You’ve probably heard of Google Analytics if you’ve done any research on tracking data on your website. But, exactly, what does Google Analytics do?
The popular tool, which is now over a decade old, has become known for its cutting-edge website analytics and its ability to help website owners understand things about their websites that they previously only dreamed of knowing.
These days, digital marketing is huge. No large industry can be built without a significant investment of money and time; it is essential to understand and benchmark the results and effects of work being done. This is accomplished in digital marketing by utilizing analytics tools. Google Analytics, in addition to the numerous tools available today, is a web-based tool developed by Google. This post will explain what it is, how it works, and why you should care.
What is Google Analytics?
Simply put, Google Analytics is an analytics tool that can be used to track and analyze website actions such as the number of visitors, page views, and bounce rate. Any webmaster can use it for free. However, there is a paid version with some advanced features – which, I should note, is a little pricey for small businesses and publishers.
While all data on it is anonymized, you can easily understand user behavior and site traffic flow, as well as traffic sources, to understand where visitors to your sites come from.
What is Google Analytics used for?
Google Analytics collects a wealth of information about your website and its visitors. This information includes:
- How do users get to your website?
- How your website’s content is interacted with by users
- The demographics of your website’s audience
- How many of your website visitors convert and other information
You can use the reports in Google Analytics to do things like:
- Evaluating the success of your marketing campaigns
- determining the performance of your pages and how to optimize them
- Choosing who to target with your content and marketing Tracking conversions and purchases
Google Analytics also allows you to integrate other Google products, such as the Google Search Console and your Google Ads account, seamlessly. It also allows you to include tracking codes that track the performance of your online campaigns such as social media, public relations, advertising, or any other campaign on any website or platform.
How does it work?
This may appear to be a daunting task for a site with thousands of pages, but in most CMS, you can find plugins to add the code, or in many cases, adding the code to the site’s common header file will suffice.
You should be good to go once you finish this. Then, on the Google Analytics Web Interface, you can create custom dashboards to see and monitor stats that are important to you. It can be a little confusing at first, but with time, you will be comfortable enough to create custom dashboards and export custom reports.
Google Analytics supports event tracking in addition to tracking page views and bounce rates. For example, you can use it to determine how many people clicked on the sign-up button.
Google Analytics features
Google Analytics includes tools that can assist users in identifying trends and patterns in how visitors interact with their websites. Data collection, analysis, monitoring, visualization, reporting, and integration with other applications are all possible thanks to the features. These characteristics are as follows:
- Data visualization and monitoring tools, such as dashboards, scorecards, and motion charts that show changes in data over time;
- data filtering, manipulation, and funnel analysis;
- data collection application program interfaces (APIs);
- predictive analytics, intelligence, and anomaly detection;
- segmentation for analysis of subsets, such as conversions;
- custom reports for advertising, acquisition, audience behavior and conversion
- Google Ads, Google Data Studio, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Google AdSense, Google Optimize 360, Google Search Ads 360, Google Display & Video 360, Google Ad Manager, and Google Search Console are all integrated.
Users can save profiles for multiple websites in the Google Analytics dashboard and view details for default categories or select custom metrics to display for each site. Content overview, keywords, referring sites, visitors overview, map overlay, and traffic sources overview are among the tracking categories available.
What Does Google Analytics Do to Track Data?
Furthermore, the code installs a cookie on the user’s device, which provides additional anonymous information.
Use UTM parameters to unlock the full potential of Google Analytics. These are specific tags that you can add to the end of your URLs to provide Google with additional information about your site links, such as:
- Which campaigns are driving the most traffic to your website?
- Which social media channels are driving the most revenue?
What Can I Get From Google Analytics?
Google Analytics can assist you in making better decisions based on solid data and website analytics.
Google Analytics, for example, allows you to:
- Justify increased advertising spending.
- Find out about missed advertising opportunities.
- Determine the best types of content to publish.
What Data Will Google Analytics Measure?
Google Analytics is based on two types of data that serve as “building blocks”: dimensions and metrics.
Consider your data’s attributes, such as the cities and towns from which your traffic originates, the specific page you’re attempting to optimize, or the social channel you’re measuring and evaluating.
As a result, data metrics are the dimensions’ measurements. For example, if you’re reporting on how your Google Adsense ads are performing in San Francisco (dimension), your metric is the 1,500 sessions recorded.
Data Types Measured by Google Analytics
To be more specific, Google Analytics categorizes your data according to the ABCs:
Google Analytics will allow you to fully break down your total audience and traffic in real-time.
A metric is a quantitative measurement standard. Google Analytics allows users to track up to 200 different metrics to assess the performance of their websites. While some metrics may be more valuable to specific businesses than others, the following are some of the most popular:
- Users. A user is a new or unique visitor to the website.
- Bounce rate. The proportion of visitors who only viewed one page. These visitors sent only one request to the Google Analytics server.
- Sessions. The collection of visitor interactions that occur during a 30-minute period of activity.
- Average session duration. How long each visitor stays on the site on average.
- The proportion of new sessions. The proportion of website visitors who are returning for the first time.
- Pages per session. The number of page views per session on average.
- Goal completions. The number of times a specific, desirable action is completed by visitors. This is also referred to as a conversion.
- Views on the page. The total number of pages that have been viewed.
Metrics vs. dimensions
Dimensions and metrics are part of Google Analytics reports. Understanding the distinction between them is critical for proper report interpretation.
Dimensions. These are qualitative characteristics or labels that are used to describe and organize data. If the average session length is being measured across multiple regions, the dimensions would be “Region.” A metric is something like “average session length,” which is a quantitative measurement.
Dimensions in Google Analytics can be customized. Dimensions that are commonly used include:
- browser type;
- city and country;
- device model;
- and user age group
Metrics. These are quantitative measures of a specific type of data. Metrics such as average session lengths, page views, pages per session, and average time on site are examples. Metrics are used to compare measurements in various dimensions.
Benefits and limitations
Google Analytics has both advantages and disadvantages. The platform is powerful, free, and user-friendly, according to the pros. Google Analytics also offers the following advantages:
- he service is free, simple to use, and suitable for beginners.
- Google Analytics provides a number of metrics and dimensions that can be customized. This platform is capable of capturing a wide range of useful insights.
- Google Analytics also includes a plethora of other tools, such as data visualization, monitoring, reporting, and predictive analysis.
Google Analytics has a history of flaws that may affect data accuracy, including the following:
- Users who block Google Analytics cookies, certain browser extensions, ad filtering programs, and privacy networks can jeopardize overall data accuracy.
- To reduce server load, reports are generated by sampling 500,000 random sessions. Furthermore, in these reports, margins of error are only given for the number of visits. As a result, small segments of data may have very large margins of error.
User acquisition data vs. user behavior data
Google Analytics can provide a variety of data types to businesses for marketing purposes.
Data on user acquisition reveals how customers arrive at the website. Customers may arrive via a variety of channels, including paid search engine results, unpaid search engine results, social media links, or by typing in the URL. Understanding user acquisition data is essential for increasing website traffic.
User behavior data reveals what customers are doing on the website and how they interact with it. This includes how much time they spend on each page, how many pages they visit, and whether or not they interact with videos and graphics.This information can be used to design web layouts that better connect visitors to the content they seek, resulting in a more effective user experience. User experiences that are optimized based on user behavior data are more likely to generate sales and conversions.
Google Analytics 4
The most recent iteration of this service, Google Analytics 4, or GA4, was released in October 2020. GA4 is an update to previous versions of Google Analytics. It has a completely new user interface and moves away from relying on third-party cookies in favor of using machine learning to improve data accuracy.
Google Analytics 4 includes the following new features:
- Deeper integration with Google Ads; machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) tools
- Customer-centric reporting based on data collected throughout the lifecycle;
- additional codeless tracking features capable of delivering data with less latency; and
- improved data control and management features for regulatory compliance and data management
The Importance of Google Analytics in a Digital Marketer’s Career
It is one of the most important tools in the arsenal of a digital marketer. Without it, there is no way to know whether or not a digital marketer’s strategies are effective. Even better, with time and practice, you will be able to identify the weak links in your strategy and improve the ROI by utilizing Google Analytics.
Many marketing positions are solely concerned with the use of analytics tools; for any of these positions, it is most likely to be the trading tool, and proficiency is required if you want a good career.
It is also valuable in the case of a blogger or social media influencer. They can use the tool to monitor and track any actions that occur in the links to their social media posts in order to track clicks and click through rates.
As we’ve seen today, it’s one of the market’s most important Analytics tools. Because analytics is so important in the industry, having proficiency in it will help you advance in your career.