If you’re new to digital or online marketing, you have probably been told to get yourself a Google Analytics account. I can guess that in one way or another you’ve at least have heard the term “Google Analytics” thrown around a few times. Though you may not know what it is and what it can do for you yet, I’d like to help you learn a little bit more about it.
Hello and welcome to my website! My name is Katie and I help small business owners and creatives learn how to successfully track their digital marketing efforts. There is a lot to learn when you’re beginning your first blog or selling your first product. And I want to help you become a successful entrepreneur from the start.
I have had a career in digital marketing since 2012 and have been a WordPress user since 2009 (showing my age here, haha). I am a data-driven marketer who likes to make practical decisions. And Google Analytics informs my decision-making process.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a web analytics service, offered for free by Google. It allows you to track and report hits on your domain. All of this data is stored in your account and you can view many, many various reports about all of the collected data.
If you’re a total newbie, then I recommend getting started with the Google Analytics for Beginners course here. Google offers the course and a certification for free. What better way to learn than from the big G?
Why Do I Need Google Analytics?
Have you been writing a blog for a while? Are you a small business that is selling goods on a WooCommerce store? Have you created any sort of digital space for yourself that you have paid good money in order to do? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need to setup and learn how to use Google Analytics.
Google Analytics records and tracks every time someone visits your website. Yes, Google Analytics knows who visits your website, how they’re getting to your website, what they’re looking at on your website and more. All of these metrics are important to know if you’re going to be setting digital goals for yourself and your business.
You’re probably saying to yourself, “Wow, that’s creepy that you can track all that information on a person visiting your website.” But, trust me, all major businesses do this. They gather the information, analyze it, and make decisions that benefit their business. And you can too!
How to Understand Google Analytics
If you do not have Google Analytics installed on your website already, we’ll need you to get started there. Data cannot flow into the account without the code installed on your website. Please check out How to Install Google Analytics on a WordPress Website here.
After the code is installed, each and every time a page is loaded, the code sends a hit back to your Google Analytics account. You can verify that it is installed correctly by loading your website in a new tab, then checking if your visit is being recorded under the Realtime traffic report.
Now that you’re recording visits, keep on doing what you’ve been doing. The recording starts as soon as you the tracking code installed. From this point forward is how Google Analytics will be collecting data. It is not able to retroactively track any visits to your website.
Google Analytics offers four main reports:
The Audience Report
The Audience Report records information about the users that are visiting your domain. This includes how many users are visiting, what date they’re visiting, the geo location of where they’re visiting from and more. You’re also going to see valuable data regarding which pages are visited the most, which can be a big driving factor or what blog topics to keep writing. If your audience is very interested in one section of your website, then make a plan to write more posts regarding that specific topic. See, data-informed decisions.
Reviewing the Audience report allows you to understand who your audience is. Is you audience only in the United States or do you have a lot of visitors coming from South America? Being able to review this data will inform you that maybe you need add Google Translate on your website to better assist with international visitors.
How old is your audience? What browser are they using to access your website? What other interests does your audience have? All of these questions can be answered by the data collected through Google Analytics.
The Acquisition Report
The Acquisition Report refers to all the methods of how your audience is coming to your domain. This is probably one of my favorite reports for tracking traffic from your email and social media marketing efforts. As you can see in the image below, there isn’t any “Email” listed as the channel so I will write more about this in the future.
If you using Google Ads for PPC marketing, then make sure you connect it to your Google Analytics account. The Acquisition Report can tell you about how users are navigating your website after they click-through from your ad.
The Behavior Report
The Behavior Report tracks how users are engaging with your content. This report is going to tell you which pages are visited the most and which pages are visited the least. My page data is going to look different than yours in this image, but I’ll let you know how to have some fun with filters in a future post.
The Conversions Report
The Conversions Report is exceptionally useful if you have an online store. You have to setup ecommerce tracking first within your Google Analytics account. Then the sales information can feed directly into it.
If you don’t have an online store, you should set up Goals for yourself to track. In the photo above, you can see that my goals are tracking an “engaged visitor” and a “reader”. I regard a reader as someone who visits for a minimum duration of 10 minutes. An engaged visitor visits at least three difference pages. Those are two examples of a goal, but you have to decide what goals matters for your own business.
If this was just all too much information, then take your time to digest it all! I hope you can leave with more knowledge about what is Google Analytics. And how Google Analytics can help you make data-driven decisions within your business.
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