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An introduction to Google Analytics


An introduction to Google Analytics

Do you know why online marketing has become so massive in such a short span of time? Especially when we consider how much focus has been shifted from offline marketing to online marketing in recent years?

There could be many answers to this question, but one of the biggest reasons why so many businessmen and marketers prefer online marketing is because of ‘analytics.’

With online marketing, you can track each and every aspect of your business.

You can see how much traffic your business website receives, how many of those traffic visitors purchase a product, how many of them consider buying the product, how many of them just hang around, from where most of your customers come from, and so much more.

Any of this is extremely difficult to achieve in offline marketing.

In theory, you could track each customer who visits your shop and note down his details, whether or not he buys from you, and how long he stays in the stop, but who does that, anyway?

With online marketing, all that information is stored automatically for you.

How?

The answer is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a free analytics tool that anybody can use. As long as you have a free Google account — if you have a Gmail account, you already have a Google account — you can start using Google Analytics.

What is Google Analytics?

In simple words, Google Analytics records all the activities that happen on your website. So you can see where your website traffic comes from, how they engage with your website once they land on it, what do they buy, and calculate how much each transaction costs you (ROI), etc.

How to set up Google Analytics?

When you set up your Google Analytics account, you are given a unique tracking code. Then you will have to install that tracking code to every page on your website.

Once you do that, Google Analytics becomes active, and it starts tracking all the information you want it to. Of course, it’s a very basic definition of how it all works.

If you want to learn how to set up Google Analytics and install the tracking code on your website, read the following article:

An absolute beginner’s guide to setting up Google Analytics for your website

3 different types of reports in Google Analytics

Let’s face it. When you log into your Google Analytics dashboard, it often looks very daunting and confusing.

There is so much information, different tabs, sections, and data points that it can easily feel overwhelming — even to those who aren’t entirely beginners.

However, once you get familiar with the interface, the tool, and what it has to offer, you will realize that it isn’t all too complicated. In fact, it is very organized and systematic.

In this part of the article, to help you get started, we will break down Google Analytics into three major sections. Understanding these three sections will help you categorize information and understand how Google Analytics store and present important info to its users.

As you will notice in the left sidebar menu, the information that Google Analytics provides can be divided into three main subsections. Those subsections (or types of reports) are:

  • Acquisition
  • Audience
  • Behavior

Let’s quickly discuss what these three reporting sections are and what information you can find in each of them:

1. Acquisition

If you want to find information on how your website receives traffic, potential leads, and customers, you need to check the ‘Acquisition’ section.

In other words, this section tells you how you ‘acquire’ your traffic. With the help of Acquisition reports, you can identify your best and worst-performing traffic sources, and therefore, optimize your online marketing plan and traffic-generation strategies accordingly.

Once you click on the Acquisition section, you will see several other reports. Don’t worry about them for the moment.

If you want to see the basic ‘Acquisition’ data, just click on ‘Overview’, and there you will find most of the information you’re looking for regarding how you acquired traffic.

If you want to learn more about the Acquisition section, how you can navigate it, and what each of its subsection contains, read the following article:

Exploring Google Analytics Acquisition reports and data.

2. Audience

If you want to learn who makes up your website traffic, you have the ‘Audience’ section for it.

In simple words, every possible information about your audience can be found in this section. The ‘Audience’ section of Google Analytics answers questions like:

  • Who your audience is?
  • What do they like?
  • Are they mostly males or females?
  • Which age group do they belong to?
  • From which country do they belong to?
  • What language do they speak?

Etc. Etc.

As it is with the Acquisition section, the Audience report section also has multiple subsections. However, you can find most of the important information in the ‘Overview’ section. That should get you started in the right direction with basic information and knowledge about your target audience.

On the other hand, if you want to explore each section and learn more about the Audience reports in Google Analytics, read:

Exploring Google Analytics Audience reports and data.

3. Behavior

The Acquisition reports tell you how you acquire your website visitors. The Audience section tells you who they are and what they like.

However, it is the Behavior section that tells you what the visitors do once they land on your website.

The Behavior section in Google Analytics answers questions like:

  • How do visitors engage with your website?
  • Which pages do they visit?
  • Do they buy anything?
  • How long does an average user stay on different web pages on your site?

In addition, if you want to identify the web pages that generate the most traffic for you, you will also have to use the ‘Behavior’ section. This is something that most website owners, e-commerce stores, and bloggers are interested in.

Click on Behavior > Site Content > All Pages to get that information.

On the other hand, all the basic ‘behavior’ related information can be found on the ‘Overview’ page.

If you want to learn more about each subsection in the Behavior segment, read:

Exploring Google Analytics Behavior reports and data.

What can you do with Google Analytics?

There are plenty of things you can do in Google Analytics. There is no ‘list’ per se because, truly, sky is the limit here.

Google Analytics gives you all the data and important pieces of information that you need to strategize and optimize. It’s then up to you how you decide to use that information and convert them into actionable insights.

However, here are a few common things that you can do with Google Analytics:

  • Identify the best and worst performing web pages.
  • Learn more about your target audience.
  • Find out about online campaigns that drive the most traffic and conversions for your business.
  • Identify the most profitable traffic sources for your online business.
  • Determine where most of your visitors and customers are located in the world.
  • Learn what people are searching on your website.
  • See how people engage with your website and flow through different web pages (and where they exit mostly).
  • Determine how many people abandon the shopping cart.

Google Analytics is extremely vast, because you have to be creative to fully utilize the data it gives you. If you want some more tips to get started with Google Analytics, read the following articles:



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