The Core Concepts of Google Analytics

Be one step ahead.

Just before moving forward with this Article, have a peep into the basics of GA — Uncovering Google Analytics for Beginners for a better understanding of the core concepts. Now, let’s take a look at the intermediate level of Google Analytics. Making sure that you’re ready and cleaning data to make it easier to read are two major factors that need to be addressed when it comes to the in-depth of GA. The CXL institute provides this piece of advanced knowledge of GA. Let’s dive right in.

Google Analytics uses multiple channels to track down each product’s journey. The information that an organization requires according to their need can be acquired digitally and if needed non-digitally as well. In order to know how your channels work together and how your users convert, there are certain attributes to know about, and they are:

  1. Filtering out spam
  2. Removing Internal Hits
  3. Cross-Domain Tracking

The Dirty Data hides the story that Google Analytics wants to tell you. The more you clean the data the more you can tell your story. So, what is SPAM data and what does it look like? SPAM is nothing but the fake data that would be injected in Google Analytics traffic source. One of the steps to get rid of SPAM data is to go to the Admin section in Google Analytics and check whether the BOT Filtering is turned ON or OFF. You don’t need to have it on for every single view created in GA but it should be checked and is mandatory to be turned on for Production views. SPAM is a constant cat and mouse game. It’s constant and is not going anywhere soon. So, is Bot Filtering a guarantee for not having any more SPAM data? No, and that’s why we have Filtering. We need to create a filter in GA that excludes certain traffic and thereby it can avoid SPAM.

One of the other key methods is to remove internal hits. What is Internal hits/Traffic? Traffic that your own team is actually generating in your GA. In GA every piece of information is a hit. Every page view, every click, every event that comes into GA etc. So, the internal traffic interrupts the main traffic and gives us fake information. The easiest way to filter out internal traffic is to use the browser extension — ‘ Google Analytics Opt-out Add on”. There are so many other options as well. One of the other methods is filtering out the city from where you’re ( Admin) accessing. This only applies if you’re in a small city. Also, if you’re a larger company with the IP address known or fixed, then you can do filtering by IP address. The next step is to filter out the country. That is, if you have a team in a particular country and your company is not targeting that country for hits, that particular country can be removed using a filter.

When it comes down to clean data, understanding Cross-Domain tracking is also important. That is, knowing which traffic source is causing which result. Generally, every session has only one traffic source. In the image given below, during the journey when the user goes from the offer page to the cart page, the domain changes. This is where cross-domain tracking happens. Here, Facebook has not caused the purchase, but the cart.com did.

Cross-domain Tracking

So basically, it is important to make sure that purchase (mysite.com) should not consider that the traffic is coming from the cart (cart.com). There are certain steps in GA to set up cross-domain tracking to avoid these kinds of situations. When you’re crossing from one domain to another, you need to pass the link through to say that this is the client ID you’re identifying the user as your cross-domains.

Finding out the goal flow is also important when it comes to tracking. We can add segments and sequences to know the flow between different stages.

In order to add a segment.

Goto Audiences — Overview — Add segment

Segments are used to segment a portion of your audiences. They work similar to Filters. A filter permanently alters the data in the view of which it is a part whereas a segment is a temporary filter. You can add and remove a segment whenever it is required. One of the drawbacks of segments is we cannot set up very specific segments like how we set up in Filters.

So, how do you build your own custom segments?

Goto GA — Add a segment — Custom- New segment — you can set up demographics technology, behaviour date etc as per your requirements — Click on save.

To get the data,

Goto — Audience — demographics — Overview — there’s your data

Sequences

Sequences are conditions in a certain order which is part of a custom segment.

You can add a sequence by clicking on,

Add segment — Custom — Advanced — Sequences

There are some tips and tricks in GA about which we need to be aware of. This can also be called as the features of GA. They are :

  1. Dashboards

A Dashboard is where you can see all the individual widgets of what’s happening in GA. And, this feature can be easily navigated. Goto Customization in GA and there you have dashboards. You can also build your own dashboard in GA just by clicking on the create button. Even though GA shows you the widgets in a dashboard, a well-established tool to check dashboards is Google studio.

2. Saved Reports and Alerts

Saved reports are nothing but a report in GA that you can save and use for future purposes. Alert is something that happens when something goes wrong and attention is required. In order to navigate alerts goto customization and click on custom alerts. There you can create your own alert.

3. Channels

Understanding how the different channels fit into a traffic story is important. If you own the account, then you can edit and create channels by going to channel grouping in channel settings. Every user in the view would have access to the channel Grouping. But, if you would like to create a channel for just yourself, then go to personal tools and assets under channel settings.

4. Multi-Channel Funnel reports

The Multi-channel funnel under conversions in GA is an entirely separate GA platform, a completely separate API. This different analytics platform includes interaction from the source.

Thinking through fingers.