As soon as Google Analytics is installed on a website, it will start to compile enormous volumes of data.
How many visitors, how often they visited, how they got to your website, what they looked at, how long they spent looking, their location when they looked, their device, their browser etc. etc.
But this is only the start of Google Analytics’ ability to collect and collate information. The scope for capturing and uploading additional information is vast. Some methods of capturing additional information, such as e-commerce reporting and event tagging, require technical input, but not all.
Here are 6 easy and non-technical ways of adding or collecting useful information that doesn’t require any coding expertise:
Goals are used to count visitor actions and have their own reporting section that makes them easy to track. For example, you can set a goal to count how many times a brochure is downloaded or how many people sign up for a newsletter. Your objective might be to increase engagement on your website, in which case you could set goals to record the number of visitors who spend longer than a certain amount of time, or look at more than a certain number of pages.
Context is the key to understanding and making good decisions based on your data. Within Analytics you can easily add diary notes to record events, such as when marketing e-mails or press releases are sent out, trade fairs attended, adverts published, website redesigned, website down for maintenance etc. that affect website traffic. These events are visible in many of the graphs and help you instantly make sense of variations in traffic.
Campaign tags enable you to create links back to your website which, when clicked, upload useful information into your analytics account. They are often used in marketing emails or in adverts to appear on other websites. You can define up to 5 pieces of information to be uploaded. These are used to categorise and uniquely identify the links, so you will be able to keep track of how successful each one is.
The next three methods are all easy to set-up integration options that import data from other commonly used Google products.
Google Webmaster Tools
Like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools is a free on-line product. It provides a level of insight and control over how Google indexes your website and how it is displayed in the search engine results. It also captures useful information about which pages of your site appear in the results for which search queries and how often they are clicked. There is an option within Webmaster Tool to have this information automatically updated into your website’s Google Analytics account. Once the accounts are connected a set of very useful Search Engine Optimization reports become available.
If you advertise using Google AdWords’ you can easily link this account to your Google Analytics account and report on your advert’s performance within Analytics.
There is also an option to turn on auto-tagging, and this will automatically create meaningful campaign tags (see above) that relate to your AdWords’ campaigns. This helps you identify which adverts are most effective and also enables you to report on them alongside other marketing campaigns.
If you use Google AdSense to place adverts on your site, this can also be linked. So data about which Adverts were clicked and how much revenue generated is fed directly into Analytics and integrated with the existing data telling you more about who clicked on those adverts. Although, be warned, it currently converts and reports all values into US Dollars, which isn’t ideal, but does not make the information any less relevant.
Better data, better insights