getting started with

google analytics

Intro

track your marketing success with ease

Google Analytics is a free tool that we recommend to every business with an online presence. It’s pretty easy to feel good about your ROI when the service doesn’t cost anything. We know that there’s nothing that’s truly “free", so full disclosure: it does require you to take some time to learn. But once you learn how to use it effectively, you'll receive valuable insights about your website. This will certainly make it worth the time!

We’ll get you up to speed on what you need to know so you can get started with Google Analytics today. We’ll cover why your business should use Google Analytics, key terms to know, and ways to use Google Analytics reports.

why your business needs google analytics.

Are you on the fence about using Google Analytics? Are you wondering if taking the time to learn the platform will really be worth the effort? Here are 4 reasons why every business needs to use Google Analytics, including yours.

1. Understand How Your Online Presence is Performing

If you've invested in a website for your business, you'll want to know how well it's serving its purpose. Google Analytics allows you to track your website visitors' actions on your site so that you can understand how they landed there, how they interacted with your content, and ultimately what drives them to convert. This data can help you improve the content on your website so that you can give your visitors exactly what they're looking for.

2. Find Out Who Your Audience Is and What They Like

The Audience section in Google Analytics provides you with a wealth of information about your website visitors' demographics and interests. By knowing important factors like age, gender, location, and interests of your users, you will be able to target your content to your specific audience.

3. Track your business goals

Setting goals for your marketing strategy is not a step you want to skip. Take the time to identify what true conversions are for your business. With Google Analytics, you can set up these Goals to track your marketing success with your website data. By doing this, you'll know how well your business is progressing based on real data.

4. Discover Your Top Content

Creating quality content requires a lot of effort, so you want to make sure that you are keeping track of what topics and formats are performing well. If you don't know this information, then your content marketing plan isn't as strategic as it could be. That means more stress and wasted time down the road. Use the reports within Google Analytics to find your best-performing content and create a more efficient content marketing strategy.

key terms to know.

While top-level analytics are pretty straightforward, you’re not alone if you load up the Google Analytics dashboard and see nothing but a foreign language. Fortunately, once you understand the key terms used in the world of analytics, you'll quickly learn how useful they can be.

1. Conversion

A conversion describes any action taken by an online visitor that meets your specific goals. A conversion can be something as big as a completed sale, or as small as a click-through to the next page. Other common conversion targets include email sign-ups, social media shares, and friend/family referrals.

2. Direct

A “direct” visitor arrived to your web page directly. This could mean they manually entered the URL into their web browser or used a direct bookmark. However, Google Analytics also uses the term as a catch-all for any traffic that couldn't be classified otherwise, so Direct traffic might also be caused by missing or erroneous referral codes, or other minor technical mishaps.

3. Event

An event is any specified action as configured in your tracking setup. Common events include clicks, mousing over action elements on a page, or watching an embedded video clip. There’s plenty of flexibility when defining what actions qualify as an “event” for tracking purposes. Events are best used to build a tracking history of how users interact with your pages, especially when it comes to how deeply they navigated while doing so.

4. medium

Google Analytics uses this term to describe the method a visitor used to arrive on your page. You’ll usually deal with mediums through the combined Source/Medium categories in your Analytics dashboard.

5. Organic

Organic referrals describe any situation where the visitor found you themselves. The term is almost always shorthand for “Organic Traffic,” which means you were found via unsponsored search engine results. Strong content and SEO is the best way to increase organic traffic.

6. property

Google uses “property” tags to create tracking data subsets. With specific property IDs embedded in your code, you can define separate web pages, whole websites, or even app sources as individual properties for categorizing analytics.

7. referral

In Google Analytics, “Referral” relates to any traffic coming from outside Google itself. Usually this means you were linked to from an unaffiliated web page or social post, but it might also include directly tracked affiliate programs and similar methods, if configured accordingly.

8. sampling

Instead of examining an entire analytics data set, most marketers rely on sampling to choose a representative example of the data, then analyze those smaller groupings instead. This is especially useful when the sheer volume of data you’ve collected makes it difficult to work with otherwise.

9. tracking code

Tracking codes are embedded into pages and links to let you monitor a visitor’s path to and from your site in more detail. They’re used in everything from CPC ads to friend/family referral links and affiliate sales programs. They can also be integrated into more in-depth data collection activities, especially via social networks like Facebook and its Pixel tracking program.

10. user

Google Analytics automatically assigns individual User IDs to your visitors. In most cases, this means one user equates to one real person visiting your site, but sometimes user metrics derive from less precise traffic calculations instead.

important dimensions to know.

Dimensions are the categories your various Metrics are listed under when viewing an Analytics report. Here are some key ones to know.

1. Browser

The Browser dimension describes which web browser a visitor was using. Browsers are usually well-known, like Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, but may include different values if the page was loaded in a proprietary app or third-party program.

2. Geographical

The geographic location of your users, to the best of Google’s knowledge based on the user’s specific data. This dimension can usually be broken down further into Country, Region, City, and more.

3. Keyword/Search Query

A Keyword is the specific key term used to determine a searcher’s intent, while the Search Query contains the literal words a user has typed into their search bar. For example, “apples” might be your Keyword, while the Search Query was “red apples good for baking”.

4. Landing Page/Entrance

An entrance page describes the first page a user visited when navigating to your site (usually the homepage). A Landing Page is a page specifically designed for users “landing” in your funnel. It may be linked back to a larger website, or be a completely standalone page. Google Analytics includes specific Landing Page metrics to help you evaluate the performance of sales landing pages linked from CPC ads, and similar methods.

5. Source/Medium

This dimension describes the sources of your traffic, including the Medium (CPC, organic, etc.).

ways to use google analytics reports.

Do you know which pieces of content are performing the best on your website? It could be the one you least expect. On the other hand, the blog post that you thought was going to be a hit isn't getting the traffic you predicted.

This is where the Reports in Google Analytics come in really handy. Reports provide the results of your analysis in a convenient package that makes it easy to draw relevant conclusions and take effective action.

Specifically, you can use these reports to:

become confident in google analytics

If you’ve made it this far, I’m sure you can now see what a valuable tool Google Analytics can be for your business. It’s pretty unbelievable that it’s free, right?! The main hurdle is learning how to leverage it, but the steps in this guide have outlined a process that equips you to take advantage of what Google Analytics has to offer with confidence. 

 

Want to really use Google Analytics to its fullest potential? Sign up for our free on-demand video training course, Google Analytics 101: Track Your Marketing Success.