Google Analytics is a service provided by Google that launched in November 2005. Simply put, its purpose is to track and report website traffic. While most business owners have heard of Google Analytics or even have basic knowledge of its benefits, very few actually dig in themselves. Klout 9 supports hiring a marketing agency to manage ads and analytics, but we also believe in the cliché that the proof is in the pudding! It is important that you at minimum, know how to quickly access the basic metrics within your Google Analytics account to see if your marketing efforts are working or not. As with any other digital marketing tool, or technology in general, it is only as powerful as your knowledge of it! The purpose of this article is to introduce some easy Google Analytics tips and tricks to help you get the most out of this free tool. Let’s dive in!
Proper Set Up/Google Tag Assistant Tool
Within the admin dashboard of your GA account, click on Traffic Info>Tracking Code in the middle column. The first step in tracking information is to properly have the tracking code installed on your website. While this seems like a no brainer – our tip is to utilize the Google Tag Assistant Chrome Extension which allows you to see any Google code installed on your website and any errors associated with the codes. With the click of a button, you can confirm that the proper Tracking ID is uploaded to your website and know if it is in the proper place. Some other settings we recommend you double check are:
-Does your Property Settings include the proper URL
-Is your account linked to Google Search Console
-Is your account linked to Google Ads
Google Ads Linking
If you are utilizing the Google Ads platform, you do not want to miss this step. Linking to Google ads not only allows analytics data to display in the google ads dashboard such as bounce rate and conversions which will help to properly optimize your account, but it imports all campaign data right into your analytics account. Under the Acquisition tab, there is a Campaign section that shows data from each campaign, including traffic, sales, revenue from each ad and more. If you are not managing your ads yourself, this is a great place to cross check the data being provided to you in monthly reporting from your marketing agency.
TIP: Utilize UTM codes on all digital marketing efforts. UTM codes will code the URL’s for that particular campaign and import the data into this same section of Analytics. This way, if you send an email blast or launch a new social media marketing campaign, you can quickly see performance and if there is an ROI.
Don’t forget about Filters & Goals
Filters is a setting in the admin section of Google Analytics that allows you to exclude certain traffic from data. Why would you want to exclude traffic you may ask? Let me give you two examples.
- A car dealership has several employees who are searching through inventory with customers all day at the office and more at home when working after hour leads. Some salesmen may even keep the website open all day long for easy access. If you have not filtered out the office IP address, all of this traffic will be included in your data and will reflect an inaccurate representation of how much traffic you got, how long traffic stayed on your website and more.
- We recently started working with a dentist that had thousands of website visitors a month. From an analytical overview the numbers looked great – excellent traffic, low bounce rate, excellent time spent on site etc. But as we dug in deeper we discovered that almost 70% of their traffic was coming from China. This brought us to a link audit and ultimately ended in us having to remove a lot of spammy links that put their website at risk with Google. So we went through and excluded traffic from locations that did not make sense to track.
Goals in analytics allow you to measure how often users complete specific actions on your website. For example: fill out a form, purchase a product, visit a certain page, etc. The goals you set are heavily dependent upon the industry you are in and what your personal objectives are. Having properly configured goals provides you with critical information that will influence your marketing strategy.
Create Custom Dashboards
Dashboards in analytics are a collection of widgets that give you an overview of certain reports and metrics. Dashboards consolidate data that can be found in the reports section of your account and more. Creating them is an easy way to quickly pull metrics. You can create your own or import from preexisting custom dashboards. Our favorite dashboards include: real time overview, social dashboard, blogging dashboard, 70 facts about visitors, BrightonSEO Dashboard, Site performance dashboard, mobile ecommerce dashboard, and the Perfect Revenue Dashboard.
Segments are subsets of data. For example, instead of viewing all users, you can segment by users in a certain location and view data specific to that city. It allows you to get a much more granular view of your data and answer specific questions you have.
Assisted Conversions & Conversion Funnel Paths
Always look at assisted conversions! Assisted conversions measure interactions that took place prior to the final click leading to a customer converting on your website. This will allow you to understand the actual value of a multichannel approach to delivering conversions. Conversion Funnel Paths (Also found in the conversion section of your Google Analytics Account) will show you the paths a customer took visually to convert. This, combined with assisted conversion data, will show you where credit for that conversion should be attributed to along with its value. For example, if you got a conversion from an organic ad but didn’t look at this data but learned that all your conversions for the month started with a paid ad or an email marketing campaign and the user came back at a later date and specifically searched for your company, clicked through to your website, then made their purchase, your organic traffic really is not the source of that conversion. You could potentially cancel services you do not think are performing when they actually are.
Automated reporting is a beautiful thing. Reporting consolidated all of your data into one place and allows you to see what information is important to you much quicker than digging through your account. Having reports set to automatically generate and pop up in your inbox each month is a great reminder to view what is going on with your website. It also provides the opportunity to quickly catch any red flags such as a tracking code issue resulting in zero traffic. To set up automated reporting, simply click on “Add on” from the top menu, Google analytics, then Schedule reports. You can customize your reports and have them send daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. While daily isn’t really necessary, certain data could be valuable on a weekly level, and for sure on a monthly level.
Tracking your website performance is a critical element to your overall digital marketing strategy. Becoming comfortable within your Google Analytics account and making an effort to frequently review data will ensure you are on the right track with your existing strategy, allow you to make adjustments in a timely manager where needed, and is excellent for future digital marketing strategy planning. If you have any questions, contact Klout9 for your Google Analytics set up and help.