It was an amazing experience to introduce and give a simple walkthrough about Google Analytics during GDays Pampanga 2014 Event hosted by the Google Business Group Angeles. I enjoyed the event and met some cool people both old and new in the marketing industry.
The audience is a mixture of students, professionals, business owners, and bloggers. I thought that it would be simple and easy for them to understand Google Analytics through a tour: about it, the analytics history, why they need to use it, and few parts of its amazing interface.
Here’s the presentation I created for the wonderful event.
What Is Google Analytics and Why Use It?
Google Analytics, owned by Google, allows you to see detailed statistics of a website’s traffic, traffic sources, measures conversions, and sales. It also enables you to track your visitors from different sources and mediums including social media, other referral website, search engines, and direct visits.
Google Analytics is a powerful application for tracking, measurement, and business development. It allows you to integrate other Google programs such as AdSense, AdWords, and Google Webmaster Tools. The basic service of Google Analytics is free of charge whereas the premium version is available for a fee.
Google Analytics History: Milestones
Spring 2005: Google Analytics was originally developed from the Urchin on Demand software that Google acquired.
November 2005: The first Google-branded version was released to anyone who wished to sign up. However, due to high demand for the service, new sign-ups are suspended a week later. Google Analytics by that time is only available by invitation.
2006: Ideas from Adaptive Path product called “measure map” were integrated into Google Analytics when they acquired them.
Mid-August 2006: Since Mid-August of 2006, Google Analytics has been fully available to all users.
April 2011: Google announced the availability of a new version of Google Analytics, featuring multiple dashboards, more options of custom reports, and a new interface design. This version was later updated with some other features such as real-time analytics and goal flow charts.
Today, Google is continuously updating Google Analytics for better user experience and to help people especially webmasters, marketers, and business owners.
A Tour to Few Sections of Google Analytics
This is the interface that you will first see when you chose one of the websites or apps that you track on your Google Analytics account. It offers different metrics that are easy to understand.
Below are just a few of the metrics and statistics that we use to check more often for growth.
- Sessions. A session is the time period a user is actively engaged with your website, app, etc. Screen Views, Events, E-commerce, and all usage are associated with a session.
- Users. This metrics shows users who have had at least one session within the selected date range that both include new and returning users.
- Pageviews. Pageviews are the total number of pages viewed. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
- Pages/Session. It is the average number of pages viewed during a session. Repeated views of a single page are counted.
- Avg. Session Duration. It is the average length of a session.
- Bounce Rate. Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e., visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
- % New Sessions. This is the estimate of the percentage of first-time visits.
- Metric Graph. The metric graph shows you the traffic growth depending on what segments you chose. You can add annotations for performance notes and adjust the graph by using the segments located just near above it.
By far, this is one of my favorite sections because the Acquisition section allows you to track website traffic sources, keywords that your visitors used before they arrive on your site, and a lot more. The subsections of Google Analytics Acquisition section are very critical in our analysis.
This section also allows you to track other integrated Google programs such as Google Webmaster tools search queries, which is located at the Search Engine Optimization subsection and AdWords located at the AdWords section.
Below is a more detailed explanation about Google Analytics Acquisition’s subsections.
- Channels. Channels subsection shows you by default the sessions count on different groupings such as the visits or sessions count on organic search, direct traffic, social, referral, e-mail, and others.
- All Traffic. This subsection allows you to see where your traffic came from, which usually provides domain name, mediums, or sources.
- All Referrals. The default view of All Referrals shows you the referred traffic. It also includes sources that are identified with utm_source.
- Campaigns. The campaign section shows different metrics you gain from your AdWords campaigns and any custom campaigns you have manually tagged with the utm_campaign parameter.
- Keywords. There are two other subsections of the Keyword section: Paid and Organic. All keywords, both paid and unpaid used by the users to reach your website, can be seen here.
- Cost Analysis. Cost Analysis subsection is under Beta phase. This report allows you to see visit, cost, and revenue performance data for your paid marketing channels.
- AdWords. Linking your AdWords and Google Analytics accounts gives you access to the entire picture of customer behavior, from ad click or impression through your site to conversion. When you link accounts, you:
- Begin seeing ad and site performance data in the AdWords reports in Analytics
- Can import Analytics goals and e-commerce transactions directly into your AdWords account
- Can also import valuable Analytics metrics—such as Bounce Rate, Avg. Session Duration, and Pages/Session—into your AdWords account
- Get enhanced Remarketing capabilities
- Get richer data in the Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels reports
- Social. Social shows the total sessions and percentage of new sessions on different social networking sites. You can also see which URL from your website are shared and gain most traffic including social source.
- Search Engine Optimization. Once you connect your Google Webmaster Tools, this section shows different top queries that user’s use, top landing pages, and geographical summary of your users.
This section provides you different metrics such as the behavior flow of your visitors or users, which content from your website receives more traffic, your website speed, in-page analytics for CTR and UX experiments, and more.
Below is a more detailed explanation about Google Analytics Behavior’s subsections.
- Behavior Flow. This is an important part of Google Analytics. It shows where your visitors went to your website the most. It also shows the interactions of the user to the website. This is like a map of “From–To” wherein it shows what pages your user used.
- Site Content. From the words site and content, this section shows the entire site’s content or all the pages in your site. It also shows the page views of each page, meaning it shows how many user views or visits a certain page has. It also includes the average time of users on each page, the bounce rate, and the exit percentage of all users.
- Site Speed. This is another important thing to look at when using Google Analytics. This section shows the average page load time, the average redirection time, domain look-up time, server connection time, server response time, and average download time. Mainly, it shows more on how your website performs.
- Site Search. This applies to websites that have a feature or plug-in for search. This section tells you what the visitor is looking for in your website. This is very helpful in optimizing your website depending on the search queries made by your users. The data that this section shows will depend on what users type in the search box.
- Events. This section shows the data about events on your website. The most common is the live chat for customer supports. It showed all the events that happened in your data and displayed it in the metric graph.
- AdSense. AdSense section shows you more about your AdSense or campaigns for your website. AdSense is advertisement that you allow to show on your website.
- Experiments. Google Analytics Experiments framework enables you to test almost any change or variation to a property to see how it performs in optimizing for a specific goal.
- In-Page Analytics. In-Page Analytics lets you make a visual assessment of how users interact with your web pages and helps you answer questions like:
- Is the layout optimal for what I want users to accomplish on the page?
- Are my users seeing the content I want them to see?
- Are my users finding what they’re looking for on the page?
- Are my calls to action motivating or visible enough?
- What links are users clicking?
Now, we’re talking about measurement of conversions, sales, and events (depending on what you’ve set on your Goals configuration).
Conversions have two types of categories: Goals and E-commerce.
There are four types of Goals:
- Destination (ex: /thank-you/)
- Duration (ex: 5 minutes or more)
- Pages/Screens per session (ex: 3 pages)
- Event (ex: played a video or clicked subscribe button)
This is the final section that I’ve discussed during the event. Custom Reports section allows you to easily create reports on different metrics and dimensions you have selected.
In my example, I’ve created custom reports about Long Tail Convertors that allow me to see the long tail keywords (3+ words) that give our website traffic from the search engine results.
So there you go, my presentation to celebrate GDays event in our country.
Where and why do you use Google Analytics?
What is your favorite section or interface, and why?
If you have friends, classmates, or business partners that you know would love this article, feel free to share it and I’ll be forever humbled.