A Digital Marketer’s Guide to Google Analytics

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free analytics tool, powered by Google, that is used by over 50 million websites around the world, to analyse your website traffic. It gathers huge amounts of data, and can produce a massively in-depth analysis into your website and it’s performance. So I’ve crated a Digital Marketer’s Guide to Google Analytics!

It’s safe to say that your website is the core of your digital presence. Most things you do online, such as social media activities or running digital marketing campaigns are likely to divert people to your website at some point of their customer journey. If used correctly, Google Analytics is an amazing way to monitor the impact of your digital marketing efforts.

The technical bit

How data is generated

For Google Analytics to work, you have to embed a couple of lines of tracking code into the code of your website. The code then records different data from your users when they visit your website. GA then sends all of the information that is has collected to the GA server, which is then aggregated in several different ways in order for you to analyse and interpret the data.

The different ways in which the data is aggregated is:

-User level (related to actions by each user)
-Session level (each individual visit)
-Pageview level (each individual page visited)
-Event level (button clicks, video views, etc)

The data collected by Google Analytics

Google Analytics collects huge amounts of data from your users, which can generally be split into two types; Acquisition Data and Behaviour Data.

User acquisition data is data that can be collected from your website users, before they visit your website. This includes demographic data such as age, gender and interests, the traffic source of your users, and even data such as what social media platforms they frequently use. Acquisition behaviour can be used to create a really in depth customer persona of your target audience.

User behaviour data is data that is collected while your user is on your website. This includes data such as how long they spent on your website, how many pages they viewed, how long they spent on each page, what their landing page was, and any calls to action they take while on your website. This data is essential to collect and analyse, to make sure you are monitoring your website, as well as any digital marketing campaigns you are running. Interpreting the data allows you to make adjustments and improvements.

Why you should be using Google Analytics

Google Analytics can be used for many different reasons, depending on your business and individual goals. As I discussed in my previous blog, being able to analyse data is hugely important in the world of Digital Marketing. One of the main reasons to use GA is to monitor and improve your marketing. Collecting and interpreting data can help you to assess the following aspects of your digital marketing strategy:

-Website traffic, and where most of your traffic comes from
-Which websites or channels refer the most visitors
-Information on your visitors, such as key demographics
-The conversion rate of visitors from different channels

These reports and insights can then be used to tailor your digital marketing strategy, to make it as effective as it can be.

Another key reason for using Google Analytics is to improve your website, and to aid with your SEO. Using GA, you can see which webpage gets the most views, which pages don’t get as many views, which page people left on, and much more. GA also allows you to monitor your SEO efforts quickly and easily.

How it Works

There’s no doubt that if you’ve not used Google Analytics before, it can be very confusing. There are lots of terms, processes and data points that you need to understand. I’ll go through a few of these, but let’s start off with the Google Analytics Hierarchy.

How to Set Up Google Analytics: a simple guide

Step 1: Create a Google Analytics account

Step 2: Enter the basic information on your website to your Google Analytics account, such as name, URL and industry. Create a property.

Step 3: Create the views for your property, and select what you want to measure. Google Analytics allows you to add ‘Web’, ‘Apps’, or ‘Apps and Web’.

Step 4: Once you have created a property, you will be allocated a unique tracking code. Embed this code directly into the header of your website.

Step 5: Start collecting, measuring and analysing your data!

How to start using Google Analytics

Once you have set up your Google Analytics, added an organisation, account, property and a couple of views, you need to understand the data that is being collected. This is in the form of dimensions and metrics. Dimensions are data variables that can be categorised. Metrics are data variables that are quantifiable. Metrics make up the data that can easily be analysed and interpreted.

Analytics Reports

Once you have set up your Google Analytics, and started to collect data in the form of dimensions and metrics, it’s time to start generating reports. You can create custom reports, to monitor specific aspects of your website according to your specific goals. However, Google analytics also contains several ready to use, built-in reports too. These reports include:

-Real-time report
-Audience report
-Acquisition report
-Behaviour reports
-Conversion reports

Real-time Report

The Real-Time report shows you what’s happening on your site at that exact point in time. You can see how many visitors are currently on your site, which pages they’re viewing, what their traffic source is, and more. This is a good way to monitor the instant effect of a new blog or social post.

Audience Report

The Audience report generates an in-depth analysis of your property. This report is great to give you an idea of how your website is trending overall. Audiences in Analytics are users that you group together based on any combination of attributes that is meaningful to your business.

Acquisition Report

The Acquisition report shows your website traffic by source. The traffic sources included on this report are: organic, direct, referral, email, social, paid search, display, affiliate, and (Other). Depending on how in-depth you make your reports, you can also see the landing pages of your viewers through their traffic source.

Behaviour Report

The Behaviour report is a report of all of the collected user behaviour data. This includes data such as how long they spent on your website, how many pages they viewed, how long they spent on each page, what their landing page was, and any calls to action they take while on your website.

Conversion Report

Google Analytics Conversion reports allows you to monitor your goals. A goal is essentially a conversion that you’ve defined, which will be specific to your business. With Google Analytics, you can measure and keep track of all data that is associated with these goals.

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