Of all the platforms available that provide insight to online marketers, Google Analytics is by far the most useful- and the most popular. With some in-depth knowledge on its capabilities, you are able to leverage its comprehensive features and powerful website metrics to seriously optimize and improve your online marketing efforts.

The trick is being able to drill down and identify the metrics that are most relevant to your marketing goals. By identifying patterns and manipulating key features in Analytics, you’ll gain the needed insight necessary to guide the direction of your inbound marketing strategy. Remember, Google Analytics can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. By utilizing these Google Analytics tips, you’ll be able to push your marketing campaign forward.

1. Create Custom Dashboards

There is a reason this is listed first. These fully customizable dashboards are an absolute necessity. Not only can you customize all the data that you want to review in pretty little widgets, but you can also get weekly, daily and monthly reports sent to your email. I like to have various dashboards segmented out by acquisition type, audience or behavior (i.e. social media dashboard, mobile search dashboard, etc.) but also, having an all-encompassing, SEO dashboard, for instance can be just as useful.

Here’s How:
Go to Dashboards>New Dashboard to create your first dashboard. Choose Blank Canvas or Starter Dashboard and pick a title. Once you’ve selected your template you can add and customize as many widgets as you feel necessary and select varying layout options. Or read our guide to using the Google Analytics Demo Account to practice creating your dashboards.

2. Set up/Integrate Webmaster Tools

If you didn’t know already, Webmaster Tools can be an extremely useful tool. It can provide key insights that aren’t available through Google Analytics, such as impression data, keyword queries by landing page, index issues, click data and more. If you already have Webmaster Tools set up but do not have it integrated with Analytics, you can easily do so.

Here’s How: On the Webmaster Tools home page click manage site> Google Analytics Property>select website you want to view in Analytics. For more in-depth instructions review Google’s Support Page.

3. Block Your IP Address

Depending on how much traffic you get to your site, your own visits could be considerable skewing your data. Analytics has a feature that allows you to exclude yourself so that your visits to the site do not count towards the data being tracked. If you haven’t done this already, I highly suggest it.

Here’s How: Select admin> filters> + new filter. Name your filter> select the exclude filter type. Then select the source or destination that works best for you and your business. If you have a static IP address, select “traffic from the IP addresses” and the “that are equal to” expression, then paste your IP address.

4. Gain Insight from Behavior Flow

This is my favorite tool. Behavior flow allows you to view the actions of visitors to your site from page to page. It’s simple to use too, go to Behavior>Behavior Flow and select what you want to see from the drop-down menu.

5. Segment Your Audience

With any smart marketing campaign, you probably have multiple segmented audiences coming to your site. It’s important to be able to differentiate between those audiences to gain a better understanding of each segment. Go to Admin>Segments>+ New Segment. Here you’ll be able to define different audience groups by age, gender, location, technology, behavior, traffic sources, and more. Choose the segments that’ll give you the best insights specific to your marketing goals.

These tips, although very helpful and necessary, barely scratch the surface. Google Analytics capabilities are far reaching and only continue to improve. Remember, start small, gain the insight you need and then build upon that.

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