Measuring our marketing efforts in as many ways as we can is important in conversion optimization. When we measure and analyze what is going on at the minutiae level of our website and marketing campaigns, then we are more empowered to act in a beneficial way to transform our content into content that converts, increasing our sign-ups and our sales, because we know what our audience wants, and we are then able to give it to them.
One of the most powerful tools that we can use to measure these marketing efforts is Google Analytics.
Following is an overview as to what you might find when you first open up analytics, what kind of features are included in the setup, and what kind of reports you can already find built-in. With this initial setup, numerous ways exist to explore, refine, manage, and discover insights into your data.
This post will only give a basic understanding of what Google Analytics is and what features are contained within. For further understanding, I recommend the free google courses on analytics, both the basic and advanced, and the much more in-depth course that CXL puts out taught by Chris Mercer, the head of measurementmarketing.io.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a tool that is part of the Google Marketing Platform that helps us more effectively analyze our customers interactions with our brand online.
According to Chris Mercer, although analytics has the ability to natively collect, store, and report details where it really shines in the storage.
Google Tag Manager is better at seeing behaviors and getting access to more behaviors and Google Data studio is better at making reports. Both of these can be used with Google Analytics to create a very powerful trifecta to find out what actions are being taken on a site and who is taking those actions, collect that data into meaningful chunks of information, and present that data in a way that we can learn from it and act on it.
Google Analytics Admin
The Google Analytics admin section is where we can to set up all accounts, properties, and views. Through these settings we can manage permissions of various users and set the master controls as to how our data is to be rendered in analytics and what other tools in the Google Marketing Platform that we will integrate with. We can also set permissions as to what types of information we want Google to collect on our sites.
Account is at the top-level hierarchy of the admin section. This is where we create account-wide settings, such as who we want to share our data with, what kind of information we want our users to have access to, what type of filters we have applied to our various views of the data, and also what we have changed recently in our account, including what we have decided to delete.
One of the most important features of this section are the basic settings found under the Account Settings option. This not only gives the account name, but also the account Id.
Second in the hierarchy, is the property view. Whereas different accounts are more appropriate for sites that are not at all interlinked, the various properties we manage within the account are related properties. For example, we might have two properties, one that has an informational dynamic and one that has transactional dynamic both related to the same business.
Because these properties are related, we keep them in the same account and manage them as different properties in that account. If we had two separate business and had no reason for these businesses data to be measured together, than we would track each business in a separate account.
In the property section, we can create properties, enable certain reports that we might want to show up in these property accounts, we can also set up tracking codes, and determine how data is to kept and what is to be excluded from our data.
In each of these properties, we can create various views so that we can really dial down and attempt to visualize what’s important and take out what’s not.
In the view section we can enable various goals, thus helping us plan how to make our interactions with this data more actionable. We can also create filters using regular expressions to teach analytics to organize our data better. For example, depending on search queries someone might search for something on our site with capital or lowercase letters. Even though the search term might be the same, when the data is reported in the reports the terms might show up as two terms. To get proper metrics on our data we can filter all the terms so they show up as lowercase and get counted as the same information.
Dimensions and Metrics
Going out of the admin section and into the reports section, there are two main attributes that we can divide our reports into:
- Dimensions — these are the terms that we can sort our data by. For example, the names of pages, products, and campaigns are all dimensions that we can look at in analytics.
- Metrics–these are the numbers that represent the stats that are applied to various dimensions. Anything that is numerical and can be acted upon by arithmetic is considered a metric in analytics.
Types of Reports
Next week we go into the specific types of reporting that we can find by default in analytics. But associated with this reporting are the reports that are set up in analytics to represent the data coming in. There are four types of reports that we’ll find in each of these reporting categories.
Overview reports do what they say. Their role is to give an overview of the data coming in, depending on the category. For example, if you are looking at an Audience report than an overview report gives you an glimpse into who is interacting with your traffic. This gives various pie charts, bar graphs, etc. to communicate the data that we can visualize in the category.
This is a report where data is arranged in rows and columns. For each corresponding dimension, different metrics will be included to elucidate information about that dimension.
Flow reports act as a guide that shows the flow of traffic from one dimension to another. They act as a breadcrumb trail that helps users visualize how traffic moves within and between sites.
Other types of reports are also included at times. For example auxilary reports that show where users in the world are located, funnel visualization that allows us to see our goals in metrics as aligned to our sales funnel and many more.
Organizing and Discovering with Analytics
With Google Analytics, we can organize and uncover data that can help us implement and refine our conversion optimization goals. Tracking all this data, managing it, and analyzing it, can bring to the fore insights that we otherwise would be unaware of. These insights, then, can create actionable goals and refinements that can in turn help improve conversions, build new relationships with our customers, and help us reiterate our business to focus on our strengths and most importantly, validate and improve the reasons our customers buy from us in the first place.