Start With Google Analytics – a Beginners Guide

Daniel Dell'Aquia

Daniel Dell'Aquia

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If you have just created a website or a landing page you must have asked yourself at least once, “how to measure its performance?”. One analytical tool seems to be most omnipresent and quoted in the vast majority of articles – Google Analytics is said to be used by 30-50 million websites.

Google Analytics is an analytical tool that lets you track not only Web traffic but also visitors behavior, social media performance and many more. If you still haven’t started using it, it is about time to kick off with that, as this tool can truly assist you in improving your business site or landing page performance.

Once you will read this article you will know:

  • what is Google Analytics,
  • what can Google Analytics do,
  • why to use Google Analytics.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is an analytical tool free of charge provided by Google. It allows you to track a broad range of data related to your business website performance, traffic, users behavior, social media interactions and bounce rate. Once properly used, it can significantly improve your online marketing strategy and allow you to make better business decisions. As Michelle Obama said, “You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen”. I bet she meant you should base them on proper analysis.

The tool itself is pretty intuitive and beginner-friendly. Google Analytics provides you with numerous reports (around 80) about visitors of your website and their behavior. These insights are extremely helpful, enable you to get to know your visitors better, and quickly turn them into your customers.

How to set up a Google Analytics account?

While Google Analytics itself is highly complex, the basic setup is quite carefree and lets you start within minutes. First, sign in to Google Analytics with your Google account. Then, click the Admin button and create an account. Once you do this, click on the dropdown menu in order to create a property: click on Website and add your website’s URL and name. Once you choose your industry and time zone, click on Get Tracking ID.

Finally, you will have to install the Tracking ID on your website. This can be a bit tricky, especially if you want to properly track conversions or have to comply with applicable data protection regulations. Feel free to contact us, if you need any help.

And voila – you are ready to go.

Let’s then find out why you should use Google Analytics. I have already mentioned some things Google Analytics does, but let’s look at all of them closer and check how exactly they impact your business performance.

What can Google Analytics do?

The tool has an enormous potential. Its present features are improved on regular basis while new ones are created in order to provide you with the most exact and professional analysis you have ever seen. Google Analytics allows you to get all the essential metrics related to your website such as:

  • how many visitors you received in a specific period of time,
  • how many of them were unique visitors,
  • where visitors come from.

Google Analytics is based on automation, which is great news for you as a business owner. Firstly, it saves you loads of time you would otherwise have to devote to collect the data about your website or landing page performance. What is more, the analytics tool provides you with other type of useful information and metrics such as:

  • social media metrics – which social media channel of yours works best,
  • active users number,
  • conversion rates – the percentage of people who have become your paying customers,
  • metrics with number of visitors that decided to sign up for your email lists,
  • checking the most appropriate and effective keywords for your business website,
  • checking whether your website or landing page is easy to navigate on mobile phones (which is crucial in the era of smartphones we live today),
  • checking where your traffic comes from – is it from search engine queries or maybe social media or other source,
  • checking where your visitors go to after they finish searching your site,
  • checking what other websites link to yours.

As you can see, there is a lot of functionalities that Google Analytics has and, frankly speaking, it is just the tip of the iceberg. These are all the basics of Google Analytics but let’s also check more advanced ways of using this tool.

3 stellar Google Analytics functions

Everyone who uses Google Analytics probably controls already quoted data from time to time. However, a lot of users miss out on an amazing opportunity to get even more from this analytical tool. Truly, the pool of possibilities is beyond imagination.

Traffic campaign measurement

As mentioned – Google Analytics may assist you in checking your marketing campaign results by showing you where the traffic comes from. However, if you have a lot of channels or numerous ongoing marketing campaigns, it may be troublesome for you to distinguish whether this Facebook-coming traffic was caused by one campaign or another. Luckily, here come UTM parameters for rescue.

UTM parameters are taglines added to URL which enable you to track your specific campaigns results. By adding parameters you are able to tell which campaign brings you most fruit and which one contributes most significantly to improving your business performance. You can add them in a url builder and then track the results in Google Analytics.

Flow visualization

Flow visualization is a great way to understand the behavior of your visitors by checking all the steps taken by when coming to your business website. The flow visualization gives you a very clear and nice look at what content they engage with the most.

Google Analytics offers you a quite wide range of flow visualization reports with one of the most crucial and helpful being Behavior Flow Report. This report clearly shows you how visitors came to your site, what got them interested, and what made them leave.

Custom reports

Once you familiarize yourself with Google Analytics pretty well, you may take a next step and create all the custom reports you can think of. Google Analytics offers this feature and allows you to slice data in an exact way you need. You can carve data out on your own, match reports to your business goals and take the best out of the tool.

If you need a little assistance to make it right, you can check out Google Analytics Solution Gallery, which has numerous customer report templates created by Google Analytics users. It will save you a lot of time you would otherwise waste trying to come up with something yours. And once you get some inspiration, you may easily come up with your own in some time. No rush!

Why to use Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is not just an analytical software but a true marketing weapon, which enables you to outperform competitors by making use of valuable insights about your customers, as well as improves both your campaigns and content on your business website or landing page. By using such a powerful analytical tool you can firmly understand the value of customer journey, which is essential to running successful marketing campaigns.

Customer journey is a process in which customers go: through their first interaction with your brand or business (for example by your landing page or a Facebook ad) until the last one. Simply put, it consists of three stages:

  • Acquire interested visitors
  • Convert visitors to engaged users
  • Convert users to happy customers

It’s the core of any marketing or sales funnel. Google Analytics serves as your right hand showing you undoubtedly which of your marketing efforts are effective and which are not. Without it you are not able to make well-thought and reasonable business decisions, as you don’t dispose of proper information.

All reports and data the Google Analytics generates for you are highly useful and helpful. They can truly assist you in improving quality of your business website, business performance, sales, marketing, and so on. Proper analytics and insights are both the key to marketing success. Once you underestimate their importance, you risk being outperformed by your competitors.

Once you start using all reports and features of Google Analytics, you are able to make well-informed strategic decisions, significantly improve the performance of your business and make your business website absolutely stellar.

What’s Next?

As you can see, Google Analytics is a powerful analytics tool that assists you in making your online business thrive.

One of the biggest benefits of online analytics tools like Google Analytics is that you can measure everything.

One of the biggest challenges of online analytics tools is that you can measure everything.

Because we can now measure everything, it’s easy to get lost in all the data. Just look at all of the categories of data that Google Analytics will measure.

Here’s how we break it down:

Good – Measure Rankings

Google rankings are a good place to start. Using a rank tracker tool like SEMrush, you can see which keywords your site ranks for and what position in the search results you hold over time on Google.

Google Organic traffic is often a website’s top source of traffic, so measuring rankings will give you a general idea of overall site performance.

Better – Measure Traffic

Measure the actual traffic (visits) to your website for a better picture of your online marketing. Using Google Analytics, you can see the number of visits to your site from all search engines, social media, advertising, other websites, and from people directly typing in your URL.

Best – Measure Behavior and Value

Professionals use and encourage an even better way to understand online marketing ROI than visits: track what people do on your site and assign a value to those actions.

For example, one of our clients knows that each time someone submits a contact form on their website, it’s worth $250. We can now measure how many forms are submitted, their value (in dollars!), and know exactly where those form submissions came from (search, social, ads, etc.).

When you understand how much value your site is generating and where those valuable visits are coming from, you can:

  • Spend your marketing budget more wisely
  • Validate a larger marketing budget
  • Dominate your competition

Now it’s your turn!

Want some help tracking behavior on your company website? Contact Interlink Branding today.

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