| September 2, 2019

Google Analytics for Beginners: Quick Crash Course

Nancy Huynh

Nancy is our Senior Marketing Analyst. She brings over a decade of experience in growing sales through her ability to... Nancy is our Senior Marketing Analyst. She brings over a decade of experience in growing sales through her ability to tell the story behind the numbers.

Let’s be honest, most people know about Google Analytics but just as much fail to understand the many benefits of integrating this powerful web analytics tool. In this quick Google Analytics for beginners guide, we’ll show you why GA is the most commonly used analytics service on the internet and how to make the most out of it.

 

But what is Google Analytics exactly and what might this mean for you?

 

Google Analytics is a free analytics service by Google which enables website owners to track the behavior of online users. As for what this might mean for you, these powerful tools can help you better understand the customer and provide critical data and reports that can improve your website.

 

Here’s a screenshot of our own Google Analytics dashboard with the high level information that’s available on load.

google analytics for beginners

Let’s take a closer look at Google Analytics and the basics you need to know about this powerful resource:

 

Google Analytics for beginners: The role and importance of GA

Google Analytics is able to track various activities of users when they visit your website and extract important attributes about these users such as the gender, age and interest. When the user stops using the website, this information is then sent to the Google Analytics dashboard.

 

You see, the Google platform is able to identify trends and highlight extremely useful insights about the website performance. For example, Google Analytics differentiates between new and returning users, and then categorizes every visit according to the time (session) they spent on the site. What’s more, this data can pin-point specific actions such as what the customer ‘clicked on,” what videos caught their attention and how many pages the user visited.

 

Here’s a weekly snapshot to show you how Google presents user data at a glance.

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Screenshot of Google Analytics Audience Overview

Google Analytics can then aggregate this information and even use marketing tools including Adsense and Google Ads to produce further insights. However, the standard reports on the Google Analytics Dashboard offer more than enough value without the need for any additional tools.

 

Just so you know, there are also two different components to each report.

 

Dimensions account for certain attributes of the data such as the age or location, while metrics refer to the measurements of your dimensions such as the bounce rate or number of sessions by individual users.

 

Here’s how GA shows certain location/ demographics data.

Screenshot of Demographics Overview in Google Analytics

While you can learn to utilize these over time, web analytics services like the ones provided by Digital Authority Partners  are often the best way to get the most out of the process.

 

Google Analytics for beginners: how to get started with GA

In case you might be asking yourself, Google Analytics uses a small piece tracking code to track user interactions and extract the critical data for these reports. For this reason, when you sign up for Google Analytics, you will be provided with a java script tracking code to add to your website.

 

When you first try to add GA to a website, this is what Google will provide you with. Once you get to this screen, you need to embed the Javascript code in the global header of your website before GA is actually active. Blackout parts will show the exact number assigned to your website.

Screenshot of Google Analytics set up showing website tracking code

At this point, Google Analytics can drop cookies in the browser of each website user and start tracking the every move that customer makes on your website. You should also know that this data is extremely useful for determining future trends, for predictive analytics are a proven indication of what the future holds for each and every industry.

 

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Google Analytics for beginners: how you can use GA data to get ahead

Google Analytics data can be used to identify problems and identify trends. However, these are just two of many ways in which website or business owners can use this data to get ahead. Whether you use these reports to hone advertising campaigns or test the demand for certain products, the benefits you can find on the Google Analytics dashboard are endless.

 

Anyway, there are two main reasons why Google Analytics is so important to website owners and this all comes down to the two types of data – demographic data and behavior data. Now, that’s not to say you will only use one type of data at a time but rather to explain how different data is combined to produce the most telling information.

 

When we talk about user demographics data, we think about the user before they have visited your website. In other words, what demographics are attracted by your website and where are they coming from? Facebook, Twitter, search engines? While you cannot change any of this data, you can certainly use the information to hone your target market and identify where to advertise or publish content.

 

So let’s look at our weekly data. As you can see, our number 1 source of traffic is Google. This tells us both what works best for our site but also where we can do better (example, social media traffic isn’t great).

Screenshot of Google Analytics source and medium dashboard

On the other hand, behavior data or user analytics engagement data simply monitors how the user navigates your website. What page did they spend the most time? Which videos or links did they click? What content did they “get stuck on”? You can use this data to improve the user experience, eliminate or change poor content and figure out how to convert your customers faster and with more consistency.

 

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With this in mind, there is simply no other method that can rival this free website analytics tool, while the range of features and benefits make this a “must-have” for any business owner in particular.

Final thoughts

Google Analytics can help any website or business owner increase traffic and improve user experience. The platform is easy-to-use, while the accuracy and extent of data is mind-blowing. What’s more, the way in which this data is aggregated and compiled makes is extremely useful and practical to the website owner. As if that’s not enough, Google Analytics is entirely free and a quick sign up process is all that stands between knowing the number of hits or visits to your website and truly understanding the behavior and motivations of your customer.

 

As you can see, metrics are the statistics about user behavior on the website while dimensions help you figure out the core reasons or motivations for your target audience. Simply put, these numbers and reports are often the key to answering important questions and can give you a holistic overview in terms of the effectiveness of your website. Either way, these analytics are always relevant and readily available which means that website owners are just a click away from a better understanding.

 

It’s true, many website owners fail to understand the benefits of Google Analytics but the platform is absolutely free and there is really no good reason not to master this incredibly powerful tool.

 

Do you need help setting up your Google Analytics at your enterprise? Drop us a note at [email protected] or call us at (312) 600-5433.

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