Google Analytics: What Is It and How Can It Help?

A Guest Blog from Huffington Post Writer Angela Schonberg. Thanks Angela!

Just as a runner measures their personal best times of each race, Google Analytics Reporting provides personal bests (and worsts) for your website. We can think of Google Analytics as the industry standard for tracking, analyzing and reporting site data. Each month (or week, even day, if you prefer) it is important to use this tool to help you measure site traffic, SEO, engagement, ad revenue and even social media channel activity. This information in turn will assist you in creating an action plan for page enhancement and ways to improve user experience.

This reporting tool allows you to identify the type of referral traffic you are receiving and where the traffic is being referred from (By State, By City, etc.).

To get started, simply create a Google Analytics login and connect with the website you wish to monitor.

Once your page is loaded be sure to turn on search tracking and set goals for the page.

Google Analytics Academy offers free tutorials and training courses so that you can make the most out of your Google Analytics account. Classes range from fundamentals and e-commerce analysis to search engine optimization.

Report dashboards are customizable and can even be set up to automatically be sent to your inbox weekly or monthly.

Here are some of the (MANY!) Google Analytics Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you may find helpful include:

  • Type of Sources – Generate this report to segment specific source traffic such as Search Engines, Direct, E-mail., etc.
  • Conversion Rate – How many visitors converted into desired actions.
  • Goals Conversion Rate – Specifies how many visitors reached one of the goals that you set up.
  • New vs. Returning Visitor – Provides insight to the loyalty of your audience and how many returning visitors you have.
  • Bounce Rate & Time on Site – Found in the Visitor section
  • Transactions distributing per Country – Insight on the transaction distribution based off of country/territory.

If you’re running ads (Google AdWords, Text Ads, Social, etc.) on the web already Google Analytics allows you to tag campaigns and track conversion outcomes to see which ones perform the best.

If you are a marketing professional or a website manager seeking detailed training in digital analytics tools and methodologies you can earn your Certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics from the University of Washington. Applications for the September 2017 course are available online here: https://www.pce.uw.edu/certificates/digital-marketing-analytics.

NOTE: The free Google Analytics platform is a sampling of data and is not a full representation of a website’s traffic, however, it provides directionality for teams to build solutions and campaigns around and you can’t beat the price, it’s free!