You may have read articles that tell you how powerful Google Analytics is, and why you should use it. However, if you don’t have a website and want to learn how to operate it, Google has made it easier than ever to begin experimenting with Google Analytics (GA) and learning how the tool works with a free GA demo account. Google’s demo account is linked to their online Merchandise Store, a real and live website where you can buy Google merch. Once you get access to the demo account, let’s start learning how to operate GA and learn all the basic metrics.
Once you have logged in the demo account, let’s dive into the interface and get this tutorial started.
In the main page, you’ll see five tabs on the left, which are Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, Conversions.
You’ll learn what all of the basic dimensions and metrics really mean and what information you can derive from them.
Real-Time allows you to monitor activity as it happens on your site or app. This is where you monitor user activity as it happens on your site.
Also in Real-Time, it shows the site’s top active pages, top referrals, top keywords, and more to show where your viewers are from (e.g. search engine, facebook…etc.) and how they find you.
The audience shows the viewers’ age, sex, demographics, and behavior.
It shows the site’s traffic, which is one of the most known and basic data. And how could this information help us with growing our business? We have to look deeper into other data.
- Audience (age, sex, location, interest)
In the audience, we can see the age segmentation, sex, and more. If we only look into a single factor, we won’t get any insights. Once we gathered enough data, we can plan our marketing strategies accordingly. Here’s an example, if we found out website traffic is higher on weekends and has the most female traffic, then changing your front page with images and products that are popular within female could be a great strategy.
This is just one of the implements, based on different stores’ products and the situations. there can be tons of variation on how we can adjust our strategies.
Moreover, knowing your audience is critical, if your audience is not what you have expected. For example, if you’re targeting young professionals but people who visit your store are students, then you should quickly adjust your advertising channel, keywords… and related factors.
Acquisition lets you know where your users came from, and what mediums they were directed from for example YouTube, Facebook, Google search, and more. It’s important to know how much traffic each channel generates, this allows you to allocate your digital advertising budget on-point and make the best out of it.
With all of this information, it still comes to the same question: how could these data help your business? By answering this, let’s dive into two metrics – Bounce Rate and Conversion Rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visits in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing further. In average, a bounce rate in the range of 26-40% is excellent, 41-55% is roughly average based on RocketFuel.com. In addition, the conversion rate is the percentage of which a visitor completes the objective we set, for instance, sign-up as a member, checked out a product, and more.
If you have an advertising channel that runs on low conversion rate and high bounce rate, then you better take a closer look into that channel and decrease your spending while optimizing on the advertising content.
The Social report tells you more in-depth details about social activity related to your website. if you’re also running your e-Commerce business on social media, this report shows you the performance from each social media platform. And here are two important metrics to learn about – Avg. Session Duration and Pageviews/Session. The former usually described as interactions that occur on your site during giving time spam, and the latter indicates how many pages a visitor would view on average.
For an e-Commerce site, these two metrics provide vital information for site optimization. It shows whether your visitors are interested in your website’s content and product. If a visitor stayed longer on the site and viewed more pages, there’s a bigger chance of them to place an order. For starters, set a goal of – 2 minutes site duration and 5 page views for an average visit, in addition with a 30% bounce rate.
Another factor we should look into is behavior. Instead of telling your customers’ behavior it tells you how many returning customers you have. This information is important because returning customers are organic search traffic that doesn’t cost you and has a higher conversion rate.
The behavior overview report focuses on individual pages of your website and gives you an overview of page views, unique page views, average time spent on each page, bounce rate and exit rate. Also, you can review how the content is performing by page URLs, titles, search terms or events.
- Behavior Flow
The behavior flow report lets you see the path visitors commonly take on your website, from the first page they view to the last page they visit before leaving your site. This report can help you discover what content keeps users engaged with your site, and help identify potential content issues.
- Site Speed
If you’re curious how your website performs in terms of speed, the Speed Site report displays a graph of the average load time of all pages throughout your website, and with this information, you can work toward improving the content on your website to speed up page load time and page download time.
- Site Search
If you have a search box on your website, the site search reports display the overall metrics for visitors who use the search box on your website. Which allows you to view quick reports for the terms searched, categories and the pages where visitors initiated a search.
GA’s conversions report shows you the path your customers take on your website, from the entrance to making a purchase or becoming a lead.
The Goals Report gives you a quick summary of the total number of conversion made on your site. Also, it allows you to view where the actions are initiated in your site, and where the traffic is from.
The Ecommerce Overview report allows you to see your store’s sales performance including sales revenue, number of orders, conversion rate…and more.
In the Shopping Behavior Report, you get to have a closer look at your checkout process. You can see how many people you retained in each step from the beginning to the end.
In the Multi-Channel Funnels report helps you understand the full journey of customers who convert on your website. In addition, the report gives you a summary of each marketing channel that works to drive converting visitors to your website.
The Top Conversion Paths report indicates some of the popular paths that visitors take to purchase your products. You can dig deeper into the conversion path by selecting the source/medium path. This allows you to know which advertising channel is more effective to reach or resonate with your customers.
Google Analytics reports offer a number of ways to view and analyze the way people navigate your website on their way to converting. While using these given data to optimize your site and deliver a great customer experience, it’s also important to constantly invest in digital advertising and enrich your site’s content.