How to Use Google Analytics
Written by Guest Blogger February 26, 2013
How to Use Google Analytics
The amount of information and options available in Google Analytics, a free web analytics and tracking and reporting tool, can be overwhelming. Since we provide Google Analytics training as part of our web development services, we have learned how to boil it down to its essence. Below are some of the basics, tricks, and fun things about Google Analytics that we share with our customers.
If you look at nothing else in Google Analytics, you'll want to look at this page. This answers the most basic question that everyone wants to know – How many people came to my site? Most of the information is fairly self-explanatory (visits, unique visitors, etc.). The one thing that stumps a lot of people though is the bounce rate. This is an important stat because it shows you the percentage of people who only visited one page on your site. Typically a higher bounce rate is not good, but there are some factors that can cause a higher bounce rate, including blogs.
Tip: Use the "Compare to" option in the date range field to track trends over time.
Audience: Demographics: Location
The locations page provides a nice way to track your marketing efforts and your general reach within the world. In this section, you'll see where your visitors came from all the way down to the city level.
Tip: There is a great little drop down feature called Secondary Dimension available in every section. This option, generally located as a drop down beneath the chart graphic, gives you the ability to add another piece of information to the report you are looking at. For instance, while looking at Alabama location stats, you can use the secondary dimension option to see how many people in Alabama came to your site through a certain referring link. You can also see what keywords they used and what content they viewed. This is useful if you are tracking direct marketing, tradeshow attendance, sales efforts in certain locations, or online campaigns.
Audience: Visitors Flow
This section shows how people moved through your site. It starts with the top landing page and then shows were visitors went next. The great thing about this section is that they've already organized it by location, making it a useful tool for tracking conferences and other sales efforts.
Traffic Sources: Social
This is a fairly new section within Google Analytics that shows how well your social media campaigns are driving traffic back to your website. The Network Referrals section will show you where the traffic came from, while the Landing Pages will show you what they page they were taken to from the social media site. Choose the Social Visitors Flow page and you'll see where visitors went after they came on the site.
Also located within the social section is an area called Plugins. If your site includes social media sharing buttons, this is a great way for you to track how often they are used. Google + interactions will automatically be shown, but tracking other types of social media buttons requires a little additional work. Google offers a great guide for how to track social media buttons on your website.
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