Somewhere along your journey of starting and running your own business, you’ve recognized the need for effective marketing. While exploring different avenues of marketing, you’ve heard of Google Analytics. The word ‘Analytics’ in itself is enough to strike fear in the hearts of many accomplished business owners. Maybe you’ve imagined a flock of seasoned analysts drawing complicated charts on a whiteboard. While it would be lying to claim that Google Analytics is easy peasy, it isn’t unmanageable. Get your feet wet with the following guide.
What Info Does Google Analytics Provide?
By learning the basics on this free service, you can begin tracking the following data from your website:
- How visitors find your website.
- Web browsers used by visitors.
- Keywords used in search engines to find your website.
- Information about user demographics.
- Conversion rates.
Setting Up Your Account
Google makes it very easy to get started. Begin by visiting the Google Analytics homepage.
Select ‘create an account’ in the upper right hand side of the window. Google will prompt you to sign in with an existing Google account or you can choose to create a new one. We do suggest that you use an account that is related to the business you will be tracking as opposed to a personal one.
As you continue through the sign-up process, you will be prompted to enter general information about your business such as the name, appropriate industry, time zone, and URL. For the URL, ensure that you select the correct HTTP. If each of your pages load as ‘https://’, select this, but if each page uses ‘http://’ or a combination of both, select ‘http://’. Also pay close attention to choose an accurate industry category, as this will be useful later on.
Ta-da! After accepting their conditions, Google will provide you with a tracking ID and tracking code. Copy the code and paste it into each of your website pages, or send it to your web developer to install for you.
Finding Your Way Around
After you have logged in, you will see there are four options at the top of the page. Select ‘Reporting’, as this is the tab we will be referring to because it is most frequently used. Before you call us up to say, “Why didn’t you warn me there would be so many confusing options?!” take a deep breath, and start one-by-one. The left hand report navigation list can be daunting if you have each category expanded. Here is a brief outline of each report in the navigation list as they appear.
- Dashboards: A group of widgets that can be customized to display your most important and frequently used reports. This comes in handy if you want to quickly share data summaries with others.
- Shortcuts: As you begin using Google Analytics, you will find there are certain settings and configurations that can be applied to reports. Shortcuts remembers your settings so you won’t have to waste time reapplying them.
- Intelligence Events: This will alert you if there is a variation in your data. There are two different types of alerts: automatic AdWords and custom. ‘Automatic’ alerts you if AdWords detects an abnormal change in data, and ‘custom’ will alert you if you have set it up to do so based on a specific variation.
- Real-Time: Real-Time provides data, up to the minute, about who is viewing your website. It also lists where they are located, how many users total, and which pages they are looking at.
- Audience: As the name would imply, this report shares detailed information on the users who have visited your site. This is a great tool for defining your buyer personas, and deciding which devices your website should be optimized for.
- Acquisition: This can be one of the more exciting reports to review for the first time. It shows where your traffic is coming from, right down to the domain name. By discovering what’s really working, you’ll know what should be focused on.
- Behavior: Not only a great way to find which pages in your website are drawing traffic, behavior also displays pages that users commonly “bounce” from. If a certain page has a very high bounce rate, it could mean it needs improvement or users aren’t finding what they anticipated.
- Conversions: If you set up goals in Google Analytics, this report reveals which have been successful and how your overall marketing strategy is performing.
With real data, you can put an end to wasteful, totally experimental campaigns. Don’t forget us when your business becomes rich and famous!
Now It’s Your Turn
While this is only a very broad beginner’s overview, we hope that you are feeling more comfortable. After you set up your own account, begin exploring and playing around with the different categories in the navigation panel. Viewing your own business’s data can prove much more interesting.
Not only is Google Analytics a convenient way to gain insight on your website and keep performance records, it is one of the best ways to become better acquainted with your buyer personas.