Google Analytics 101

Google Analytics 101

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for understanding how people are finding your website and using it. If set up properly, Analytics can track who visits your site, which pages are most popular and how much time site visitors spend on each page. But, to become an Analytics wiz, you’ve got to start with the basics.

We’re happy to manage Analytics accounts for clients, but we also want them to learn along the way. We’ve created this list of terms to help everyone move forward:

Account: this is the top-most level of organization and usually represents an entire company. In order to use Analytics, you’ll need an account.

Properties: properties are the level below accounts and typically represent a website or mobile app. However, a property could also be an interactive kiosk or anything else with trackable data.

Note: most companies have only one property – their website. But, an account may have multiple properties – an analogy would be Kellogg’s Cereal being the account and having a property (website) for Raisin Bran, Frosted Flakes and all of their other cereals.

View: this is a subset of a property and where you can view reports of analysis. Views don’t have to be complicated or unique for each property. If you just want to analyze your website’s ability to generate leads, you’d be fine using the default view that comes when you set up your property. But, if you want to do intense research or analyze specific data, you may want to create different views. For example, if you’re a B2B tech company, you might want different views for the instances where you acquire a new user and retain customers.

Filter: You can apply a Filter to your View to only show certain data. Some great uses of Filters include filtering out traffic from your own employees by filtering out your corporate IP addresses or building a filter that includes data from a certain page of your site, like a blog.

Goals: you create Goals at the View level to track certain actions. There are different types of goals:

Destination Goal: getting site visitors to land on a certain page, like your Contact Us page.

Event Goal: getting an action to be performed, like having site visitors watch a video.

Duration Goal: wanting site visitors to spend a certain amount time on your page, like spending 5 minutes on your newest blog post.

Page Goal: getting your visitor to view a certain number of pages on your site, or screens on a mobile app.

Segmentssegments are subsets of users who have been grouped based on specific characteristics. You can create segments based on country or origin, demographics, type of technology, and more. Segments help you understand how people find and use your site. You could use segments to see if West Texas visitors are visiting the page for your new Oil Rig device, or if users in NYC are most active during rush hour, maybe while riding the subway?

Dimensions and Metrics: If you want to customize your data collection, you can use dimensions and metrics. Dimensions allow you to break up your visitors based on specific characteristics – device used, time spent on site, etc – and metrics are the more traditional digital marketing metrics, like Average Number of Pages Viewed or Average Session Length.

Bounce Rate: bounce rate is a type of metric that tells you the percentage of visitors who leave your site after landing on an initial page.

Channels: channels are the sources that delivered the visitor to your site. There are numerous channels through which new visitors could end up on one of your pages and they’re listed below.

  • Direct: they typed your website URL into the search bar.
  • Organic search: they clicked on your URL after seeing you pop-up in search results. Not an AD.
  • Social: they follow you on social media and clicked on one of your blog posts.
  • Email: they clicked on one of your links in an email or newsletter.
  • Affiliate: they saw your company name and link on another website that mentioned you.
  • Paid search: they searched for you on a search engine
  • Display: they clicked on a re-marketing ad that’s been following them around the internet

Something to keep in mind is that the default setting for Google Analytics channels could deliver inaccurate results. For example, if someone already knows about your company and types your company name in the search engine bar, they’re merely using it as a means to navigate to your site via “branded keywords.” These types of visits are put in the organic search category, but should really be direct traffic. Another example of how Analytics sometimes gets it wrong is when traffic from referral links, search engines or newsletters are counted as direct traffic – but, remember, direct traffic is only when someone types your exact url in the address bar. Google will automatically drop traffic in the direct bin, if it has a bad tracking code, so double check your code.

Ready to take your business to the next level?  Contact us. We’re here to help.