Historically Google Analytics was created to track how often users select items for purchase and then complete the transactions (Hong, 2012). The advancement of Google Analytics in recent years has been ground breaking and it is now the most popular web analytical tool service on the internet (Sparks, 2014 & Dubois, 2010).
So why are Google Analytics head and shoulders above their analytical competitors?
The short answer is that it is free for anyone to use and has such an extensive range of capabilities any company, large or small, would be foolish not to take advantage of it to maximise their marketing potential.
In this blog I will examine the 8 key functions of Google Analytics that make it such a useful tool for any marketer to have.
- Set up Goals
This may sound a tad basic and you may think why do I need analytical software to record my goals? But setting goals is such a straight forward process it is often neglected by organisations and employees can be forgetful of what they are working towards! You can set time limits with your goals and reminders will prompt you when time is running out!
Having the ability to record goals helps you stay on track to achieve your aims and objectives. It makes you reflect on what the purpose of your website is.
2. Advanced Segments
So now we are getting into what really makes Google Analytics so popular. Advanced segments allow you to isolate and analyse subsets of your traffic, you can then compare them against other segments or apply them to current or historical data (Google, 2015).
You can also analyse what marketing campaigns have brought about the most traffic and conversions to your website which allows you to calculate the ROI from social media campaigns.
3. Custom dashboards
Every business is different and every business has different targets, with the custom dashboard function you can choose from a wide range of widgets that can combine to show different metrics, comparison of metrics or even a timeline of multiple metrics. Custom dashboards can also be downloaded and you can have a long list of dashboards on your profile so you can easily switch between them. Here is a link to some of the best available templates for the custom dashboards. https://econsultancy.com/blog/62828-10-useful-google-analytics-custom-dashboards
Here is how some of the customer dashboards look.
Mobile Commerce Dashboard Site Performance Dashboard
4. Google analytics reports
Marketing reports are the bane of many marketers’ lives, frequently having to scroll for pages and pages of data to find an outcome. Google analytic custom reports makes it easy to create tables and figures showing trends and forecasts and has a range of downloadable shortcuts available. Wiggle took advantage of custom reports to increase their competitive advantage, a link to their success story can be found here http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//analytics/customers/pdfs/wiggle.pdf
When using social media marketing, the websites will frequently ask you what region you wish to target. With location demographics in Google Analytics you can see what particular region is responding well to what campaign, what areas have a high conversion rate and what ones have a low rate. This allows you to focus on the high growth areas and maximise conversion.
6. In-Page analysis
In-page analysis lets you see how visitors interact with your pages, you can see where people are making the most clicks and what parts of your website are the most popular. Therefore if you have a particular ad or link you want to people to see you can place it in the optimum position on your website.
7. Site Speed
This will help you reach peak capacity. The site speed report shows the load times your different pages has. This is important because the load time can greatly affect the experience a user has on your site.
8. Ad Words
One of the most important components of Google Analytics, Ad Words allows you to see what visitors do after they’ve clicked on your ad. This allows you to gain a deeper insight to your marketing campaigns.
This is how to make the most of Google Analytics and how it can benefit your company.
Charlton, G. (2013) 10 useful Google Analytics custom dashboards, e-consultancy. 30 May 2013 [Online] <https://econsultancy.com/blog/62828-10-useful-google-analytics-custom-dashboards> [Accessed 09 April 2015]
Dubois, L. (2010) 11 Best Web Analytics Tools, Inc. 31 December 2010 [Online] <http://www.inc.com/guides/12/2010/11-best-web-analytics-tools.html> [Accessed 09 April 2015]
Google (2015) Features: advanced segments [Online] <http://www.google.com/analytics/ce/mws/features/#goto=advanced-segments> [Accessed 09 April 2015]
Hong, M. (2012) Tech Services on the Web: Google Analytics, Technical Services Quarterly. Vol. 30, Issue 1, pp119-120
Sparks, C. (2014) 10 Great Social and Web Analytics Tools, Search Engine Journal. 11 March 2014 [Online] <http://www.searchenginejournal.com/10-great-social-web-analytics-tools/90629/> [Accessed 09 April 2015]