THE SOURCE OF ALL (ONLINE) INFORMATION
Why should I be concerned about Google Analytics? Most of you at this stage will no doubt have put a lot of time and money into cultivating your online presence but how many of you are actually tracking and measuring how well your efforts are working, or are you just guessing?
Well, there is a better way to determine this and that is through Google Analytics. There is no other source like Google Analytics for invaluable insights into what is happening with your online presence, and it's free.
Why? Well, it allows you to measure how all your online activity is performing by tracking where traffic to your website is coming from, what people are doing once they get there, how well people are engaging with your content and taking the actions you want them to take. By tracking this information you will soon start to identify what is working and what is wrong and being able to see what you could be doing better.
It is relatively easy to do a basic setup but you should know in order to fully benefit from all the features of Google Analytics, deeper knowledge is required.
STEP 1 - SETUP GOOGLE ANALYTICS
- You must have a GMAIL ACCOUNT to use Google Analytics. It is a good idea to have a dedicated Gmail which is not associated with an individual. You should use this for your business Analytics, Adwords, and even your business Youtube Channel. A free Gmail account is fine - just record somewhere the username and password so all responsible people can access this. You do not want to start tracking all of this invaluable information only to find that it was attached to a staff members personal Gmail account after they have left the business.
- Log in to this new GMAIL ACCOUNT. In a new browser window, just type google analytics and it will automatically open it up in the Google Analytics Dashboard.
- Once arrived at the Dashboard the first thing you must do it ASSOCIATE ANALYTICS WITH YOUR WEBSITE. This is set up in the Admin section, which is at the bottom of the left hand side menu (or just search for ADMIN) You will see three columns: ACCOUNT | PROPERTY | VIEW.
- First set up your ACCOUNT - fill in the details for your business.
- Next set up a PROPERTY, which is your website or app.
- Once these have been set up the VIEW tab is the spot where you set most of your settings to make Analytics work.
- From the left menu select AUDIENCE > Demographics. You will be prompted to ACTIVATE Demographics and Interests reporting. Complete this step. This is not turned on by default and can be omitted from the first few months of tracking your data. This is frustrating because AUDIENCE reporting tracks valuable information on the people visiting your site and over time, building up a snapshot of their interests based on information Google has access to.
- Finally, you will need to capture the Website Tracking Code and paste it into your website. This can be found under PROPERTY column under Tracking. You may need assistance from your website developer with this. You just need to supply the Code.
STEP 2 - SETUP YOUR ONLINE GOALS
Now that you have Analytics Set up the next REALLY REALLY important step is to set up Goals. Without your Goals set up (under ADMIN > VIEW) the information you are tracking is very one dimensional. It will give you how many visits to your website, where they came from new and existing users, time on site etc BUT with Goal tracking, you can dive much deeper into the same activity. For example :
"We had 923 new sessions with 230 from Facebook but there is no further information on what they did when they got there"
"From the 230 that came to a sign-up page through a Facebook promotion, 20% completed the goal to sign up and the rest left the page without signing up". The difference is now you have a place to start to think, is there something on that landing page that is deterring people to sign up. Once you start to consider your analytics reports whilst tracking goal conversions the amount of information available to you explodes - but beware, the number of questions it presents to you will also explode !!
Your goals should be based on your business objectives and reflect what it is you are trying to achieve on your website. Common goals can include downloading a training course brochure or sign-ups to information/waiting lists, filling in a questionnaire, or in eCommerce completes a purchase.
STEP 3: GET ANALYSING YOUR DATA WITH REPORTS
Once you complete the above steps Analytics is ready to track and uncover so much information which you can apply to make your online efforts more successful and abundant.
This is where your reporting and analysis comes in. There are many many views and metrics you can use to detect what is happening on your website. The following are the best ones to focus on until you become more skilled:
ACQUISITION - Reports showing website traffic
These reports break down where your traffic is coming from and, because you have set up your Goals (above) you can start to compare where this traffic is and is not converting - ie completing the actions you desire for instance download a brochure or sign up for a newsletter.
BEHAVIOUR - Pages reports show page performance
This shows you how well visitors are interacting with your landing pages, see which are your top pages and learn where people are exiting your site. Again when all of this information is measured against how well your goals are converting you can build up a very informed analysis of what pages are and are not working.
AUDIENCE - Demographics and Interest reports.
Remember this needs to be turned on as soon as you set up Analytics to allow it to start gathering information on the types of people who are visiting you site. The real benefit of this information is that it helps you build a more informed Customer Avatar, and for designing more accurate target audiences which you can also use for Facebook Advertising.
Google Analytics is big - it is the source of all information and activity that is happening on the internet. Because it can be so daunting it is REALLY worth considering getting professional assistance with setting it up and with a bit of guidance to get you started. But it is most definitely worth investing into because it will shed light on your activity and reveal many many opportunities you have never even dreamed of.