on Overview. This page will be dominated by a line graph showing website statistics for the past 30 days.
On the upper left-hand side of the graph, you’ll find different metrics like pageviews, bounce rate, visitors, sessions, etc. Bounce Rate deserves a special mention here. It is a percentage that represents the number of website visitors that leave after visiting the first page, or the landing page. In most scenarios, you want this number to be low. A visitor going to several pages of the website is usually a good sign as it represents greater user engagement.
You can also compare two different metrics over time. Towards the right (and slightly higher above the graph) is the date picker. Use this to view results over a selected/custom date period, or to compare the performance of metrics for two different date periods.
Don’t be afraid to play with the metrics and dates – it’s an excellent way to learn more.
It’s always helpful to know where your visitors are coming from. More so, if you’re running a targeted campaign. If your product is for the American market and all your visitors are from Italy, it would be safe to assume something is wrong.
In the left-hand panel, under the Audience section, head to Geo and click on Location. This will open a heat-map of sorts for the world, and you can see the visitor density on your website from around the world. Scroll down to see individual statistics of each country, or click on a country to see more details. You can narrow your view to be as specific as a city – an excellent approach for targeting campaigns.
It just won’t do to forget mobile and portable devices, and Google Analytics provides you enough juice to understand your mobile visitors. In the Audience section on the left-hand panel, go to Mobile > Overview. You will see information on visitors that reach your website through desktop, mobile or tablet. Clicking Mobile > Devices will show you a list of devices that have been used to access your website.
Let’s move on to the Acquisition section on the left-hand panel. This one represents the flow of traffic into your website. This section presents a fair view of how well your strategies are performing in various modes like social networks, SEO, email newsletters, AdWords, and other media. Google Analytics calls these modes Channels, and you can see how they compare by going to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. Individual reports for each Channel can be viewed by visiting their specific pages.
- The Overview section will present a quick view of how various strategies are performing as a total of your website traffic.
- The AdWords section integrates Google Analytics with your account to show how well the AdWords campaigns have fared.
- The Social section provides information on social networks that have referred visitors to your website.
- Source/Medium presents an overview of various sources that referred traffic to your web page. This is especially useful for custom campaigns, where you may define a medium. Our article here will get you started on creating and using custom Source/Medium.
Behavior on the left-hand panel will help you understand how the audience is engaging with your site.
- Landing Pages
Head on to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages to have a look at what content is popular with your website visitors. It provides an excellent indicator of the type of content/products that the users are enjoying. If there was a particular page or product you were promoting, this is where you know how well it fared compared to other points on your website.
- In-Page Analytics
Now, this is an impressive and excellent tool to see how visitors actually interact with your website. Clicking here will open the web page as a frame in Google Analytics (or in a separate tab if you have an extension installed). This page will show the areas customers/visitors click/don’t click, allowing you to know where it would be a good idea to feature important links. Such information will also help you devise a strategy to better present parts of the page ignored by the visitor.
Conversions pretty much represent the end-goal. Visitors to your web page should be converted into customers. This section is where you set up metrics to see how the marketing funnel on the website fared to bring business. Conversions is where Google Analytics presents you with an ROI for your marketing efforts.
On the left-hand panel in Google Analytics, head to Conversions > Goals. In case you haven’t already set up goals, go to the Admin tab on the top ribbon, and select Goals under the View column. You can add a new Goal on this page.
Goals can help you track the completion of a particular task by visitors. For example, you can set a Goal for visits to a particular page on the website, or a goal triggered by a specific event (like playing a video). Knowing if your objective was met has to be an important part of your marketing efforts, and Goals helps you keep tabs on that.
If you’re selling products, Ecommerce tracking on Google Analytics is your best bud. This section presents information on the products that are purchased, the transaction on each sale, and the time taken to purchase the item.
- Multi-Channel Funnels
An eCommerce conversion usually isn’t as easy as “visitor arrives, visitor buys.” Generally, the last click would get all the credit, but if we were to consider the complete approach we’ll find that often several channels assist in the final conversion. Rather than attributing a sale or event to the final click, it might be helpful to take a look at how the conversion traveled through the sales funnel.
For example, the buyer may first find a product through the email newsletter. A second encounter may occur through an ad-campaign, and finally the prospective consumer decides to buy the product by visiting the website directly. For this particular case, the email newsletter and advertising campaign played as channel assists and presents useful metrics for the funnel.
In our example, the email newsletter is the first touch point and forms the First Interaction attribution. The direct visit where the purchase was made gets the Last Interaction attribution. Both of these have importance, and the funnel helps you understand the flow of conversion between different channels.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool, and can be extremely helpful in understanding how well your website and campaigns are performing. In case you still need assistance in setting up and managing your campaigns, talk to the pros to get started.