Analysing Google Analytics
Primarily, Google Analytics is a useful and free service that helps you measure and understand engagement on your website. It automatically collects data that can help you to better understand, serve, and build your online customers and audience. This is a tool that can help you realise whether you are achieving your goals through your website.
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When looking at your data, you need to consider how to use it effectively to maximise profits and continue to connect to your audience, thereby helping you to expand your client base and business. Luckily, there are various tools that can be used to help you understand and focus on different sections or aspects of your website, such as real-time reporting and custom reports.
When trying to effectively analyse your website, first consider what goals you want to achieve through it. Are you reaching these targets? What is the customer’s experience along the way? Try writing a set of questions that help you realise the answers to the above questions. The best of these questions might include several sub-questions in order to reach the answer. For instance, looking at a page which is attracting less traffic, you need to think why that is by considering the content, the marketing used to attract hits, and the context. This list of questions should be constantly changing as you start to use Google Analytics and the data more effectively. By writing these questions you will start to think about what particular areas of your site you want to focus on and what further tools you may need to utilise to find out the answers.
The tools that Google Analytics provide, include:
Real-Time – which measures activity as it happens, allowing you to see how many people are visiting your site at that moment in time, where they are from, and what they are doing or viewing on your site.
Custom Reports – you can use these to access certain information instantly rather than having to wade through the mass of data that has been collected. Pick a dimension – such as the city the viewer is in or whether they are a new visitor to the site – and then a metric – such as the total number of sessions or how many pages were viewed in a session – and view the information that is specifically related to these in one report. The more dimensions or metrics you use, the more detailed the report.
Custom Variables – these allow you to customise Google Analytics to better fit your business, allowing you to get the break up of data that’s best for you by editing the metrics to the areas you want and need to see in the reports. Also, through the use of custom dimensions and metrics, you can combine the data gathered through Google Analytics with data collected through other means or online services.
Advanced Segmentation – provides an additional layer of data that works in tandem with the reports. The segments effectively work as filters which allow you to see and create a different view of your campaign. Whereas custom reports uses metrics, segments looks at traffic sources and splits these into sub-segments. Again, you have the ability to customise these so that you can tailor the information specifically to your business. Analyse just one individual segment, or compare several within your reports. Through your understanding of the separate functions (advanced segmentation, custom reports, and custom variables), you can then combine the trio to create reports that offer specific insights into your online marketing efforts, hopefully answering any questions that may have arisen.
Annotations – allow you to keep track of information whilst moving forward. Little notes that can save the time and frustration of having to search through your database, old documents, and/or old emails to discover the answer to one small question. Annotations creates a logbook for you and your team to use to keep on top of the work you’re undertaking in respect of your online marketing and website design, rather than getting buried underneath it.
Dashboards – just as the dashboard in your car gives you an overview of the most important information you need to know while driving (speed and petrol), the dashboard tool captures the most important and relevant information for you and your business. Easy to create, customise, and share this tool is completely tailored to you and by you. Choose what you want to see on your dashboard through the collection of widgets available. Through the dashboard you can quickly see how well certain aspects of your website are doing, the correlations between reports, etc. What’s more, you can have more than one dashboard.
Visualisation – Google Analytics offers a variety of tools that allow you to see how your viewer engages with your website. Through Flow Visualisation you can see which paths a visitor takes as they traverse your site, while In-Page-Analytics allows you to see how users interact with the pages available. With a variety of charts to display the information in a clear format, the use of these visualisation tools can give you a better understanding of the customer experience.
Sharing – lets the different teams you have to tackle online marketing work together to achieve the best results. With different features, it keeps everyone involved up-to-date and informed.
API and Customisations – integrate Google Analytics into your business’ workflows through the use of applications, plug-ins, and customisable features. You can take advantage of third-party solutions or create your own apps to ensure that you are seeing and accessing the data as you want it and when you want it.
And this is just a sample of the tools on offer.
However, Google Analytics is not just about your website. It is about your online marketing as a whole, including your website, use of advertising, and re-marketing. It allows you to truly see and understand how your online marketing is working and what you may need to improve to reap the best rewards, by analysing the different aspects and displaying this information for you to see. At the office or on the go, you are not restricted when it comes to viewing your stats, or what these stats can show you.
At The Idea Works, we believe that Google Analytics is a useful tool that enables you to develop your online marketing strategy effectively, as an ever-changing organism that deserves attention. Whatever industry your business lives in, Google Analytics can help it develop through the use of the internet.