April 1, 2013 by stevenmacdonald
According to research by e-consultancy, 52% of enterprise companies that use free web analytics solutions fail to use more than half of the tools capabilities. Furthermore, 71% of respondents said web analytics plays a significant role in driving decisions.
The reasons for not using web analytics software correctly is down to lack of skills and resources.
In order for you to start taking action on this powerful data, I’ve put together 4 steps to help you get started with Google Analytics.
1. Filter your own traffic
When analyzing the data in Google Analytics, a simple mistake to forget it not to filter out irrelevant traffic such as your office, vendor or external consultants IP addresses. This traffic is not actionable and you do not want to make decisions based on your own visits to the website.
To create a filter, you can visit Admin > Account List > Filters
Once filters have been applied, you will start to collect traffic and engagement data. The next step you want to take will be to create goals.
2. Set up goal tracking
Without website goals, your analytics loses purpose. Whether your websites goals are sales, to capture leads or download a PDF product sheet, the goals of your website should reflect your overall business goals. Setting up goals will show you exactly how many goals were achieved but also how they were achieved and through which channels.
To create a filter, you can visit Admin > Account List > Analytics profile > Goals
The most common goal is URL destination. For example, if you want to track the number of newsletter sign-ups on your website, once the newsletter form is submitted, the “thank you” page URL is usually http://www.domain.com/thank-you. In this case, you would enter /thank-you and click save.
Now that you are filtering out irrelevant traffic and are tracking your online goals, you will want to analyze this data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
3. Analyze the data
When you log in to your Google Analytics account, you will see web traffic, page visits, bounce rate and visitor duration data for the last 30 days. This is great data and allows you see traffic spikes during the last month.
A great way to compare this data is to view a comparison for the previous 30 days or the previous period last year. By clicking on the date range, you can tick the “compare to” box and select your comparison period. The great part about the comparison report is Google Analytics will display the percentage increase for each day/ metric.
4. Scheduled email reports
Avinash Kaushik, the world’s leading expert in web analytics states “10% of budgets should be spent on tools and 90% on a smart analyst“. Even with limited resources, it’s easy to spend hours mining the data in Google Analytics, but an easy way to access the data is to set up scheduled reports.
By clicking on the email tab, found below the main Home, Standard Reporting and Custom Reporting tabs, you can schedule automatic reports. Simply enter the email address where the report will be sent, the attachment type (CSV, PDF) and frequency/ date.
Scheduled reports can be set up for any report within Google Analytics including traffic sources, content and goals.
Measuring Google Analytics data is an important part of any successful marketing strategy. By implementing these four easy steps, you are now able to track relevant traffic and monitor your progress, which means you can spend more time on doing more of what works best for you.
What are your essential Google Analytics tips to getting started? Feel free to comment below.
About Steven: Steven Macdonald has been working with online marketing since 2005. Experienced in online gaming and travel, Steven is currently working on global SEO with SuperOffice CRM and regularly contributes to the Tribes blog.