I often get asked what my number one reporting tool is, or how I track my clients data. Google Analytics has been around for 15 years and is always my answer and although there’s a lot of great reporting tools out there, nothing tops the raw data from GA and how you can integrate Google Analytics data with multiple different platforms such as third-party tools, hosting providers and website platforms.
Even without integration, the Google tool will start tracking as soon as you add the code to the back end of your website, you can find how to simply add the code here. If you have multiple websites you want to track, you can add up to 100 properties under one account.
Once the code is on every page of your website that you wish to track (should be all pages), the data fields under each tab on the left-hand side will start to populate.
Why you need Google Analytics
I am still shocked when I see a website with no Analytics tracking code on it. As a Marketing Manager, a Director, an Executive or a one man band, if you have a website you should be tracking how people are getting to your website, their behaviour once they land on your website and whether those users will generate into a lead or customer. Below are just a few questions you can find the answer to:
How many people visit my website?
Which pages do people visit and what’s my most popular page?
Where do my visitors live (by city or country)?
How many visitors convert into a customer or lead?
Do I need to improve my website speed, and for which pages?
This will give you the best idea of the types of users who have landed on your website, it aids you in figuring out a more in-depth picture of your website audience. Google will try it’s best to put website users into a category, which are quite extensive and include:
- Location (country or city)
- User Interests
- Browser, Network and which Device they’re on
Under this tab you’ll also find other metrics such as an overview on website Sessions, Bounce Rate, Sessions Duration, Users & New Users.
Acquisition is all about figuring out how the website is finding your website. The top 5 categories are: Organic Search, Paid Search, Direct, Referral and Social. If you run Google Ads too, I would recommend linking it up with GA and all data will filter through under the Acquisition Tab, which can be easier for reporting purposes.
Once someone lands on your website, it doesn’t mean data stops recording but it actually enhances with the tool tracking the behaviour of the user once they have landed on one of your pages. Drill down into: “Site Content” which allows you to look at your data page by page rather than the Audience Tab which shows every page collated, so if you have a specific website sector or product page you want to look at, you can within this tab.
In the Behaviour section of GA you can also find Site Speed, which is pretty self explanatory but I also find the Site Search very useful as it gives you an insight into what people are searching for on your website, if you have a search box feature. It’s a great way to see any missing content as if the user is searching for a product or service but not finding it, it shows you that there may be some gaps with your website content.
The final data tab in the Google Analytics interface is Conversions. From looking at where the users came from, to their behaviour when they land on your website, to finally looking at the Conversion tab to see whether the visitors were quality traffic and seeing if they converted.
This can be used for both eCommerce, B2B and Brochure websites – any website where a final action is the end goal, such as buying a product, downloading a brochure or filling out a contact form. There is a specific eCommerce section which you can set up if you sell products via your website, within this you can look at best selling products, amount of transitions and revenue generated.
There is so much more you can do with Google Analytics but I wanted to keep it to the automatic data which inputs as soon as you add the tracking code. However, Google Analytics also offers you the option to build a custom Dashboard which as an agency we’ve saved ourselves lots of time from having to dig into the data, if we have everything we need as soon as we log in. We also find this helpful for our clients, if they want to view specific data it’s much easier for them to access.
Top 3 things to make sure of when using and setting up Analytics:
- Make sure the Tracking Code is added to every page of the website, it won’t track data for pages it’s not on! To get a complete picture of your website and content, you need to know what each page is doing – even those you may not deem important.
- Do you have Goals configured? This is important to analyse the value of people entering your website. As explained above this could be a Brochure Download, Form Fill etc. It’s usually the end action you want a user to take.
- If you have an eCommerce store, you must make sure you have the eCommerce section of Analytics set up so you can track each and every purchase made through the website.
There is a huge amount you can do with Google Analytics, some things quite technical and others straight forward however using Google Analytics from the get-go with no additional set up will still prove beneficial.
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