Google Analytics

A Beginners Guide to Google Analytics

An Introductory Guide on How to Use Google Analytics

Have you ever thought about opening an e-commerce store? How about making a support website for your business, or even becoming an online publisher? If you have plans for any of these online ventures then you may want to consider familiarizing yourself with the wonderful Google Analytics program.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is an online software designed to collect, process, and present data related to your websites. The software can also collect data from apps as well, perfect for developers who focus on the mobile market. Google Analytics collects data from the individuals that use your website or app and then creates reports from that data that it presents to you. This data can be used to better understand your users and make adjustments and improvements to your preexisting website/app.

Two coworkers looking at data together

Reviewing the data for your website/app is integral to that site’s/app’s success. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

What Can You do with Google Analytics?

Let’s go over some of the things Google Analytics can do for you. First off, Google Analytics can show you data related to your users' locations. For example– if you wanted to know in what state in the U.S. you sell the most products, Google Analytics would show you that information.

You can also use Google Analytics to see gender data related to the users who visit your webpage or app. This data can be used to see what gender is most interested in your webpage/app. Knowing what gender visits your site/app the most can help you better market your product to that specific user base. You can also use this information to target ads for this specific demographic of users as well.

Ever wondered which page on your site gets the most visits? How about the date and time users are most active on your site? Google Analytics provides you with all of this information. Knowing the most popular landing pages for your site can help you improve other pages on your site using the most popular one as an example. You can use date and time data to see what time users are on the least and schedule maintenance updates for those times.

If you run a store, Google Analytics can show you how many users have visited the store page for each of your products. It can also show you how many of those visitors actually make it to the purchase confirmation page.

A globe

The data Google Analytics collects isn’t limited to the U.S., it collects data from users all across the globe! Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Getting Started with Google Analytics

In order to use Google Analytics, you must first create a Google Analytics account. Next, you’ll need to add a code to every webpage you want Google Analytics to measure analytics for. This code is in JavaScript and will be provided for you during the account creation process. This line of code allows Google to collect anonymous data from users who visit your site.

What the Measuring Code Does

This code will also collect data related to the user's language setting. If you find that your primary customer base uses a different language than your default, you may consider adding extra translated text to the website for those users, or even mirror pages for different languages.

This code can also show you what browser users are using to access your site. This can help with bug reports and optimization since many web browsers differ from one another in the way they operate and display information. Having a webpage that displays constantly on each browser is a sign of competence and quality.

How the Code is Processed

The data collected by the measuring code is packaged and sent over to the Google Analytics software. It is here that the data is processed and displayed to the user. All of the data processed through Google Analytics is organized using different categories and criteria. You can view many of these extra categories using Google Analytics Secondary Dimensions feature. This process can be customized to omit certain data that you may not be interested in. Do be warned, any data you choose to omit from the collection process can’t be recovered later. Only omit things that you are absolutely certain you won't need at any point in the future. Feel free to play around with the software and adjust it to your liking.

Navigating Through Google Analytics

The basic layout for Google Analytics

This image highlights 5 of the main points of interest on the Google Analytics dashboard. Image Courtesy of Support.google.com.

Using the image above as a reference let's walk through the points of interest in the Google Analytics software. First off we have the search bar. Pretty self-explanatory, it can be used to search for reports or helpful information. Next are the collection of dots in the top right of the screen, this should be next to your user account button and should be familiar to anyone who uses Google software on a regular basis. These buttons allow you to send feedback to the Google Analytics team, find help and manuals, as well as manage/sign out of your Google account.

The third section is maybe the most important, it is the navigation bar, the bar you’re likely to use the most often. This bar contains the following-- 

  1. Reports-- This shows snapshots and real-time reports on data being collected.
  2. Explore-- Shows advanced options and techniques for understanding the data found in the reports section.
  3. Advertising-- Gives you information about your ROI, budget allocation, and attribution models.
  4. Configure-- Grants you access to 5 additional links: Events, Conversions, Audiences, Custom definitions, and Debug view. Here’s more information about the configure section and its 5 sub-sections.
  5. Admin-- Allows you to make changes related to the Google Analytics account.

The fourth section has your edit and share options which allow you to edit the report’s frame time and other customizations related to reports. This is the section you will use when importing and exporting reports.

Finally, we have the fifth section, the reports section. This section displays the report for the data set you’ve chosen. This section is where you’ll see the many charts and graphs related to the collected data. This is also the section where you can add a secondary dimension for more information on the data shown.

Conclusion

Google Analytics is an incredibly useful software, one that all website and application owners should consider picking up. The basics may come off as a bit complicated but after spending some time with the software you’ll find it much more user-friendly than other software out on the market. The best part about Google Analytics is that the software is completely free so it won't cost you a dime to give it a try yourself. It is also open source meaning the code is free to view and alter by anyone who wishes to do so. This gives Google Analytics customization that just can’t be found in its competitors. We hope this beginner's guide has helped introduce the software to you and that you’ll consider using it sometime in the future. 

December 2, 2022
by 
Elizabeth Grobstein
Newsletter
Get great insight from our expert team.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By signing up you agree to our Terms & Conditions