Google Analytics is one of the most important tools your business requires when managing a website, as a data driven marketing agency we can’t stress this point enough. Without Google Analytics or a website analytical tool you will never be able to understand how your website is performing or the impact of your marketing campaigns on your website.
Basics of setting up Google Analytics
Setting up Google Analytics
When you first setup Google Analytics it is important each setting is setup correctly as it could provide you with incorrect tracking, part of this setup involves:
- Enable Demographics – Enabling demographics allows you to receive enhanced information about Age, Gender, and Interest data so you can better understand who your website visitors are.
- In-page analytics – This allows you to view data in a visual format showing how visitors interact with your webpage’s.
- Product linking – If you using Google Adwords and Google Search Console, you can integrate and share data between these tools to help understand how your search performance is effecting your website.
- Language – Set the correct language for where your business is located, if you’re an e-commerce business your values could be set in the wrong currency.
- Time Zone – Make sure you set the correct time zone as when you see increases in traffic or busy times on your website this could be at the wrong time for example, your websites busy time period could be 2pm in the afternoon, but if your time zone is set wrong your analytics might be saying this time is 2 hours ahead.
- Bot Filtering – Turning on Bot filtering means Google Analytics will block unwanted bots from distorting your website statistics.
- Site search tracking – If you have a website which has an in built search function, setting up site search tracking will help show what people are searching for on your website.
Setting up filtered Views
To understand a true picture of how your website is performing setting up a filtered view will allow you to block out data, some examples of data to block are:
- Filter internal IP addresses – Filtering your internal IP address will mean that when you view your website this won’t be recorded by Google Analytics.
- Filter internal webpage/login pages – if you have preview links or login pages you can block these from appearing in your site pages section.
- Filter referral spam – if you’re seeing referral data from websites which are providing spam traffic to your website this can be blocked to help you see the true picture of who is accessing your website.
Installing Google Analytics tracking code
Installing your tracking code correctly means you are accurately tracking your websites visitor’s interactions and performance. The recommended place for your tracking code is within the header of the page, this is usually between the <head> tags.
We always recommend when you install your tracking code to check it is tracking correctly for real time and normal tracking functions.
Using Google Analytics
There are some key features within Google analytics which can enhance your reporting and help you understand your marketing performance and your ROI. Below are some key areas to explore:
Annotations play a big part in understanding how your website is performing when you look back at your data, it can help you answer questions and understand trends within your data. An example of this would be to annotate your graphs when there is a big increase in traffic, or annotate when a new campaign has gone live.
Goals are one of the most important features built into Google Analytics. Setting up goals allows you to understand actions visitors are taking or how your visitors navigate through your website. Using goals means you can have a clear picture of how your important pages are performing and help you optimise your website further to generate more sales or leads.
Goals can be for:
- Destinations – this goal allows you to track the path of a user on the website. This allows you to setup a funnel which shows each step of the process and where the user abandons a page.
- Events – setting up event goals allows you to see accurately how many people have completed a contact form or downloaded a file from your website.
- Page/visit goals – This goal allows you to track in-depth how many pages one single user visits on your website before leaving.
- Visit Duration – This goals allows you to track the amount of a time a single user stays on your website, this could be useful for a support based website.
When your business creates marketing campaigns to help drive an increase in traffic to your website you want to be able to view the impact of each part of that campaign. Google Analytics allows you to track which visitor comes from a specific traffic source. Campaign tracking works by setting up links which contain UTM parameters that are added to the end of a specific URL a visitor would click.
An example of this would be – your business sends out a series of email marketing campaigns and you would like to know which email has helped deliver an increase in traffic to the website.
Dashboards are a great way in making your life easier with reporting, they can help you view your important data visually or streamline the process of gathering data. Setting up dashboards is fairly easy; you can have up to 20 dashboards with 12 widgets on each dashboard. A great example would be to setup a dashboard which monitors incoming traffic.
The above are just some of the basics of using Google Analytics, there is many areas to explore in Google Analytics further. If you would like an audit of your Google Analytics setup or help with improving your reporting please get in touch.