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Google Analytics definition


Google Analytics (© artinspiring / Fotolia.com)

Google Analytics (© artinspiring / Fotolia.com)

Google Analytics is one of the most powerful and well-used tools when it comes to tracking the performance of a website and the effectiveness of a marketing or advertising campaign. This allows you to monitor the number of visitors to your site, as well as where those visitors are coming from.

 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for webmasters and marketers that allows them to view key stats regarding their websites, their apps, and any advertising campaigns. This tool works by using cookies and scripts installed on the website, which can then track the number of visits, the behavior of individual users across sites etc.

Google Analytics is just one of many web stats tools that you can use to monitor things like number of visitors and bounce rates. Another common example is Jetpack Webstats from WordPress.

But with that said, it is also true that Google Analytics is among the most powerful of these tools with the greatest number of features. It better integrates with other platforms (Google Play, AdWords) and it is the industry standard for many websites.

Setting Up

Setting up Google analytics requires you to add a small tracking code to each page on your site. This is something you can do manually, or that you can ask your web designer to do it for you. If you're using WordPress though, then perhaps the easiest and quickest way is to use a plugin that will do it for you each time you add a new page.

Once you've done that, just wait 24 hours for Google to collect some data and then you're ready to set up your 'view' which is the 'lens' through which you'll be able to view the stats you select. Again, a web design team can do this for you if you struggle.

How to Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool from Google that allows webmasters, bloggers and business owners to track their sites' stats and performance. While there are site statistics included with WordPress' 'Jetpack' plugin and with many hosting packages, these pale in comparison to the power and versatility of analytics. Here we will look at why Analytics is so crucial for improving the performance of any website and at how to navigate your way around and use it to maximum effect.

Finding Your Way Around

Once you've added your site and clicked on it, you will be taken to your view, where you'll be able to see all the stats. To start with, you'll be looking at the Audience Overview page, with the various different options down your left. There are a lot of different options here which might seem a little overwhelming at first, so let's go over the most useful ones that you're likely to use:

Audience Overview: This page gives you key data regarding who has been accessing your site. Along the graph at the top, you'll be able to see how many visitors you have received on a daily basis. A pie chart meanwhile tells you how many of those visitors are returning viewers – if this number is high then it suggests that people are enjoying your content. The 'bounce rate' meanwhile will tell you what percentage viewers will leave quickly without sticking around to read your content. It's crucial that you decrease this statistic. The 'Pages / Sessions' meanwhile tells you how many pages most of your visitors view before leaving, while the average session duration shows you how long they spend on your site overall.

Along the left you'll then also be able to find out more information about your demographics: things like their location, the devices they use and more.

Acquisition: Acquisition tells you where your traffic is coming from and how the source affects behavior. For instance, it may be that those who visit your site from social media sites spend longer or shorter compared with those from search engines. The 'All Referrals' link meanwhile lets you see how your inbound links are performing.

Real-Time: The 'Real-Time' tab on the left tells you precisely how many people are on your site right now, letting you see immediate data if you've just posted a new page or done some recent promotion.

Conversions: Conversions includes 'Goals', 'Ecommerce' and 'Multi-Channel Funnels'. This tab allows you to see how well your site is converting visitors into customers or directing them to other sites and thereby gives you an idea of what the ROI is for your site and allows you to begin using A/B testing to make your site more efficient. This requires some extra set-up but is well worth it in the long haul.

The Importance of Stats

Whatever tool you use, it is crucial that you find some tool to track your site with. This will allow you to ensure that you are applying the very best marketing strategies in order to see positive change and a gradual improvement in the performance of your site. If you don’t do this, then you can risk repeating mistakes that aren’t actually bringing you any benefit, or potentially missing out on great opportunities.

For instance, it might be that by looking at your analytics, you realize that you are being served very well by particular search terms and thus you may decide to invest in them more. Likewise, you might notice that you are getting more visitors from a certain region and decide to therefore target that area more with future PPC campaigns.

On the other hand, you might find that your visits aren’t going up at all and thus decide to change your strategy entirely. This is very important for all those using SEO agencies. This way, you can ensure that you are getting positive benefit from the money you are spending in this area. If you don’t use a tool like this, then you’ll have no means of knowing if the work they have been doing is successful.

Take the time to set up and familiarize yourself with Google Analytics!


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