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Breaking Down the Beast: How to Understand Google Analytics

BySeth Rand, Last Modified
Oct 30, 2015
Home
> Marketing

Discovering meaningful patterns in data is an important strategy to attain traffic, conversions and effective ROI for a website. As a leader in measurement and analysis, Google Analytics is a crucially important tool for any webmaster or business owner to know about.

Known as a “freemium” service, Google Analytics is, in its most basic form, a service that tracks and reports website traffic. Information about making intelligent decisions on how to grow your business is essential in today’s online world. It paints a complete picture of what your audience is and what their needs are.

You will also have the capability to unlock tremendous data about every page on your website. Since you will want to understand the customer journey as they interact with your content, Google Analytics is the perfect resource for this purpose.

Google Analytics can provide the routes people take to reach your site, the content they viewed and the devices they used to get there. It also measures sales and goal conversions. Moreover, with their advanced tools, you can see how all of the pages on your site are working together and interacting with site visitors. It helps you to understand what is and isn’t working.

Related Article: Google Analytics Tips to Optimize Your Marketing Efforts

Google Analytics and Your Business Objectives

As a free service with premium options, Google Analytics offers a detailed statistics log for visitors to a website, a service which is especially useful to online marketers. This service is the most used statistics service for online businesses, with almost 60 percent of the top 10,000 sites on the internet using it.

Google Analytics is used on 50 percent of the top one million sites on the internet, proving that this service is highly rated in the online market to track consumer interests and online behavior.

Google Analytics shows you how many people visit your site, what they viewed while they were there and gives you an idea of how to improve your site with the information analyzed. It uses first-party cookies and JavaScript code to gather data for visitors to your site and helps to track your advertising campaign information.

It can also track how visitors interact with your website anonymously, including where they originated, their activity on the site, and if they completed any of the site goals.

Understand Your Goals

A key to understanding Google Analytics is also to have a clear vision as to your website goals.

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Build your brand?
  • Gain recognition and familiarity?
  • Increase traffic and conversions?

How you use Google Analytics is largely based precisely on what you use it for.

The advantages of using Google Analytics are numerous, including being able to see how customers interact with your website and knowing how they got there. It’s a great way to improve the flow of traffic through your site on a daily basis.

By better understanding why and what people are visiting the site for can help you emphasize more popular products and services, thus increasing the potential for the visitor to find the desired item and possibly purchase it.

Google Analytics is also a very effective tool used by companies who specialize in e-commerce since it allows them to acquire information that in turn helps to improve their site. This understanding is tremendously important in helping to retain and convert customers. By using Google Analytics, marketers can also discover easier ways to generate online content that has real conversion potential.

They can then understand better how to structure the site towards the audience's preferences, reducing the steps required in the sales process, and minimizing the chance a customer will abandon a purchase during the shopping cart phase.

The platform offers webmasters the capability to track visits, visitors, page view traffic (divided geographically), top viewed pages, and the average time spent by the user on the website or on a specific page. It helps to identify paid vs. a free user visit, and top searches within the website. It also helps the webmaster to understand user behavior.

Furthermore, it helps the content writer and the web designer in identifying whether their UX applications are working, since the analytics platform also shares report on bounce rates and user navigation through the pages. The Google Analytics tool is an important resource for webmasters and business owners.

You can create a free analytics account or sign up using your Gmail id password and by visiting Google Analytics. You can then add your website to Google Analytics fairly easily.

Related Article: 11 Best Tools for Setting and Tracking Goals

Mobile Tracking and Analysis

Advertisers realize that we now live in a multi-platform world, and understanding how different consumer segments engage with content across these platforms throughout the day can help to strategically optimize the effectiveness of campaigns. With usage shifting so rapidly to mobile, the need to understand multi-platform audience dynamics will only become increasingly important to the business community as a whole.

More people are experiencing the Web from mobile devices than ever before. In fact, mobile usage now exceeds laptops for web usage.* Mobile-friendly websites and apps are now essential. Furthermore, it's equally important to get a good sense of just how many prospects are interacting with your website with mobile devices.

The good news is that Google Analytics can be used to manage these mobile searchers and leads, allowing you to track visits and the time on your site from smart phones and tablets.

This measurement and analysis is especially important when mobile strategies are being put into place.

  • How do you know what to do if you have no meaningful way of understanding how mobile visitors are visiting your site?
  • The first question that needs to be asked is how many people visit my site using mobile devices?
  • Is there anything unique about this segment of users? And what are you doing to optimize your mobile offerings for these users?

There are two ways to track mobile users with Google Analytics. The first method requires the creation of a data filter to include only traffic from mobile devices. For a step-by-step breakdown on how to set up a data filter, see the Google Analytics Blog post on the subject.

In conclusion, if you want to dive deeper into Google Analytics to learn more, Google offers a comprehensive library of free tutorials and videos. They are highly recommended.

Seth Rand
Seth Rand
See Seth Rand's Profile
Seth Rand, Founder and CEO of Rand Internet Marketing, is an internet marketing speaker, author, and consultant, specializing in search engine optimization marketing and social media marketing. Rand Internet Marketing, is an award winning firm specializing in responsive Wordpress and Magento e-commerce website design, development, and internet marketing. Our internet marketing services including SEO (search engine optimization) and Google Adwords PPC setup and management, online banner advertising, social media marketing, and online content marketing.
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