Congratulations on setting up a great website for your business. But until you get to find out where the bulk of your website’s visitors are coming from, who they are, how long they are staying on your site, and which pages they’re visiting the most, there’s a fair chance that you could be targeting the wrong audience.
The answers to these simple questions are what you need to figure out how to make the necessary adjustments to your marketing campaign for even better results. You need these simple answers to strategize on how to optimize your site and make your campaign strategy more effective.
That’s exactly where Google Analytics comes in. Designed to give you a detailed insight into your web traffic, this is the platform you need to come up with a comprehensive plan on how to improve your site’s performance and notch up your conversions.
What Google Analytics Tracks
Google Analytics is designed to generate detailed stats on your site’s visitors. One major difference it has with other web analytics tools is that it’s absolutely free and targeted at marketers as opposed to technologists and webmasters. In other words, the tool is geared towards business types, and NOT tech types as with many other traffic analytics tools you know.
The tool tracks visitors from all the referrers including display advertising, search engines, pay-per-click networks, digital collateral, and email marketing to name a few. The tool is also designed to help you keep track of the quality of your landing pages while monitoring your conversions. You’re however reminded that conversions don’t necessarily translate to sales. Meaning, what this program does is keep track on the number of users that are reviewing a webpage you specifically created to target them.
Google Analytics will also be working in conjunction with Google’s PPC advertising program, Google AdWords, to track your ads’ performance. With this, the platform will be providing all the much-needed shorthand information for a casual user and a more detailed and in-depth data for an experienced web marketer.
This code is designed to operate as a beacon that will be collecting a series of anonymous data from users and sending it back to Google’s data collection servers where it’s processed and broken down into useful chunks. The whole process of data processing happens in a matter of hours (approximately three to four hours) before the data is sent back on the analytics dashboard for your viewing.
Google Analytics tries to make its dashboard simple enough to be understood by absolutely anyone, and with just a casual glance over it. The information provided covers your site’s traffic, usage, and all the traffic sources you’re getting to mention a few.
The Google Analytics Traffic code is also designed to set third-party cookies on your visitors’ computers. For what’s worth, a cookie is an all-encompassing term for the parcels of texts that the platform uses to track specific information on the underlying user. For instance, they can provide information on whether the user has been to your site before, where they’re located at the time of visiting the site, and the timestamp of their ongoing visit.
Installing Google Analytics on your website is a child’s play in itself. All you’ll have to do is copy and paste the HTML code snippet provided upon signing up with the analytics program. WordPress makes it even easier by providing a list of plugins that you can install and activate to automate the procedure.
How to Add Google Analytics to Your WordPress Site or Blog
Integrating your site or blog with Google Analytics is one of the simplest things you can do. Speaking of which, you have the option to add it manually or through the simple use of a WordPress plugin such as Monster Insights.
To add it manually, you need to head over to your Google analytics account and copy the HTML code snippet provided. The next thing you’ll be required to do is paste the code on every single one of the webpages that you wish to track. The process can be a little tedious, but NOT complicated even for someone who’s never laid down a single line of code before.
However, for absolute beginners looking to take the manual approach, it’s advisable to consider hiring the services of an experienced web developer in Singapore, as a single mistake on your part could end up breaking your theme thus bringing your entire site down. And that’s because, inserting the tracking code means editing your theme code, which puts you at risk of throwing a wedge over your website’s performance.
There comes the MonsterInsights plugin which takes the risk off the installation process by making the process simpler.
You can start by installing the plugin and thereafter activating it. The next thing you do is follow the procedure provided to link the account to your WordPress site. And as you’re soon to find out, you’ll be doing all that without even touching the tracking code.
After signing up to the Google Analytics account, the next thing you do is head to the setting option of the website and make sure you’ve selected the website option. Also, scroll down through the page and provide all the information you’re asked regarding your website.
Once you’re done filling up your website details, you can go ahead and click on the ‘Get Tracking ID’ button down-below. A popup window requiring you to accept the terms and policies of Google Analytics will popup. Hit on the accept button and you’ll have successfully managed to create a Google analytics account.
The manual process of integrating your website with your Google Analytics account entails entering the tracking code into your WordPress site manually. But with MonsterInsight, you don’t have to worry about any of that as the plugin does everything on its own.
Assuming you’ve already installed the plugin, using the standard plugin installation procedure for WordPress, then next thing you’d want to do is set it up.
Some message will appear at the top of the dashboard. To configure the dashboard, you’ll have to click through the settings link provided to connect it with your Google analytics accounts.
The first thing you do is click on ‘authenticate your Google account’. A popup window will appear prompting you to select a Google account you wish to integrate with your WordPress site. You’ll also be asked to allow Monster Insight to access the account. Hit the ‘allow’ button followed by ‘complete authentication’ button and that’s pretty much like it.
Now give Google analytics a few hours to collect enough data for you to see. And once it does, go ahead and click on insights to check on the report and find out how your site is faring on.
Viewing a Google Analytics Report
Once you’ve installed Google Analytics, it’s going to take you only a few hours for the data to show.
If you installed monster insights, you’ll start seeing a quick overview report on your dashboard every time you log into your site. There’ll also be the monster Insight widget somewhere in the dashboard that you can click through and view the data.
If you entered the tracking code manually without using a plugin, you’ll have to sign into your Google Analytics account to view the data.
The Google Analytics account is designed to show the data in five different categories, namely:
- Real Time
You’re allowed to click through any of these categories and the subcategories therein, each of which carries some valuable insights regarding the type of audience you’re attracting.
List of key Analytics Reports and how to analyze them best
Your journey in all this doesn’t end with you finding the Google Analytics reports. You have to know the kind of reports to track and how to best analyze them.
This is particularly important for absolute beginners who don’t know how to work their way around the dashboard or understand some of the key metrics.
Basically, your Google Analytics account features four main tabs that you’ll be using to navigate the platform – that is, Home, Customization, Reporting, and the admin tab. Before you even get to digging through the data, it’s crucial that you first understand what each of these tabs deals with.
The Home Tab
The Home Tab offers a general overview of your analytics account. If it happens that you’re running a chain of websites under the same account, all those websites will be listed in the home tab section of your account. This allows you to easily choose the account that you want to analyze and dig through its report.
Also provided on this tab will be all the important data that you wish to see with regards to your site’s session, bounce rate, average session duration, and your goal conversion rate for every single one of the websites that you’ve listed with the account.
Here’s a simplified overview of what you’re likely to find in each subcategory:
- Sessions: The session section will be listing all the interactions with your site for a particular stretch of time.
- Average Session Duration: This section will be highlighting on the average amount of time your visitors spend on your site per session within a particular frame of time.
- Bounce: This section will be showing the percentage of visitors that landed on your site and left within a few seconds without taking any action. They simply landed on the site and bounced away — and oftentimes, it’s because they didn’t like the overall setup of the site or didn’t exactly find what they were looking for.
- Goal Conversion Rate: This is the section that features the overall rate of conversion on your site. How many of the visitors your site attracts actually get to take action?
The Reporting Tab
Once you click on the Reporting tab, the analytics will load up Audience Overview Report if you’re running a single site, or pass you through the Property Column first, where you’ll be required to choose the website that you wish to track if you’re running multiple of them under that same account. Either way, you’ll still end up at the Audience Overview report.
Here, you’ll be provided with dashboards and crucial reports that will be walking you through a series of invaluable insights on how your website is performing so you can actually figure out where and how you can improve the site.
This section provides a clear overview of some of the important site’s report. You also have the option to create and customize the dashboard to your preference, together with adding as many widgets as you wish to have.
You’re also allowed to keep track of anything of value about your site including your site’s performance or the success rate of your social media content and so much more.
Shortcuts provide easy access to the reports you view the most. Its use stretches far beyond helping you save time, to helping you save the changes you make.
For instance, assuming you decide to integrate a new metric to any particular report, the setting will appear in shortcuts until you make a point to change it yourself. Even after you sign out from the account, the setting applied to shortcuts will still remain unchanged.
The only limitation with shortcuts is that it doesn’t save date ranges. In which case, you’ll have to check the dates yourself every time you decide to use the shortcuts in order to make sure you’re viewing the right report.
The intelligence Events column is designed to show you a statistical overview of your web traffic. Whenever there’s a variation, the Google Analytics will be sending up an updated alert to keep you in the loop.
The Overview section under Intelligence Events features two tabs: Customs Alerts and Automatic Alerts.
When you click on the Automatic Alert tab, you’ll be taken through all the changes that Google Analytics detected regarding your web traffic statistics. And when you click on the Custom Alert tab, you’ll be notified when your web traffic hits a specified threshold.
Besides intelligence events, you’ll also be taken through your daily, weekly and monthly events.
The Google Analytics tool has a 10 million views limit per month for the web pages it tracks. Meaning it can only track up to 10 million hits per property in a month.
However, for those looking to track anything higher than that without the limitation, you have the option to subscribe to the premium version where the limit shoots up to 1 billion page view hits per month. Also for those with more than 1 billion page views per month, they have the option to choose the tiered pricing which comes with no limitation at all.
Besides the Overview, you have the option to check out the other tabs in Real-Time including Traffic Sources, Location, Events, Content, and Conversions, each of which provides specific information regarding the active users on your site.
The Audience Reports section features all the information you might be interested in regarding the specific nature of your website visitors. You’ll also be taken through the number of sessions you’ve had on your site over a particular stretch of time, with an option to choose among hourly, daily, weekly or a monthly report.
The acquisition reports will be showing you how your visitors come to your websites. It’s the section that walks you through a detailed overview of whether the visitors you attract to your site are direct, organic, or through referrals, as well the social media, or if they’re through email.
If you have PPC AdWords running, the report will also cover a detailed rundown of how the campaign is performing. But before that information is provided, you have to head over to your admin tab and try integrating your AdWords account with your Google Analytics account.
There’s also the search engine optimization tab that will be highlighting on the kind of traffic you’re getting through the search engines. First, this report will include a list of keywords that your site’s visitors used to find you.
But to be able to use this feature, you also have to make an effort to integrate your Google webmaster’s account with your analytics account.
This one shows you how your visitors are interacting with your website. Basically, the kind of data provided is aimed at showing you how your content is actually doing. To view a crucial report on your visitors’ behaviour, you might have to consider checking out the following list of tabs
This one walks you through the navigation process of your site’s visitors; how they move around your website straight from landing all the way to exiting the website.
This one allows you to run an A/B test to find out how your landing pages are performing. That way, you get to optimize the landing pages in alignment to your conversion goals.
This tab makes it possible for you to view your webpages together with their corresponding Google Analytics data. But in order for you to be allowed to view the report, you’ll be required to install a Page Analytics Extension in your Chrome browse. This extension is designed to provide you with real-time data.
This reports will be taking you through all the actions your visitors undertook on your website before making the bold step of taking an action. It’s the section that traces their navigation path to conversion.
The tab also features a section with the number of all the conversions that have taken place on your website.
This section covers four different tabs – and that is, Goals, E-commerce, Attribution, and Multi-channel funnels.
With the goal tab, you have an option to create a conversion goal and track it. The e-Commerce tab, on the other hand, will be attempting to give you clear insights on your customers’ activities. The tool may particularly come in handy if you’re operating an e-commerce store.
The multi-channel report will be covering more on the performance of your marketing channel particularly those leading to conversions. And lastly, the attribution reports allow you to assign conversion credit to specific points in your conversion journey.
Let’s wrap it All UP Here
Google Analytics is the perfect tool for tracking your web traffic, more so as it provides you with all the information you need in order to improve your site and maximize performance. Once you’re able to do this, achieving your goals becomes even easier and feasible, besides making sure that none of the marketing efforts you’re applying is going to waste.
Hopefully, this guide offers all the answers you need to develop a basic understanding of how the tool operates if you’re an absolute beginner.
For more help regarding anything on the tool, you have the customer relation team at MediaOne to reach out to with your query for an immediate response.