Since its inception over a decade ago, Google Analytics has proven to be an indispensable web marketing tool for many businesses with an online presence. This immensely popular website analytics tool provides online businesses and marketing affiliates with crucial data about the traffic flow of users to their sites and the activities they perform. The data can then be analyzed, and the information used to enhance the functionality and performance of a website. Although the capabilities of Google Analytics are varied, there are five crucial features that you will find very helpful in monitoring the performance of your site.
This feature allows you to measure how well your site visitors accomplish specific tasks. A goal is equated to a completed activity which contributes to the success of your business. This completed event is usually referred to as a conversion and may include activities such as clients successfully making purchases through your website or site visitors submitting contact information forms for a lead generation site. You can set up macro goals whose conversations tend to be lead generation or an actual purchase from the website. Micro goals, on the other hand, involve smaller conversions that could result in macro conversions, for instance, subscribing to a newsletter. There are five types of goals that you can set up under this feature:
- Destination goals – These are triggered when a site visitor lands on a particular web page. An example of this is when a user completes a contact form and is redirected to a new page with a different URL
- Pages per session – These occur when a site user visits a certain number of pages.
- Duration goals – These occur when site visitors spend a certain amount of time on your website.
- Event goals– These are achieved and recorded when a particular event occurs, for instance, video plays or social shares.
- Smart goals – These use machine learning to look at user behavior on your site. Analytics then determines whether that user’s session is likely to lead to conversion.
Using these benchmarks goals will help you keep track of user activities on different pages of your site. You can then use the insights acquired to tweak your web pages as appropriate.
Campaign tracking is possibly one of the most important Google Analytics tools quite simply because it helps you determine your digital marketing return on investment. Campaign tracking enables you to track online advertising campaigns to your site. You can either create organic campaigns from unpaid search engine results, referrals from other websites and direct traffic or paid campaigns from AdWords, paid search engine keywords or non-AdWords providers.
To track your campaigns, you will need to use Google’s Campaign URL Builder tool to create a trackable URL. You can easily build a trackable URL by submitting the URL you want to track into the Google Campaign Builder URL Builder. After generating the URL, you will then need to copy it and use it for marketing campaigns for it to start tracking. You may wish to consider a conventional naming system for your URLs to avoid difficulties in legibility in future. Also, remember to create parameters that are necessary for your URLs. Your URLs will be automatically tracked by Google Analytics as they are clicked on the web, and will record in Campaign Reports. You can study these reports to view all information relating to your campaign, including sales, goals and page views.
By the use of this new E-commerce feature, Google Analytics will help you determine the generation of your sales from using this new E-commerce feature. To view E-commerce data in your Analytics Reports, you will need to first enable E-commerce for each view whose data you want to see and then add tracking code to your site to collect the E-commerce data and send it to Analytics. There are two kinds of data that you can send using analytics:
- Transaction data – This presents the entire transaction that occurs on your site.
- Item data – This presents the individual products that were in a shopping cart at the time of purchase.
You should note that you can only implement e-commerce tracking once the user has completed the checkout process. If you are a newbie, your best option is to seek expert support for you to make maximum use of the features.
Google Analytics offers its users a set of reports called ‘Search Engine Optimization’ reports to help them track how their sites are doing in search engines. You can find these reports in the interface under the ‘Traffic Sources’ section, but you will need to synchronize it with a Google Webmaster account. Once you link the two accounts, the data will begin streaming in immediately. There are three reports which you will find particularly helpful.
- Query Report – This report lists the top 1000 queries together with the number of impressions, clicks, average position and click-through rate. You can use advanced filters to optimize your site’s performance on search engines by finding keyword queries. The queries send you a good amount of traffic even without ranking #1 or 2 or 3.
- Landing Pages Report – This report shows how many times your landing pages appear in search results accompanied by average position and click-through rate. You can use advanced filters to find landing pages with high number of impressions, low clickthrough rates or high average position.
- Geographical Summary Report – This report shows you impressions and click-through by country. It is particularly useful for international SEO with a target on other nations.
The bounce rate is an important feature of Google Analytics, which depicts the percentage of users who have left the site without moving further or taking any action. Google Analytics calculates and compiles both the bounce rates of every web page on your website as well as the bounce rate of the whole internet site. Bounces refer to the numbers of single page visits resulting from the page and entrances are the number of times visitors enter a site on the page.
The bounce rate of a web page is the ratio of the total number of bounces on a page (over a specified period) against the total number of entrances on the page (in the same stipulated period). A site with a high bounce rate indicates that its entrance page is not relevant to the site visitors meaning that you cannot expect any conversion sales or leads. However, this may not apply to blogs since it is common for blog visitors to enter and exit the landing page as there is no need to browse any further. Most blog visits are single page visits and will register a 100% bounce rate on Google Analytics.
Safety Net Profiles
The Google Analytics website comes with this indispensable feature which allows users to create multiple profiles to act as backups. The raw data collected by your main Google Analytics profile may not reflect consumer insights correctly for it also receives traffic from the company’s intranet. Interpreting this data as a projection of consumer insights may prove faulty since employees and customers manifest different responses and actions when visiting a site.
To remedy this situation you need to differentiate the data using the ‘Filter’ feature of Google Analytics before collecting the data. After enabling the Filter feature and running a test trial, you will need to bypass filter nukes by setting up Safety Net Profiles.
For analysis, you can create two or more profiles. You can designate one as ‘Test Profile’ and the other as ‘Raw Data Profile.’ Apply the filters first on the ‘Test Profile’ since it will not cost you much data if it gets nuked. Once you have confirmed it functions correctly, you can then apply the Filter to your main profile. You may choose not to use filters, goals and other features on the ‘Raw Data Profile.’ By doing this, you will ensure it continues to collect data without inhibitions and may prove to be a lifesaver in the event of a critical failure with the other profiles. Seek expert help if you need more help of in using these google analytic features.