Regardless of whether you’re doing an email campaign or sending out hundreds of direct mailers to your target audience, all marketing needs to be measured.
Web-based advertising is flourishing, making it an obvious choice for brands to grow awareness and bring in new customers. But, it’s not enough to put out content and hope for the best — marketing professionals need to know if their efforts are achieving goals.
That’s where Google Analytics bursts into the picture.
If you require an in-depth tour of your company’s web analytics and search engine optimization (SEO) performance, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s talk about Google Analytics and the critical information needed to successfully use it.
What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a web analytics service that collects data from your websites and apps to provide insights into your business. This free tool is extremely useful for SEO and marketing purposes, and can be accessed through the Google Marketing Platform using your Google account.
Google Analytics tracks website performance and visitor details so companies can make more informed decisions. With this service, marketers can follow their campaigns, track goal completions and determine where their user traffic is coming from.
How Does Google Analytics Work?
Web analysis isn’t rocket science, but it can be slightly confusing. Ultimately, marketers just need to know that Google Analytics uses page tags to acquire user data. These tags run in each visitor’s web browser, collecting information about them and sending it to a data collection server. These statistics are then put into reports so advertisers and their partners can visualize marketing execution.
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What Makes Google Analytics So Important?
People have closer relationships with those they know best, and it’s the same for marketing. When you learn about the folks you’re attempting to reach and understand what they want, you can improve your connection with them and better meet their needs.
Here are some other reasons why it’s a good idea to utilize Google Analytics:
Improve SEO and Content Marketing
It can be challenging to know what marketers should focus on without the right information to guide them. Google Analytics identifies your website’s best-performing pages so advertisers can know what types of content to invest in. This narrows the scope of work, making it easy to get the most ROI in the long run.
Search engine optimization (SEO) allows for steady growth online, and Google Analytics improves how you track these successes. This valuable resource is the most used SEO tool among marketers, according to Hubspot. With the key information provided by the platform, you can replicate the content that’s working and use it in other areas of your website. For example, keeping an eye on the top organic landing pages can help you identify what’s making these pages so triumphant.
Track Online Traffic
Seeing how people find your website can be a linchpin in your digital marketing strategy. It’s not easy to determine what brings foot traffic to in-person companies, but Google Analytics makes tracking online traffic a breeze. Are you seeing droves of online visitors to a specific landing page on your company’s website? Knowing this can help you determine who these people are, what’s encouraging them to stop by this section of your site and what they’re attempting to accomplish or learn.
Understand User Behavior
Not only does Google Analytics tell you where people are coming from, but the platform also gives insight into how users use your website. Behavioral data can improve your business results by helping you understand where people are at on their buying journey. This information informs your interactions with consumers, providing you with data that can keep people coming back to your site and strengthen your relationships with them. By understanding how an individual utilizes your brand’s page, you can optimize your interactions for further engagement and long-term success.
Google Analytics 4: How It Differs From Google Universal Analytics
Recent developments have changed the way people use Google Analytics. The new and (mostly) improved platform, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) software to give marketers more data into how users maneuver through their websites.
GA4 was introduced to the public in October 2020, causing many marketers to learn a different way of tracking website data. On July 1 of this year, Google sunset Universal Analytics, meaning that the standard analytics platform is no longer processing data.
We recently conducted a survey that discovered 65% of respondents are already using GA4. While many marketers are frustrated with the way it structures and collects data, it’s still a top choice for most industry professionals.
Google Analytics 4 vs Google Universal Analytics
Google Universal Analytics offered advertisers tons of amazing resources that made collecting and presenting data a breeze. While Google Analytics 4 is definitely difficult to get the hang of, it does introduce several new beneficial features.
Here are the main differences between the two platforms:
- GA4 uses automation and AI to provide predictive analytics: Instead of just reporting events that have already taken place, businesses can use analytics to forecast what’s to come and discover new audiences.
- GA4 tracks events rather than sessions or page views: You can define which events are most important to your business so you can be more specific with your results.
- GA4 supports cross-device and cross-platform reporting: This allows you to track how all users interact with your website, providing a crystal clear picture of its full impact.
Analyzing the Different Metrics That Measure Success
You’ve got the necessary information about GA4 under your belt. Now, it’s time to start tracking.
To meet your goals, you need to quantify and narrow down your marketing efforts. You can’t just look at every single data point — unless you have endless amounts of time and energy to solely focus on this.
Chances are, you don’t.
That’s why it’s essential to pick a handful of metrics to look at and determine if your efforts are successful. Here are the most important numbers to track in Google Analytics:
Traffic and Traffic Sources
One of the first measurements you see when you log in to Google Analytics is your website traffic. This is the number of users who have visited your site during a given time period. Generally, you’ll see a graph that covers the last seven days.
You can break down this total into traffic acquisition — the percentage of recent visitors from different sources. The platform segments traffic into a few various categories: direct, paid, organic search, social and more. This knowledge can give you an idea of how well your marketing campaigns are performing, where people are coming from and what times people are most likely to click on your page.
GA4 authorizes you to configure specific events as goals, and your conversion rate of those objectives measures the percentage of individuals who converted. According to Mailchimp, a good conversion rate to shoot for is between 2% and 5% across all industries. If your rate is below this, then you’ll know your content needs to be updated to encourage more engagement.
The opposite side of the spectrum is your bounce rate, the percentage of visitors who go to your site and exit before clicking a second page. Your bounce rate is completely dependent on your unique targets for each landing page. While there’s no single “good” bounce rate, it’s critical to keep tabs on the number of people jumping ship before interacting with multiple pages.
Some elements that can impact this score are your site’s loading time and the overall user experience. People have short attention spans and little patience, so ensure pages show up when people need them to. Google suggests having a load time of 5 seconds or less.
Average Engagement Time
As the name suggests, the average engagement time is the mean length of time users spend on your website. The most profitable consumers will spend lengthy periods on your site, discovering answers to their questions and learning more about your brand. That means you want this number to be as high as possible to benefit your company the most. Sites that have low average engagement times potentially have difficult pages to navigate or make information hard to find.
Improve the amount of time spent on your page by including more internal links in the content. This helps people stay on your site and find beneficial content to engage with.
How Google Ads Ties into Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an advanced marketing resource that all marketers should be using. On top of that, Google Ads can add to the value that GA delivers. But, how exactly do these 2 tools work together?
Google Ads is a digital marketing platform that enables advertisers to run paid Google search ads, display ads, remarketing campaigns or YouTube ads. This is where your ad groups, keywords, campaigns, audience targeting, geographic targeting, necessary exclusions and more are set up. It’s also where you’ll allocate your marketing funds for these campaigns.
Linking your Google Ads account to your Analytics property allows you to see the full customer cycle, from the first user interaction to them (hopefully) making a purchase. While both programs can effectively do their jobs alone, they’re better together.
When Google Ads and Google Analytics are synchronized, you can:
- View ad and website performance in the Google Ads report in Analytics.
- Import Google Analytics metrics like bounce rate, average session duration and more into your Google Ads Account.
- Send Analytics goals and e-commerce transactions into Google Ads.
- Use cross-device conversions in Google Ads by activating Google signals.
- Remarket more effectively in Google Ads using Analytics Remarketing and Dynamic Remarketing capabilities.
- Create informed and data-rich reports with Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels.
To link Google Ads and Analytics:
- Log in to your Google Analytics account. Click Admin and navigate to the property you want to link.
- In the Property column, click Google Ads Linking, then click + New link group.
- Select the Google Ads accounts you want to link and click Continue.
- After entering a link group title, turn linking on for each property you want Google Ads data.
- Click Link accounts, and you’re good to go!
How To Set Up Your Site With Google Analytics
Ready to rank on Google and better track your website’s performance? First, you need to get your Google Analytics account ready.
1. Set Up Google Tag Manager
This free tag management system takes all of your site’s data and sends it to Google Analytics. To begin, create an account on the Google Tag Manager dashboard. Once you’ve entered an account name, you’ll type in containers — macros, rules and tags — for your website and give them names.
2. Create a Google Analytics Account
You’ll have to create an account if you aren’t using Google Analytics already. You can do this by putting in your account and website name, as well as your site’s URL. Accept the terms and conditions to receive a tracking ID. This number is a string of digits that tells Google Analytics to send the data to you.
3. Set Up an Analytics Tag With Google Tag Manager
Using your recently made Google Tag Manager account, click on the Add a new tag button. This will take you to a page where you can create your website tag, including configuration and triggering customizations.
4. Build Google Analytics Goals
This step is where you’ll inform Google of the KPIs you want to measure. You accomplish this by clicking the Admin button and selecting Goals. From here, you’ll look through and choose a goal template that matches your desired targets. You can get as specific as you want, just remember to save your changes.
5. Link to Google Search Console
Set up a Google Search Console account to gain valuable search metrics and data. Select the gear icon and then click on Property Settings. At the bottom of the screen, touch the Add a site to Search Console button, enter your website’s name and then add. You’ll be taken back to Google Analytics after these steps. Your data will start to populate once GA has had enough time to get up and running.
Now It’s Your Turn
No matter how you measure online success, it’s important to remember that behind every good website is a great data collection tool.
With the world of website analytics at your fingertips, you can effectively measure your performance and deem it a success. Just don’t let the extensive power of Google Analytics go to your head.