The digital landscape is always changing and so does the search trends, customer behavior, buying habits, etc. How do you find out what is working for you and what is not? Irrespective of industry and business vertical, everybody needs customer or user insights on their website or app to improve their conversion rate. There are a lot of tools that are available which can give you the insights you desire, however, almost all of them have a price tag attached to it and they may not be as comprehensive as Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free (with an option of the paid version, i.e. Analytics 360, which is suited for enterprise clients) analytics tool that helps you access the data insights for your website or app. Moreover, it seamlessly integrates with all other Google tools such as Webmaster (Search Console), Data Studio, Google Ads, etc. enabling you to synchronize data across all Google channels in one single place.
Most of the small to medium scale businesses struggle to start with Google Analytics as they don’t know where and how to start with it. Be it an e-commerce site, lead generation for your business, meta search, blog, or any other site, one needs to implement google analytics on it. Best of the strategies in the world fail if they are not implemented, similarly, if you do not implement Google Analytics properly, you may not get the desired data or matrix you are looking at. Google Analytics implementation can become very complicated depending on what all custom variables you want to track, however, we have laid down the process of implementing Google Analytics in the following few steps, which will be applicable for the majority of the websites or apps.
For any assistance on Google Analytics implementation on your site, feel free to reach us. Just fill the form or give us a call and one of our Google Analytics experts will be in touch shortly!
How to Collect Website Data with Google Analytics?
To begin website data collection from a website:
- Sign up for a Google Analytics account:
- Select one of the following:
- To make an account, click Start for free.
- To sign in to your account, Click Sign in to Analytics.
- Set up a property in your Google Analytics account. A property means your website or app and is the collection point in Analytics for the data from your site or app.
- Build a reporting view of your property. Views help you create filtered perspectives of your data; for example, all web data except your company’s internal IP addresses, or all web data associated with a specific sales region.
- Follow the steps to add the tracking code to your website so you can collect data in your Analytics property.
Set up a property
You can add up to 50 properties to each Google Analytics account. To raise this limit, you need to talk to your account manager.
You need to have edit permission on the account to add properties. To set up a property:
1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
2. Click Admin.
In the account section, use the menu to choose the account to which you want to add the property. If you have multiples accounts, use the search box to find the right one.In the PROPERTY section, click +Create Property. If you won’t see the +Create Property option, which means you don’t have Edit permission on the account.
Select the Web.
- Enter a name (which represents your business) for the property.
- Enter the website URL. Select the protocol (HTTP or HTTPS). Enter the domain name, with no characters following the name (e.g., www.example.com, not www.example.com/).
- Choose the industry category. Google utilizes these details when you choose to share benchmarking data.
- Choose the reporting time zone. Google Analytics uses this as the day boundary for your reports regardless of where the data originates.Click Create.
- Accept the Google Analytics Terms of Service and the Data Processing Amendment if prompted, and click Finish.
- Google Analytics displays your Global Site Tag, which you have to add to your web pages to collect data.
- While you create a Web property, Google Analytics also creates the first reporting view, with the default name All Web Site Data.
Add a new view
Build a new view for an existing property in your account.You can add up to 25 views to a property. To raise this limit, you can talk to technical support.
You need to have Edit permission to add views. To set up a view:
1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
2. Click Admin and choose the account and property to which you want to add the view.
3. In the VIEW column, click the menu, then click +Create View.
4. Choose either the Website or Mobile App.
5. Enter a Name. Use a particular and descriptive name, so you can easily understand what data is in this view when you see the name in a list.
6. Select the Reporting Time Zone. If your Google Analytics account is linked to a Google Ads account, the time zone is automatically set to your Google Ads preference, and you won’t see this option.
7. (For User ID enabled Properties only) Click the toggle ON to create a User ID view. For a reporting view, leave the toggle OFF.
8. Click Create View.
After you built a view, you can come back to the Admin page and edit the view settings.
If your Google Analytics account is linked to a Google Ads account, data from the Google Ads account is automatically imported into any new view you create in that account.
Set up the Analytics global site tag
- 1. If you have not already done so, create a Google Analytics property for each website you want to collect data from.
- 2. Copy and paste the global site tag right after the opening <head> tag on each webpage you want to track.
- Get your Tracking ID and global site tag
- 1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.
- 2. Click Admin.
- 3. Choose an account from the menu in the ACCOUNT column.
- 4. Choose a property from the menu in the PROPERTY column.
- Under PROPERTY, click Tracking Info > Tracking Code.
- Your Tracking ID is shown at the top of the page.
- Your global site tag is displayed farther down the page in a text box under Website Tracking > Global Site Tag (gtrag.js)
- Building a property generates a unique Tracking ID and a global site tag that includes the Tracking ID for that property.
The global site tag
The global site tag is several lines of code that you have to paste into each webpage you want to measure:
To implement the global site tag to your webpages:
1. Copy the entire contents of the text from the box.
2. Paste it immediately after the <head> tag on each page of your site.
Set up data collection based on your website type
The method of collecting data in Google Analytics varies depending on what sort of website you use:
A static website does not produce HTML using a programming language or interface like Python or PHP. To collect data, you have to copy and paste the global site tag into the source code on each webpage you want to track or measure.
1. Get the global site tag for your property, and copy the code exactly without editing it.
2. Paste the code (unmodified, in its entirety) before the closing </head> tag on each webpage you want to track or measure.
A dynamic website produces HTML using a programming language or interfaces like Python, PHP, etc. To collect data, including the global site tag in the source code for each webpage you want to measure. You can use a common include or template to push the global site tag dynamically into each webpage.
- Find the global site tag for your property, and copy the code exactly without modifying it.
- Paste your global site tag code into its own include file.
- Attach the include file in your page header so that the snippet appears before the closing </head> tag on each webpage you want to track or measure.
- If you’re adopting PHP:
- Find the global site tag for your property, and copy the code exactly without modifying it.
- Add your global site tag into a file named “analyticstracking.php”.
- Attach the analyticstracking.php file on every PHP template page.
- For every template page, immediately after the opening <body> tag, implement the following code:
Note: You can update the global site tag for dynamic websites more effectively using Google Tag Manager (GTM).
Web-hosting service (you don’t control the webpage code)
Some Internet service providers (ISP) or hosting platforms for example WordPress, Go Daddy, Wix, Weebly, simplify global-site-tag implementation by offering plug-ins that automatically add Analytics on your webpages.
Here are Analytics-installation instructions for some common providers:
• Go Daddy
• Google Sites
Note: When you use a plug-in to collect data, you may not have the option to add configuration settings to customize the data you want to calculate. If you have specific requirements for measuring data, review how to get started with Analytics.
Website using Google Tag Manager (GTM)
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool to help you add and manage multiple analytics and site-tracking tags.
Make sure that your global site tag is working
To verify that the global site tag is working, visit your website, and then review the Real-Time reports in Analytics to verify that your visit was tracked.
You can also install Google Tag Assistant to determine whether your tag is implemented correctly.
Set up your account, properties, and views to determine access to your data and which data is available.
For example, you can:
- Grant permissions to do configuration changes and to interact with the data.
- Connect your Google Ads and Analytics accounts so you can share data between these tools and build a more comprehensive understanding of how your marketing efforts drive user behavior on your websites or apps.
- Create reporting views so you can align Analytics users and relevant data.
- Set up business goals to identify the actions you want your site or app visitors to take on your site or app, and to give a monetary value to those actions.
- Go through the Solutions Gallery for dashboards, custom reports, and segments that you can use in your Analytics account.
- Edit your tracking code to collect additional data such as:
• Web or apps visitor’s interactions with links, buttons, video controls, and other dynamic elements of your site or app.
• E-commerce activity like user engagement or behavior with product lists and internal promotions, and how successfully users moved through your buying cycle and checkout process.
Now that you have implemented Google Analytics on your site; let’s look at what all you can track using Google Analytics. We will focus on 6 major tabs that you see in Google Analytics and the info you will see there.
Real-Time enables you to see the activity as it happens on your site or app. The real-time reports are updated frequently and each hit is reported within seconds after it occurs. For example, you can see how many website visitors are on your site right now, which pages or events they’re interacting with, and which goal conversions have occurred.
What data appears in Real-time reports?
There are six reports we can see, they are Overview, Locations, Traffic Sources, Content (or Screens, for Mobile App properties), Events, and Conversions. All reports display the following attributes:
• Total number of active users,
• Total number of hits during each of the most recent 30 minutes
• Total number of hits during each of the most recent 60 seconds
Select any dimension in the reports to apply a real-time segment based on that dimension. Alternatively, type a value into the search box to include a real-time segment on that value. Segments continue as you click through the Real-Time reports. Note that we can not apply the standard in Real-Time.
The Real-time Overview displays the top-ten pages, on which users are active, the channels for the users on each page, and the total number of active users on each page. Active visitors are those who have sent a hit to Google Analytics within the last five minutes. Active users per page are the total number of visitors who have sent their most recent hit from that page.
It also displays the referrals for active users and the pages through which these users landed on your site and their geographic locations. If you are running a 1-day campaign, for example, you can see the total number of active users that were referred by that campaign, whether they are coming in through the appropriate landing pages along with their geographic locations.
The Top Social Traffic section uses the same social referral groupings that appear in the Social Reports. This enables you to see all the social networks that refer to traffic.
Use the Real-time Locations report to monitor the geographic locations of your active users. You can also track how many pages/screens were viewed from each city during the past 30 minutes.
Real-time Traffic Sources report helps in monitoring the mediums and sources that referred the users on your website right now. This enables you to track the percentage of your active users who were referred by a specific site or campaign.
Use the Real-time Content/Screens report to monitor which pages/screens have been viewed during the past 30 minutes. For example, you can check whether the content you posted today is currently popular.
Click Pageviews/Screen Views(Last 30 min), above the table, to check the total number of page views attributed to direct traffic that each of your pages has received during the past 30 minutes.
Use the Real-time Events report to view the real-time firing of events. The table displays the top 20 event categories over the past 30 minutes, sorted by the number of users who have interacted with that event. The percentage of total users is also shown in each row. Click an event category in the table to view just the activity for that category.
Click Events (Last 30 min), above the table, to view the total number of events (by event category) during the past 30 minutes.
This report shows conversions from destination and event goals.
Use the Real-Time Conversions report to view real-time goal completions. The table displays the goals that active users completed during their sessions, the number of visitors who completed each goal, and the percentage of total users who completed each goal. Click a goal in the table to view conversion activity for that goal.
Click “Goal Hits” (Last 30 min), above the table, to view the number of conversions during the past 30 minutes.
Audiences in Analytics are website visitors or app users that you group together based on any combination of attributes that is meaningful to your organization.
An audience might be simply current buyers (include users who have > 0 product views; exclude users who have > 0 purchases).
Or you may need a detailed definition that identifies buyers who viewed the detail page for Product X, and then within 4 sessions or 8 days returned to purchase the product.
You can build broad definitions like all users who purchased a product at any time or all users who have purchased within the last 12 months but not during the last 3.
Once you define an audience, you can:
- Enable that audience on platforms like Google Ads and Display & Video 360 so you can focus your marketing efforts on those website visitors.
- Use the audience in your Analytics reports to explore their behavior in response to your marketing. You can apply the audience as a secondary dimension in reports, and as a dimension in segments, custom reports, and custom funnels.
The Audiences report adds only audiences and their related data that you create in Analytics.
To view data in the Audiences report, you first need to:
- Enable Demographics and Interests
- Create audiences in Analytics
- Publish those audiences to Analytics (include Analytics as a destination for those audiences)
Data for an audience is available in audience reports starting from the date you publish the audience to Analytics. Data before the publish date is not available.
You can publish audiences to Analytics as you build them, and you can publish existing audiences to Analytics.
View Audiences data
- Sign in to Google Analytics.
- Navigate to your view.
- Open Reports.
- Select Audience > Audiences.
About the data
The report includes audiences you create and publish to the Google Analytics destination.
Data for the current day is not present in this report.
At a time, you can add a maximum of 50 audiences published to an Analytics account, and add a maximum of 20 published to any single property within that particular account.
Audiences that are based on custom dimensions that use query-time import mode are not applicable. Audience data is evaluated at processing time.
Audiences are available only in the specific view in which you create them.
The Google Analytics Acquisition report enables you to measure the performance of various traffic channels through behavior and conversion analysis. The report displays the Acquisition-Behavior-Conversion (ABC) cycle: how the website gets users, their behavior on your website, and the path to conversion.
Let’s explore the Acquisition reports section of Google Analytics. You can view it using the menu in the left sidebar of your Google Analytics dashboard.
The Acquisition Overview gives you a quick view of the top channels (sources) sending visitors to your website, as well as the related acquisition, behavior, and conversions details for each channel.
In order to make the most sense of this acquisition report, let’s dive into what this collective data reveals.
Before we discuss channels, it is necessary to understand the difference between sources and mediums. A source is the origin of your traffic, such as a search engine (for example, yahoo, google) or a domain (example.com) and the medium is the general category of the source, for example, organic search (organic), cost-per-click paid search (CPC), web referral (referral). Google Analytics Acquisition Channels determine the medium users used to land on your website. It is crucial to know how much traffic each channel generates (in comparison with other channels), but it is also essential that you determine the quality of that traffic. In other words, understanding which channel performs the best and holds the highest conversion rate. Determining the most effective specific channel enables you to focus your marketing efforts on bringing more traffic through that specific channel. Let’s explore some of the common Google Analytics acquisition channels:
The Behavior section shows what your visitors do on your website. Specifically, the reports tell you which pages people visit and what actions they take while visiting.
The Behavior Flow report envisions the path users traveled from one page or Event to the next. This report can be used to know what content keeps users engaged with your site. The Behavior Flow report can also help you identify potential content issues.
Behavior Flow report requirements
You need to set up and have tracking Events before they appear in the Behavior Flow report. The more structured you are about setting up the Event tracking code, the easier it is to use the Events or Pages and Events views of the Behavior Flow report. You also have to set up Content Groupings before they appear in the report.
The Site Content reports include the following:
- All Pages: interaction or engagement metrics for each page on your website.
- Content Drilldown: interaction or engagement metrics for directories and pages on your website.
- You can also drill into directories to see subdirectories and individual pages.
- Landing Pages: Acquisition, behavior, and conversion metrics for the pages on your website.
- Check whether your landing pages are engaging users and contributing to conversions the way you expect.
- Exit pages: exit metrics for the last page users open on your website.
- Monitor if users are exiting your site from the pages you expect (e.g., a checkout page, add to the cart page).
The Site Speed reports let you find how quickly users are able to see and interact with content. You can identify the page or areas that need improvement, and then track the impact of those improvements.
The Site Speed reports track three aspects of latency:
- Page-load time for a sample of pageviews on your site. You can view the data across different dimensions to view how quickly your pages are loaded from a variety of perspectives (for example, in different browsers, in different countries). Data is present in the Page Timings report.
- Execution speed or load time of any discrete hit, event, or user interaction that you want to track (for example, how quickly images load, response time to button clicks). Data is available in the User Timings report.
- How fast the browser parses the document and makes it available for user interaction. No additional configuration is required to view this data. Data is present in the Page Timings report, on the DOM Timings subtabs.
The Conversions section displays you the path your customers take on your website, from the entrance to accomplishing a purchase or becoming a lead.
Goals measure how well your site or app accomplish your ultimate objectives. A goal means a completed activity, called a conversion that contributes to the success of your business. Examples of goals include completing a purchase (for an ecommerce website), Finishing a game level (for a mobile gaming app), or submitting a contact inquiry form (for a marketing or lead generation site).
Defining goals is a primary component of any digital analytics measurement plan. Having properly configured goals allows Analytics to provide you with important information, such as the number of conversions and the conversion rate for your website or app. Without this information, it’s almost impossible to analyze the effectiveness of your online business and marketing campaigns.
Goal Flow reports display the path your traffic traveled through a funnel towards a Goal conversion. This report can help you view if users are navigating your content as expected, or if there are problems, such as high drop-off rates or unexpected loops.
Funnel Visualization report display a user journey to complete a goal and it shows one session to each step in the funnel, so if a user sees the same step twice—either by navigating back to it from another step or refreshing the page/screen—the second session shows as an exit to that step’s page/screen.
Google Analytics has a few standard report templates that are inbuilt. Some of these templates are as follows:
- Device Report: This report tells you which device users are using while they browse your website. This is a very useful report and you can target a specific device for any of your next marketing campaigns using insight from this report.
- Browser Report: This report tells you which browser users are using while they visit your site.
- LP Report: This report tells the visitor by landing page on your site. You can easily find out the most popular pages on your site using this report.
- Location Report: This report gives you the location wise break up of visitors on your site.
- Hourly Report: This report gives you the hourly break up of visitors on your site. You will know at what time during the day users are looking for your products or services using this report.
- Source Wise Report: This report tells you the source of visitors to your site. You can prioritize your marketing effort on the top sources of your traffic using this report.
- Returning Vs. New User Report: This report gives you the insight of returning vs. new visitor on your site. This can help you immensely and give you insights into your sales cycle and content engagement.
- Day of Week Report: This report gives you the day-wise break up of traffic on your site. This will help to explore which day in the week users are looking for your products or services.
Other than standard reports, you can also create a custom report using various dimensions and matrix. The Google Analytics reporting interface allows us to pick the dimensions and metrics and put them in the desired layout. You must specify at least one dimension and one metric while creating a custom report. You may also create a custom report using a combination of standard reports to get meaningful insights. The reporting tools help measure your current marketing efforts and also empower you to plan and optimize your marketing efforts for maximum return on investment.
If you need any assistance on Google Analytics Implementation, Strategy, or Insights, feel free to reach us via call or fill the form for a free consultation.