Most simply put, Google Analytics is an important, free tool that can help you analyze data for your business all in one place. Utilizing it will allow you to make more informed decisions regarding your business. This article will help you understand more in depth what google analytics is, why you may need it, how you can use it, and some additional tools and tips to get you started and use Analytics at its full potential for your business needs.
What is Google Analytics?
Before we get started, it is important to understand that as Google continues to update its software and processes, meaning Google Analytics will change. Most recently, Google made the switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, also known as GA4. On July 1, 2023 any standard Universal Analytics properties will no longer process new data so be sure to either migrate your account soon or set up a new account through GA4. The tips and best practices below will primarily apply to GA4.
Google Analytics is mainly intended to aid in a business owner’s understanding of their customer’s journey. The basic element of this journey include three steps:
Acquisition refers to the specific channels that a customer uses to come to your site. In other words, it describes how your visits are acquired. For example, these could be organic if your site pops up in the search results or direct if a customer types in your URL directly. Behavior refers to the ways in which users interact and engage with your business online. Do you ever wonder if people are clicking on the link that you added to your website or if they watched that video you added all the way through? Behavioral data can help you discover this. Lastly, Conversion refers to the moment a user actually becomes a new customer and they transact with your business. This is the monetization part. Among other things, conversions can be buying a product, filling out a form, or giving a call. These three elements can help you understand how visitors are interacting with your website.
Google Analytics is designed to help you track each of these steps by providing data reports which you can then use to perform in-depth analysis. These will help you learn more about who your audiences are, how your customers got to your website, how they interacted with your pages, and whether or not they did what you wanted them to do.
Why is google analytics important for me?
Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, data tracking on websites can automatically provide you with the information that you need to find insights that may have seemed inaccessible before. By integrating Google Analytics to your website, you’ll better be able to discover insights that help with the following:
- Site Performance
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Almost all businesses today have online components and knowing how to compete and stay relevant is crucial for accomplishing your goals. Analytics provides you with the details that you need in order to learn the specific behavior of your customers.
Analytics can be used in your marketing efforts to help you know more about your visitors such as where they live and what device they use. You can also find out which marketing channels are producing the most traffic and the conversion rate of these different channels. Knowing this information helps you better tailor your marketing efforts and discover which efforts are working well.
Google Analytics can also provide insights about your site performance. It is important to consider your page load speed, which pages people are leaving at, and which pages get most traffic. With these insights you can improve poor-performing pages or promote well-performing pages in order to create a better experience for your users.
By utilizing the invaluable reports provided in google analytics you can improve your SEO. You can know what your highest converting pages are and then you can optimize them further to tailor your visitors queries. Utilizing the data from analytics can also help your website’s search performance and increase your visibility on the Google Search pages. In doing so you are better able to provide relevant and useful content to your visitors.
How can I use it?
Now that you know what Google Analytics is and why you need to use it, let’s look at some important elements that will help you figure out how to find the data you are looking for and utilize it fully.
Setting up Filters:
One thing to keep in mind is that if you are constantly checking your business’s website (as you should be), then analytics will track this data. In order for you to keep the data clean of your own visits then you will need to set up a filter. This is known as an Internal Traffic Filter in which you can identify your IP address and filter this data out. Google Support explains how to set that up here: GA4 Data Filters.
One of the main differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 is that previously the data was centered around sessions or a group of user interactions within a given time frame on your website. However, with Google Analytics 4, the data is centered around events which are any activity that users take on any given page of your website. These can include form submissions, button clicks, videos played, and files downloaded. Pretty much anything that you want to track should be set up as an event. Google Support outlines this process here: Modify and Create Events. Once you have your events set up, then they can be configured as conversion events which are essentially your goals that hold value for the specific webpage by adding conditions and parameters. Here is where you can create conversion events: Set Up and Manage Conversion Events.
You’re ready to go!
Now that you know the basics of why you need Google Analytics and some tips on how to set up important elements you’re ready to go ahead and start tracking. Be sure to note that it can take up to 48 hours for analytics to start tracking data from when you set it up. Once you start receiving data, it’s up to you to analyze the reports and find insights that relate to your business’s goals. Good luck!
If you are with any part of setting up Google Analytics we can help! At Sebo Marketing, we set up Google Analytics for free – no contracts and no pressure to sign up for marketing services. Reach out to us if you would like help setting up Google Analytics on your website.