By: Danielle Gazda
Google Analytics is a free website traffic tracking tool. It takes user information gathered from each page of your website and compiles it into reports that help you analyze it. You can discover demographic details, bounce rates for each page, and much more. Most importantly, this information allows you to make better-informed decisions about products and user experience.
You can also connect your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts to combine user engagement ad campaign data with website data.
Here’s what you need to know:
After you’ve created your account, Google Analytics will provide you with a piece of G4 tracking code that you’ll need to embed on each page type of your website. This is what enables Google Analytics to gather user data from your website.
Here are some primary terms to know after you’ve set up your Google Analytics account.
- Account- Having an account is mandatory. You’ll provide some general information that relays what type of company you have.
- Property- For each account, you can determine “Property,” which can either be a website or an app. If your company utilizes multiple websites or a website and an app, they will have to be set as separate properties. They will each receive their own unique G4 codes. You can combine data later in Reports.
- View- Under each property, you’ll need to set up your “Views.” These determine what data Google Analytics looks at and pulls to process into reports. Limiting a View too much will result in missing information. Always keep a view of “Raw Data,” which contains no limiting factors, and another view that excludes internal company traffic and bots.
Once this hierarchy has been established and code embedded, you can run Real-Time reports to see the metrics coming in. However, you won’t be able to generate accurate reports until after a few days later — it takes some time to gather enough data to make meaningful reports.
Dimensions and Metrics
Now we get into how to read the data you’re seeing in reports. Most of it is broken down into Dimensions and Metrics. These are the different user variables Google Analytics learns about and reports on.
- Dimensions- Dimensions are categories of demographic information. This can include the browser and device being used, landing and exit pages, as well as specific user information, like location and customer type.
- Metrics- Metrics are the quantifiable data that is collected. This includes information about sessions, session duration, page views, conversions, bounce rates, and numbers of new and returning users.
You also can make custom dimensions and metrics if there is specific data you want to see that are not standard options Google Analytics offers.
There are five different categories of reports: Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. Each report has an overview and then provides various breakdowns of the information.
- Real-Time Reports provide you with insight into what’s happening on your website at that exact moment. This report won’t be used often. It’s good for checking performance when you implement new filters to ensure everything is running properly.
- Audience Reports allow you to go deeper into the difference between new and returning users. It digs into demographic, geographic, and behavioral information. These can help inform your ad campaigns as you learn what your audiences are interested in.
- Acquisition Reports break down traffic by the source. A source is what brought your user to your website. It includes organic, direct, referral, email, social, paid search, display, affiliate, and (Other).
- Behavior Reports provide you with information about how users interact with your website. Some basics are Landing Pages, Exiting Pages, Page Speeds, Search Terms, as well as sessions and events.
- Conversions Reports share user behavior as it relates to e-commerce business goals. First, you’ll have to establish goals in Google Analytics. These goals can include newsletter subscriptions, adding products to cart, completing an order, or making an account. If your website is for e-commerce, this will be important to set up.
Google Analytics is a great tool for any business with a website, whether it’s a company site, e-commerce site, blog, or any combination of these. If you have goals for how users will interact with your website, Google Analytics provides detailed reports about users and their behavior to help you optimize your website and ad campaigns.
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