How to use Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an analytics tool which provides you with insight into your website activity and allows you to answer questions such as:
• Who is visiting my website?
• How are people getting to my website i.e. what sites are referring traffic to my website?
• What pages are most popular on my website?
Setting up Google Analytics
Firstly, you will need both a Google account and Google Analytics account. To set up analytics, visit www.google.com/analytics and complete the relevant steps. Once completed, Google will provide you with a tracking code. This must be installed on every page on your website in order to gather data about that page. This may be something you’ll want to speak to your web developer about. The main sections of Google Analytics which will provide you with useful information are:
Google Analytics Audience reports provide an in-depth look at traffic to your website and the behaviour of users after they arrive including information on:
• Demographics - The age and gender of your audience
• Geo - The languages and locations of your audience
• Behaviour - New vs returning visitors, how long visitors spend on your site etc.
By default, the past month’s stats can be seen however dates can be adjusted and also compared to allow you identify any potential trends.
• Pageviews are recorded every time a web page loads up correctly.
• A session is the period of interaction between your website and the users’ browser.
• A user is an unduplicated visitor to your website.
Pageviews are different to a session, since one session can result in multiple page views. If someone visits your home page, then the offers page, then the home page again, and then leaves your site - the total pageviews for the visit is 3. Whilst this all occurred during just one session.
The Acquisition section tells you where visitors originated from, such as organic or paid search, social networks, email marketing or website referrals and can help to determine which online marketing tactics are bringing the most visitors to your website.
The Social section provides more in-depth details about social activity including the top social networks driving visitors to your website and which landing pages received the most traffic from social networks.
Within the campaigns section you’ll find the Keywords report which breaks down keywords used to find your site—both from organic and paid search. These keywords can then help to form the basis of search engine optimisation activities to help drive organic traffic to your website.
The Behaviour section reveals what your visitors do on your website, what pages’ people visit and what actions they take while visiting.
The Site Content section should help determine what content performs best on your website. The Landing Pages report lets you see the top pages on your website where visitors enter and the Exit Pages report shows the last pages’ people visit before exiting your website. These are the pages you want to look at to see what you can do to keep visitors on your website longer.
The Site Speed section has crucial reports that identify areas of your website that you may need to optimise as a slow site may mean that users give up and go elsewhere.
The Conversions section shows you the path your customers take on your website, from the entrance to making a purchase or becoming a lead.
The Goals Overview report provides a summary of the total number of goal completions made on your website - typically, this can be getting the user to contact you, make a purchase, register/sign up or book tickets/an appointment.
The Reverse Goal Path report shows the most popular pathways taken to complete a goal and also how many steps were taken to complete a goal.
For businesses that sell products through an ecommerce shopping system, Ecommerce reports will provide an insight into your shoppers’ journey from entry to conversion however specific tracking must be set up to use these reports.
Understanding what users are doing and not doing on your site can allow you to make decisions about how you might want to change your website.
For more information on Google Analytics, download our Google Analytics basics toolkit.