Google Analytics can provide a wealth of information about the health of your website and the activities of your site visitors. However, you need to take specific actions to unlock the more powerful features. If you’re ready to step beyond a simple count of how many site visits you receive, use the following functions to get more out of your analysis.
Track progress toward goals
Which goals you care about will depend upon your overall website strategy. Someone who is interested in building community or raising brand awareness may care how long a visitor stayed on a site. An online magazine may want to know how many total pages a visitor viewed. If you are selling something or collecting user information in exchange for downloads of free PDF reports, you may want to know when someone reaches a specific URL such as a thank-you or download page, or takes a specific action such as clicking on a Buy Now or Download button.
Turn on goal tracking by selecting Conversions from the Google Analytics dashboard, then creating a goal. If you create multiple goals, such as clicking Add to Cart, clicking Checkout, and reaching the thank-you page, you’ll know exactly how many people you lose at each step of your sales process, and can fine tune your process to keep as many as possible moving through the process.
Measure by traffic segment
The default analytics lump all website visitors together. By setting up specific traffic segments, you can determine if your organic search results produce more sales than your pay per click traffic, or how visitors that see your Google ads differ from visitors that see your Facebook ads. This helps you to determine your most profitable places for spending your online marketing budget. To create traffic segments, click on Advanced Segments from the Standard Reporting dashboard. You can use the pre-created segments provided by Google, or create your own. Segments can be discrete, such as assigning each social media source to a different segment, as well as overlapping, such as also aggregating all social media sources into a single Social Media segment. Once the traffic segments are created, go back to Conversions and apply the traffic segments to your goals.
Watch for spikes
Rather than viewing data by month, which is the default, you should also view the data by day. This allows you to notice immediate impacts of new content on your site, as well as discover which sources are sending you an unusual level of traffic. You can investigate the referring blog or website to determine if it is a fluke or if this is someone or something you should respond to. If it is a fluke, you can remove the referred data from future consideration in your analysis by selecting Advanced, Exclude, Dimensions, Source/Medium, and then specifying the referral source.
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