Google Analytics — GA is one of google’s most efficient tools that helps us to focus on the right results and allocate the marketing resources intelligently. GA also allows you to understand what you really need to know and how are you achieving it. This is one platform where you play with numbers and know how those numbers could affect your marketing strategy. Basically, GA is all about the “HOW”. How do you get the reports? How do you know what is working? How do you understand your audience? and many more. So, let’s dive right into the basics of Google Analytics.
There are two parts of Google Analytics. The “Google Analytics” for small businesses and “Analytics 360” for enterprises. Most of the premium features that are available in Analytics 360 are also available in the basic Google Analytics. The most basic job of GA is to collect details, store the details and then provide it as reports. Even though GA is really efficient at collecting data, it’s not so good at storing them. That’s why you need to include the “Google Tag Manager” here. And for more efficient reports, you can also rely on “Google data studio”.But, these are more advanced methods. Let’s not go there yet.
In GA, there are 2 key things that you need to know and they are dimensions and metrics. A Metric is a number that is shown on the analytics page with which you can do any sort of arithmetic calculations and the Dimensions are the things that you sort by.
When it comes down to reports, there are 4 kinds of reports in GA. They are:
- Overview report
For understand the overall report by checking the basic analytics
2. Table report
Reports are generated and viewed in the form of tables.
3. Flow report
To understand how traffic is literally flowing from one step to another
4. Auxillary reports
The oddball reports used for very specific questions
The administration section of GA
Admin is the one who owns the GA account and adds users to the account. Depending on the permissions given by the admin, the added users can access the analytics and do whatever they’re supposed to do. One of the most important things that an admin should keep in mind before checking on the permissions is that some permissions can even provide the power to the user to remove the admin. That’s where an admin should be careful so that you don’t provide unnecessary permissions to all the users.
Next up, the structure of GA is as follows.
- GA admin account
Basically, this is the backend of GA. You can have an account in GA and an account will have multiple properties ( a property should be added to the account from the settings) and will have multiple views ( there should be at least one view added from the settings). While creating an account, provide all the information including the website you want to track, the timezones of the server ( not your location or your audience location) and the industry category. You’ll also get a unique tracking ID once you create an account. There are certain sections that you need to know after creating an account. How it works is really important to understand how to use the analytics. So, let’s dive in.
There are other kinds of major reports that you need to know the working of. They are:
- Realtime reports
- Audience reports
- Acquisition reports
- Behaviour reports
- Conversion reports
Realtime reports are nothing but a report that allows you to understand what we apply is working or not. The report gives you an idea of who’s on what pages, what pages are currently looked at, what traffic sources have actually sent those and the keywords if they’ve come through search. You can also create segments here to know the users by state, city etc.
Audience reports explain what users are to GA. When a user visits your website, it creates a cookie to which a unique client ID is assigned. Now, if the same user is visiting your website later, google knows that it’s a returning user and will start associating all the different activities and actions that are taken with the client ID. So, will client ID be the same for the user if he’s accessing the website from his phone or laptop? No, GA assigns one client ID for a particular device. The other categories that lie within these reports are demographics and interests.
Acquisition reports help you to understand where the users are coming from, what is the engagement of the users on your website. Are they coming from campaigns, social media channels, google ads (paid advertising) or are they organic ( traffic that’s directly coming from search engines).
Behaviour reports are reports that help you to know what actions the users are taking on your website. Understanding the behaviour of the audience is really important because of GA stores behaviour in the form of numbers. This report also shows us the last page the user visited before closing the session. This is also one of the criteria to understand the behaviour of the user.
Conversion reports are the ultimate answer that you require because this report tells you about the results of the user’s action. This is where the goals are included and tell you about when the goal is achieved and what page the user was on when they become a lead.
So, now we know the main types of reports that would be available in Google Analytics. Let’s move onto the settings. There are different levels of settings that have to be set up to use Google analytics and let me provide a brief about them here.
This is about the basic set up of an account. Go to Admin -> add users -> provide the email address of the user. The email should be a google email.
2. Property settings
This setting helps you to understand how to link accounts like search console and google ads.
3. View settings
A view is set up to identify and answer specific questions. If you do not create a view, then you will not get the specific data. Every view would have 20 goals that you can set up and you can have up to 25 views. Views will start recording the data as soon as they are created.
Once the settings are set up accordingly, the next thing you would need to apply in GA is Filters. Select the view that you have created and create the filter. The detailed steps to learn how to set up properties, views and filters are well-explained in the CXL Institute course.
The second most important thing that you need from GA is the types of traffic. What are the different sources from which the traffic is gliding into your GA? What is the medium that most users are utilizing to check your website? These are all important information that we require to form a GA report to proceed with an impactful optimization. The traffic can be organic ( traffic from search engines), from referrals ( people came to your website from other sites), etc.
Now, we know at least what are the types of settings and what GA is used for. Before proceeding with any of the settings or filters, you should know what your goal should be. A goal should have completion. Maybe a prospect converting into a lead? It can be anything according to the requirements of your website and you need to make sure that the goals are met. This is where the ACE model arrives. Aware, Complete and Engage. You can test your goals through the acquisition reports. Pull up all the traffic sources under Acquisition reports and you’ll see whether the goal you’ve set up has been achieved or not.
Finally, get your results. The results are mainly based on time elements which are duration, page per session and a couple more. Let’s not dive deep into it. To make a gist about it, the duration is telling GA to fire the goal when somebody spends x amount of time on your website. GA basically measures or tracks time-based on timestamps. That is, if we’ve set up a goal before to fire the goal if the user spends more than 20 seconds on your website, then as soon as somebody creates a session ( that is visiting your website) and stay for longer than 20 seconds, the goal should fire giving you some sort of engagement signal or an awareness signal of some sort.
And, that’s all about it. For more advanced information and to dive through the practical sessions, search for Google Analytics — demo account and explore right in.