Your Definitive Guide to Google Analytics

Matthew Fritschie - Fri, September 8, 2017

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google-analytics

In an online world filled with competitors, success depends on how well you understand your audience and their behavior. Who are they? What are they looking for? How do they navigate through your site? Who’s more likely to convert?

Luckily, Google Analytics is here to help. In short, it lets you keep track of every aspect of the customer’s journey and gives you insights on the following:

  • Number of new site visitors
  • Number of returning visitors
  • Where your traffic is coming from
  • Visitor geolocation
  • User behavior
  • Conversions and leads
  • Devices used to access your site
  • And much more…

 

An Introduction to Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, you’ll be able to understand your users on a whole new level, improve your marketing with detailed insights, and use Google’s knowledge to get the most out of your data.

For beginners, you can find an in-depth explanation on setting up and using your Analytics account here, but if you’re short on time, here’s a shortened version:

Step 1: After login, select the appropriate site you want to analyze —> This will take you to the ‘Reporting Dashboard’.

google-analytics

Step 2: On the Reporting Dashboard, you’ll find a collection of widgets that provide an overview of the reports you’re most interested in

Step 3: Use the following reports to gain insights:

google-analytics

  • Audience Report: The Audience Report gives you insights into your audience’s characteristics, like their location, whether they’re new or returning, their browser/operating system, and a mobile overview.
  • Acquisition Report: The Acquisition Report provides you with insights into your site’s traffic sources. More specifically, the different channels, source/medium, referrals, AdWords, SEO and social.
  • Behavior Report: The Behavior Report includes an overview of your users’ behavior flow, site content, landing pages, exit pages, site speed, site search, events, etc.
  • Conversion Report: The Conversion Report gives you conversion insights and allows you to check the status and completion of goals.

Step 4: Once you access your reports, you can export them in the following formats: CSV, TSV, TSV for Excel, Excel (XLSX), Google Sheets and PDF.

 

Google Analytics Features

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what Google Analytics does, let’s go over some key features and terminology.

Data Collection and Management
Data collection and management features give you an overview of your customers so you can better tailor your marketing strategy:

  • Collection APIs: Use Javascript libraries, mobile app SDKs (iOS & Android), and open measurement protocols for comprehensive data collection. (FYI, measurement protocols let you send data to Analytics from any Internet connected device, such as a kiosk, CRM, call center or a point of sales system.)
  • Tag Management Support: Analytics can be integrated into Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360, and is supported by all leading tag management systems.
  • Configuration APIs: Use configuration APIs to find new ways to manage your account.
  • Custom Variables: You can track structured or unstructured text or metrics with custom dimensions, custom metrics and calculated metrics.
  • Data Import: You can upload data from external sources and use it with Analytics data.
  • Native Data Onboarding Integration: Data onboarding integrations with AdWords, AdSense, Search Console, and DoubleClick AdExchange.

Data Analysis, Visualization and Reporting
Data analysis, visualization and reporting features help you better understand your users:

  • Data Access: You have access to the web application, mobile application, email notifications and alerts, an external reporting API, and integrations to Google products like AdWords, Google Sheets, Firebase, AdMob, etc.
  • Filtering and Manipulation: In the tracking libraries, you can include, exclude and modify primary data fields.
  • Funnel Analysis: Tools for funnel analysis at your disposal are:
    • Shopping and checkout funnels to analyze a customer’s path to purchase
    • Custom funnels for your configuration
    • Multi-channel funnels to visualize and report on multiple campaign touch points along the path to conversion
    • App event funnels to configure visualization of in-app events into logical sequences
  • Mobile App Reporting: Available to you are key insights with app-specific metrics like mobile ARPU and ARPPU, configurable conversion events, and in-app purchase reporting.
  • Real-Time Reporting: You can get real-time reports on many metrics.
  • Segmentation: Built-in segments, over 250 signals, eCommerce data, etc. can be used to create different types of segmentation.
  • User Flow Reporting: You can track how your visitors navigate throughout your site and other channels with User Flow Reporting.

Data Activation
Data activation features help you improve your marketing campaigns:

  • Audience Demographics: Demographics such as age, gender, interests, etc. can be used for remarketing purposes.
  • Intelligence and Anomaly Detection: Analytics offers automated anomaly detection and proactive alerts in areas like tracking, configuration, site health, product adoption, and product usage and product integration anomalies.
  • Multi-Touch Attribution: You can analyze the path to conversion across different marketing touch points.
  • Predictive Analysis: Predictive analysis capabilities help you predictions, such as which users are more likely to convert.
  • Publisher Integrations: You can integrate publisher tools to optimize publishing sites for user experience (UX) and monetization.
  • Remarketing Integrations: Analytics provides native integrations with display and search ads solutions like AdWords and the Google Display Network.

 

A Quick Recap

Like a good marketing agency, Google Analytics gives you all the insights you need to succeed online. Here’s what we covered today:

  • Google Analytics gives you the tools needed to better understand your audience
  • The Audience Report gives you insights into your audience’s characteristics
  • The Acquisition Report gives you insights into your site’s traffic sources
  • The Behavior Report offers an overview of how your user’s behave on your website
  • The Conversion Report gives you conversion insights
  • The Data Collection and Management features give you an overview of your customers so you can better tailor your marketing strategy
  • The Data Analysis, Visualization and Reporting features help you better understand your users
  • The Data Activation features help you improve your marketing campaigns
  • For enterprises and larger businesses that handle a lot of data, give Google Analytics 360 Suite a try

 

  • Matthew Fritschie
  • Author: Matthew Fritschie

  • Matthew is a content writer for Aumcore, a digital marketing agency based in NYC, and specializes in brand strategy and SEO services.