What is Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most common data collection tool for tracking and reporting how websites are used and navigated. It is currently used by 35-55% of all websites in the world. As a free add-on to any site, it can track data to give you deep insights into your current and potential customers. Other analytics platforms are also available, with different functionality tailored either by industry or business size. For example, large websites such as Facebook sometimes develop their own in-house analytics platform. For most businesses in Australia, Google Analytics is very common, but few businesses truly take advantage of all that Google Analytics has to offer.
Why do you need it?
There are a few reasons that businesses and websites use Google Analytics. Once it is set up correctly, you will know exactly how people are using your site. You will know where they are getting stuck, and so you can tell if they are using it as intended. Understanding the way that people use your site has a number of benefits that directly relate to your bottom line.
First, you gain an understanding of how people engage with your site. If you have put the effort into building a site or page with Google Analytics, you can see where people go on your site, which links they follow, and where they exit your site.
Second, you can see how people are not using your site. If people are following paths through links on your site which are not what you had in mind when you set up the website, you can have these insights.
Benefits of using Google Analytics
- You have the ability to optimise your marketing campaigns on an on-going and on-demand basis based on GA data.
- Google Analytics is FREE!
- Google Analytics Audience reports gives you an in-depth understanding of your target audience with information such as location, gender, key interests and age.
- Google Analytics lets you measure and analyse your marketing campaigns to help you determine your budget allocation.
- Google Analytics Behaviour and Conversions report provides insight on your website usability to help you shape your website to one that engages and converts more.
Google Analytics Set up Guide and Walkthrough
- Sign in to your Google Analytics account at google.com/analytics. If you do not have an account, you can go ahead and sign up for a new account.
Start with setting up a property:
- Head over to the Admin tab.
- Under the Account column, click the drop-down menu and select which account you want to add the property.
- Under the Property column, click “Create new property” in the dropdown menu.
- Select “Website”.
- Enter the website name.
- Enter the website URL
- Select an Industry Category
- Select your reporting time zone
- Click “Get Tracking ID”
- Install your tracking code.
Installing GA tracking code through your hosting
Most hosting services offer their own Google Analytics solutions. Check with your hosting support before installing.
Installing GA tracking code in your Content Management System
Most CMS platforms offer plugins or modules you can use to install Google Analytics. Check with CMS support before installing.
Google Tag Manager
All you have to do is to add the tag manager, install new tags and edit existing tags. Refer to this guide for further instructions.
Importance of setting up Google Analytics correctly
With Google Analytics, it is possible to capture and record aggregate data for literally everything that a user does on your site. Every click, every video that plays, ever pop-up that happens, every download, every form which is filled out, how long they spent on the site, if their mouse rolled over a button, you name it. There is simply so much data that can become overwhelming.
Setting up Google Analytics correctly means deciding which of these events pertain directly to your business and website objectives. Does it matter if people spend longer than 5 minutes on a particular page? Do you care if someone adds something to a shopping cart? Does it make a difference if a user shares the content on social media?
While all of this data can be collected, it is not done so by default. By default Google Analytics tracks users flow through the site, what pages they visit and for how long. It does not track interactions with each page, any events that take place or goals achieved. Furthermore if you do set up goals and events, Google Analytics will not be able to tell you past data on these events, it is not retrospective. For this reason, it is very important to set up Google Analytics to track behaviours that are important to your goals.
The distinction between events and goals is important. Events are simply the above actions which take place. Goals can be an event or group of events which have a monetary value attached to them. For example, a certain group of actions might be worth a certain amount to the business if completed by the user.
Once you decide which events matter, you can start to track them and gain meaningful insights. These insights then directly impact how you conduct every other aspect of your business and online strategy.
GA Setup Checklist
- Is Google Analytics currently installed in your site?
- Do you have events set up?
- Do you have goals in Google Analytics set up?
- If you have an eCommerce site, is Google Analytics tracking order values properly?
- For eCommerce, is Google Analytics tracking product level data?