What is Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the tool you use to understand how many people are visiting your website and provides some really insightful information about your customers.
How do you access it directly?
Go to : https://analytics.google.com/
Use your main Google Account to login (The one we had access to while creating your website - we have added you as an user/owner)
Google Analytics is one of the many tools that Google provides to help people understand what visitors are doing on their website. The tool allows you to track and analyse critical data on your site and site visitors. The big question people ask, “Is Google Analytics Free?” — Yes, and it is one of the most popular free tools available.
What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is the premier analytics platform for tracking site or app performance. It is part of a range of tools provided by Google that include Google Search Console and Google Tag Manager. Check out this article, where you can find supporting tools that use Google Analytics.
The platform provides you with a full picture of how your site is performing. It collects a vast amount of data and processes it intelligently. It then generates reports to display that data to you. Those reports are what you can use to gain critical insight into your site and the people who visit it.
The first element of Google Analytics is data collection. The platform can gather a broad range of data about your site and how visitors use it. The exact nature of the data collected will be discussed in depth later. It includes, most notably:
How many visitors your pages get.
Where visitors come to your pages from.
How those visitors progress through your site.
What visitors do on your pages.
How visitors interact with elements on your pages.
How long visitors spend on your pages.
At what stage of a visit users leave your site.
Which Kinds of Hits Does Google Analytics Track?
Google Analytics works with three different types of hits:
Pageview Hit — A hit that is sent each time someone visits one of your pages. It contains information like what device and browser visitors are using. You can also find out which of your pages they visit.
Event Hit — A hit sent when a visitor does something on your site. They might, for instance, fill in a form, click a link or play a video.
Transaction/Ecommerce Hit — A hit sent when a site visitor buys something. Information such as which pages the visitor went to before buying can be contained in these hits. More straightforward insights, such as which products they bought or how much they spent, are also provided.
Google Analytics doesn’t present you with the raw data the platform collects. It first processes data and then generates reports. The first stage of data processing is the separation of data by users and sessions.
User Data — This is data on different, distinct visitors to your site. Google Analytics creates a unique, random user ID for each new visitor to your site. If the same user revisits your website in the future, Analytics recognizes the user ID.
They will then be logged as a ‘returning’ visitor; this only works if they visit using the same device. The process can be subverted if they clear your cookie from their browser cache.
Session Data — A session is a period of time that a user spends on your site. It begins with a pageview hit when the user first visits the website, and it continues until they ultimately leave the site. During each session, Analytics collects a host of different types of session data.
That session data includes the pages visited, actions taken, and time spent on your site. You can use this data to gain insights into site user behavior. It can be critical to understanding site performance, as we’ll talk about below.
Data Google Analytics processes are presented to you in the form of reports. These are visual representations of the data. They are designed to make it easy to ID patterns and gain insights. Visuals, after all, are known to be more effective at conveying complex ideas.
All reports on Google Analytics display a combination of Dimensions and Metrics. It is important to know what each of these is to understand what different reports tell you.
What are Dimensions and Metrics in Google Analytics?
Dimensions — these are basic attributes of the collected data. ‘Country,’ for example, is a dimension that may be provided for user data. It would tell you which countries site users come from.
Metrics — These are quantitative measurements; they tell you the number of something. The ‘Sessions’ metric, for example, tells you how many sessions took place on your site over a period of time.
Google Analytics creates a range of default reports. We will look at many of them in-depth later. You can also create custom reports that combine different dimensions and metrics.
Not all dimensions and metrics can be combined into reports. They each have what is known as a ‘scope’ — that is the level at which their data is collected. The different scopes are ‘user-level,’ ‘session-level,’ and ‘hit-level.’ Only the dimensions and metrics of the same scope can be combined.
Why You Need Google Analytics
You can use Google Analytics for a range of different purposes. In the section below, we will quickly review three of the most common applications of Google Analytics.
Analytics For Marketing
The insights you can gain from Analytics reports can be vital to improving your marketing. Data collected can help you answer a range of questions about your marketing efforts:
How much traffic is driven to your site by different marketing channels?
Which websites refer the most visitors?
Where do your site visitors live?
What is the conversion rate of visitors from different channels?
The answers to those questions will help you better tailor your marketing efforts. They can show you the channels to invest in and those to move away from. They can also help you better define your target audience, amongst many other helpful insights.
Analytics to Improve Site Performance
Analytics reports are also the perfect place to learn about your site and those people who use it. In this area, the questions which the platform help you answer are even more plentiful:
Which of my pages get the most traffic?
Where on my site, do visitors leave?
How quickly do my site’s pages load?
Are load times longer for visitors using mobile devices?
Those kinds of insights give you practical ways forward for improving your site performance. Rather than a vague aim of improving traffic, you can have a more concrete objective. You might, for instance, learn that your blog posts get a lot of traffic — that could tell you that producing more and promoting them well could help boost traffic even further.
Analytics to Aid Your SEO
Google Analytics insights are also invaluable for informing your SEO. The platform helps answer an array of questions about how users find and interact with your site:
How much search traffic is your site getting?
Which of your landing pages gets the most traffic?
What search queries do visitors use to find your site?
What’s your site’s bounce rate for visitors from different sources?
In SEO, as in many things, information is power. The more you know about your site visitors and your target audience, the better. Google Analytics is a platform that provides a plethora of data. Access and assess the right reports, and it can help boost the ROI you see from your SEO efforts.