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Google Analytics:
Crackerjack in the world of Analysis

By:  Shreya Parmar    

Google Analytics featured image

Whenever someone thinks of the ocean, one would rather think of unearthing each and every thing that we wonder we can, rather than swim in it. Same is the case with Google Analytics, when you dare to delve into Google Analytics's waters, we would wonder if you would truly get it at first. But it should not remain unexplored. And from my side I am going to try my fullest to cover maximum of it.


Let’s burrow ahead for more interesting features of Google Analytics:


What is Google Analytics?

Illustration of a person standing beside graphs and stats indicating google analytics

Starting with the basics, besides Google’s work in several areas such as developer tool etc., Google has several products under Google’s Marketing platform, which provides numerous sub platforms for every kind of businesses such as Google Ads, Data studio, Tag manager, Search Console, also popular and widely used platform out of them is Google Analytics.


Google Analytics or Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Rather it acts as a statistical tool with a number of reports responsible to track down traffic to our website. And the thing which attracts it most is that it’s a free service provided by Google.


In addition, Google provides another premium version Google Analytics360, for better experiences and also good results and also costs lots of money at a high rate for technology. Funny…


But we’ll look into those keen little things of Google Analytics itself which won’t let you drop a penny from your pocket.


Why should anyone use Google Analytics?

Before using any technology or product, this is the obvious question which arises in one’s mind. Next bunch of lines is definitely going to cure your doubts.


The fact is no one knows better than you know how important your company’s online attendance is to its success. But where we lack ourselves is that do we really understand the way our customers are engaging with our site? Amuse a little bit because; with Google Analytics, we can uncover the insights that drive real results.


We’ll proceed to another bunch of reasons which attract marketers to use Google Analytics as their tracking tool.

1. It’s totally free
2. Collects data and automatically convert them into useful reports
3. Powerful integration with Google Ads, Google Tag Manager, Google Search Console
4. One can create their own customized reports
5. Dozens of dimensions and metrics
6. Understands the things which are attracting users to visit website
7. Plus, understands why are users bouncing off from your website
These valuable insights are definitely going to improve a website's performance.


How to set up Google analytics?

Google Analytics is a very flexible analytical tool which we can set up in many API’s made with different frameworks.

◉ Setup Google Analytics in Wordpress
◉ Setup Google Analytics in React
◉ Setup Google Analytics in Angular
◉ Setup Google Analytics4


Setting up Google Analytics is way easier and simple than it looks. The only initial need for setting up Google Analytics is one active Google Account. Or in simpler words it means if you use Google Drive or Gmail you might already have one. If not then activate your Google account so that you will be able to follow notes ahead.


Short key notes for how to use Google Analytics:

◉ Create a Google Analytics account.
◉ Add the name, URL, and industry of the website you want to track.
◉ Add a view to your property.
◉ Add your tracking code directly after the tag of your site.
◉ Visit your Google Analytics portal and verify the code is working.


Detailed Workflow:

◉ From Homepage of Google analytics Click “Start Measuring”

Welcome to google analytics dashboard.

◉ Below picture shows the homepage of signing into Google Analytics. Simply create a Google Analytics account in three steps as per the shown by your homepage. This process will result in an activated Google Analytics account.

Google analytics account setup dashboard

◉ At this stage, it's time to create and name your Property and enter the website's URL as well as industry and reporting time zone. Then you'll be able to Create and Finish this step of the process.

Google analytics property setup dashboard

◉ Again this process is no more complicated than to wake-off on-screen instructions. This step consists of adding information that you want to measure.

Google analytics business information dashboard.

◉ After clicking the “Create” button it will lead you ahead with your tracking code for the site which you chose to track.

Google analytics business information dashboard continued

◉ For getting tracking code, firstly you need to deal with two pop-ups by Google.
1. Accept all Terms and conditions
Google analytics terms of service dashboard

2. Pop up regarding email communication. It’s up to you what you want to tick
Google analytics email communications dashboard

◉ After following the above steps, now we should concentrate on setting up the view. Create a View, name your view, select the type of view (web or app), and answer a few other questions.

Google analytics data stream platform dashboard

◉ Enter URL info if you are measuring for Web Apps.

Google analytics setup data stream url dashboard

◉ Tracking code is what allows Google Analytics to collect data from visitors to your site. You will be able to find Tracking code in Admin Settings, property section “Tracking Info”

Google analytics tracking code dashboard

◉ Now the question arises what is the use of tracking code?
You need to add your tracking code to every page of your website. Or at least to every different type of page your site has. By adding the code to the header or footer, you can add the code to your whole site.

Google analytics website tracking dashboard

◉ The tracking code needs to be added right after the < head > tag of your header file. If you have built your site using HTML files, that will mean adding the tag to those files.


◉ Here, so that you can set up the data collection accurately, you'll be asked to choose your type of site which can be static, dynamic, web hosting, Google Tag Manager.


◉ And here we are ready to get started with our Google Analytics account set up and the tracking code added. It will begin tracking our data straight away after this.


◉ Question will strike your mind: how are we going to verify if that code is working. Well I cannot recommend any simpler way than this; search your respective website on your laptop or computer. Meanwhile, switch to Real-time reports in your Google Analytics account. The report must show at least one visitor at that instance of time (you).

Google analytics real time overview dashboard

Google Analytics Hierarchy

Here’s a look of Google Analytics Hierarchy:

Basic Hierarchy of Google Analytics

Organizations
Organization is the collection of both products and users; and is absolutely optional, well . It basically represents a company, and permits you access your company’s product accounts and manage product users, permissions. They are optional, though recommended for the benefits they provide.

Accounts
Account is more like our access point for Analytics. There can be one or more Analytics accounts that can belong to an organization but you at least need one to have access to Google Analytics. If you do not have an account, sign up for one at Google Marketing Platform - Unified Advertising and Analytics

Properties
Your website, mobile applications are your property. An account can contain one or more properties. A tracking code is generated as mentioned above in the process of activating a Google Analytics account. That code is used to collect data from that property. The code contains a unique ID that identifies the data from that property, and makes it easily identifiable in your reports.

Views
A view is nothing but your access point for reports. You give users access to a view so they can see the reports based on that view's data. Your first view is created when you add property to an account. It does not contain any filters in addition includes all the data for that property

One can also create additional views and apply filters to them so that they each include the specific subset of data in which you're interested.


What thing Plays vital role in Google Analytics? – Their Reports

For interpretation of anything, the importance of reports lies at the top. The bar on the left side is a bit overwhelming. Google Analytics gives us many types of reports which accounts for Real-time reports and Audience reports.


Also ABC categorization of data in Google Analytics comprises three more reports after Audience report:

Acquisition report
Behavior report
Conversions report


Real-time Report:

Are you interested in monitoring activity as soon as it happens on your website?

You can, with the Real-Time reports dashboard in Google Analytics: the dashboard is updated continuously, and each user action is updated a few moments after they occur.

This document will show you how you can see how many people are currently viewing your site, where they are geographically located, what page source the users arrived from, what pages they are viewing, as well as any goals or events that are occurring.


Audience Report:

As with Real-Time Reports, the secret to what these reports do is in the name: they tell you more about your audience, the people who are coming to your site. The Audience section of Google Analytics is an extensive one, with no fewer than fifteen sub-sections sitting within it, most of those with several different reports. We won’t cover each one in exhaustive detail in this guide, but will give a quick whistle-stop tour of the main sections and look at some ways that you can use these reports to maximum effect in your marketing campaigns.


Audiences:

In Google Analytics, Audiences, refer to a particular type of traffic that shows a specific interest in your business. Audiences in Google Analytics are not only important to your business but also the number one advantage of building an audience in analytics is that you have all the data related to your website in your analytics account, in one place.

You can easily monitor the performance of each segment within the audience.

A segment is a subset of your Analytics data. It can be more easily understood by referring to your analytics data as a whole Cake, then imagine each piece of that cake to be different. Like one is red velvet another is white forest, one is lemon cake another is black forest, one strawberry another banana, well enough of watery metaphors, in simpler words so are our segments to whole data in terms of Google Analytics.

One can create their own segment on the basis of Users, No. of hits, Sessions etc.


Cornerstone of Google Analytics: Metrics and Dimensions

Illustration of a person standing with laptop looking at stats and graphs indicating google analytics

We can grab or rectify our visitors with dozens of dimensions and metrics provided by Google Analytics.

Metrics: Quantitative measurements of data and show how a website is performing in relation to a specific dimension

1. Sessions: Measure the volume of visits to your website
2. Users: Measures unique visitors to your website
3. Pageviews: Measure the total number of pages viewed on your website
4. Pages/Session: Measured by dividing the total number of pageviews by the total number of sessions
5. Bounce Rate: Measures the percentage of sessions that leave your website without taking any additional action


Highly wondering about more metrics by Google Analytics other than frequently used one? Here’s delineated metrics information.

Acquisition report consists :

Organic vs. paid sessions
Organic search traffic is traffic from users who came from a non-paid search engine results page. Paid Search is traffic from users who clicked on an advertisement.

Google Ads
You can access detailed metrics about your Google Ads campaigns by linking your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account.

Search Console
Queries
The Search Console section provides detailed analytics on organic searches


Behavior report contains :

Average time on page
You can examine the amount of time that users spend on a page to better understand how good the user experience is.

Top queries in search
Google Analytics allows you to inspect site search data from your website to track queries and customer information by looking at the terms entered in the search bar.

Top 10 landing pages
The Landing Pages metric can help you to determine which pages receive the most traffic.


Conversion report comprises:

Goal conversion rate
Goals are specific interactions with the website that define a target objective. By tracking conversion rates over time, you can determine how well marketing efforts lead to goal conversions.


Dimensions: Attributes that can be used to describe and segment, organize, and sort data

1. Browser: Different browser performances for your website
2. Location: Different locations/countries from which your website was visited
3. Landing Page: Viewers landed on which webpage
4. Device: Data can be sorted across Mobile, Desktop, Tablet


Besides these commonly used dimensions; there are a bunch of other interesting dimensions too. Surprisingly, every dimension’s name describes the information it shows. Let’s follow up more of them:

◉ As mentioned above browser, location, devices are actually termed as Platform dimension. This type of dimensions also consist of keen information regarding “Mobile Device Model” too.

◉ Geo Network dimension, as name suggests “Geo” is usually used in the sense of “ground or land”. Over here it implies the same. ‘Continent’, ‘Country’, ‘Region’ and also ‘City’ inherit in this dimension.

“Screen resolution” information counts into system dimensions.

◉ Besides landing page, mentioned earlier; Page tracking dimensions comprises detailed information of “Exit page”, “Previous page” and also “Page path”.

◉ In the 21st century era, most particulars depend on social media. Google Analytics has several dimensions which track data from social media like “Social Network Source” and “Social Action”. Social action represents various social actions being tracked like bookmarks, likes, shares etc.

◉ Internal search dimensions give you some earfuls like “Site search status”, “Search term”, “Site search category”, “Start page” and “Destination”.

“Time dimension” gives a damn about every detail like Date, Year, Month of the year, Day of the month, Hour, Minute etc.

◉ Technology these days is quite difficult to use without the internet. “Service provider” lends you all information regarding the network/internet being used to access your website. “IP Addresses” can be accessed by managing custom dimensions.

Well sky is your limit though in case of metrics and dimensions in case of Google Analytics.


Acquisition:
Acquisition refers to how you get website traffic / website visitors. Simply put, you can use acquisition reports to see how your traffic arrives at your site.

When you first look under Acquisition report on your Google Analytics Dashboard, you’ll notice the Overview tab gives you an all-encompassing snapshot of acquisition, behavior, and conversion data for your top traffic sources by channel (referral, direct, organic search, and social).


Behavior:
The Behavior reports are all about seeing what visitors are actually doing on your website. By using these user behavior reports, you can assess the performance of your website content and determine if your visitors are taking the actions you want them to.

After the Overview tab, you’ll find the Behavior Flow view. This shows the path visitors commonly take when they visit your site, from entering to exiting. Use this to see where it is that people tend to enter and drop off.


Conversion:
The Conversions section of Google Analytics is all about understanding how people convert on your website, which is essential to improving your conversion rate.

Conversion reports are broken into four sections: goals, eCommerce, multi-channel funnel, and attribution. Let’s take a look at what these entail.

It’s important to note here that in order to be successful; you’ll want to set up good goals.

Well conversion reports can be made more accurate by integrating Google Analytics accounts with Google Tag Manager, Google Ads, and Google Search Console


Watch out things which numbers can’t do

Google Analytics Dashboard overview

1. Tabular Reports:
Easiest way to understand data at first glance in Google analytics are tables, which are selected as the default way to display data. The first column displays a dimension and all the rest columns show the metrics.

2. Pie Charts:
Another useful way to analyze data in analytics is pie charts. Pie charts are easy to read and very direct in showing us our best-performing item. The thing which makes the pie chart easy to understand is that it has only one metric.

3. Performance
To understand this properly, one must select metrics which can show proper data in percentages, so that the first column shows the total number, and second shows the percentage contribution for the same in the form of a horizontal bar chart.

4. Comparison:
Comparison is the fourth type of visualization which is very helpful to see how a metric is changing compared to the site average within a given date range.

5. Pivot Tables:
The last type of visualization in analytics is the pivot table report. It can be used to quickly summarize data in the desired format and detect trends.

Now we all are at least clear that Google Analytics is just not a marketing tool; it’s rather a problem solving tool, providing every specific detail one needs to solve a problem.

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