What is Google Analytics?
Google analytics is a very powerful tool that is design to do two main things, track how people get to your website and track what they do when they get there.
Note of caution: Google analytics is not retroactive!
You must calibrate Google analytics right the first time in order to make sure your data is accurate and not corrupt. If analytics is not set up properly you can not go back and look at previous data with the new settings
Installing Google Analytics
First step is to go to Google Analytics and sign up for a free analytics account (with your google account)
- You will want to name your account (umbrella name for all of your web sites)
- Add a URL
- Set your industry (this is used for benchmarketing)
Installing your tracking tag
Go to your admin panel then click on tacking info. Here you will find your tracking code.
This tiny a bit of java script is what will collect all the data from your websites. This code will need to be place in the <head> tag of every webpage on your website.
Some page builders allow you to just use your tag id to install the code. If your using wordpress there are a few plug ins that will allow you to do this. If you have a website admin contact them and tell them to install the tracking code in the <head> tag.
The way I suggest is by using something call Google Tag manager. I will write a future blog post about how to use these extremely useful product.
Is my tracking code working?
Download the Chrome plug in Tag Assistant by Google
Go to your website.
Setting Up Google Analytics
- Click on Admin Settings.
Focus on these highlighted areas. You can ignore everything else for then next 6 to 18 months.
Unless you know what you are doing, blind experimentation with some of the options will corrupt your data since Google Analytics does not update retroactively.
Your account is structured in the following way
Account: top level for all of your websites.
- User management level add Founders, Marketing officers or support staff.
Properties: mid level all of your individual websites (not including subdomains)
- Each property will contain one website domain
- One tracking code per web domain and
- linked advertising accounts for that property.
View: Bottom level. It allows for different ways of viewing your analytics data. This is where you will spend the majority of your time. Setting Goals, Content Grouping, Segmenting site content, filters etc.
Configuring Account Level:
Under the user management tab you can add new users and set permission levels. I suggest only giving “collaborate” and/or “read analyze” permissions to yourself and any marketing consultants that maybe working for you.
Configuring Property Level:
Under Property settings you will find your UA code, URL and property names. Most of this should be set up when you set up your ad account.
You will need to do the following for every websites that you have.
The tracking code tab is where you will find your tracking code, which needs to be installed immediately. You only need one code per site and this is best installed with Google Tag Manager.
Click on ad accounts This is where you will connect Google Ads or Google Adsense.
Connecting to Google Ads account
1. Make sure the correct property is selected.
2. Click on Google Ads linking.
3. Click on New Link Group.
The process is pretty straight foreword from here. I recommend not renaming your group title. You also want to select “link all web site data”. This will make things alot easier for setting up audiences and configuring Remarketing.
You can also enable Remarketing here. I will not go into Remarketing in this article I will save that subject for another time.
Configuring View Level:
It is important to note that the moment you create a view is when Google first begins to collect the data. That is why I stress, you should configure these settings as early as possible
This level is where you define collections of incoming data.
Under the view settings you will define data collections: You will want to set up an All site data, master view, sub-domains(if you have any), Beta and Alpha views.
Under goals, we will setup major visitor actions. These actions will track steps in the sales process (sign-ups, purchases etc.)
The content filters tab is where we create segment content categories. This is great for content heavy sites like blogs or for SEM.
Finally we have the filters tab. This is used to segment traffic sources which is great if you run alot of paid advertisements. It also shows you how users interact with your site from a specific source..
By default Google sets up a view called All website data.
Creating your master view.
We want to create a new view called master view. This is important because you will want use the master view to create all other views.
This convention is to protect your data. It’s just an extra layer of protection to make sure you have an unfiltered, untouch view to build more advanced views from.
- Click on view tab and give your report the name of master.
- Also make sure you set up your time zone.
- You will also want to set up major goals with your master view.
Other views (Alpha and Beta).
Now, if you want to test out filters then you will want to make a new view. This is where beta and alpha views come into play.
A Beta view is a temporary view that you want to use to make sure you are collecting the filtered data properly. After a month or so of testing you can then switch it over to an Alpha view.
Setting up your first Goal
- Choose goal type- set as custom
- Naming convention [action] – Followed by description
- Goal Slot ID – automated
- Type- set to destination
- Destination- Should be the conformation page after submitting information into a form field. example “/consultation-confirmation/” or “/free-trial/”
- Value- If there is a dollar about tied to a conversion you can add it.
- Funnel – is a useful advance option to map a path users take to a conversion.
Remember you only want to track big steps in the sales process.
I recommend setting up the following goals right off the bat.
- People who enter contact information
- People who make a purchase (conversion)
Tracking and UTM parameters
If you look under the Acquisitions tab, click all traffic then source/medium you may see an source item that say (direct)/(none). This is traffic coming to your site but Google doesn’t know where it is coming from. To help Google analytics categorize this traffic we need to use something known as UTM parameters.
NOTE always use lowercase for the following steps on UTM because it is case sensitive.
example of a UTM parameter
If we break it down we have
- utm_source – Where is the traffic coming from?
- utm_medium- what type of traffic is it
- utm_campaign – campaign name
- utm_term – keyword (only use if you know what a SKAG in cpc campaigns)
- utm_content – ad creative (only use if you have standardized campaign names)
To learn more about UTM parameters check out
Free UTM url builder
Using UTM paramters is extremely useful because it will tell you, within Google analytics, how much traffic you are receiving, the type of interactions and actual conversion data from a specific ad campaign or with a specific type of content.
So we track and analyze data in Google analytics for three main reasons.
- Who are your customers?
- Where are they coming from?
- How do you get more?
- Audience – Answers Who are your customers?
- Acquisition Where are they coming from?
- Conversions- How do we get more?
Analyzing data is a topic all to itself and I will write a future article on this topic.