An Introduction to Google Analytics
Why Knowing the Numbers Is so Important in Business
Before we give you an introduction to Google Analytics, let’s talk numbers. In marketing, to measure whether a campaign has been successful or if changes are needed, it is absolutely crucial to look at the numbers. Here at MOVE, our operating equation is E + N = M. This means that we are always striving to create an emotional connection between customers and brand, then monitoring the numbers to know who is responding so that we’ll be able to generate marketing momentum.
Monitoring the numbers is a massive part of the equation (half, if we want to be exact). Without looking at numbers, it is quite difficult to know whether your marketing efforts are paying off. This introduction to Google Analytics should give you a place to start tracking some of the metrics that will help your business generate marketing momentum.
What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. For your business, it is likely that the business website serves as the hub for all of your digital traffic. The website is usually the best way to understand the effectiveness of all campaigns that your business is running in order to promote products or services online. Google Analytics is a free tool that can help you track the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts and understand why users are visiting your website.
How Does It Work?
To simplify it, Google Analytics inputs multiple lines of tracking code into the code of your website. This allows it to record the activities of users when they visit your website such as pages viewed, time spent on each page, how they got to your website, and more. It is also able to measure attributes of users such as gender, age, country, and interests. All this information is then sent to the Google Analytics server after each user exits your website.
The reports from this data are then generally organized into these main categories:
- Realtime (location, traffic sources, content, events, conversions)
- Audience (active users, demographics, interests, behavior, etc.)
- Acquisition (Google Ads, search console, social, campaigns, etc.)
- Behavior (site content, site speed, events, etc.)
- Conversions (goals, ecommerce, attribution, etc.)
Where to Start
In order to get started collecting data from Google Analytics, you’ll need to connect your website to the Google Analytics server. You can find step-by-step directions for doing so here. After you’ve done this, you might find all the different tabs to be overwhelming. In order to obtain useful information, you will want to allow some time to pass before looking at the numbers. This could be a week or a month, depending on the kind of traffic you receive on your site. Once a few months have passed, it will be especially helpful to compare the data from each month in order to see how the numbers relate.
Some metrics to start observing:
- Audience overview
- Acquisition overview
The audience overview allows you to see basic information, such as number of users, new users, sessions, sessions per user, pageviews, and more. This allows you to see how many of your users in the given time frame are new or returning visitors to the site. You are also able to see how many users visited the site on each day within the time frame set, so you can identify any days that had peaks in users, then look more deeply at what actions were taken that specific day that could have caused an influx in users.
The acquisition overview shows data on the top channels that users came to the site through, such as direct, organic search, social, email, and referral. This information can be used to optimize your marketing efforts to draw even more users to the website. Through the social measurement, you can see which social channels are generating the most visits to the site, which allows you to focus your social media efforts even more.
The pages report shows data relating to the pages on your website that are most often visited by users. This is important information to have, because you can either change your marketing efforts to focus on pages that are most visited, or this information will help you understand if marketing efforts you have already made are working. This data can be especially useful if you compare the top pages from consecutive months in order to understand how to address the changes.
And so Much More
These three metrics pages are a great place to start while you’re becoming comfortable with Google Analytics. However, this is simply an introduction to Google Analytics. Keep in mind that, when you’re ready to start looking even deeper into the numbers, there is much more data that Google Analytics collects from your website.
If you have any questions or need assistance getting started with Google Analytics, please reach out to us here at MOVE!