Joe: So why should I use Google Analytics?
Analyst: To get answers to your questions.
Analyst: To see what’s working and what’s not for your online business.
Analyst: To take better business decisions and to grow your business. All business resources are limited (advertising budget, hours of work for content marketing, hours of work for social media marketing, etc), that is why it’s wise to use them just on things that move your business further and stop wasting them on activities that make no difference for your business’s goals.
Google Analytics is a web analytics service that tracks and reports the website’s usage and visitor’s interaction with the website on which it is installed. The standard version is free and the installation process for the basic tracking is relatively easy and fast.
The collected information is stored on Google’s servers and you can access it via the reports from Google Analytics website or via their API.
Although It collects a lot of data by default, before you start asking questions, you won’t get much benefit from it, as without asking questions, most of it is just statistics, meaning you can’t take much action based on it. So the key in getting business results with Google Analytics lies in asking questions. And the more questions you ask about your website’s usage and marketing activities, the better your business decisions will be.
So this is why Google Analytics is important – It allows you to find answers to questions about your website or its visitors. And later, you can take action based on those answers (ex: stop buying traffic from website A and buy from website B instead).
And the accuracy of the answers depends on how well your Google Analytics tracking is installed. While the basic installation offers a huge amount of data, for certain KPI’s such as contact form submissions, products sold or newsletter form submits, you would have to install some additional tracking code on your website.Google Analytics allows you to find answers to questions about your website, its visitors and your marketing activities. Click To Tweet
Below you can see how to get answers to some of the most common questions which business owners usually have:
- Where are my visitors coming from? And which source generates the highest amount of sales?
To see from which sources your visitors come from, in Google Analytics go to Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source/Medium and in there you will see a list of sources (websites, search engines, campaigns) which sent the highest amount of users to your website.
And if you look to the right, you can see how many transactions each of those sources generated. By clicking on the column name (Transactions) you can sort the traffic sources from highest to lowest and see which traffic sources generate the most sales for your business.
- What are my most popular blog posts?
Finding the answer for this question depends on the structure of your blog URL, so if the structure of your blog url is like website.com/blog/blog-title then to see the most popular blog posts, you need to go to Behavior -> Site Content -> Content Drilldown and select the /blog/ page path and on the next page you will see a list of blog posts sorted by the number of pageviews.
If you want to take into account the average time on page that users spent on the page, you can create an advanced filter to include only pages on which users spent more than x amount of minutes (for example include only pages where users spent at least 1 minute).
- When is the best time to publish my new blog post? What about sending my newsletter?
The best time to publish a blog post or to send a newsletter is when the highest number of users visit your website so to find this, we can either create a custom report or to go to the Home menu and to scroll down to the “Users by time of day” report.
In the above example we can see that the website gets the highest number of visits on Wednesday from 3PM to 8PM and on Thursday from 4PM to 6PM, thus, for a higher reach, we should publish our blog post and send the newsletter on that time.
- On what device do my visitors read the blog posts?
To see the type of devices which website visitors were using while reading the blog, you need to go to Audience -> Mobile -> Overview and in there you will see the device category data for all website visitors. After this, you have to create a filter that will include only users that visited the blog, and your blog filtered data is ready.
In the above example we can see that the majority of users that read the blog (78%) were using a desktop computer while users that were using a mobile phone represent only 18%.
- What browsers were users using while visiting my website? What about their screen resolution?
To see the browser usage data, you need to go to Audience -> Technology -> Browser & OS and you will see which were the most used browsers among your visitors, what was the average session duration for them and how many transactions those users generated.
If the average session duration for a particular browser is much lower compared to other browsers used on the same devices (desktop or mobile), than this might indicate a rendering issue on your website.
To view the screen resolution of your visitor’s devices, in the same report, click on “Screen Resolution” in the “Primary Dimension” row.
- Which social network bring us the most traffic?
To view this, you need to go to Acquisition -> Social -> Network Referrals.
- What do my visitors search for using the website’s built in search functionality?
Finding what people search on your website can provide precious insights about the current product and content demand. It also provides the opportunity to see the potential demand for products or content which are not yet available on your website (as it is the case with search results that return no results).
To view the list of terms that people searched on your website, you need to go to Behavior -> Site Search -> Search Terms.
- What keywords did my visitors use in Google when they arrived to my website?
To view the keywords which users used in Google when they came to your website, you need to have the Search Console linked with your Google Analytics, then, you need to go to Acquisition -> Search Console -> Queries.
You can also use that data to check the SEO performances of your website for those particular keywords.
- What are my top converting demographic segment?
Top converting demographic segments allow you to see on which users you should focus your marketing and promotional efforts, such as creating articles and blog posts that fit only the highest converting user gender and age groups or target only those specific demographic segments in your advertising campaigns.
To view the top converting demographic segments, you need to go to Audience -> Demographics -> Gender and to select “Age” as the second dimension.
These were some of the most asked questions that business owners usually have about their websites. Although the amount of questions a person has can be infinite, the answers which Google Analytics can provide are limited, especially in the basic version, that is why in order to get more answers and of higher quality, additional Google Analytics tracking might be required to be installed, such as the ecommerce tracking, contact form tracking, social share tracking, etc.
As a summary, we can say that most businesses need Google Analytics to get answers to questions about their website’s usage and the effectiveness of their marketing activities, which in turn allows them to take better decisions for their business, thus enabling it to grow.
I hope that this post has shown you the importance of Google Analytics in an online business and you will no longer ask yourself why should I use Google Analytics on my website.