How do you use Google analytics? A starter’s guide
Once you’ve built your shiny new website and filled it with all your magical content, you need to put some mechanisms in place to see how it’s performing. Google analytics (“GA”) is a perfect starting point for you to measure the performance of your website and your digital marketing initiatives.
To extract data through Google analytics, you need to make sure your web developer has added the GA code to your website. If you’ve engaged a good and trusted website developer, they’ll have done this for you. Just in case they haven’t, visit Google to find out how to add your own personalised analytics code to your website.
Three metrics to start with in Google analytics
In this article, we’re only going to talk about a few of the many metrics you can analyse through your Google analytics data.
Within these three options of data analysis, there are many (many) options for drilling even deeper. In fact, you could find yourself drilling deep into GA first thing in the morning and before you know it – it’s go home time. But we’ve written this blog specifically for beginners to GA.
Firstly, log into your Google analytics account.
You can then set a date range you want to look at data from. Know we’re going to look at our three metrics mentioned above.
Looking at “audience”
In the left column, you’ll see the heading “Audience”.
There will be a drop-down menu of what you can then look at. These include things like:
- Visitor numbers – both new visitors and returning visitors
- Demographics – the age and gender of your visitors
- Interest – general interests, industry interests, job interests etc.
- Geo – where do you visitors live (or work) and what languages do they use
- Behaviour – this is very similar to overall visitor numbers but also shows you the frequency of their visits and how engaged they are
- Technology – this will let you know the browser (for example Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox etc)
- Mobile – this sub-title is s little deceptive. It actually shows you mobile vs tablet vs desktop (not just mobile).
So as you can see, you can glean a lot of information about the people (your visitors) coming to your website, simply by reviewing your Google analytics. You can use this information to build your target audience and fine tune your offering amongst other things.
Looking at “acquisition”
Again, in the left column, you can navigate to “Acquisition”.
Acquisition provides you with detail on where your audience came from; what mechanism delivered them to your site? Did they type in your site URL directly, did they arrive from a Google search or perhaps via a Facebook post?
The drop-down menu in Acquisition provides you with details including:
The source of arrival:
- Google organic;
- Email campaign;
- Facebook page;
- LinkedIn page;
- Twitter page;
- Another website etc.
You can also drill much more deeply in Acquisition to analyse data on any paid advertising you’re doing, landing page success, Google search console etc.
The data you can extract in relation to Acquisition tells you how your target audience is arriving on your site. You can use this to plan, for example, how you might enhance those initiatives that are working well or drive harder those initiatives that you want results from but you’re not quite there yet.
Looking at “behaviour”
We’re back in the left column again and we want to select the high level “Behaviour” tab.
This analyses specific content on your page and your page’s performance.
For example, under “Site Content” you will find your top performing pages; the specific page visitor numbers, how long your visitors stayed on that page (indicating how engaging it might have been for them), how many people visited that page more than once. If you’ve applied some AdWords funds to that page, you can also see data on that performance.
Under other sub-headings, you can view the performance of your site. How fast does your site load using different browsers? What’s the speed in different geographical locations?
If your site has a lot of downloadable content that you want to track, “events” will do this for you. You might want to know how a particular PDF or video is performing. Note, however, your website developer may have to do some enhancements to your site to track this data so make sure you speak with them about this.
With all of the metrics we’ve briefly looked at in this post, there are also secondary measurements you can apply. These allow you to dive even deeper into the way your audience is using your website.
Google analytics is an extremely powerful tool and can become complex at times. However, for many users, simple overviews of your site’s visitors, behaviour and performance will be more than sufficient for you to understand how your website and your other digital marketing initiatives are performing.
There’s always a catch. And with analytics – it’s allocation of time.
The trick is to check it regularly. We’d suggest monthly at a bare minimum. But if you’re running paid advertising (either Google or social media) or you really want to ensure you’re getting the best out of all your content, you may want to look at it more regularly.
Not sure how to monitor the performance of your website and digital marketing?
At Social Hive, that’s our speciality. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to chat about options for maximising the potential of your digital marketing.
Looking for assistance with any aspect of your digital marketing? We'd love to help.
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