Google Analytics 101

Google Analytics via smartinsights.com

There are lots of free tools on the internet, and a lot of them are free for a good reason – they aren’t very good! However, Google Analytics (GA) is a good free tool that can give you an overview of your website performance. When you log onto GA, it can look a little intimidating, so I thought a quick guide to GA was long overdue.

Under standard reports on the left hand menu, there are 5 categories of reports; I will cover each in turn:

Real Time Reports:
This shows who is on your website right now. It shows a good level of information (where they are geographically, where they have come from, etc.), and is interesting. However, as the data is changing every second or so, its use is fairly limited. Maybe if you had just sent a tweet asking people to go to the website, you could use this to track its success but there are more effective tools to use here.

Audience Reports:
These reports show you all of the key headline metrics that your senior team will be asking for – unique visitors, page views, visit duration, bounce rate, etc. But it does go further than that. You can see the location or device of your visitors, or the fascinating visitor flow, showing the user journey which is powerful data – while the data is sampled and grouped, so you cannot track individuals, the data is indicative and actionable.

Traffic Sources:
Where your traffic comes from should shape the pages that your users land on, so having a good understanding of your traffic sources is critical. You will be able to see the sources themselves (i.e. search, direct, referral, etc.) as well as some details behind then – such as search keywords and number of referrals by site (e.g. from social media). It’s also worth checking out the ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ report – this will show your average position against the keywords which drive traffic to your site; it’s an SEO to-do list!

Content:
Here you will find reports on the pages on your website. You will be able to manipulate the data to see how many times a page has been visited, and how engaged the user is on that page, and clicking on that page will show when in the specified time period the page was visited. Also, you can see where the user clicks on each page on the website through ‘in-page analytics’ – not quite eye-tracking, but better than nothing!

Conversions:
If you have set up goal URLs for Google Analytics, here you can see how successful your efforts have been. You can also assign financial values to your goals to start to measure ROI.

I hope that it gives you the confidence to dig deeper into this tool!

Image via the excellent www.smartinsights.com 
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