What is Google Analytics and Its Benefits
Learn what Google Analytics is and its benefits for business. Understanding web analytics to improve your online business is the first step for growth.
What Is Google Analytics
Google Analytics, GA, for short, is a web analytics tool that provides in-depth insight into your website and business’s online performance.
Getting started with GA is straightforward, and in most cases, you can begin to track key metrics of online business right away. Google Analytics offers levels of complexity; the more you want out of it. The more time you sink into it, the more beneficial it will be for you.
The more relevant data of the channels you have, the more opportunities for optimization, new ideas, and gaining an understanding of how connected everything is in comparison to the business at large.
Google Analytics integrates with other Google services perfectly, and if you’re using other Google-based services for marketing, GA will be essential to track their performance.
Only with web data and knowing exactly how your actions perform, you can increase the return on investment of your website and businesses.
In every digital marketing strategy, data plays a vital part, and having the right tools in place first before any marketing attempts makes sure you’re getting the results you want from it.
A successful business is a fast-paced machine that reacts quickly to ever-changing factors around it, and web data can help you discover what is going on your website as it happens.
We will discover what Google Analytics is through its many benefits to your business and why using GA is essential to understand the status of your online performance.
Google Analytics Benefits
- Track Online Traffic
- Understand User Behavior
- Offline to Online Tracking
- Data Reports And Customization
- Improve Online Advertising With Marketing Analytics
- Improve Search Engine Optimization And Content Marketing
- Google Analytics Conversion Tracking
- Find Your Target Audience
- Google Analytics Cost
- Google Analytics Improves Websites
- Getting Started Is Easy
- New Ideas For Business
- eCommerce Performance
Track Online Traffic
With Google Analytics, you can track all of the sources of online traffic. Understanding where traffic to your website comes from is crucial in running a business online.
Installing Google Analytics right away when starting a new website is essential to start gathering traffic data.
Pinpointing different traffic sources and understanding why and how much traffic occurs on your website enables you to track the gains of your strategies.
Seeing how people find your website is the cornerstone of an excellent online strategy for growth.
Quickly seeing your developing traffic by their sources enables you to create data-driven decisions on how to grow your business online.
Is your website driving more traffic from social media versus Google search? Seeing the difference lets you understand which channels are the most profitable for you.
Improving your traffic generation methods starts by defining the best traffic channels.
Google Analytics measures and separates online traffic into channels that define their primary source:
- Organic – Traffic from Search engines
- Social – Traffic from social media platforms
- Referral – Traffic from websites that links to yours
- Direct – Directly accessed traffic (Bookmarks, auto-filled, writing the domain, etc. )
- Email – Traffic from Email
- Paid Search – Traffic from search engine marketing such as Google Ads.
- Display – Traffic from display advertising.
- Other – Traffic from custom campaigns
You can access the traffic sources report and the channel breakdown in Google Analytics Acquisitions.
Combining user location data such as cities or countries with traffic data helps you understand where your users are coming from mostly. For example, from country X, you’re mainly gaining organic traffic, and social media traffic is mostly from country Y.
Understand User Behavior
Google Analytics unlocks the power of understanding how users, visitors, and customers use your websites. Having behavioral data can drastically improve the results of your online business. Without behavior data, optimizing a website’s performance is impossible.
Google Analytics behavioral metrics to follow:
- Bounce rates
- Behavior flows
- Pages / Sessions
- Avg. Session Duration
- Page Views and Unique Page Views
- Exit Rates and Pages
- Top Pages and their performance
- Custom events and conversions
- Site Search
The key benefit of behavioral metrics is that it provides you valuable information on what pages get the most traction and engagement.
For example, tracking new vs. returning users’ data in Google Analytics helps you define if your users are coming back to your website or not. Depending on your goals, not having enough recurrent users is wasteful.
Many businesses and their conversion funnels perform vastly better if they can re-engage with their users and customers regularly. A sale rarely happens on the first engagement with a website, and having a strategy to keep people coming back to you is crucial for long-term success.
If you can understand how users use your website, you can change the way you interact with your users in the most optimized way.
For instance, analyzing user’s behavior flows in Google Analytics, you will uncover how many steps it takes for an action to happen and how many levels it takes a visitor to drop off altogether. Or you can find out what types of content leads to more internal traffic increasing page views on your website.
Optimizing behavior in marketing and acknowledging changes in internal and external behavior surrounding a business is a controlled method of growth.
Offline To Online Marketing Tracking
Google Analytics enables companies to track offline-to-online campaigns as well. Businesses should know how well offline marketing campaigns are converting to an online store or a website.
You can create a custom campaign links with Google Campaign URL Builder and set the link with important defining factors that make tracking it in GA easier later.
It’s essential to try to track these offline campaigns to see how your visitors from an offline campaign behaves on your website, what actions they are doing, and how it all compares to an online ads campaign.
With GA, you can track traffic from redirecting domains as well, which also enables us to track offline activities. Make sure the redirecting domains have only one purpose, the offline campaigns.
Combining unique links with unique landing pages for offline campaigns helps you specify the data of the offline campaigns.
Also, note that increased direct traffic as an acquisition channel might correlate with offline campaigns.
Data Reports And Customization
Google Analytics allows the customization of reports, dashboards, alerts, and with wide-range of third-party support, you can analyze data to fit every company’s different needs.
The customization of reports, dashboards, and alerts provide you with a glance of whatever data you might need in every situation.
Google Analytics has an extensive library of user-generated premade reports and dashboards that helps you get started. For example, you could have a dashboard that quickly shows your website performance metrics or SEO metrics.
The custom reports are a powerful feature as you can create quickly shareable reports to help with making more data-driven decisions on the fly. You can also set custom alerts that directly send a report to email, like when the website reaches a particular milestone or set of goals.
GA allows data exportation directly into a spreadsheet (Excel, Google Sheets) or another third-party tool, which is beneficial if the company uses other business analytics tools.
Improve Online Advertising With Marketing Analytics
To be effective in online advertising, you have to know how your ads perform on your target website, and having Google Analytics installed before pursuing online ads is crucial.
While every online ad platform gives you direct access to ad results, including conversions, not using Google Analytics in your website and landing pages will not tell you the whole picture of how your advertising is performing.
Optimizing ad campaigns with web data is the only way to increase the results and lower the costs of advertising all across ad platforms. Without knowing how visitors behave on your website after engaging with an online ad, you might never know what parts of your funnel require the most attention.
With GA, you can track individual campaigns and their links to see how your ads perform in real-time.
For example, you have three Facebook Ads campaigns with different targeting options running, and you want to know which one these campaigns align with your goals the best. Within the Facebook ad manager, you might see that the campaigns perform almost equally well against each other.
Using GA, you could see that one campaign performs better on the website, and now you can optimize your other campaigns to match the better performing campaign.
The benefit of Google Analytics in online advertising is also that tracking the metrics of all advertising sources in one place lets you discover the best places to advertise on, and not rely on only one data source.
When you can make direct data comparisons between your ad campaigns, no matter the source, you will create a better online ad strategy overall, which prioritizes winning campaigns and platforms.
Improve Your Search Engine Optimization And Content Marketing
Identifying the best-performing pages of your website to gain insights on what type of content to invest in is a benefit of Google Analytics.
Researching your overall top pages, which leads to most conversion, is a strategy that boosts online results. For instance, keeping an eye out for top organic landing pages will help you identify what made those pages successful in the first place.
Was the success down to the use of keywords, the topic itself was engaging, or some other factor. Improving your search engine optimization with Google Analytics is vital.
Also, looking for the worst pages that bring the least traffic helps you avoid making the same mistakes again and again. To make content marketing a viable strategy to grow business online, the use of GA is essential.
Connecting Search Console to Google Analytics is crucial to extract what keywords and pages are the most important to you. While you can use Search console independently from GA, the benefits of having behavior data mixed with SEO metrics saves you time and helps you understand the role of SEO in your overall performance.
Whether your goals are to increase traffic, conversions, or brand awareness, using GA to analyze every part of your content strategy will create a more stable and a solid plan with steps to reproduce successful pages.
Another benefit of GA to SEO is that website performance data can help you improve your website’s overall performance, which will lead to better results from SEO.
Improved collection of web data over long periods that resolves around your SEO strategy makes the comparison of your methods replicable. To go back in time to reevaluate old winning strategies when building new ones is powerful.
Google Analytics Conversion Tracking
Measuring and tracking conversion is an essential part of measuring any online business’s effectiveness.
Google Analytics unlocks the opportunity to track the most important goals and conversions of your website to improve your company and track the results of any campaign. With the use of GA, you can track user actions on your website.
Being on top of your conversion rates helps you see the performance of different marketing efforts such as online advertising, SEO, or a social media marketing strategy.
Including conversion tracking of the most compelling conversions of business in every installation of Google Analytics, whether them being sales, leads, or behavioral goals, is crucial.
As GA allows the measurement of several different types of goals, it’s vital to measure goals that matter to your business the most as the tracking of nonessential goals isn’t going to be beneficial for you in any way.
It’s always good to be realistic when trying to achieve your goals and change your goals over time, to present your company’s new realities and opportunities. For instance, when starting with a new website, tracking behavioral goals to improve engagement for the site is more important than solely monitoring sales.
Companies of all types require their own set unique goals that need measuring. After deciding upon the right goals and implementing them in GA will unlock many benefits that support business’ growth.
If you understand what audiences generate the most conversions for you, it helps you stay on top of the competition.
It’s’ easy to say that conversion tracking is one of the key benefits of Google Analytics.
Conversions in Google Analytics are called goals, learn more about goals from here.
Find Your Target Audience
Reaching and offering content and services that serve your target audience is a robust digital marketing strategy, and Google Analytics helps you define your target audience. The audience can be then later used to optimize your website’s content and its offerings.
The benefit of reaching your target audience most efficiently increases every aspect of engagement of your target audience. An engaged target audience is a way to grow a website to its potential.
Google Analytics offers vital demographic information of your current visitors and customers. Go through demographic data to build an image of your target audience:
Demographic data available from your visitors in Google Analytics:
Combine demographic data with the user’s system, browser, and device data to see where and how to reach your audience the best.
Google Analytics Interests categorizes your visitors and customers into groups based on their interests. Interests are either in-market (Users who are likely to buy from products within the interest category), affinity categories (Interest categories best used to reach a specific audience), and other categories (Use who won’t match the two previous groups of interests.)
Google Analytics uses the same categorization as Google Ads, which means you can directly use the audience data from GA into your Google Ads to reach your audience with ads better.
Knowing what engages your target audience the most will help you create even better content and create engaging online advertising. GA can unlock new trends of target audience shifts, making you on top of what is going on regarding who you should target at all times.
Creating segments of your different target audiences will make targeting them more viable. For example, isolating a core group of your customers who brings the most results regularly is an audience you will need to have engaged to have them come back over again and again.
Google Analytics Audiences
Google Analytics allows the creation of audiences based on user actions such as:
- All Users (The Default
- First Audience)
- New Users
- Users who visited a specific page
- Users who completed a goal conversion
- Users who completed a transaction
Use these action-based audiences in your Google Ads to create powerful remarketing campaigns.
Using remarketing campaigns in online advertising will improve your overall results and lower the cost of ads.
The benefit of Google Analytics audiences is you can create as many audiences you need, so you can target different users and customers at the various stages of a sales funnel.
For example, having content that’s goal is to produce cold traffic and then through active retargeting warming up the visitors up until the conversion.
Google Analytics Cost
The most significant benefit of Google Analytics is that it’s free for companies to use, and every website can have their accounts if necessary. Being free makes installing Google Analytics a no-brainer for every site out there.
As it’s easy to install, it won’t require much work, which lowers the cost of Google Analytics even more.
A proper setup might require more work and require more insights into business goals, which might increase the amount of necessary work.
Investing in a proper setup that suits your company’s data needs ideally will have many benefits for the business going forward. The need for a web analyst might come necessary if your business deals on a scale where small increments make a difference.
From time to time, it’s good to have your analytics setup audited to have an optimized view of your business online. As going through data that doesn’t matter to you will lead to worse decisions over time.
To lower the amount of time spent in GA, create necessary dashboards, and reports that quickly tell you what you need in every given time. That way, you’re spending less time and lowering overall costs.
Always include the time spent on managing and reporting data into your costs.
Google Analytics 360
Google Analytics 360 is the paid enterprise version of Google analytics, which unlocks more business analytics features to manage a more extensive website. Google Analytics 360 is part of the Google Marketing Platform and starts at the yearly cost of 150 000 USD.
Small and medium-sized companies won’t need to upgrade to the 360 version as the free version provides all you need to track data to provide you with data-driven decisions.
Only when you’re seriously looking to improve your data game the need for upgrading will rise.
The standard version of Google Analytics can hold up to ten million hits per month. A hit is any calculated action by users, such as pageview or custom events.
A website only tracking pageviews with standard version will lose data only if it succeeds the ten million mark. If you’re optimizing every specific part of your sites and receiving multiple hits for every user, then the cap of ten million singles might come sooner.
Google Analytics Improves Your Website
Website optimization is hard without knowing what to optimize. With Google Analytics, you can include behavioral data into your design by measuring the success of various elements, and by introducing data into your workflow, you can build more optimized experiences for your users.
For example, increased bounce rates from your mobile users tell you that you need to improve and invest more in your mobile version of your site.
Google Analytics can help in designing better content flows with internal linking structures that re-engage your website visitors.
If one page is more prone to success than others, then replicating its content and design into your whole website might bring more results through optimization. The key is to test from time to time new variations of designs and then validating their success through data.
For example, when optimizing your landing pages, it’s essential to have the ability to test quickly new variations for best results. A well-converting landing page will provide you with data that tells why it worked so well in converting users. You can then use this data to improve your whole site.
In-page analytics is a decisive part of creating better experiences that your customers will enjoy more, and that increases conversions.
Tracking loading speeds over time, for example, is a great benefit of Google Analytics as looking through the data will tell you if there were any changes on any particular day. Although gaining every detail of your loading speeds requires other tools as well, GA is a starting point that reveals any problems that may arise.
Using Google Analytics alerts to directly send you an alert when a problem strikes, makes fixing issues faster and easier.
Getting Started Is Easy
Starting the collection of web data of your business is reasonably fast and straightforward. With basic implementation, you can begin collecting necessary data such as user behavior and user amounts of your websites.
Installing the Google Analytics tag with your id, it starts collecting data of your whole website immediately after installation. Many online stores and website platforms have a smooth integration process with Google Analytics, such as Shopify or WordPress.
Instantly you will see how much traffic you have, where it comes from, and who your users are.
Installing Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager is a preferred method as installing Google Tag Manager first lets you manage future tags and scripts easily with it.
Google provides a lot of documentation and courses regarding GA and its use; therefore, you can find everything you need there.
Setting up crucial conversions such as leads, or sales as soon as possible, will quickly tell you the state of your online business with minimal effort.
Eventually, more in-depth knowledge is required to gain the full benefits of Google Analytics for business, but it all starts by collecting the minimum data.
New Ideas For Businesses
Collecting and analyzing data always opens up new opportunities and ways to grow your business. Web data especially gives you more ideas quickly as results from all kinds of activities start pouring in.
Analyzing new and past data thoroughly with a business goal-orientated mind helps you discover more impactful methods to try out in the company. You might even learn an entirely new set of ideas that you’ve never thought of before.
Going through your reports, dashboards, goals, and metrics in Google Analytics regularly, you will find actionable things to do that help you achieve your online goals.
For example, got a sudden spike of traffic from a new source like Pinterest? Analyzing why it happened and what made it happen leads to discovering a new strategy.
Utilizing Google Analytics Site Search feature lets you see what search terms your visitors use within your site if your site has a search function, and you have enabled the feature in GA. Using the feature allows you to find new ideas that your website visitors would like to see on your sites, such as product ideas for an online store or content ideas for a blog.
Not all ideas are equally good, and all of the new ideas need testing before broader implementation. That’s where A/B testing comes in. A/B testing new ideas with Google Analytics can make sure if your original plans provide the impact you want. Be sure to test all ideas to know if something works or not.
Testing new ideas is a core principle of growth marketing, and implementing its methods as a strategy, is a way for seeking growth online.
Google Analytics eCommerce
Google Analytics has more benefits for online stores through its eCommerce tracking features, which you can find under conversion in GA.
eCommerce section has four standard reports you can start with:
Overview – A summary of Conversion rates, revenue, avg. order values and more
Product Performance – Shows metrics such as revenue, purchases, quantity, avg. Prices and quantities, product categories, and SKU’s.
Sales Performance – Displays the revenue of the online store by dates.
Transactions – Displays revenue, taxes, shipping, and quantities and gives each transaction its ID.
Time to Purchase – Measures how long and how many sessions it took to get a transaction.
Enabling enhanced eCommerce reporting gives you access to more metrics that are beneficial to an online store. It unlocks the following metrics, such as:
Shopping Behavior – Tracks user sessions and measures sessions with product views, add to carts and transactions.
Checkout Behavior – Tracks user sessions and their checkout behavior and measures drop off points in your online store sales funnel.
eCommerce Marketing Metrics – Measures the use and transactions of internal promotions, product coupons, and affiliate codes in your online store.
Use these metrics to improve your online store performance and increase its potential sales and prevent customers from leaving without a purchase. The combination of metrics and audience data together helps create effective funnel-based advertising to boost sales.
For example, developing an understanding where, why and how visitors leave individual product pages without converting into a sale, or understanding how many sessions on average you need to make a sale from one visitor, are key questions that online store data can answer you.
The many benefits of Google Analytics as a web analytics tool for businesses combined makes it a valuable tool to collect data that can help you grow your business to the next level.
Whether you use GA as a passive or an active tool, you can always refer back to it to find and realize your performance in reality.
Install the tool on a new website and every now again, do a proper audit before investing a huge chunk of a marketing budget into online advertising.
It’s important to note that introducing data into your workflows and strategies requires adjustment on how to deal with new data with older plans. In time you will realize that the more you know about specifics of a website through metrics, the more you can achieve with it.
Depending on your approach, investing in a proper setup prior is beneficial, but you can always learn as you go further with GA.