Are you making the most of the data you can get from Google Analytics (GA) on your website?
The free tool gives you valuable insights into metrics like conversion rates, traffic sources, engagement, audience demographics, and more.
Let’s find out what GA is and how you can use it to improve your website statistics.
What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free tool for tracking user behavior on your website. With a range of metrics to review, you can get an idea of how people are using your site and how you can make changes to increase sales.
At the basic level, you can track the number of visitors you have, how they found you, the number of page views, etc.
In many ways, Google Analytics is the portal that gives you privileged, primary, real-time access to what your users want.
Why Should You Use Google Analytics?
Although it takes some work to set up, there are plenty of tutorials and resources online to guide you through the process. Once you have connected Google Analytics to your website, you can go to the Google Analytics dashboard and start checking. However, it cannot go back in time, so you will have to wait for the data to be collected.
Google Analytics can free you from gut testing and intuition, and instead tell you which pages and content are hitting the mark or not. This way you can make informed decisions.
The Basic Google Analytics Interface
Once you’ve set up your Google Analytics account, you can connect different URLs and choose the ones you want to search from the drop-down menu.
The first thing Analytics displays is basic traffic data, including dates. You can change the dates as needed.
On the left side of the screen, Google Analytics offers a list of reporting options. This is where you can start going into detail.
On the far right is a blue box with real-time metrics showing the number of people on the site, the number of pages viewed per minute, and the most popular pages. You can then click on the blue box to learn more about the data.
If you’re looking for something specific, just type it into the handy search bar.
If you scroll down, you can view various analytics, including where your users are from and what devices they’re using.
Common Metrics Tracked With Google Analytics
There are many metrics you can track with Google Analytics.
Whichever type you focus on, you need to choose a time period for your data. This allows you to compare a given period to previous periods to see what is changing and if what you are doing is working.
When analyzing the data, try to remember your marketing goals. Otherwise, you risk being overwhelmed by the whirlwind of numbers.
Let’s look at some of the more popular metrics just to get you started.
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Tracking Visitors With Google Analytics
Visitor tracking shows who is visiting you, how many visitors you have, and what they are doing on your website. This includes factors such as bounce rates and session length.
These measurements are anonymous and vague. They cannot collect personal information for specific visitors to your website.
To go further, you can go to the “Audience” section of Google Analytics.
Tracking Traffic Sources With Google Analytics
Another powerful metric that Google Analytics can provide is traffic sources. It answers the question “How do people find my website?” You can find this information under the “Acquisition” tab.
For example, you can find out how much traffic is coming from social media, Google Ads, and Google Search Console. Knowing where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing when they arrive at your website can help you know where to focus your marketing efforts.
Tracking Content With Google Analytics
Google Analytics can help you understand the performance of different content by tracking user behavior. For example, do they visit certain pages more often than others? Do certain types of content have longer dwell times? This can help you determine what works and what doesn’t, which you can use as a basis for future content creation and marketing decisions.
Tracking Conversions With Google Analytics
Let’s come to the brass nails here. Are people buying (or doing what else you want them to do) when they arrive at your site? That’s what Google Analytics conversion metrics can tell you.
These metrics are not automatically generated like the previous ones. Instead, conversion analytics requires you to set goals, usually based on the pages visitors are directed to once they convert. By asking Google Analytics to track users to these recent pages, you can get more granular insights into how users reach them, the number of conversions, and more.
Track Mobile Performance
As mobile usage becomes the norm, you may want to see how your website performs on mobile devices.
You can find these metrics in the Audience section under Mobile. Here you can see website stats broken down by device category. For example, if you find that users on certain devices are spending less time or money on the website, examine how your website looks and behaves on that type of device.
Creating Custom Reports
If you track your website statistics, you may find that you need custom Google Analytics reports. Custom reports can help you examine specific metrics more effectively, using apples-to-apples comparisons across time periods, campaigns, and more.
These custom reports can be useful for presenting information to your department, organization, management, or investors with hard numbers you can compare and visual reports you can run. Of course, not everyone may fully understand what you’re doing, but many probably understand the basics of what those numbers and charts mean.
Other Common Google Analytics Functionality and Uses
Google Analytics is constantly introducing new features to help you achieve your marketing goals. Let’s dive into a few.
Know what users are looking for on your website
If you have a lot of content on your website, a search function may be available to users. Knowing what people are typing into that search engine can help you better understand why visitors are on your site, so you can plan and create more relevant content.
In the Behavior area, click Site Search to view this information.
Identify Your Worst Performing Pages
Is there content on your site that just doesn’t work? Then you can benefit from optimizing those pages for SEO, removing unnecessary content, or creating entirely new work.
To find out which pages aren’t working, go to Behavior, then Site Content. From there, click the arrow to reorder the pages by popularity. This shows which pages get the least views. Do what you want with this information – although you may want to find a cause before throwing the page into the abyss.
Find Where People Abandon Their Shopping Carts
Cart abandonment is a common problem in e-commerce. If you can find out where visitors are leaving your website, you can make improvements to convert them.
First, define your goals using a sales funnel. Include every step of your checkout process, including cart, checkout, shipping, and confirmation in the pages you want to monitor. Then click View your funnels to see how people behave as they move down the funnel.
You can see a trend in the appearance of people dropping carts and update accordingly.
See Your Most Important Analytics First
As mentioned above, Google Analytics places many of the most popular analytics on the dashboard. However, you can configure a custom dashboard to see exactly what you need. On the Personalization tab, find the link for Dashboards. You can use a dashboard template or create your own.
How to Create Custom Reports Analytics
Google Analytics makes it easy to create custom reports for your own use or presentations.
- First click on “Customization,” then click on “Custom Reports
2. Click on “+ New Custom Report” to get started
You can name your custom report, as well as each tab you want to create if you want different variables in the same report.
3. Choose what you want to create the custom report on, including global metrics that you can select from a drop-down menu, more specific dimensions and filters to further refine your data.
You can learn more about each option by scrolling the question mark in the drop-down list.
4. Click on whether you want to see all views or limit them.
Start with all, if you’re not sure. Now click “Save.” You’ll be taken to a page with the data automatically. From here, you can save, export, share, or edit the report.
If you save it, you can find this report under “Saved Reports.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some basic things you can do?
What is the best way to learn?
You can learn more about the basics of Google Analytics from Google themselves.
What is a Google Analytics tracking code?
How much does it cost to use Analytics?
What is the benefit of using Analytics?
Google Analytics provides in-depth information on how well your website is performing.
Basics of Google Analytics Conclusion
Google Analytics provides almost endless amounts of information about your website data. Once you’ve set up Google Analytics on your website, you can access metrics that cover almost every stage of your customer journey.
You can create custom reports to analyze the performance of your strategies. This can help you make informed changes to your website, which in turn can drive even more people to your brand and through your analytics-based marketing strategy.