How do you measure the value of your website? Maybe, you don’t have a website but how do you report to your boss or client when talking about website growth? Tracking your results is one of the best ways to prove value.
This process should look like this: You define a goal that’s possible. Then, you start working towards things that you are clear about. For websites, it’s related to increasing site traffic or increasing site conversions. But is there a tool that tracks those numbers? Yes, there are a lot of tools, and Google Analytics might be the most famous one.
This guide is all about Google Analytics. I’ll discuss what it is, how it works, how to get started, and what information it provides.
Time to get started!
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What Is Google Analytics?
As the name suggests, Google Analytics is a tool and platform developed by Google to track websites. It collects data on how users interact with your website. After collecting the data, it gives you easy-to-read interactive reports, which is what we see in the platform. The tool is free to use.
A Brief History Of Google Analytics
If you’re a web veteran, then you know you that website data wasn’t always easy to read. There were server logs that people had to read in order to figure out the kind of traffic their site had. Sure, it was providing value, but to read that data was a hard job. It was just a list of information for each action that happened on the site.
Fast forward to a few years later, companies started to compile log files and create reports based on the available information. A company called Urchin stood out. It made reports of the log files and grew in popularity very quickly. And guess what, Google acquired it in 2005 (which it always does. Here’s looking at you, YouTube!). And there began the process of building and branding Google Analytics.
Why Should You Use Google Analytics?
Arguably, the most powerful tool to track website metrics is free. And it comes from the holy king of search engines, Google, itself.
Sure, you’ll need some time to set it up. But there are a lot of resources that can help you out. Here’s a resource from Google.
After setting it up, head to the Google Analytics dashboard and start checking things out. If it’s your first time, it might need some time to gather data.
You won’t have to rely on guess games. They can be very expensive. One must know what works. This is what this tool is made for. It tells you what pages and which content hit the mark or fall short. Then, you can decide better.
4 Reasons To Activate Google Analytics 4 Before 2022
Soon, there will be a major change in Google Analytics. Some are saying it’s probably one of the most important in the history of the platform. So it is recommended not to uninstall the current version, but rather to activate GA4 in parallel. That’s because this new iteration is still in development and therefore not quite on par with the old version.
Here are four reasons not to be a procrastinator and get cracking as soon as possible.
- Better preparation for the cookie apocalypse
- Enriched media audience creation
- More in-depth marketing analysis and e-commerce reporting
- A much more granular view of the customer tunnel
Common Metrics Tracked With Google Analytics
Several metrics can be tracked using this tool. First, choose a time frame from your data. It doesn’t matter what type of metric you focus on, but consider it important. This will let you compare the current time frame with the previous one. Again, this will show you what’s working and what’s not. And then, you’ll be able to make informed decisions.
Don’t forget your marketing goals along the way. What’s the point in analyzing data if you don’t remember them? You don’t want to be overwhelmed by the whirlwind of numbers.
Let’s start off with a few popular metrics:
Tracking Visitors With Google Analytics
You want to see who’s visiting, how many visitors you have, and what they’re doing on your website. Additionally, look at factors like bounce rates and session duration.
You might feel that these are anonymous and vague metrics. They don’t let you gather personal details for specific visitors to your website. That’s true to some extent. That’s why we have other metrics at our disposal. One of the first ones to go for that is the “Audience” section of Google Analytics.
Tracking Traffic Sources
“How are people finding my website?” This metric provides the answer to that question. Find traffic sources under “Acquisition” tab.
Want to find your traffic source, such as social media, Google Ads, and the Google Search Console? This section tells you that. Once you do that, it will improve your marketing efforts.
Tracking Content With Google Analytics
Track user behavior in order to figure out how well different pieces of content perform. That can include different things. For example, do certain pages have more traffic than others? Do people spend more time on some types of content? Again, this lets you know what works and what doesn’t. You can use this information to make informed decisions about your marketing.
Find this information under the “Behavior” section.
So do you use Google Analytics every day? Or do you have another tool for measuring results? Let me know in the comments below!