Whether you’re new to digital marketing or you consider yourself a seasoned SEO, you probably know about Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is the ultimate web analytics tool for gathering website data and generating reports. This Google Analytics tutorial takes you through the setup and analysis processes of the tool.
We all love traveling every once in a while. When deciding to go on a trip, the first thing you think about is the destination. You pick a favorite spot that you have been dreaming about for years. And there is nothing that beats the excitement and anticipation of getting to your destination.
In the world of eCommerce and online marketing, the ideal destination is to make fortunes. Attracting more visitors, meeting your ROI goals, getting more leads, and so on.
But let’s go back to traveling for a little bit. What if the captain of the ship – just after takeoff – suddenly announced that he would be wearing a blindfold for the rest of the trip. Panic would ensue because suddenly, everyone realizes that there is no way the ship is arriving at its desired destination.
For our purposes, running a website – any website – without Google Analytics is like captaining the ship with a blindfold on. You will never get to your goals.
In this Google Analytics tutorial, we are going to cover how to set up Google Analytics (GA) for your site. We will also discuss the data that GA helps you collect and more importantly – how to use this data to achieve your marketing goals.
By the end of the article, you will have learned about:
- The Google Analytics Setup process
- The Google Analytics data analysis process
- How to increase conversions by using GA data
Who Needs Google Analytics?
As stated earlier, anyone with a blog/website needs Google Analytics. GA allows you to track the activities of your visitors. The amount of data that you can collect with this tool will be crucial for your marketing and promotion purposes.
Google Analytics allows you to monitor everything from:
- The number of visitors your site has received over a particular period.
- The number of unique visitors from the total number of visits.
- The page views made by the visitors and the number of views per page.
- The average duration a visitor spent on your site.
- The bounce rate and several other GA Metrics1.
GA delivers all this data with some great charts, graphs, and illustrations that make it easy for you to create your next business strategy. GA is, therefore, the single most useful tool for business intelligence and SEO strategy.
Let’s dive right into the basics of setting up this crucial tool.
The Google Analytics Setup Process
To start, you will need to have a Google Analytics account. If you have a basic Gmail or Google account, then creating an analytics account is simple.
Head on to analytics.google.com to sign up. On the analytics page, you will either be required to sign in (if you have a Google Account) or create an account. To create one, click on the Start for free button.
Setting Up Google Analytics
When it comes to setting up GA, you can either choose to do it with a WordPress plugin or set it up by inserting code on your website. We will look at both methods in this Google Analytics tutorial.
Method 1: Setting up Google Analytics with MonsterInsights plugin
After signing up on analytics.google.com, proceed to set up your property names. Also, make sure to list your website on the “Website URL required” box.
Fill out the account name, pick your industry, and your timezone as required. Be sure to set your property names correctly as GA uses this data to provide you with accurate data for your specific industry.
The great thing about GA is that it allows you to have as many properties as 100 properties under one Google account. So if you have many websites, you can set up their properties by following these steps.
Finally, check the “Data Sharing” boxes and proceed by clicking “Get Tracking ID”.
Your website’s tracking code will be generated. Be sure to copy it to a different page or open up a new analytics page to proceed as this tracking ID will be required for later setup stages.
Setting up MonsterInsights
There are various plugins on the WordPress platform that allow you to derive insights from Google Analytics. To get things running, do the following steps.
- On your WordPress dashboard, select Add a new plugin. A page with various plugins will pop up.
- Enter “MonsterInsights” on the search at the top of the page.
The plugin will show up as “Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights”.
- Click Install Now.
- Follow the setup guide that MonsterInsights will take you through.
- Connect your account to Google when prompted to do so and input your website URL.
- Click Save Changes when prompted and finish the setup.
Note: Plugins like MonsterInsights import the GA data to your dashboard and you don’t need to access it from analytics.google.com.
Method 2: Setting up Google Analytics by Inserting Code in Your Header or Footer
If you wish to use GA without necessarily having other plugins, you can do so by changing the code on your website. Here are the steps to follow:
- To start, go back to the GA setup page and get the tracking ID code.
- On your WordPress dashboard, search for the “header and footer” plugin and install it. (You can skip installing it if you want to change the code by yourself).
- Paste the Tracking ID code on the header section of the plugin. (If you didn’t install the plugin, simply access the theme code and paste the tracking ID on the header).
Understanding the Data: The Google Analytics Data Analysis Process
Google Analytics is undoubtedly unmatched when it comes to data analysis. This tool is not only efficient in collecting data but it is also relatively simple to use. Even for absolute beginners, the process is not complicated at all.
Various graphical guiding icons on GA answer some of the simplest questions that could be on your mind while using the tool.
To start analyzing the data gathered by GA, follow these steps:
On the GA home page, there are guiding questions that will help you understand the data. There are two basic routes you can take to make sense of the data.
Route 1: Ask your own questions
If you prefer to ask your own questions regarding the data, access the ‘analytics intelligence’ tab. This tab is located on the right on the GA home page.
Google Analytics makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to collect user questions and provide answers. AI and machine learning help a lot when it comes to breaking down data.
The questions that you ask might only be sufficient to cure your curiosity. To get the full picture of what you can do with data, you need to assess the acquisition reports.
Route 2. Go through the acquisition reports
To make proper sense of the data you have collected, you need to do an ABC analysis. ABC stands for acquisition, behavior, and conversions.
The reports provided by GA give you numbers relating to organic search, the behavior of visitors, and the pages visited. Such data ultimately help you improve conversions.
Acquisition reports can be classified according to the different sources that the traffic comes from. You can assess individual data that comes from YouTube, partners, paid traffic, mail, and other sources.
You can vividly see who converts most, the markets where the traffic is from, and so on. With this data, you can do segmentation and take actions that bring you more conversions.
Making comparisons using segments
Analyzing your GA data with segments is the final step to take when narrowing down the steps you should take. To make comparisons using segments, create filters to get specific information about traffic sources.
To make segments, go to the “Audience Overview” section of your GA homepage. You have various sessions to choose from to analyze your converters and non-converters data.
You can derive reports based on demographics, geographic location, audience interests, and so on.
The reports you generate will be crucial for the changes you want to make on your website.
Making Changes: How to Use the Data Derived from Google Analytics
With Google Analytics, you ultimately aim at creating changes and getting results. GA allows you to isolate meaningful data that can be useful with a couple of actionable steps.
So what should you be doing with the data? What kind of actions should you take? Here is what you need to do with the data that you get from GA.
- Generate detailed reports and give the data to professionals
It can be tough to apply the right action with the data you get from Google Analytics. To ensure that your goals are met quickly and efficiently, you can opt to share this data with professionals.
First, you need to export the data to tools like Google Sheets. Such programs can help you process the data efficiently before sharing it with partners and professionals. Getting the right results means that you have to get the KPIs right.
When the key performance indicators are easily understood, professionals like SEO experts and marketing professionals can help you tailor the right solutions.
By processing the data, you can easily point out the problems with your website. If the problem is with SEO, then an expert in the field can help you solve it using the data.
If the problem lies in marketing, then a marketing agency will know exactly what to do with the data.
It is important to use tools like supermetrics when generating reports2. Such tools help you pull data from all sources and easily export and compile it in one report.
- Carry out testing using the GA data you have gathered
After generating reports and getting actionable steps from the experts, it is now time to do some tests.
Whether you have opted to get professional help or not, the ultimate workable solution comes by creating hypotheses using the data and doing some tests.
Let’s take an example of a non-performing page on your site. Before applying any solutions, you need to change up the page and test it. Fortunately, there is a wide availability of demo tools that you can use to test your hypothesis.
A tool like MadKudu is, for instance, great for all your sales demos3.
When doing your tests, you should take all paths possible and find out which versions of the solution work best and make changes.
Google also has its own testing site – Google Optimize, which helps with various modeling tools that you can use to customize your pages4.
Another route you can take when testing is to export all the segment data you gathered with GA to Adwords. Adwords can help you with audience retargeting. GA data can work with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and many others where your traffic comes from.
What Is the Takeaway from This Google Analytics Tutorial
Google Analytics can help you gather all sorts of information. It is the only tool that can give you efficiency and simplicity when analyzing website data. Running a website without GA is futile since you will not be able to achieve your goals.
For you to use Google Analytics effectively, you need to know how to set it up and how to read the data it provides. The data generated can be sent to experts who can help you optimize your site and achieve your goals.
One of the key things you should consider when using GA is to have all the data in your own account. You shouldn’t allow the data to be on another person or entity’s account as they could go away with it in case you part ways.
Hopefully, this Google Analytics tutorial has given you all the information you needed. Create your GA account today and bring your goals closer. Once you’re ready to test your skills, prepare for the GAIQE by reviewing the Google Analytics Individual Qualification Exam questions and answers.