Your essential guide to using Google Analytics

Your essential guide to using Google Analytics

Today, digital marketing trends change at lightning speed and it's sometimes difficult to keep up. Help is at hand, however - tools such as Google Analytics can provide powerful insights into market trends and user behaviour. Whether you're trying to understand user behaviour on your website or looking at wider industry trends, the key is to understand the data.

Google Analytics helps you do this.

Step one is to define your objectives. What do you want to achieve? Do you just want to assess your website's performance or something more? For most companies, generating leads and traffic is the main objective. According to a recent HubSpot survey, 61% of respondents say this is their priority.

To measure and assess your website performance, some agencies recommend deploying professional analytics tools - the most popular among these is Google Analytics. And it's free! This guide is designed to help you use the power of Google Analytics to its full potential. 

What does Google Analytics do?

Google Analytics is a bit of software that monitors and tracks user behaviour on your website. It can tell you how people found your site, how many people are visiting and where they are coming from, what they do when they get to your site, pages they liked and didn't like, whether they purchased anything, etc. All useful stuff. All this information can be fed back into your marketing activities to generate more traffic and provide customers with a better user experience. In addition, if you use Google Ads, Google Analytics can tell you how effective those ads are - are they driving the right people to your website?

How does Google Analytics measure the ads' effectiveness?

Google Analytics collects user data from every website visitor via page tags. Each page has a JavaScript page tag incorporated into its code. This provides useful information on user behaviour which is stored ready to be analysed. Google Analytics then produces reports that measure things like the number of visitors, checkout conversion rates, sessions by channel, average session lengths, page visits, goal completions, and more. You can determine what is measured and how it is measured.  Here's a basic guide to setting up Google Analytics reports to help you evaluate your website's performance.

1. Create an account.

You can set up a Google Analytics account for free using a Gmail account. One Google Analytics account can monitor more than one website.

2. Add tracking codes to each page of your website.

Google Analytics uses this code to monitor behaviour.  If you don't include this code on each page, you can get distorted results. If your site is developed using something like WordPress, integrating the analytics tracking code is simple - just add the ID code to your website's template header. Alternatively, the tracking code can be entered manually into each page.  Once this is done, you can now begin configuring Google Analytics so that it records exactly the information you want.

3. Set your goals.

One of the most powerful tools is the ability to create, edit and share goals in Google Analytics. Goals are specific activities that you want your site visitors to complete. For example, if you sell items on your website, one of your goals will be for customers to click on the "confirm purchase" tab. Other examples of goals are:

  • Destination goals: When a certain page on your website loads, a Destination Goal is met. For example, when users complete certain tasks such as purchase an item, sign up for email updates, or request more information a Destination Goal is recorded. Analytics will track this. 
  • Goals for a number of pages per session: You can configure goals to determine whether your website visitors are browsing around to find more information or products. You could for example set a goal of 5-page loads for each user every session.
  • Duration goals: These goals track how often visitors stay on your site for a certain period of time. A Duration Goal can be assigned to individual pages of your site or the entire site.
  • Event goals: When users execute specific activities on your website, they achieve an Event Goal. For example; clicking on a social network icon, watching a video, clicking an ad, or completing a transaction.

4. Link your Google Ads to your Google Analytics account

If you use Google Ads, you can connect those ads to your Google Analytics account. This will give you insights on how effective your ad is, how many people it drives to your site, how long visitors stay on your site after engaging with your ads and how many purchases are made by those visitors. 

Should I learn Analytics?

We hope this has given you some insight into what you can do with Google Analytics. It's a powerful tool that provides great marketing insights and gives you the information to really understand your website users. As we have already noted, it's free to make it part of your marketing arsenal - you won't regret it. 

by Idrees Shafiq | 27 Sep 23

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