In November of 2005, Google launched its web analytics service aptly named Google Analytics. It was such an immediate success with webmasters and marketers alike that new sign-ups were suspended only a week after the launch. Demand for an account was so high Google had to implement a lottery-like system for registration while they worked to increase the system’s capacity. In mid-August 2006, Google Analytics became available to anyone and everyone who wanted an account.
Now, don’t let that 2005 date fool you, because the Google Analytics platform has undergone extensive updates in the time that’s passed since. Today, Google Analytics is the largest and most widely used analytics software, currently installed on roughly 54.5% of all websites.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free website software that, as the name states, records various facets of a website’s user traffic and outputs data into statistics, graphs, and charts. It aids business owners who use their website as an online presence to acquire more business through various online channels in viewing conversion data, bounce rates, sales funnels, and so much more.
Since your website is your business’s online storefront, when it comes to marketing, Google Analytics is an invaluable tool. It can help you make educated decisions about your marketing activities, know which blogs are performing the best, and which landing pages you need to improve. If an AdWords campaign is run, it’s linked to Google Analytics, giving ability to consistently fine-tune campaigns. Knowledge is power, and Google Analytics provides that knowledge.
Even with all that, we’re just touching the top of the iceberg in terms of what insights Google Analytics can provide.
Getting Started with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is also incredibly easy to install. With three easy steps, it’ll be implemented and you’re ready to rock.
- Sign up. Remember, it’s free!
- List your website (create a new web property.)
- Add the provided tracking code to your website.
Note: Add the Google Analytics tracking code between the website’s head tags. If it’s a template-based website, like WordPress, the code will be added to the header template.
For individuals that aren’t as familiar with coding, Google Analytics also provides plugins that are compatible with WordPress. Or, contact your favorite web development agency for a little help.
Set Conversion Goals & Create Funnels
Google Analytics allows you to create goals. Up to twenty of them, actually. A goal can be whatever it is you want it to be — someone fills out a form, downloads a PDF, someone staying on the site for a for at least x amount of minutes, etc. Whatever you define as a goal.
Once goals have been set up, funnels are created for each goal. If your goal is to have someone fill out your contact form, setup the various paths or steps you expect a person to take to complete your goal. The funnel with track where users enter and exit, and how many of those people actually make it to goal completion.
In addition to integrating Google AdWords and social media into tracking, make sure UTM Parameters are used to track everything. When utilizing UTM Parameters, every source of traffic coming from a link can be tracked. Google Analytics helps to provide valuable audience insights- and that’s your actual audience, not just who you think your audience is.
Google Analytics provides a full overview of all traffic coming to a website along with their associated demographics. Learn about their behavior, interests, and the technology users use to access the website. All this information helps to consistently improve content, website functionality and even provide insight into your products and services.
Where does website traffic come from?
Google Analytics has the answer — especially if UTM Parameters have been used properly. Quantify how much traffic is from organic search, PPC (AdWords) campaigns, direct (which means typing a URL directly into the address bar), referral (from another source referring your website), social media, or other.
Knowing where website traffic comes from helps business owners decide where to spend their time, where marketing efforts are paying off, and which areas need improvement.
Regularly monitoring Google Analytics and taking action based off of the data it provides is a must-do. Stay consistent and vary business strategies based off of the information provided by Google Analytics. Good luck!
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