What is Google Analytics?
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With a bewildering amount of data at your fingertips, it can be difficult to know how to get the most out of your website. Thankfully, software such as Google Analytics can help you make sense of what your website is telling you.
But what is Google Analytics? Analytics software is essentially a way of measuring and learning various things about your website, mainly related to site traffic and what visitors do on your site.
In this handy guide, we’ll go over how Google Analytics works and who should use it. We’ll also explain what Google analytics can do for your business and how to install it.
What is Google Analytics used for?
Google Analytics can be a powerful tool for learning more about your online audience and how your website is performing. Used correctly, it can help you identify under-performing pages or sections of your site, allowing you to make adjustments. But what can Google Analytics tell you?
Google Analytics can give you real, relevant data on what your visitors are doing on your website, as well as how many visitors you are getting in the first place. The two main types of data produced by Google Analytics are metrics and dimensions.
Metrics are essentially any bits of data that have a numerical value, and you can track these to get an insight on who your visitors are and what actions they are taking when they visit your site.
Metrics include useful measurements such as the number of visitors, how long they spend on your website, how many individual pages they visit, and the number of conversions that take place.
Dimensions are basically non-numerical types of data that are still extremely useful. Dimensions should be used in tandem with metrics to give you more in-depth information about your visitors, which you can then use to improve your site.
Some useful dimensions to track include your visitors’ geographic location, what kind of device or web browser they use to visit your site, and whether a visitor is a newcomer or a returning visitor.
Conversions are another important thing to bear in mind when using Google Analytics. These are parameters you set when you want a visitor to take a specific action on your website.
By programming Google Analytics to track these actions, you can determine how your website is performing. Conversions can be as direct as wanting a customer to make a purchase, or it could be something like wanting them to sign up for an email newsletter or fill out a contact form.
Who should use Google Analytics?
Google Analytics can and should be used by anyone who owns a website, whether that is a business website or a personal one. Google Analytics is an indispensable tool for tracking the performance of your website.
But how much does Google Analytics cost? Well, the best thing about Google Analytics is that it’s free to use! Anyone with a Google account can use Google Analytics on their site.
The majority of Google Analytics’ features are completely accessible in this free software, albeit with usage limits. For most website owners, the free version of Google Analytics will be more than adequate.
There is also a paid version of Google Analytics, which is called Google Analytics 360. This version is mainly intended for enterprise clients. GA 360 allows you access to more advanced tools and also offers higher processing limits.
GA 360 gives you access to premium features, including a cloud-based program called BigQuery, which allows you to ask customized queries about your gathered data. Although, the new version – Google Analytics 4 – also allows to import the data to Google BigQuery – and this is free!
You also have a higher amount of custom metrics available (up to 200) in GA 360.
According to Google Analytics pricing, GA 360 costs $150,000 a year if your website gets below 500 million hits per month. For websites that have more hits than this limit, GA 360 will cost more.
How can Google Analytics help?
Using Google Analytics offers you the ability to learn how your website is performing and make changes based on data. There are several incredible ways that Google Analytics can help improve your site.
Google Analytics allows you to track a visitor through all stages of their journey through your website, also known as funnels. This means that you can shadow the customer through each stage of the buying process. This may help to identify if the steps of your buying process have issues.
By seeing which devices your visitors are using to engage with your website, you can identify potential problems. If you notice that you’re getting a lot of visitors from desktops, but hardly any from mobile devices, this may mean that your website is not optimized for mobile use.
You can also combine Google Analytics with Google Ads. By using the two tools together and analyzing the data, you can identify struggling or inefficient advertising campaigns.
You can also use what you learn about your visitors through Google Analytics to craft more effective advertising campaigns. For example, if you notice that most people purchase something from your online store at around 6pm, you can set your ad campaigns to show just before this time.
How to install Google Analytics?
Setting up and installing Google Analytics is pretty simple, allowing you to quickly start using analytics to improve your website.
Here, we’ll explain how to install Google Analytics, where to put Google Analytics code, and how to start tracking your first web pages.
- Using your Google account, either business or personal, depending on your needs, sign up and create an account for Google Analytics. Click the “Start for free” option.
- You now need to tell Google Analytics which website you want to analyze. To do this, you need to set up a “property”, which acts as the analytics data collection point.
- Once you have set up a property for your website, you need to add a piece of tracking code to your site in order to allow the software to start collecting data. In the “Admin” section of Google Analytics, select your Account, then the Property for the website you want to track. (Or use Google Tag Manager instead for the setup).
- In the Property menu, select Tracking Info > Tracking Code. Scroll down to find your “Global site tag”. Copy the contents of the Global site tag text box.
- Head to the HTML code on each webpage you want Google Analytics to track. Paste the Global site tag directly after the <head> tag of each webpage. This adds the tracking code to the header of the website. You’ll now be able to track basic metrics for this page like page views.
- Check the tracking is working correctly by visiting your webpage, then looking at the “Real-Time reports” section of Google Analytics to check that your visit was logged.
So that’s the basics of GA. I hope we’ve answered questions like “What is Google Analytics?” and covered why it is important for your website. Now that you’re armed with the basics, it’s time to take your website to the next level!