espite being of the best digital marketing tools out there, Google Analytics is still underrated, underutilized, and undervalued.
As it turns out, there are over 30 million Google Analytics users who are mostly business owners. Having said that, Google Analytics is still growing and its number of users is on the rise. However, many of the old and existing users are yet to be aware of the full capabilities of Google Analytics.
It’s safe to assume that the reason why most users lack the necessary understanding of GA is due to the intimidating and complicated user interface of this powerful analytics tool. However, beneath the scary UI, lies a tool that could help push any business to the next level of profitability through proper monitoring, analyzing, and improved its traffic.
I’m not saying that there are no other web traffic monitoring and analyzation tools that offer the same or similar functionalities of GA, but the truth is that none of those tools get even close to providing the results at the same cost as Google Analytics. Even Baidu Analytics (which comes very close to Google Analytics) can not fill the gap in terms of usage and result.
Google Analytics: Not Just Another Analytics Tool
Google Analytics goes beyond visitor tracking and performance monitoring. What Google Analytics can potentially do for you goes beyond what you see on the surface. In this article I’ll summarize what Google Analytics can do for your business and categorize the findings under three major items;
First and foremost, Google Analytics provides many reports. With these reports, you can find out exactly what to tweak to fine-tune your website’s overall performance. GA features several reports that explicitly spell out the shortcomings of every page on your website (using metrics such as “bounce rate”, “avg. session duration”, etc). Google Analytics is not just a critic, but a constructive tool that points out your website’s pain points along with practical solutions that can be used to solve those problems.
Repositioning Your SERPs
This is arguably one of the most important aspects of why you should use Google Analytics (or any other website traffic monitoring and reporting tool). Google Analytics’ keyword tools can help you monitor the performance of your existing keywords, along with giving you an insight into newly discovered keywords which you can use in your content marketing strategy. This is how Search Engine Optimization is done via Google Analytics.
When you add another important tool, such as Google’s Search Console (AKA “Webmater Tools”) to GA, you’ll be able to get a better look at these keywords since Analytics will then pull the data straight from Google’s search performance of your website via Search Console. Let’s put it like this, Google Analytics directly contributes to the progress of SEO efforts. GA identifies specific keywords that are vital to the success of your SEO.
Google Analytics does not directly generate traffic. However, it provides you with an insight of your existing traffic’s performance so that you can use that information to optimize the quality and quantity of the incoming traffic sources. Simply put, with Google Analytics, you are in the know as to where the traffic of your SEO campaign is being generated. This data can then be segmented based on geography, demography, type, and origin.
After all, whatever you decide to do on your website is up to you, but if you want to stay competitive and maintain your visibility dominance on search engines, Google Analytics is a must-have. By being able to set-up your data sources effectively, GA becomes the all-knowing and invincibly powerful tool that will help you accomplish your SEO goals.
What’s New with Google Analytics in 2020
If you are an active Google Analytics user, you may have received a mail sometime in mid-December 2019 on the new upcoming additions to Google Analytics in 2020. Let me summarize these for you since there are three significant takeaways in the email;
1. Unified Experience for Both App and Web Properties
Back in July 2019, Google made an anouncement about their desire to combine metrics from apps and websites into a single place. Google wants to create a unified experience for its users by better understanding the customer’s journey across the different platforms.
In making the effort to achieve that goal, Google Analytics introduced two additional cross-platform analysis: cohort analysis and user lifetime. While user lifetime provides insights into the totality of activies of a group of users, cohort analysis compares the engagements between the different groups of users.
2. Consistent Site Experiences
Back in late November of 2019, Praveen Krishnan, a Senior Product Manager at Google Optimize said “consumers expect connected shopping experiences from research to purchase. But their journeys aren’t linear.” What Praveen is referring to is that when we are constantly optimizing our website, running different experiments and such, our returning customers may end up confused and derailed. What Google is working on is for us to be able to display the same version of our website that our customers saw the last time they visited our webpage, the next time they come back, in order to deliver a consistent site experience.
This is especially useful when we are running Google Ad campaigns and want to run a specific promotion while being able to display the correct experience to our campaign audience every time they visit our website. You can also use Optimize to automatically display a custom page each time an email campaign visitor visits your site. This is done in a few simple steps:
- Create a custom web page for the promotion
- Add a utm_campaign parameter to the URL in the email and name it “promotion-sale”
- Then in Optimize, add a UTM parameter rule for “promotion-sale”
Voila! After you do this, Optimize will then use that parameter to display the correct page everytime people who received that email promotion visit your web site.
In addition to email, you can use the UTM parameter rule in any other campaigns that support UTM parameters. Both the Google Ads rule and UTM parameter rule are available to use in Optimize and Optimize 360.
3. New Reporting Interface For Google Optimize
The reporting interface has also been updated. This is especially great for A/B testing. Google has launched Reports 2.0 with a completely revamped reporting interface to break out Observed data (which is derived from Google Analytics) and Optimize analysis. Google has taken action to improve the reporting interface in order to make it easier to for us to understand our users in order to take immediate action.
There is a lot of difference between the former interface and the new one, most notably in the display of data. What the new interface is trying to do is to provide is a straightforward and rational explanation for discrepancies between the data from Google Analytics and Google Optimize. Furthermore, the new update provides a way for us to quickly jump into GA to use the information gathered from Optimize and create a unique segment. Previously, we would have been required to use the GA Dimension and Metric explorer and narrow down and use available dimensions and metrics.
Final Thoughts on New Google Analytics Updates
While for new users Google Analytics could be nerve-racking, Google is actively improving the tool by providing new cross-tool options to help users of all skill-level leverage the data they gather and collect from their customers. With that said, there is always a short learning curve whenever a new product update gets released but once you get past that, data interpretation and goal achievements become come easier.