For any business, Google Analytics might be one of the most useful analytics tools that can be used. Not only can it track how many people are on your website, but it can also show you what type of people are searching for your website. With all this data, it can be difficult to make sense of it. This is especially true when trying to decide what to change about the website, and how to advertise. Please note that if there aren’t enough people going to your site, then Google will not be able to display some of the information at all.
Google Analytics Basics
For the purpose of keeping this post a reasonable length, I’m splitting it up into two different parts: the first – this part – will be a basic list of the settings and what they mean. By no means will this be an extensive list, as it will only have relevant information and settings for beginners. The second part will focus on how to use that information to choose a target audience for any future internet advertising campaigns. Now let’s take a look at the side tab on the desktop version of the website:
Each of those categories gives you different information about your sites’ performance.
With the dashboard, you can chose which type of categories you find most important. Given that information, you will see different categories of analytics data on the same page. This is useful if you don’t want to be constantly scrolling through tabs to find what you want.
Intelligence events in Google Analytics are useful once your business has web traffic that is predictable. Let’s say Sally is setting up an intelligence event for her business. She knows that her website traffic is somewhat constant, but she wants Google to notify her if her from Calgary, Alberta drops by a certain amount compared to the previous month. With an intelligence event, she would be able to do that.
Real-time is relatively easy to understand. If a user goes on your website within 5 minutes, you can look at a variety of different things. The first, and most notable is the user location. Whether they come from Canada or Zimbabwe, there will be a map showing the country and city where they are viewing your website from. You will also be able see which website the user came from (if it was social, a Google search or a website referral), and you can see what the user searched for to get to your website, if applicable.
The audience section, in my opinion, is the most important part of Google analytics. Fortunately, it is also one of the easiest to understand. Each section has different uses for different roles in your business, whether it be an advertiser, a designer or a programmer. For the most part, each category is self-explanatory. However, there are two categories I would like to expand on.
The first section is the benchmarking section. This section gives you a visual representation of how well your website is performing based on previous results and the average for your industry. So if you want to see how well you’re doing compared to your competitors, this is what you should be looking at.
The second section I would like to expand on is the Users Flow section. This shows you:
- What page users start on
- The flow of pages your visitors take
- Where users leave your website
- The country of the users
Aside from providing incredibly useful information, Google also provides a step-by-step interactive visual representation of that data.