Google Analytics gives you free tools that enable you to analyse data for your business – and use it to make better decisions.
It means you can understand those who visit your site or your app on a much deeper level and get real insight into how well your marketing efforts are doing, which content is working well, and which products your customers like.
Beyond that, it allows you to link analytics to Google’s other products, as well as non-Google apps.
Launched in 2005, it is now the most used analytics tool on the internet.
What is Google Analytics?
When it comes to your business, Google Analytics is a free, fast and highly effective way of you gaining data and insight into how your website and your content is performing.
Here are 5 key metrics all business owners should be aware of, when using Google Analytics.
1. Source: This is one of the most important – it’s where is your website traffic is coming from. It might be via a search engine, another website, social media, a link in an email, and so on. Everyone’s web traffic originates from somewhere, and understanding this lets you see which sites are linking back to yours.
You also get data on whether people are arriving at your site as direct traffic (those who clicked on a link, used a bookmark, or typed your URL into their browser); which arrived as referral traffic (visitors who have clicked on a link on another website and ended up on yours); and which have arrived as search engine traffic (and whether they have clicked on a ‘natural’ or paid search result.)
All of which gives you insight into how people are reaching your site and how your SEO is performing.
2. Pageviews: According to Google Analytics, pageviews are ‘an instance of a page being loaded (or reloaded) in a browser. Pageviews is a metric defined as the total number of pages viewed.’
Pageviews are able to give you insights into how popular a particular page or post is, although having a high number of views can at times be misleading. So it’s important to look at pageviews alongside other metrics.
3. Bounce rate: This is the percentage of single-page sessions that ended with the person leaving your website. It’s an important metric to understand if there is something on your site that is turning people off, or if they’re having difficulty finding what they’re looking for.
If a visitor has visited a single page then visits just one additional page, then Google Analytics sees that as interaction with the site, and thus not a bounce.
Google Analytics means you can see the average number of bounces across all of your pages, and you can also track the bounce rate of a single page or a section of your site. Keep in mind that, for example, your blog posts would have a different bounce rate compared to, say, your products page.
4. Location: Geographical data means you can map the locations of your visitors. Depending on the geographical region, you may be able to get data on the continent, country, or even city. It’s important to note that IP-based locations are approximate and that if someone is using a VPN then you won’t get an accurate reading. With this metric, you can view traffic, behaviour, and conversion stats by each user’s location.
5. Devices: Clearly, your website should be optimised for all devices. However, knowing which devices your visitors are using to visit your site helps you think about your website in different ways, and whether there is something new you should be doing to ensure their experience is as engaging as possible and produces the action that you want.
Benefits of using Google Analytics
There are a number of great benefits to Google Analytics. Before we get to any of them, the first thing to mention is that it’s free.
- First, there’s content. Since it’s such a key way of reaching your audience, understanding how your articles, infographics and posts are performing is vital feedback in order to optimise for the future. You can track views and shares, and get clear information on what type of content is getting the results you want, and make changes accordingly.
- Google Analytics integrates very nicely into other Google apps, with the user only needing to do very minimal work, for example, to move data from Analytics to Google Docs or Spreadsheets for example. It can even do this automatically, with you then able to access it with ease at any point.
- The platform can produce a number of different types of report, with scope for you to customise these according to your needs – picking the dimensions and metrics and deciding how everything should be displayed.
- You can also do internal site search to get better insights of what people are searching for on your website. With these insights, you can make necessary changes or additions to improve the performance of your website.
- As already mentioned, you also are able to measure the bounce rate, and get insights as to why visitors are leaving your website.
- You are able to see which social media platforms are performing best for you, and how much conversion value you are getting from each one.
- You can get information on the age, gender, and interest of your audience.
- Finally, you can use Google Analytics to measure whether you’re hitting your goals, which might include things such as number of visitors who have subscribed to a newsletter, how many have filled in a form, how many have downloaded some content, how many have made a purchase, and so on.
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