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Getting Started with Google Analytics

by
May 22, 2015

 

A big part of marketing a business is knowing who your audience is. When a business gets a little larger, or maybe sometimes even before it’s born, something called personas are usually created. These represent the typical customers you face as a business. They each have their own personalities, needs, as well as demands as a customer on your business. Creating these personas for your business can help you know what tone of voice and point of view your content should have, when you should be posting content, how often, in addition to helping to form your overall marketing strategy.

If you’re already a successful business, you already have a wealth of information at your fingertips as long as you set up Google Analytics on your website. This tracking will help you figure out what your current demographics are, which will help you build your current buyer personas. Once you’ve set up Google Analytics on your website, there are two basic ways through Google to view your data.

The Mobile App

For the most concise view into your Google Analytics account, the mobile app they offer is a fantastic option. Once you sign into your account on the app, you’ll be able to choose from your properties and see information about them.

The behavior graph (left) and segmenting options (right) let you see valuable information about your site's traffic.

The behavior graph (left) and segmenting options (right) let you see valuable information about your site’s traffic.

Google already set up what it thinks is important information as your default view on mobile:

  • Active visitors on your site at that moment
  • Audience sessions by country
  • Acquisition (Referrals)
  • Behavior (Average visits over 1-hr blocks by day of the week)
  • Conversions

Personally, my favorite graph is the behavior graph. It makes finding out when people visit your site during the week extremely easy. This makes it a snap to see when your users are active, and therefore, when you should be posting on social media (or other content). The mobile app will even let you segment by certain portions of your visitor base, from just direct traffic to visits on mobile devices. You can also tap on any of the main sections to dive down a bit deeper to see additional information.

The Website

While the mobile Google Analytics app obviously doesn’t contain all the information you need as a business owner to make every decision, it can help with getting you on the right foot. Once you become more familiar with each of the terms, and how your customers are behaving on your site, you can go into far more detail and even create custom reports on the Google Analytics website itself.

Not only is all the information you need here, there are more ways to compare and segment to see just what you want.

Not only is all the information you need here, there are more ways to compare and segment to see just what you want.

On the website version of Google Analytics, you’ll find the same basic sections, with a few more things thrown in. Finding the basic demographics of your users (age, sex, location, even what OS they use) is a click away, and delving deeper into where they came from (referrals), what they did on your site (behavior flow), and even what they bought (eCommerce) can all be found. Even doing small things like segmenting the main Audience view so it compares desktop vs. tablet vs. mobile traffic can help you know where to focus your efforts and if building that mobile app is worth it.

 

Once you get into Google Analytics, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information available. It is important to note that the data you see in the system is not complete. Some people do not let Google track them, and thus you must keep in mind that the picture of your visitors and buyers will be only a partial view. Still, the data that is available is a veritable wealth of information. Before you do a deep dive into it, figure out what you’d like to know about your customers. Do you have any particular goals in mind for what you want to do with the data? Going in with questions and then trying to find those answers (with the help of a more experienced person or Google) will help guide you and make you learn a bit more about the service than if you just went in and poked about. Have any custom reports or dashboards you like? Let us know in the comments!