So you say you have Google Analytics...
“We have Google Analytics installed but have never logged in” or better yet “We use Google Analytics but we don’t know where to begin analyzing all the data.” Statements like these are common when we ask our clients or prospective clients what web analytics platform they are using.
Clearly, this showed there was a dire need for some “training,” which sparked the idea to host a LunchBox session on Getting the Most from Google Analytics. Thus began the planning of date, location, food (of course!) and content to cover. Our email invite was so well received that we ended up hosting not one but two of these sessions! Who knew they would be so popular – I guess we should have.
Google Analytics is quite the web metrics animal that, at first glance, can be very intimidating and overwhelming. However once you overcome your fears, you will see that Google Analytics isn’t all that scary after all. It is incredibly useful for helping you understand not only where your traffic is coming from but also how relevant they think your site is and making site adjustments where necessary. And for those of you with ecommerce sites, you can even track all your marketing efforts down to the last dollar! Google Analytics provides extensive data about your site and its visitors; it’s just a matter of knowing where to look to find it all.
That’s where we stepped in….
During the hour and a half session, Bruce Namerow, president of Interactive Strategies, walked through a range of information that was helpful to both beginners and mid-level users alike. Topics covered ensuring proper code installation, creating separate profiles, reviewing the types of reporting available as well as advanced features like tracking virtual pageviews , event tracking and setting up advanced segments.
Some important configuration best practices we wanted clients to walk away with a good understanding of were:
Enabling site search. This will allow you to see the search phrases your visitors are using and whether or not they are finding the content they’re looking for.
Setting up goal conversions – non e-commerce vs. e-commerce goals. Regardless of the type of website you have, goals should be established based on your business objectives. Since not everyone has an ecommerce site, it’s important to set up goals around a desired action, i.e. download of a document or completion of a form, to measure success. E-commerce goals can include tracking a credit card thank you page, a credit card rejection page or even visitors entering the shopping system.
Using goal funnels. If your checkout process is lengthy, setting up a funnel will track people’s progress through each step and show you where people are dropping off or abandoning their shopping cart.
Creating profile filters. One important filter to set up is to exclude your internal traffic from your reporting. To do this you’d need to set up a new profile that would filter out traffic from your specific IP address or range of IP addresses. Other examples of filters that can be set up in separate profiles are segmenting by content, geographical location or by campaign/referral sources.
Advanced Segments. While Google provides a number of predefined segments to choose from, you also have the ability to create custom segments to better personalize your reporting. Such custom segments can include mobile phone visits, social network visits, 404 reports, blog pages, etc.
Now, with the roll out of the new Google Analytics back in April, it seems we may be due for another Lunchbox session soon. Stay tuned!