What will we see in this post
- What is Google Analytics?
- Why is it important to track the performance of your pages?
- How do I install Google Analytics?
- What will I find on Google Analytics’ dashboard?
- What are the metrics that Analytics provides?
- What kind of traffic is monitored by Google Analytics?
- How do I use Google Analytics to improve my conversions?
- Measure, measure, measure, to improve
One of the greatest advantages of the online market, when compared with the offline one, is how easy it is to measure results.
With a billboard ad, or a TV commercial, it is practically impossible to measure if your audience has been, in fact, impacted by it. On the web, however, you can identify where your traffic is coming from, how many people clicked on a specific ad and purchased the product, and many other metrics that are essential for you to understand if your strategies are working. And also, what you need to optimize in order to attract more customers, generate more leads and, of course, make more sales.
There are many tools that can help you get this data, but the most important one is, without a doubt, Google Analytics. Besides providing you with all the information you need about your web page, Analytics has a free version, which means you only need a Google email account to start.
In this post, you will understand what Google Analytics is and how to use the information it provides to improve the performance of your business!
Google Analytics is a tracking service tool from Google. It collects data from websites, blogs, e-commerce, apps, and others, via a code installed on these pages.
With it, you can track:
- the number of people who visited your website;
- how many of these users are visiting it for the first time;
- how many are returning visitors;
- the most visited pages;
- the average time spent by the visitor;
- which keywords attract more traffic;
- how many visitors came from search engines, and how many came from ads;
- among other information.
But worry not! You won’t need to analyze all this data. Pick and choose the ones that are important for you to understand the audience you’re dealing with, and what kind of content is more interesting for them. And the data is different for each entrepreneur.
Sounds confusing? Let’s take a look at some examples so you can understand it a little bit better.
A blogger who writes frequently needs to know which keywords attract more traffic to her blog, to optimize texts from the point of view of content and SEO, focusing on search rankings and, consequently, get more visitors.
The owner of an e-commerce who invests in ads, on the other hand, needs to know which campaign has a better performance in clicks and sales, to direct investment.
And for a digital influencer, what really matters is finding out which social network is bringing more visitors.
Entrepreneurs need to know how many people are visiting their pages every months, if this number is going up or down, to optimize their online presence.
With data provided by tools such as Google Analytics, they are able to identify where the bottlenecks are in their strategies, and then create content that is more assertive to the buyer persona they are trying to reach.
Let’s take a look at another practical example.
Imagine you create an ad campaign with Adwords and your blog traffic went up by more than 20%. However, the bounce rate on the page went up by the same 20%. The bounce rate represents the number of people that visited the page, but didn’t take any action (we will explain this further on).
What does that tell you?
One possibility is that your ads are not aligned with the content of the page. In other words, the visitor clicked on the banner expecting something, but couldn’t find the solution for the problem she was facing.
With this information on your hands, you can improve the text of the post, insert images and graphs, add links, use research data to increase the added value in that content, making it more interesting to the reader.
The opposite situation can also occur, when ads have a low click rate, but the visitors are engaged on your page. It is possible that the ads are not grabbing the attention of your audience, which in turn means there may be something wrong with segmentation, copy, or design.
- Access Analytics’ website: https://www.google.com/analytics/
- To use the service, you will need a valid Google email account. If you haven’t got one, you can create it here: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp
- Next, you have to fill in information such as account name, website’s name, URL, and so on.
- Click on Get Tracking ID. The Tracking ID will collect and store data from your website. You should then copy and past this number on every page you want to track.
How do I install the tracking code on my website?
There are three options for you to install the tracking code on your pages:
- You may paste it manually, but this requires programming knowledge, or the assistance of a specialist.
- On websites and blogs using WordPress, there is a plugin that installs the code on all your pages, automatically.
- Another option to integrate your website with Google Analytics is Google Tag Manager. It is a free software that manages tags, and it is also used to instal Google Adwords’ pixel.
After you have installed the tracking code on your pages, Google Analytics will start tracking the accesses and actions your visitors take. It’s important to remember that data from before the installation will not be computed.
After you have installed the tracking code on your website or blog, Google Analytics’ home will look like this:
In it, you will find information such as the number of visits to you website/blog, the conversion rate of the page, the profit you obtained, and the number of new sessions started in the last seven days, which is the standard setting of the tool.
On the blue rectangle to your right, you will see the number of visitors on your website at that specific moment, and the list with the top 5 pages with more active users.
Administrator shows all the pages (properties) that are tracked with that account. In this menu, you can edit information such as goals, Google Adwords linking, monitoring information, and more.
In Reports, you can get customized reports from your page on Audience, main sources of traffic (Acquisition), Behavior, and Conversions.
But don’t worry, we’ll talk about the main metrics below.
As we have already mentioned, the metrics you analyze depend on your business’s objective.
To accessed detailed reports about your accesses, click on Audience > Overview.
The main graph shows the number of sessions in the period being analyzed. And the pie chart shows the number of new visitors (in blue) and returning visitors (in green).
On the same page, you see the country leading the number of visits, the language most used on your page, the most commonly used browser, and, for mobile, the most common operational system used by visitors.
Number of visitors that accessed your website in the period analyzed.
Number of people visiting your page for the first time. This number is always lower than the number of total users, since it doesn’t take into account people that accessed your website more than once in the period being analyzed.
It’s important to track this number to find out how many people actually engaged with the content you’re sharing on your page.
A session is the period of time that the user is actually engaged with your page. It starts counting from the moment the visitor accesses you page, and it ends after 30 minutes of inactivity.
Number of Sessions per User
This is the number of new sessions started by the same user.
Total number of pageviews. The bigger this number, the better, because it means that people visited other pages on your website.
Average Session Duration
Shows the average time spent by the user on the page. It is an important indicator that the visitor browser that content.
If you have a text with an average reading time of 5 minutes, and the user spent less than 15 seconds on your page, it probably means she only read the title. But if the average duration is longer than a minute, it’s safe to say that the user read at least the main points of the text.
If the average session duration is very low, you need to invest in more graphic resources to convey your information.
The bounce rate is the percentage of sessions of a single page, in which there was no other action taken by the visitor. That means the visitor didn’t scroll down, nor clicked on any link.
To bring this rate down, you should invest in visual resources to keep the user active on the page until she takes an action.
It is important to remember that the title and opening paragraph are crucial for the reader’s engagement. Make sure your promise is clear and offer something that interests your target-audience.
Besides the Overview, you can get more detailed information from your audience such as:
The Behavior menu shows the main interactions the users have with your website. To find out what the most visited pages were, for example, select Behavior > Site Content > All pages.
With this, you can learn which content were more interesting to your audience, and focus on supplementary materials.
By clicking on the most visited pages, you can also see the evolution of the topic in the period being analyzed. If a post with a lot of accesses has had a drop in visits from one month to another, you can make some changes to get this traffic back, and even improve it.
It shows the users that got to your website through search engines. That’s why it is so important to reach the first places, since the 1st place attracts 33% of clicks, whereas 2nd and 3rd places, attract 18% and 12%, respectively.
To climb to the top of results, invest in quality content and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques. There are many other blog posts here on how to create appealing content. Take a look after you have finished reading this text!
These are the users who got to your page through a newsletter or any other communication via email. This is an important number to prove the effectiveness of your email marketing strategies.
> Check out our guide on how to correctly use email marketing.
This statistic shows the visits that came from direct access, which means the user typed in your website’s address on the address bar on the browser. Having a high volume of direct access means that people consider you an authority in that subject.
Visitors in this category have come from a referral or a link on other websites or blogs. If you have a business about pets, for example, you may have been referred to by a website that sells dog food.
It’s not possible to control the websites that link to your content, but it is important to check, from time to time, the quality of these links. After all, bad links can harm your rankings in search engines.
If you want more links to your content, you should write guest posts to other websites and blogs in the same segment as yours, so they can do the same for you. It’s a win-win situation, as both will get more links.
The traffic of paid search shows the visitors that accessed your page after clicking on one of your ads. This data, alongside Adwords, are the main indicators to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.
But it is important to be careful: if your traffic originates from ads only, your business will not be sustainable in the long term.
The ads are excellent to achieve quick results, but a well-defined content strategy is what will make people return to your page, even if you don’t have more money to invest in campaigns.
Conversions are not always linked to a sale.
Downloading an ebook, signing up for a newsletter, and requesting an estimate or a free trial also demand a direct action from the visitor. This means they should also be measured.
To keep track of the conversion rate of your marketing actions, access Administrator > Select the account > Goals > + New Goal.
Currently, Google Analytics allows you to insert four kinds of goals:
Destination: Keeps track of visits to a page or specific screen of the app.
Duration: Monitors the duration of a user session. It may vary according to the objective.
Pages/Screens per session: Number of pages viewed by the user. It may indicate that the visitor has found many different kinds of content that were of interest.
Event: Shows that the user triggered a specific action, such as viewing a video.
Google Analytics also allows you to set up a conversion funnel to understand the path taken by the user, from the first access to the expected action.
To access this information, select the option Funnel Visualization and manually paste the URLs from the pages you want to track.
Let’s suppose your goal is to increase the number of people that contact your sales team to request an estimate. You can then keep track of the following URLs: Website contact page > contact our consultants > request form.
If a visitor takes two of these actions and gives up in the last one, this may indicate that the text on the page is confusing, that the form is not in the best position possible, or that you are asking for too much information.
Google Analytics won’t tell you what is wrong with your approach. It will only deliver the information that will lead you to the insights to improve, which is half-way there. From then, you will need to carry out test to prove your hypothesis right or wrong.
This optimization process is never-ending, even if you are already achieving good results. It may seem hard work, but establishing these improvement flows will ensure you reach more and more people, without a drop in performance.
Metrics are essential to understand if you actions are generating leads and sales, and they can also show you what you need to revisit in your marketing planning. And when we talk about measuring online results, no other tool is more complete and effective than Google Analytics.
From now on, you will be able to use the tools Google Analytics provides to get to know your audience better, offer content that is better aligned with the expectations of your audience, and with it, improve the performance of your business in a continuous and sustainable way.
Take this opportunity to read our post on goals and learn how to come up with the most relevant KPIs for your business.
All the best, and see you soon!