The Google Analytics Guide
Do I Need Google Analytics?
If you don’t have Google Analytics yet, and are wondering if you should set up an account, ask yourself this simple question.
Is my website important for my business?
If the answer is yes then Yes, you should set up a Google Analytics Account.
- Do you use your site for e-commerce?
- Do you want to know if people visit your site?
- Do you want to know what people do on your site?
- Do you want to know what content on your website is most and least popular?
- Do you want to know how your site could be improved?
- Do you want to know where people visit your site from, at what times and on which device?
- Do you want to know your site’s demographics?
- Do you want to know what happens to your paid and organic traffic when it reaches you site?
The Struggle of Measuring Campaign Data
The issue with reporting in this modern cross channel environment is that there is a lot of data to analyse and there is a lot time required to derive real meaning from it.
Digital marketing campaigns generate a lot of data, from tracking revenue reporting to calculating unique channel metrics. Your individual digital marketing campaigns are run across a variety of devices, in a variety of different formats on many different platforms and viewed by thousands of people. With digital marketing it can be really difficult to manage your marketing effectively, and if you don’t know how successful each marketing channel is, you can’t possibly know where is best to spend your time and money. The only way to find out what work’s for your business is to carefully analyse all of your data.
Finding a way to measure all of this data can be a daunting task. It is not uncommon for marketers to use different tools, systems and spreadsheets to attempt to track the performance levels of their campaigns. According to VentureBeat almost 50% of companies use more than one marketing tool, with nearly 24% using two tools, 12% using three, and 7.5% using four. Too many marketing reporting tools is the same as having too many cooks in the kitchen, a mess.
One simple and effective tool that can help you being to understand your marketing efforts in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is the first place you should turn to when you want to start tracking and analysing your campaign data. Google Analytics is the reporting lifeblood for campaigns. According to a study on Irish businesses by Arekibo, Google’s analytics tools are by far the most popular amongst Irish businesses. 85% of organisations utilise the standard version of Google Analytics and a further 9% of those surveyed use Google Analytics 360, Google’s paid version of the popular web analytics package.
With Google’s free analytics tool you are able to track both quantitative and qualitative data from your business to drive continual improvement. Google Analytics collects a variety of data to help you better understand your audience and understand how they interact with you online, by tracking their behaviours, acquisition and e-commerce habits. This data is really easy to manipulate and edit, you can easily customize it to find the answers to the questions that are unique to your business.
The overall understanding of the importance of measuring analytics was unanimously expressed by the different Irish businesses surveyed by Arekibo. Yet only 15% stated that they were tracking everything that they required, whilst 37% admitted that their organisations would like to track more. 48% stated that their analytics setup was mostly tracking what they required.
Why Use Google Analytics?
Understanding and analysing your data is the only way you can get to know your online audience. On this point, 77% of respondents to Arekibo’s study stated that understanding their audience was their primary reason for using analytics. If you don’t know who your target audience is, their interests and behaviours online, you will lag behind.
Google Analytics is a simple, powerful and free tool that will help you organise and analyse your data. Google Analytics also links up with other Google Programs such as AdWords which makes the data even richer. All you need to do to make sure you’re tracking your data is create an analytics account, set up the property (or website) the account is created for by adding in some details about your website and google will generate your unique tracking code. The tracking code is what collects the data and send it back to google analytics. It is vital that you install the tracking code on every page of your website, the installation will depend on how your website is set up but this piece of code needs to sit withing your <head> tags.
What Your Set Up Will Look Like:
An Overview of the Interface
When you log onto google analytics and click into your properties view you will be brought to an audience overview screen. When you access the report for your site, you’ll first be brought to the Visitors Overview screen. On this screen there are different graphs you can customise to see your traffic trends for an adjustable period of time. You can also use the dropdown to compare two date ranges, to see differences in user behaviour and traffic to your site at a very top line level.
On the left-hand side of the screen you’ll see your main report navigation, the different areas you can explore are Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversions. From this menu you can navigate through each report and see the overview of how each individual section is performing. You can also view more detailed reports relating to each section. Within these reports you can use and build different segments to analyse subsets of your data which allows you to intelligently evaluate your performance. You should also set up goals in google analytics to help you map the path of transactions and conversions.
The audience overview gives you a lot of different metrics; the number of visitors, unique visitors, pageviews, bounce rate and the average amount of pages viewed in a session. The graphical interface is very useful, the trend graph lets you visualise the rise and fall of traffic to your site and the pie chart beneath the trend graph shows you what portion of your audience is comprised of new customers and what portion are returning customers. This gives you a good idea of how your website is performing overall, and how useful visitors are finding your site once they arrive.
Within the Audience section you can examine other areas in more detail. By using the User Explorer you can evaluate audience demographics, whether your audience is new or returning, discover their interests, location, language, what device they used on your site, how they engaged with your site and how they got to your site. Looking at how many visitors you have returning frequently gives you an idea of how many people are quite invested with your company and site.
Acquisition answers the age old question: how did a user get on my site? The acquisition section contains different reports about your traffic sources. The Acquisition overview is really important by showing you where your traffic is coming from you can work out which of your marketing efforts are performing best. You are able to analyse the source and medium used to access your site. You can more importantly examine your social campaigns, your Adwords, the strength of your SEO and any other advertising campaigns you may be running. It also shows you where your weaknesses are. Ideally, you want traffic coming from a variety of sources.
The overview of Behaviour shows you a graph of pageviews, this lets you examine what pages are most popular amongst your audience. The most popular page of your site is usually the homepage as it is the first place users generally find themselves. A pageview is recorded every time the page is loaded, so it counts a page view every time the user refreshes the page, which is why the metric unique pageviews is important. The Site Content dropdown in the Behaviour section is really useful when analysing what types of content is working on your site. It can also show you what isn’t working. The Exit Pages report can provide clues as to where in your sales funnel visitors are getting hung up or let you know that something might be wrong or not working on certain pages. Landing pages can also be important, as you want to make sure that necessary information is included on the pages your visitors are actually viewing, if the exit rate or bounce rate is high on landing pages then you know the user isn’t getting what they expected.
Within the Conversion section you can examine Goals, Ecommerce, Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution. Goals are quite straightforward to set up and can give you some valuable information such as tracking different kinds of actions on your site (form submissions, reaching a specific page, or visiting a certain number of pages). There are different types of goals, they can be split into two broad categories: Destination Goals and Engagement Goals. Destination goals relate to specific page views, a particular page was reached possibly after a number of other pages creating a funnel. Engagement goals can be multiple things; event goal, page per visit goal or duration goal, all metrics based on a user’s behaviour.
Ecommerce tracking helps you better understand the value of your digital business. With Ecommerce Reporting, you can segment and analyze your data, and discover relationships between your marketing campaigns, user engagement, and transactions. Ecommerce Reporting is very useful for tracking revenue. Multi-Channel Funnel and Attribution both analyse the audience acquisition, Multi-Channel Funnel shows you what channels account for visits while Attribution uses models to determine what channel was responsible for certain visits and transactions and which channels assisted them.
Intelligently collecting and analysing data is a major issue and challenge facing organisations in Ireland across all sectors. One way you can keep your campaigns in order is through strict consistent naming conventions with UTM parameters in Google Analytics.
UTMs – Transparency in Campaign Performance
Google Analytics UTM parameters are a very easy and straightforward way to track all your digital marketing efforts. UTMs are small bits of text that you add to the destination URL of your campaign. With the UTM parameters you are able to define certain elements about your campaign by stating where it came from, what the creative was, what campaign it is for etc. Once you have developed a strategic fixed naming convention it is really very simple.
Questions UTM links can answer:
- Where is the traffic coming from?
- How is it getting to me?
- Why is it coming to me?
- How well is it converting compared to other sources of traffic
In Google Analytics, UTM links tell you the story of how you got your traffic.
Although Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool, it still doesn’t give you the full picture of your complete marketing efforts and it also takes time to sieve through every element of your data. The two most challenging aspects of web analytics facing Irish companies are resourcing and maximising the full potential of the tools.
This can be achieved by integrating the data from all of your advertising platforms with all of the conversion data from Google Analytics on a Marketing Dashboard, giving you a completely transparent unified view.
Your marketing data means nothing if it’s not organised in reports, accessible when needed or contains helpful information that will allow you to properly assess your business and draw important conclusions. Reporting in Google Analytics is crucial if you want your website or online business to perform. If you are not going to review or analyse your data regularly, you are wasting your time setting all of this up, analysing your reports should be as important as having your morning cup of coffee. Setting up a Google Analytics account is the critical first step you need to take to effectively analyse and get the most out of your data.
If you are interested in efficiently organising your data, gaining access to unique insights for your business and using your reports to their full potential, request a free consultation today or feel free contact our expert team at Sing!
- Arekibo – Market Sentiment Series: Web Analytics Trends in Irish Business
- VentureBeat – Marketing Automation index update
- Google Analytics Help
- Interested in Marketing Dashboards? Learn all about them here.