What is Google Analytics?
Managing your own website isn’t an easy business. From content creation, to hosting concerns, you have to keep a lot in mind for your website to be successful.
But all of that work is just the start of the equation. Why? Because it’s imperative that you track how your message, products, and services are resonating with visitors. Checking how many users visit the site in a day, how much time they spent on your pages, and whether or not your marketing budget is working effectively are all aspects that help you make crucial decisions for your website and consequently, your overall success.
Since a website doesn’t come with these features pre-installed, you most often have to use third-party tools that help you monitor these performance metrics.
That’s where Google Analytics comes in.
What is Google Analytics?
Launched in 2005, Google Analytics is a data gathering and assessment tool created by the world’s largest search engine. Under the umbrella of Google, the service allows website owners all around the world to check on the user statistics of their website. It also allows developers to access their app metrics on Google Play and iOS, but for this article we’ll be referring to the information presented in Google Analytics for websites.
Google Analytics can record the visitor activity on your website and help you understand it in the form of various metrics.
The data gathered by Google Analytics is considered the most accurate in the industry. The tools included for segmenting and evaluating the data are often considered the best available. As a result, Google Analytics has become near-ubiquitous for digital professionals and publishers the world over.
Familiarizing yourself with the terms that are used in Google Analytics can take some time. But if you know about the basics of website management then using Google Analytics should be fairly straightforward.
Ease of use and accuracy of data are not the only features that make Google Analytics so powerful. It’s actually the various deep analysis tools that come with the platform that make it such a compelling solution.
What Can Google Analytics Do for You?
In Google Analytics, data is presented in an interface that combines textual and visual cues, making it easy to understand and digest often large and complex amounts of information.
Here are a few of the most popular data metrics that Google Analytics can record, manage and present to you.
This is somewhat self-explanatory. Google Analytics records site traffic data by monitoring each visitor that lands on your website. From there, Google Analytics can provide you even more detailed information about each visitor. Some of the most popular data that is analyzed in with site traffic are:
This factor tells you about the geographical region from which the visitor originated. Depending upon available data, this can show you very specific geographical data about visitors to your website.
Mode of Traffic
This data tells you whether the visitor came to your website by typing the URL in their browser, by searching for keywords on Google, through paid ads, referral links, or social media.
Repeat or New Traffic
This data element lets you know whether a visitor is landing on your website after visiting it in the past, or if they are a new visitor altogether.
These metrics allow you to assess the traffic details in a more thorough manner. Using the data that is gathered in Site Traffic, you use deep analytics to assess how your visitors are responding to your website.
This element displays the rate of how many visitors are closing your site’s tab within one minute of landing on the page. A good bounce rate is dependent on the type of website you are analyzing. As a general rule of thumb, a bounce rate of under 50% is average whereas a bounce rate of greater than 60% is considered poor. A bounce rate of under 30% is considered exceptional and indicates that 70% of visitors are having more than one interaction with a website during the visit.
Keeping this in mind, if the bounce rate reaches 80 percent or 90 percent for your site, then you know that your content or value isn’t able to hold your visitors’ attention. A higher than normal bounce rate may indicate that you should look into changing your site’s design, services, or the way the information is presented to visitors.
Apart from bounce rate, session duration is another important aspect that lets you determine how engaging your site is to your target audience. The longer visitors stay on your website, the better. Session durations of just a few seconds may indicate that visitors are having trouble finding what they are looking. It may also indicate he page isn’t loading quickly enough to keep their attention. You can check against specific visitors’ session durations or check their average rate. This factor gives you an idea of whether or not your site is behaving according to your expectations.
Details of Specific Pages
Google Analytics also allows you to assess the data according to each page’s performance. As such, you’ll know how each page of your site is holding up to visitors’ expectations. This information is particularly useful for content sites that want to know if their latest offering is engaging enough, as well as eCommerce sites that need to see if a product on their roster is connecting with visitors.
Apart from general data and assessment models, Google Analytics permits you go a step beyond and see if you are actually meeting your goals of generating revenue or traffic. You can stay on top of your goals with a quick glance at your Google Analytics dashboard rather than having to manually review these details each day.
Conversion tracking lets you mark “conversions” made on your website. These conversions can come in the form of a checkout completion or a contact form submission. By using custom tracking, you can measure any other conversion metric that you think may help in dialing-in your site.
You can also assess if the conversion happened through a user that was drawn through an organic search result, a referral site where you shared your content, or through a paid marketing ad such as Google AdWords. This attribution can be a big benefit. With it you can invest in the best possible ways to attract the right kind of traffic. This data tells you where your most valuable traffic is coming from, and lets you invest into marketing decisions accordingly.
Integration with Third Party Solutions
If your website uses several calls to action (CTA) on a single page, then it can be difficult to track which CTA drove that page’s visitor to conversion. Google Analytics is limited in this capacity, but it allows third party tools such as Click Ranger Pro to track such conversions easily. This support for additional tools means that a wealth of data can be collected and understood in ways that go above and beyond what Google Analytics offers on its own.
The marketing performance of your Google AdWords can be examined through Analytics.
Check the Performance of Specific Ads
Assess the performance of your ads by comparing the traffic data against paid traffic. This allows you to determine whether your ad spend is providing valuable traffic. You can see traffic that bounces immediately is wasted effort.
See the Kind of Visitors Advertisements Are Drawing In
Even if the bounce rate is low, this doesn’t automatically translate to increased conversions. For instance, if bounces are coming from a geographical region outside your service area, the traffic probably isn’t useful. These metrics help you determine such crucial details and make marketing decisions accordingly.
Check Which Landing Pages Perform the Best
This is another way to see how your on-site content is performing against your ad spend. By checking the performance of landing pages, you can change and improve your marketing strategy in real-time.
Do you Really Need to Install Google Analytics?
We recommend that all site owners install Google Analytics on their websites. The power of the tool is substantial and the free price is exceptional. No other tool allows site publishers to understand how visitors are interacting with their website. It also gives insight into why visitors are behaving that way. By utilizing Google Analytics a wealth of information is not just available, but understandable as well.
Extensions like Click Ranger Pro add a layer of depth that Google Analytics doesn’t do on its own. By utilizing the right tools and event trackers, you can gain near endless insights into site visitor behavior.
Whether you have more questions on what Google Analytics has to offer or want to better understand all the power available to site owners, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. Our team can help set up the right analytics and measurable events on websites of all shapes and sizes. We’d love to answer your questions and help you get the most out of Google Analytics.