This week I will focus on learnings I got from “Google Analytics for Beginners.” From my experience Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that is rarely fully utilized for it’s full potential to provide valuable insight. It’s also rarely actually installed correctly too for it’s full capabilities. It’s quite amazing that this great tool is free.
For ecommerce, it can provide insight into your full funnel ecommerce journey into what is happening and how it is happening. Many clients will know they are getting great results but don’t necessarily understand how they are accomplishing it. It can help show pages or steps in your funnel that are the biggest barrier to conversion, which can help you deep-dive into test you need to run and potential changes you could make to increase your conversion rate, which ultimately translates to more conversion aka revenue.
You can measure interactions and behaviors that are happening on the site such as video views, form fills, etc. which will help you understand how your customers/clients are interacting with your content. You can also do scroll analysis to see how far down they are scrolling or if they are interacting with your product demo video to determine how effective that content investment has been and also to inform you how to design your site moving forward.
Dimensions and metrics are referenced in google analytics quite a bit. Metrics are the number, so you can add them, subtract them, multiply them, etc.
- Revenue is a metric.
- Conversion rate is a metric.
- session is a metric.
- Revenue is a metric.
- Conversion rate is a metric.
- Session is a metric.
- Active users is a metric.
Dimensions are distinctly different. It’s what you sort by.
- A page is a dimension.
- A product is a dimension.
Home Report: Since this report is so general, you won’t’ really spend a lot of time here. It’s more of a brief overview and you aren’t really coming to google analytics for this.
Overview Reports: These helps give you the basic understanding of the who the audience is and is a great general summary report.
Browser & OS Report: This is a table report that elps you understand what browsers and operating systems are using your website.
User Flow Report: This is a very visual report and you can see how your traffic is flowing from one step to another and can gain some very valuable insights with that.
Auxiliary Reports (Language & Location): this is a table report, but also shows a map to show you the language or location of users.
Ecommerce -> Goals -> Funnel Visualization — This report flows vertically and can help you understand how the users are navigating through your ecommerce site.
Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages — This is a report that you can drill down to individual pages and see how those individual pages are performing. It’s also a quick way to audit important pages and ensure that those pages are tracking and providing data to google analytics. This is a table report (most of the reports of google analytics are in tables)
By default google analytics resorts to 7-day ranges, but you can change that date range to whatever range you want it to be. You can also add a comparison rage such as the last 30-days to the 30-days prior, month over month, or even compare where you are at this point of the year to the year prior. Google analytics don’t highlight the day off because it takes time for the processing to crunch and then propagate into the reports. Different reports will propagate these reports sometimes in minutes and other times within hours, so be careful selecting the day off, because the date won’t be completely comprehensive.
When you are working with date ranges, make sure you are working with apples to apples with date ranges. As an example, if you are comparing a 7-day window, make sure you are comparing the same days of the week to the other 7-day window because each day of the week can exhibit different behavior.
Segmentation: You don’t have to look at ALL your data, you can segment the data to what pages are facebook referrals looking at vs. emails vs. adwords as an example. You can really drill down into your individual marketing channels to see the behavior of users from those channels and also the sales that come from those channels. This can then inform your social media strategy, your paid ads strategy, and also your email strategy. By default, “all users” will be applied. You can create as many different segments as your heart desires. One segment often overlooked is also mobile users to see how mobile users go through your site. Additionally you can look at mobile email users, mobile ad users, mobile facebook referral users, etc. You could also segment to see how buyers vs. non-buyers flow through your site or even interact with certain pages to see if that can glean any insight that would help you determine your next test or your next immediate change.
Sampling: One item to look for is the orange shield in Google Analytics to see if your data is being sampled. If it’s a green shield, it means that it is showing you the data off of 100% of sessions. You want to avoid sampling if you can, but if you have a free google analytics account and a high traffic account, it will happen.
Explorer: This is a line graph that can show trends to quickly help you identify trends. I’ve found this extremely helpful to show trends in comparison. As an example, I used it recently to make a case for an upcoming valentines sale. The VP of marketing didn’t want to run a valentines sale because they didn’t want to upset our wholesale accounts, but I was able to show the breakout comparison year-over-year of when we did a valentine’s sale vs. when we didn’t to provide the case of the extra revenue that is generated from it. Google Analytics is an incredibly robust and powerful tool, which if utilized correctly, can help drive greater results for your website goals.