We could say that users are walking data and that Google Analytics measures our steps. Therefore, if you have a digital business, it is always important that you consider the information that moves in and out of your project. She will give you clues about how your business is progressing and if you are heading in the right direction.
Also, by using Google Analytics (a free and very intuitive tool), you will be able to see and analyze precious information that google analytics helps you make better strategic decisions. But first, let’s start at the beginning.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a digital analytics tool that allows you to extract, measure, and analyze relevant data from a website or mobile application, to better understand the status and evolution of an online project or business.
Although there is other Web analytics google marketing platform, Google’s is the most widespread globally and by far. Since its launch in 2005, it has become trendy because it is a free tool.
However, Analytics also stands out for being a tool with an incredible amount of features and preconfigured reports, very well adapted to the measurement needs of professionals and entrepreneurs.
What is Google Analytics for?
As you may have already understood, Google Analytics is used to obtain valuable information about what is happening on a site and to help us make relevant decisions for the strategies of a project or business.
With the Analytics reports, you will be able to evaluate the quality of your website, understand the socio-demographic profile of your users and control the performance of your marketing actions, for example.
These reports are organized into five introductory sections that you will find in the left menu:
In this section, you will be able to monitor your organic traffic in real-time and minute by minute.
The reports compiled in this section will help you understand your website visitors. Here you will find information about the countries of origin of your users, the Language they use, or the technologies and devices they use to navigate.
This section will allow you to understand where visitors to your site have come. You will be able to know where the users were previously and what specific Marketing channels or actions have led them to your page or mobile application.
User Behavior data google analytics reports
Behavior reports give you information regarding the Behavior of users within your website.
How much time do users spend consulting your pages, which elements do they interact with, which content is the most popular, and which ones have less interest? conversion, etc.
Conversions are the different actions carried out by visitors to a page and, in turn, are part of the objectives of the entire site. This section finds four main reports (Goals, Ecommerce, and Multi-Channel Funnels), with five words each.
These reports will allow you to know the profitability of user interactions with your site. You will be able to establish a series of conversions related to the objectives of your business and assign them a value to be able to monitor the performance of your pages and calculate the return on investment.
How does Google Analytics work?
To collect data from your website with Google Analytics, you will need to insert a piece of code (the tracking tag) in the HTML header of all your pages.
It is possible that for this, you need to ask the developer of your website for help. However, you can also do it yourself if you have programming knowledge, handle Google Tag Manager, or use a specific plugin or module.
This code snippet will take care of collecting and storing user information every time the page loads.
The tracking tag will also assign each new user a unique identifier or cookie to be able to recognize and follow them through their different interactions with other pages of your site.
This new version of Analytics, which works within the same platform, is based on a data collection system that functions mainly without cookies and can already be used in its trial version.
However, it is not yet a fully functional tool that can replace the current one (known as Universal Analytics or GA3), but you can use both in parallel.
At this point, and before showing you how to use it, I want to clarify what metrics are called metrics on this platform and what they are.
What is a metric in Google Analytics?
Google Analytics metrics are the numerical values assigned to a set of data. They are represented with absolute figures and percentages and are usually organized in different columns within the reports.
These metrics can be associated with what is known as dimensions to be compared. The so-called dimensions are data sets that can be organized to improve analysis and are usually arranged in lines within reports.
There are four central units of measure in Google Analytics that you should know to start moving through the reports:
“User” is often mistakenly identified with “person who visits a page” when the user is the Web browser that person uses to visit the page.
We have previously discussed that GA assigns a cookie to each new user. Well, it adds a single line of code to your Internet browser. In this way, you can record and group all the activity carried out from that browser.
The data collected from the browser is anonymous and cannot be attributed to a specific person. Still, it can yield valuable information that allows us to deduce what the person using the said browser is like.
Suppose the same person uses different browsers or devices (Chrome, Explorer, Mozilla, Safari, Yahoo) to access your website. In that case, Google Analytics will consider that person as different users, as many as other browsers used.
And what happens when the person deletes the cookies from their browser?
In this case, the next time they visit your website, they will be considered a new user and assigned a unique cookie different from the previous one, which will prevent their future data from being related to the previous ones.
2nd new users
New users do not have our Analytics cookie in their browser for having accessed the pages of our site for the first time or for having deleted the cookies. Therefore, they are not yet identified by the platform.
A session starts when a user loads one of your pages in their browser (as long as it contains the tracking code), and all subsequent activity is stored in it until the session ends.
The session ends when the user leaves your site, remains inactive for more than 30 minutes, or re-enters using another route (for example, they first entered through a link on Facebook and then click on a banner or external link that leads to your place).
The same user can visit your website several times, and each time they do so, a new session will be registered; this is what we call visits.
4th Number of visits to pages
Every time one of your URLs is loaded in the browser, Google Analytics records a pageview.
It is usual for multiple page loads to occur during a session. Either because the user is browsing between the different contents of your website, because they are advancing in the conversion funnel, or because of the purchase process.
In a Website that is in good health, the most normal thing is that the metric of visits to pages is higher than that of sessions and this, in turn, is higher than that of users. The more users, sessions, and page views you have, the more opportunities to achieve your business goals.
How to use Google Analytics for the analysis of a site?
In addition to collecting and storing the data, Google Analytics organizes it into standard reports for easy analysis. Depending on your professional profile and the objectives you pursue, there will be reports that are more or less relevant to you.
Below we will review how and why to use some of the most common standard reports. We will see what information you can find in each one and how to use it for the growth of your Web project.
How to use Google Analytics to understand the profile of your users?
Analytics can offer you valuable information to know the people who visit your website.
» Geographic information report
With this report, you will be able to know where the visitors of your pages live and what language they speak.
It will help you identify which markets and segments are more profitable and will also help you discover new potential markets for your business.
Go to Audience> Geographic Information to view the report.
- In Location, you can check which regions your users come from. The report can give you information at the continent, country, or city level.
- In Language, you will be able to know which are the languages most used by your audience.
Remember that data comes from browsers, not people.
The Language displayed in the report is the Language the browser is set to, and the Location comes from the IP address, which in some cases can be approximate.
»Demographics and Interest Group Reports
This report allows you to have demographic and interest data of your visitors
- In Audience> Demographic groups, you will find information about the age and gender of your audience.
- In Audience> Interests, you will be able to know the interests that your users show, grouped by different categories.
But how does Analytics get this data if the tracking code doesn’t have access to personal information?
It simply infers or deduces them from the browsing and purchasing activities throughout the Internet recorded in the browser cookie.
» Mobile device report
This report will give you information about the type of devices people use to access your website.
You can check the percentage of the mobile, tablet, and laptop use in Audience> Mobile devices > Overview. You can also learn more details about the most used brands and models.
Since Google imposed its Mobile-First Index, making your site well adapted for mobile viewing is no longer an option but an obligation.
How to use Google Analytics to measure your Marketing actions?
user acquisition data reports will help you understand how users have reached your site performance. You will know which channels are attracting more visitors to your website traffic and which Marketing campaigns are more effective.
» Acquisition channels report
Here you can see reports with a breakdown of your more traffic sources.
Go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels to get a quick breakdown of your traffic sources.
By default, Analytics groups traffic into the following channels:
- Direct: in this channel, you will see the visits to your site by typing the URL directly in the navigation bar or thanks to the bookmarks list.
- Organic Search: shows the users from organic results in different search engines.
- Paid Search: This channel groups user who comes from paid results on different search engines.
- Display: the visits to your site by clicking on a banner is shown here.
- Referral: this channel groups users who come through a link on a website from referral traffic.
- Affiliate: in this channel, you will see the traffic referred by your affiliates.
- Social: this channel shows users on a social network before reaching your website. Also, show social media traffic
- Email: here, you will see the visits that come from emails.
You should know that if Google Analytics can’t determine which traffic source the user is coming from, it adds them to Direct.
In Acquisition> All traffic> Source/Medium, you will be able to consult the origin of your Website traffic in more detail.
The source is the origin page where the user was before landing on your page, and the medium is the Marketing strategy that has managed to take the user from the other website to yours.
» Google Ads report
If you connect Analytics with your Google advertising account, you will be able to monitor your SEM campaigns.
To view this data, go to Acquisition > Google Ads.
If you don’t have SEM campaigns yet, we recommend you try the free Clever Ads tools, a solution to create your PPC campaigns quickly and easily, without the need to have prior knowledge of Google Ads.
» Google Search Console report.
Under Acquisition > Search Console, you can also connect Analytics with Search Google Search Console to track your SEO (search engine optimization) strategies.
» Social Media Report
As in the previous cases, the Acquisition> Social Media report will allow you to follow the progress of your Social Media plan.
You will be able to see which are the main social networks that drive traffic to your website.
In addition, you can know which are the most common landing pages of your visitors from social networks and how social media interactions contribute to the completion of conversions on your site.
How to use Google Analytics to measure the quality of your content?
In Analytics, you can also find relevant information to understand if your content fits your users’ interests and search intentions.
Go to Behavior> WebSite Content to analyze the performance of each of your pages.
- In Site Content > All Pages, you can see which of your pages are the most visited.
- Site Content > Landing Pages will show landing pages as entrances to your site.
- In Site Content > Exit Pages, you will discover where the last contact occurs before the user decides to leave your site.
If I have a lead capture page, the best news would be discovering that the most common exit page is the one that is shown to the user saying thank you after filling out the form.
These engagement metrics serve to measure the approximate level of user satisfaction concerning specific content.
It is the average number of pages visited per session. We can interpret that if a user visits many pages during a session, he finds the content presented to him fascinating.
This metric tells us the percentage of sessions that start and end on the same page. That is the case in which the user has loaded a single URL and has not continued browsing other pages of the same site.
A high bounce rate generally indicates that the content is irrelevant or engaging to users. However, this may not be true depending on each site.
For example, a page that contains a video that the user plays and then ends the session would generate a bounce.
Later we will see how we can provide this metric with greater accuracy thanks to implementing events.
Average session length and average time on page
These two metrics will give you information about the time users spend on your website: how long a session lasts on average and how long users spend on each specific page. Users will spend more time on the most exciting pages to them.
New users vs. recurring
Returning users are more likely to become readers, followers, or customers.
To know this data, go to Audience> Behavior to find out what percentage of your users are new, how many recurring, and how often they return to your website.
How to use Google Analytics to measure the performance of your website?
Google Analytics events allow you to measure user interactions.
Examples include document downloads, link clicks, form submissions, and video views.
These are the prominent examples of the actions that you can track in this way.
The events implemented on a page also generate a timestamp that allows you to adjust the duration of the session, the permanence on the page, and prevents false bounces.
You can configure the events using Tag Manager or ask your web developer for help.
The most relevant events at the business level can be transformed into Google Analytics goals to be considered conversions.
In Conversions> Goals> Overview, you can track the performance of your website in terms of conversion.
The conversion rate, the number of conversions, and the value of the same are essential metrics that you will find in this report. This is probably the most critical report for any manager or director.
As we have already mentioned, the measurement of objectives is a combination of business strategy and technical implementation, and you may need help from a developer to carry it out.
We recommend you follow these steps:
- Set your business goals. Some common objectives are: completing purchases, capturing leads, received phone calls. You can set up to 20 different plans on your site to track.
- Decide what you need to track based on those business goals. You need to identify which specific user action will indicate that the plan has been achieved.
- Implement the necessary events on your page to track those actions (button, link, form).
- Set up Google Analytics to recognize those events as conversions.
- Set an economic value for your conversions.
Here are some instructions from Google if you need more information or need to learn how to create, modify, or share goals.
Google Analytics can offer you a large amount of precious information to make the decisions that will lead you towards the success of your digital marketing project.
Remember that identifying the most relevant reports and metrics based on your objectives is essential to get the most out of this tool.