In our earlier article, The Metrics of Social Media Marketing, we discussed the importance of tracking and monitoring online traffic for your digital accounts. Google Analytics is a free, robust tool that provides the analytics that business owners need to track campaign success and return on investment.
How to Set Up a Google Analytics Account
In order to set up a GA account you must have a Gmail account. Once you do, follow this link and choose to “start for free”. Setting up an account is a two-step process: you must first create your “account” and then, set up your “property”. Set up your account through the “Create Account” section under “Admin” in the bottom left-hand corner. Once you have entered all of the relevant information, GA will provide you with a Unique Account (UA) ID code.
Next, under the Property Column, select “Create Property”. (If you have any trouble finding any of the sections you can also search for it in the search bar at the top of the page.) To create your Property, add all of the required website details, including your business name and URL. From here, your UA Tracking ID is created.
You must now embed your UA Tracking ID into your website. If you have a website developer, give them the code and they will know what to do. If you don’t have a developer, different websites have different ways of embedding your ID and therefore we suggest confirming with your web host. In GoDaddy, for example, you can embed the code all in one place and it will then copy it across the site. In WordPress, some themes allow you to enter the code into the coding directly, while other require a plugin.
To allow other users to access your GA, for example a web developer, a marketing campaign manager or a fellow team member, you may do so under “Property User Management” in the Property settings. They will receive an email inviting them to the account.
Accessing and Determining Which Reports to Use
All of the different types of reports are located on the left-hand side of GA. Remember, not all reports are necessarily useful to your particular goals, so be very selective of the metrics that are most important to you.
Some of the most common metric reports include:
- total web traffic
- sources of website traffic
- traffic being referred from social media accounts
- the number of people reading your blogs
- the time spent of a specific page
- the conversions made
You can then establish which reports to investigate and which to leave for the time being. At any time, select your date range in the top right-hand corner and choose how you would like your data to be presented, i.e. by day, week, month or year. You can also choose to compare this range to an earlier period, for example, month over month or year over year. You can then save your favourite reports and have them emailed to you at whatever frequency you choose.
Our Top Recommended Reports
Audience Overview Report
The Audience Overview Report indicates the number of users, new users, sessions, sessions per user, pageviews, pages viewed per session, percentage of returning visitors and percentage of new visitors, all according to a specific date range. Indeed, this report is very useful for identifying patterns and seasonality.
Acquisition Overview Report
The Acquisition Overview Report indicates all sources of traffic, including organic search, direct, referral and social. Direct traffic can be an indicator of brand awareness as your audience would need to know your URL in order to access your site. Social allows you to easily see website traffic from your social media channels which in turn means that you can determine which posts were successful on which platforms and then adjust your social media marketing accordingly. Referrals allow you to see the success from your backlinks and organic search may indeed be a marker of your SEO ranking as it means that a keyword search lead to your page. Again, it is important to measure each type of acquisition month to month and year over year.
Top 10 Pages Report
The Top 10 Pages Report illustrates the top ten most popular pages on your website and allows you to analyse your website content. If you have posted a blog or a checklist, for example, this report allows you to determine how well it is doing and to compare it’s success to other pages.
Landing Page Report
The Landing Page Report is useful for measuring the success of an ad campaign or a boosted social media post where you are sending traffic to a specific landing page. With this report, you can also see how many people have clicked through to a particular blog you’ve posted.
The Behaviour Flow represents the “flow” or path that visitors take when they are on your website, from where them come in to where they exit. This chart is important as you can determine where people are spending time and attention.
A bounce rate is the percentage of visits where a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing further. 26-40 is perceived as excellent, 41-55 is roughly average and 56-70 is higher than average but it depends on the website so this may not be cause for alarm, and anything over 70 is said to be disappointing.
How to Set Up a Custom Report
Custom reports can be set up in order to provide the date and time that lead forms are submitted to your website. Indeed, this is especially important when your goal is to measure the ROI of web leads. (NB: you must have a thank you page for form submissions set up on your website for GA to track the page and therefor track leads.)
The first step is to set up your goals. Under “Property View”, choose “Goals” and then “New Goal” and from there you can use one of the template options or set up a “Custom Goal”. Once you have your goals set up you can then set up your custom report. Under Customization, choose “Custom Reports” and then “+ New Custom Report”. Name your report and then select the content that you would like to receive, for example, the date and time of form submissions. This report can also be emailed to you every month by clicking on “Share” when viewing the report and selecting “Monthly” in the “Frequency” option.
TIP: Remove Team IP Addresses
It is important to remove your IP address, and that of your web developer, so that it does not skew your statistics. Under “All Filters”, click on “Add Filter” and then add a filter name, for example, IP Address. From here, select “Exclude,” “Traffic from the IP Address” and “that are equal to”. Access your IP address from this link and then copy it into GA.
Google Analytics provides a lot of data that can be useful when looking at the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. It is important to review your data regularly and on a consistent basis so that you can determine what is working for your business and what needs to be altered.
If you are looking to set up your Google Analytics, we are here to help! Contact us today.