Processing the Raw Data – Is it important? Does it help?
Table of Contents
- What is Google Analytics?
- 15 Benefits Why You Should Learn Google Analytics
- 1.) Free to Use
- 2.) Easy to Set-Up, Maintained by Google
- 3.) Know Your Visitors/Customers
- 4.) Understand Traffic Movement on your Website
- 5.) Customized Data/Reports
- 6.) Targeted Campaigns
- 7.) Automated Emails
- 8.) Goals – Setting, Monitoring
- 9.) Campaign Tracking
- 10.) Know What People are Searching on Your Website
- 11.) Find Most Relevant Pages of Your Website
- 12.) Feedback for Content
- 13.) Feedback for Website
- 14.) Exporting Data in Various Formats
- 15.) Compatibility with Other Tools and Add-on
- How can you Learn Google Analytics
What gets measured, gets managed.
– Peter Ducker, Management Guru
The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.
– Carly Fiorina, ex-CEO, HP
War is ninety percent information.
– Napoleon Bonaparte
It can not be emphasized upon enough, how important data analytics is, in today’s world for businesses. Without data analytics, extending Geoffrey Moore’s famous quote, the businesses are deaf and blind, working in silos and without any real feedback; wandering on the web like a deer on the highway – waiting to die any moment.
It’s not an overstatement by any measure.
There is a plethora of data/information flow happening online on your website, that you can’t keep track of and make any sense out of. There are users accessing it from multiple sources/ mediums, on various platforms, landing on various pages of your websites and interacting from different links and pages on your website. Some users bounce right away, some interact, some leave midway somewhere and a few get converted.
If you could gain insight in what all is happening out there on your website, wouldn’t it be great? All you need is a way to analyze this data and gain insights from it. Sounds simple, isn’t it?
Small business owners and entrepreneurs having online presence don’t necessarily need to get into big data analytics and get adequate analytics support and complete data-> information-> knowledge-> wisdom cycle from freely available tools like – Google Analytics.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics service on the internet. Google started offering Google Analytics in November 2005. It has both free and paid premium versions, and for smaller businesses/ entrepreneurs, the free version suffices.
Google Analytics is a web-based web-analytics-software, a service provided and maintained by Google. The user doesn’t have to install any software on their hardware and just needs to have a Google account to start using Google Analytics.
15 Benefits Why You Should Learn Google Analytics
Here are the 15 ways to learn Google Analytics and become a Google Analytics Expert.
1.) Free to Use
You don’t have to pay any subscription or monthly/ yearly fee to use Google Analytics. This leaves you with additional money which can be utilized at other demanding places, which you would have otherwise spent on such analytics software.
2.) Easy to Set-Up, Maintained by Google
It is really easy to set up. All you need is a Google Account. You can start using it right away with basic settings. The interface is really easy-to-use and very user-friendly. The maintenance is taken care of by Google, that also keeps improving its capabilities and keeps adding new features such reports, filters etc.
3.) Know Your Visitors/Customers
This is one of the key benefits of using Google Analytics. You get to know where the visitors are coming from to your website (direct, organic, paid, campaign etc.). Google Analytics tells you which geography they come from, their language, technology, age, gender, engagement, loyalty and even their interests etc.
You can also know which platform, device, operating system they use to access your website, and if there is a change in this pattern over time. Audience and Acquisition Reports in Google Analytics bring to you all this information and more. You can learn about and track the entire user flow of the traffic coming to your website from all the sources.
The more you know about your customers, the less you need to worry about losing them.
You can also see these reports based on how active these users are (daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly) and where new users are coming from. This information can work as a check-box if you’re actually reaching your targeted audience and help you make your marketing decisions backed by analytics-led user insights.
Google Analytics provides you with detailed analysis of your audience, traffic rates, conversion rates, bounce rates, sessions, transactions etc. You can choose to invest to build awareness in certain locations, or choose to consolidate loyalty at another location. You will have information to make decisions such as creating more customized mobile site or whether to become mobile-based application only etc.
It is important to mention here that, as also stated by Google Analytics on its official website, it does not capture any personal information of the users and provides the information on an aggregate level to safeguard users’ privacy.
4.) Understand Traffic Movement on your Website
You can track online behaviour of the visitors/customers on your website. While its difficult to track this in offline purchases, with analytics you can see how they moved through your site, which links they clicked, and how they finally made a purchase. You can also know if users are having a trouble with a particular step. You can then can make changes to the website to resolve such problems. You can also use this data to make decisions regarding how to reach new and existing customers. With this, e-Publishers can align on-site advertising campaigns to their user/ fan-base, and make them more loyal and engaged.
Google Analytics collects user behavioural data from variety of systems e.g. mobile applications, websites, online point of sales systems and other platforms connected with Internet. You can see all of this and more in the Behavior Reports in Google Analytics.
5.) Customized Data/Reports
You can choose to view data from certain geographies, age, gender segments. You can exclude ‘own’ traffic (Google does this by tracking IP addresses). You can create filters at various levels to study all the reports available from Google Analytics.
6.) Targeted Campaigns
Armed with detailed analysis of who your users are, where do they come from and how they behave on your website – you can create targeted campaigns with certain user segment in focus. You can also make insightful decisions in relation to content marketing, promos/ offers, digital marketing channels, optimizing of conversions and more.
7.) Automated Emails
Once you have put in settings for customizing your reports. You can send these reports periodically through automated mails to desired email-ids. You can set this frequency for certain time periods, and of-course you can make any changes in this at any time you want. This ensures real-time reports going to all intended personnel in a timely manner, without any manual intervention.
8.) Goals – Setting, Monitoring
You can create various goals as per your business requirements. You have the option of choosing from a template – revenue, acquisition, enquiry, engagement; or you can create your own custom goals such as trial sign-ups, ebook downloads etc. in Google Analytics. You can revise or edit these goals going forward. You can monitor how your goals are performing over time and then can take actions to complete the goals based on this feedback.
9.) Campaign Tracking
Websites undertake marketing campaigns to reach certain goals. You can use campaign tracking in Google Analytics to specifically track a certain online advertising or promotional campaign on your website. With Google Analytics you have customizable options wherein you can adjust subsequent referrals in certain ways to accurately measure impact of the campaign.
10.) Know What People are Searching on Your Website
If you have a website with a number of pages in it and have multiple product/ services lines, you would want to know what people are searching on your website. SEO focuses on keywords that would bring visitors to your website from search engines. But once they are on your website, what keywords are they searching for, would tell you if you need to put in more specific information on your website or if you need to refine some pages to engage your visitors etc. Google Analytics can help you with that.
11.) Find Most Relevant Pages of Your Website
With Google Analytics, you can find out which landing pages most number of users are landing upon, which link on which page is being clicked the most etc. If there is something that you want most of your visitors to see, you would want to place it on this most popular page of your website near the most clicked link.
At the same time, Google Analytics provides you information regarding what are your worst performing pages. You can get to know if visitors are arriving and exiting on a particular page. It may be okay for a blog (where a user reads the information she wanted and then leaves), but definitely not good for an e-commerce website. This provides your with feedback that you need to work on those poorly performing pages and also about what needs to be worked upon.
12.) Feedback for Content
With Google Analytics, you can know which pages are being visited the most, and keeping your visitor the longest. You would want to have similar kind of content on your future pages too. Of-course it would depend on business strategy as well, but it is a good feedback for putting content on your website.
13.) Feedback for Website
Google Analytics doesn’t just give feedback for your website content, but also provides feedback for your coders, in how to further business goals. You get to know your strengths, weaknesses and blocks in the way of achieving your goals. You can put your coders at work on all these right away.
14.) Exporting Data in Various Formats
If you use want to export data from Google Analytics into other tools, you can easily do that in various formats (CSV, TSV, TSV for Excel, Excel in XLSX format, Google Sheets, PDF).
15.) Compatibility with Other Tools and Add-on
You can also use multiple add-ons, automatically create customized reports, dashboards etc. There are few great add-ons available which you can choose based on your requirements.
While the above list is not exhaustive, the most important benefits have been covered. However, I am sure you will have many more points to add to above list based on your experience with Google Analytics, once you start using it.
How can you Learn Google Analytics
and find that elusive key to success in your career!
There are of-course online Google Academy courses where you can learn Google Analytics for free. There are multiple other sources/ channels which help you learn Google Analytics.
There are some good digital analytics training institutes, who provide personalized training-cum-mentoring to help your grasp various concepts of Google Analytics and teach you how to use it effectively for real businesses.
You can also have a look at these top Google Analytics Books to learn Google Analytics.
You can invest in a Web Analytics Certification course from a reputed training institute in addition to referring to free resources available online to learn Google Analytics.
See you out there!
Image Courtesy: analytics.google.com, Twitter