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Google Analytics Overview

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a web analytics platform that tracks and reports website traffic. It measures actions and enables you to determine a visitor’s level of intent. It also helps you to make better decisions about where (or where not) to spend your digital marketing dollars.

Why use Google Analytics?

Google Analytics tells you who is visiting your site, how they got there, and what they did while they were there.

Where can I see a quick metrics overview?

  • The Audience Overview is the first page you’ll see when in the Reporting tab of GA. Here is where you can select a time range, see how many sessions you’ve received in that time, how many of those sessions are new vs. returning users and so on.

  • Users: How many individual people visited your website?

  • Sessions: How many total times did people visit your website?
    • For example, if 10 clients visited your site on a given day and they each visited 3 times, you would see 10 Users and 30 Sessions for that day.

  • Pageviews: How many total pages have been consumed?

  • Bounce rate: What percentage of visits failed to go beyond 1 single page.

  • New vs. Returning users: How many visits from brand-new people, and how many visits were from people who have visited your site before?

How can I see where people are coming from, geographically?

Google Analytics features a bar to the left with various lenses through which to view your website data.

  • Click Audience > Geo > Location and then set your Primary Dimension to City

How can I see which mobile devices people are using to get to my site?

  • Click Audience > Mobile > Devices

How can I see where people are coming from?

  • Click Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium (sources have been whited out to protect privacy)

  • Direct Traffic: People typed your URL directly into their browser or bookmarked your website. Consider these your core customers and evaluate their behavior as such. Direct Traffic will most likely always be one of your top 10 sources of traffic.

  • Organic Search: People used a search engine and then clicked a natural search result.
    • This is stylized as “google / organic” or “bing / organic”, depending on the search engine.

  • Paid Search aka Pay Per Click (PPC) or Cost Per Click (CPC): People used a search engine and then clicked a sponsored, paid ad.
    • This is stylized as “google / cpc” or “bing / cpc”, for example, depending on the search engine.
    • You can learn more about this by looking into Google AdWords.

  • Referral Traffic: People clicked a link from another website to reach to you (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, a news article, emails, etc.)

  • Viewing the data in source/medium lets you know exactly where people are coming from, what percentage of those people are new or returning users, how much time they spent on the site, etc.
    • Let’s say you’re utilizing Facebook ads or paying a food blogger to do a series on your restaurant, this will confirm that those dollars are working in your favor.

How can I tag a link?

  • All traffic to your site will appear in source/medium, but any links you are using for digital advertising (or links you’re providing to a food blogger or news site, for example) should be tagged so that you can track them appropriately.

  • A tagged link has 3 components:

    • Source: The source or site you’re using to send people to your site (such as Facebook for a Facebook ad or the name of the food blogger you’re working with, for example)

    • Medium: The medium you’re using to send people to your site. This can be from digital advertisements or for blog posts.

    • Campaign: The campaign name so you can identify it from other links that will use the same Source and Medium. Running a set of Valentine’s Day ads on Pinterest? The Campaign here could be VDay.

  • A tagged link features your URL, followed by a “?” and then the tag:
    • medium=Ad
    • When you go back to Google Analytics, you will see clicks from this campaign appear as Pinterest / Ad under source/medium

  • You can use Google’s URL builder to help you create tagged links.

Interested in learning more?

There are thousands of ways to analyze data through Google Analytics (and only a few are covered here)! While we’ve shared some of the essentials, we suggest spending time clicking around the feature bar on the left to see all that is available.

Google offers great, free resources online via their Analytics Academy. You can also explore using Google AdWords to drive traffic to your site via targeted keywords.


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