How Google Analytics works and why it is important to know it

Google Analytics
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Google Analytics is a very powerful self-monitoring tool website made available free of charge by Google.

The data provided by this important tool allows us to delve deeper into the effectiveness of our web marketing strategy and study the behavior of our target audience in order to correct any errors or make further improvements. Through Google Analytics, by setting a time interval of interest to us, we can know the number of users who have visited the site, how long they stayed there, which pages they visited, which device they connected with, from which geographical area and much more. more.

Let's see in detail how this important web marketing tool works and what are the most important digital data to refer to for:

  • affinare le nostre strategies di coinvolgimento del pubblico;
  • understand which products or services are most consulted or purchased;
  • which actions work best for acquiring new leads.

Before delving into how to use Google Analytics and learning to read its reports, it can be of great help to clarify the three main settings to be set in hierarchical order to have access to the statistical data of interest to us:

  • Accounts: to use Google Analytics it is necessary have a Google account with whom register on the site in order to configure the Account name in which to insert the websites to monitor (properties) divided by category. For example, if you manage 2 music websites and 2 web marketing websites, you will be able to create two different accounts in which to insert the properties to monitor based on the topic covered.

    Google Analytics - Settings

It is possible to create up to 100 accounts for each of which to associate 50 websites.

  • Property: corresponds to the websites and apps to be monitored. Each property generates its own tracking code which anonymously collects data and sends it to Google Analytics which will create reports.

To get the tracking ID just go to the section Setting the Property, enter the site name, URL, category and time zone and the code is ready to be inserted on the site.

You can proceed manually by copying and pasting the code into the header or footer of the site as these are the files that are repeated in all pages, or through a plugin if you use a CSM such as WordPress. After entering the tracking code on the site, simply return to the Google Analytics page and to the section > real time > overview if the site traffic passes by 0 active users to 1 active users at this moment, it means the tracking code has been entered correctly.

  • Views: the space in which the data is displayed. The views can be customized, for example, to monitor specific areas of the site or to exclude from the reports the traffic generated by search engine bots or by our access to the site or by our employees. Google itself recommends leaving a first view without filters and adding others by making customizations.

From the section View Setting which is found in the voice Administration click on the button Create a new view to call Main View and tick the box Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders. 

To apply the filter that instead excludes traffic generated by our IP or from those of our employees just go up Filters > Add Filters, give the filter a name (e.g. Exclude internal traffic) and choose Exclude in the box Select the filter typeIP address traffic in the box Select a source or destination, And Same as in the box Select an expression.

Google Analytics - View Filter

At this point we are ready to monitor our website.

Remember each account on Google Analytics can manage multiple properties and each property can have multiple views.  Finally, you can give other users permission to access each of these settings.

Let's now get into the heart of the activities available on Google Analytics or how to consult and read the data it provides us.

The structure of Google Analytics

In the Home page of Google Analytics we have before us a summary, organized in graphs, of the main information on the traffic of our site such as users, the sessions, the bounce rate, The active users in real time, but also how they behave over time, when and from where they visit our site, through which devices, as well as the performance of our strategy compared to the objectives.

Google Analytics - Home page

All this data can be explored individually in the relevant sections visible in the sidebar on the left, under the heading Relationships. From here you can consult 5 different categories:

  • In real time shows the situation of the site “live”
  • Public provides information on users who visit the site such as age, gender, geographical origin, language;
  • Acquisition specify the channels, i.e. organic search, social, referral, etc. and the means by which users arrive at your site;
  • Behavior indicates the most viewed pages, the average viewing time for each page, landing and exit pages, etc.;
  • Conversions provides information on the effectiveness of our online campaigns based on the expected results we set as objectives

Each of these entries uses reference metrics to organize the reports. Let's go deeper and specifically analyze the basic metrics for each report through this Google Analytics tutorial that I prepared.

The section Public

This section of Google Analytics is very important as it provides us with a real portrait of our users not only from the point of view of their demographic characteristics and origin but also and above all of their behavior and therefore of their main interests.

The voice Overview riassume in un’unica pagina i contenuti del report per ogni metrica di riferimento e, grazie a grafici e tabelle, ha interfaccia molto intuitiva per aiutarci a comprendere al meglio la tipologia di utenti che visita il nostro sito e come questo si comporta. Ad esempio il dato sul numero di sessioni per utente o il numero di pagine visitate per ogni sessione, così come il tempo di permanenza o la frequenza di rimbalzo, incrociati con le caratteristiche anagrafiche e di provenienza, possono esserci utili per migliorare la nostra marketing strategy puntando su un determinato segmento, fascia d’età o area geografica.

All this data summarized in the section Overview they can then be analyzed in detail by clicking on the subsections of Public which are found in the sidebar on the left.

Google Analytics - Audience Overview

The section Acquisition

It is among the most important reports made available by Google Analytics as it allows us to understand what the channels main ones through which users arrive on our site, i.e. through organic search, by directly typing the URL, through social networks or referrals (i.e. links that refer to our site), and what are the sources: in the organic search item, for example, we can find out if we are searched for more on Google, Bing, etc. But that's not all because Google analytics also specify the conversion rate based on the objectives we set.

Even in the Acquisition section, all this data can be consulted briefly in the Overview item and explored in detail in the sub-sections.

Google Analytic - Acquisition Overview

It is a very powerful tool for monitoring our multi-channel communication and having under control which are the most effective sources, in terms of performance, for our website.

The section Behavior

On the Overview page of this section of Google Analytics we find detailed information on the behavior of our audience on the site in terms of page views, average time spent, bounce rate but above all flow of behavior that is, how users arrived at our site, where, which pages they visited and which of these they decided to exit.

This report is summarized in a very intuitive flow diagram which has the information in the first column main destination pages that our users land on and highlights below:

  • knots, marked in green, i.e. i traffic passage points. By clicking them you can explore the traffic and number of abandonments that pass through a particular page or group of pages.
  • There connection and the route that users make between one node and another and the volume of traffic this generates;
  • L'exit it is the point at which the user decides to abandon the flow.

Google Analytics - Behavior Flow

Analyzing the flow of behavior processed by Google Analytics provides very interesting insights. For example, it can highlight which are the main pages that hold users' attention high or, on the contrary, if the point of abandonment of the flow is always the same, what can be the critical issues to be resolved and the aspects to be improved to perfect the experience of use by our users.

All these Google analytics can be analyzed in detail in the sub-sections which offer information on the Contents, Landing or Exit Pages as well as the Speed of our site, another fundamental detail for SEO optimization and user experience.

The section Conversion

In this report Google Analytics reveals all its usefulness as a web marketing tool to monitor our online strategy and its degree of success in terms of Conversions defined by goals specific. Whatever channels we have decided to use for ours

google analytics - goal detailsCampaigns (advertising, emails, paid banners, etc.) with Google Analytics we can always know if it is working, how, why and on which audience.

Inoltre possiamo conoscere la percentuali di utenti che hanno compiuto quella specifica azione che noi abbiamo impostato come Obiettivo ( ad esempio Acquista per un sito di e-commerce o Contattaci per un sito che offre servizi ecc.) e conoscere così il conversion rate.

It is also possible to set one goal channeling, that is, precisely tracing the path that users take to choose to carry out that action or abandon it, in order to understand which points work well and which should instead be implemented.

 

Google Analytics: a single solution to know everything about the performance of our website

In short, having reached this point, it is easy to understand why Google Analytics cannot be missing among the fundamental tools for an effective and incisive presence on the web. A single tool, mostly free, that allows us to:

  • monitor access to our site;
  • identify our audience and their interests;
  • know the most used channels to reach our site;
  • verify the flow of behavior of our users to understand how they navigate the site;
  • monitor active campaigns and their effectiveness and understand to what extent our site meets its intended objectives.

And for anyone who wants to implement their career on the Web as an analyst, I would like to remind you that Google offers the possibility of obtaining Google Analytics certification, the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) which upon passing an exam certifies you as an expert in this important tool.

Now that you know everything about how to use Google Analytics and what its functions are, make the best use of the reports and collect all the useful information to improve your web presence and acquire an ever-increasing number of visitors.

If you have any doubts or advice on configuring and using Google Analytics, I invite you to write in the comments.

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