Why You Need Google Analytics

Why You Need Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a cornerstone for every digital marketer’s home. No matter what part of digital marketing, Google Analytics is one of the most helpful tools you could have. But what exactly is Google Analytics, and why is it favored by so many digital marketers?

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics, or GA, is a tool that Google supplied for website owners. It collects data from your website to help you gain insight into how users use your website. GA can show you how many users are visiting your website, and if they’re connected to a Google account, how many visitors are new vs. returning. GA also shows you how they found your website (organic search results, paid search results, social media, directly typing in your URL, etc.), what page they landed on, and what pages users visit. It can get as detailed as their journey on your website, with a Behavior Flow chart that shows every page that users visited in order and where they dropped off. You can set specific conversion goals for your website and track them. Google Analytics is an all-around tool for business owners and digital marketers.

Why Google Analytics?

Everything tastes better when it’s free, even software. Google Analytics is a free option for business owners and digital marketers, and it has great capability for a software that is completely free to use. The software is also very easy to navigate; Google makes their software extremely user-friendly so you won’t have any troubles. And even if you do (we’re all humans), they have a free Google Analytics Certification that does a deep-dive into how GA works, it’s full capabilities, and how to use it to the fullest for your website. 

Google Analytics also works seamlessly with other Google softwares, such as Google Adwords, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager, and countless others. Most website builders, including SquareSpace, have simple methods of integrating GA into your website so that you can track everything you want to.

What does Google Analytics Track?

Google Analytics tracks so many different factors. To start, GA has both snapshot and real-time options, so that you can see the number of people currently visiting your website or look into the past to analyze changes you’re making.

Audience Tracking

GA has the capability to track your audience; that is, users that visit your website. It can differentiate between new and returning users, including how many times a returning visitor has visited your website. You can learn what device the user was on when they visited your site (down to the model) and what browser they used to find you. Find out where they are, what language they speak, their gender and age, and their interests and hobbies. These tools allow you to analyze exactly what your audience is, which can impact the rest of your digital marketing efforts as well.

Acquisition Tracking

Not only does Google Analytics tell you what users are visiting your website, it tells you where they came from too. GA can track how you acquired this user. There are many categories: organic, direct, social media, paid search, referral, display, and more through which people can find your website. Organic is when your website and any of its pages appears organically on the search results page (which is why your SEO matters). Direct is when people type in your website URL and get sent directly to your website. Social media is, you guessed it, from social media links in your bios or on posts (and GA can break down exactly where those came from too, ie: Instagram Story, Facebook, and LinkedIn). You can even use the “User Flow” tab to show which pages users are finding from which acquisition channel.

User Behavior

GA’s behavior tab gives you an in-depth look into how your users interact with your website. You can see which pages the users are viewing the most and the bounce rate of each page. With the behavior flow chart, you can view people’s navigation on your website by seeing what pages they start on and where they go to. This can be really useful to see which pages need improvements for SEO and clarity.

Conversion Goals

The last (and arguably most important) feature of Google Analytics is that you can track conversion goals. If you want people to find a specific page of your website, or click a specific button, you can set these as conversion goals on your GA. This way, you’re able to track each specific click, session, or pageview that you want and not have it muddied up with additional, unrelated data. These goals are super important to understanding your website and how users interact with it.

What can I do with this knowledge?

With all of the capabilities of Google Analytics, you may not know where to start with acting on it. The first thing you should look at are your conversion goals: Is your conversion rate strong? If not, what can you do to improve it? You should keep that question in mind as you’re looking through the rest of your analytics, as well as any other goals you have for your website. If your goal is to have a lot of interaction on your website, and your homepage has a high bounce rate, that’s a sign that you need to evaluate your homepage and see what people might be seeing that they don’t like. Here’s an example of how this may look:

You find that your bounce rate on your homepage is 92%, which is extremely high. You look at the average session time and see that it’s around 2 seconds, which is very short. You take this as a sign that you should just look at the top of your homepage to figure out what visitors are seeing that they dislike. Upon inspection, your homepage starts with a long paragraph about your company. Just white background, black text. You begin to ponder what might increase the session time on your website, and decide to shorten the paragraph to a short blurb about your company with a nice image in the background. The next month, you check your analytics and see that the bounce rate of your homepage has dropped to 67% and the average session time has increased to 13 seconds. Your hypothesis was correct, and you’ve vastly improved your website just by interpreting your GA data. 

How you interpret your data is up to you. GA can’t give you all of the answers, that takes human contemplation (meaning you or your digital marketing team). Google Analytics simply gives you more information to draw those conclusions from. But having that data to begin with is a huge game-changer for you and your business, and your SEO.

To find out how Ascent can help you with your SEO and interpreting Google Analytics, click here.