Google Analytics – The Basics

Why Use Google Analytics?

The purpose of social media and other online marketing tactics is to drive your audience members to the online location that you own and can control – your website – in order to convert your online audience to email subscribers and eventually loyal customers.

Your website is the foundation of all your online marketing efforts. But how do you:

  • Measure your online marketing efforts?
  • Find out who visits your website and what pages are popular?
  • Know if your website visitors came through social media or through a search engine?
  • Or if they used a desktop or smartphone?

 

One way to find out is by using Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that helps you analyze your website traffic.  It gives you invaluable information on who your audience is and how they behave and helps you leverage the online marketing tactics that work and eliminates what does not work.

NOTE: This post assumes that Google Analytics is already set up for your website.

Google Analytics – The Basics

Google Analytics Glossary

Sessions:  A session is a period of time a user is actively engaged with your website within a specified date range.

Users:  You can’t have sessions without users. A user is basically a “visitor” to your site who has at least one session within the specified date range. It includes both new and returning “visitors”. A single user can have more than one session.

Page Views are the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of the same page are also counted.

Pages per Session: The average number of pages viewed within a session.

Average Session Duration: Average length of a session.

Bounce Rate: The percentage of single page visits. The likelihood of someone visiting your site and leaving without taking any actions such as visiting other pages. Example: a visitor came to the website,  decided that it was not what he was looking for and left quickly. You want to see low bounce rate.

 

Practical Example of Google Analytics Glossary

You are looking for a cookbook on the Barnes & Noble’s website.

  • You type http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ into your search bar, you initiated a Session. And you are now a User.
  • You then click on several pages in search of your cookbook, these are your Page Views.
  • The amount of time you spend on the site and the amount of pages you look at are factored into Averages for Pages per Session and Session Duration.
  • Once you complete your purchase, your session has ended.

You talk to a friend about your purchase and she recommends another cookbook.

  • So you go back to the Barnes & Noble’s site. This is a new Session but does not count as a new User because you already been there.
  • As soon as you click on the page, you receive a call so you close your browser. You just Bounce from the site.

 

What to Look For Under Google Analytics

1| Specify your Date Range. You can also choose to compare it to another period.

2| Audience Overview will show you the number of users, sessions, pageviews, bounce rate, session duration and more.

3| Audience Behavior – Are you attracting new visitors or are they returning?  If you have returning visitors it means that your audience likes and values your content.

4| Acquisition shows you where your traffic is coming from. It can be:

  • Organic traffic happens when people come to your website from a keyword search. This means that your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts are paying off.
  • Direct, means that people know your web site address and are coming to it directly.
  • Referral, visits that came to your site from sources outside of Google. For example traffic coming from a business association website that has linked to you will be considered as a referral.
  • Or your social media platforms. Which platform refers you the most site traffic?

5| Behavior shows you what pages or blog posts had the most page views on your site. Once you find out the most popular pages or posts on your site and why, this will help you improve your content.  For example if you notice that “How-To” posts are popular, write more of those type posts.

There is a lot more data that you can learn from; but in this post I only shared the basics. You should not only look at Google Analytics but also use that data to improve your online marketing strategy, increase website traffic and make your business more profitable.


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