Google Analytics for Beginners is a mini course designed for anyone who wishes to learn the basics of Google Analytics. The course teaches you how to navigate the Google Analytics interface, explore the various reports available, and set up and configure Google Analytics for your business so that you can start tracking key data. This is not a course for students who wish to do a deeper analysis and interpretation of the data.
The main topics covered in this lesson includes:
Introduction to Google Analytics
What is Google Analytics?
In simple words, it is a free web service from Google that tracks your website visitor traffic and provides key information via graphs and data tables so that you can derive insightful and actionable information from it.
Google Analytics provides this information via reports.There are 4 main reporting categories in Google Analytics with several sub categories expanding upon the information contained in the main reports.
- The Audience tab for instance shows in-depth information about your audience demographics.
- The Acquisition tab shows you where this audience is coming from, such as a social network or a referral website;
- The Behavior tab indicates how your website visitors are interacting on your site.
- The Conversions tab displays how their interactions are helping you achieve your business objectives.
So no matter what type of business you are engaged in or what your business goals are, Google Analytics can provide you with the right set of data you need for your business. For instance, if you have a website:
- That sells products or services, you can set up ecommerce tracking to monitor how your visitors are converting or why they are not;
- If you are a lead generation unit, you can see which strategies and channels are bringing you potential leads;
- If you are a content publishing website, you can see what content visitors are engaging with; and
- If you are an online support site, you can check to see if your visitors are getting the right sort of information in the right time.
Since the tool offers so much information and it does so at such a deep level, you can find it intimidating when you initially start out.
I hope the following lessons in this course will give you a better understanding of the various components in Google Analytics so that you can confidently configure it for your web projects and start tracking relevant data.
Configuring Google Analytics Code on Your Website
In this section, we'll learn how to set up a Google Analytics account for your website.
1. Go to https://google.com/analytics.
2. Click the Google Analytics Official website result if you are doing a google search.
3. If you have a Google/Gmail account, and you are not signed in, click Sign in and enter your credentials. If you are already signed it, you need to click Access Google Analytics.
4. In the next screen, click Sign Up.
5. You will now be taken to the page where you can add all the information related to your website or web property.
To configure Google Analytics for a website:
6. In the setup page, make sure website is selected.
7. In the Account name text box, enter the name of your Google Analytics account. Avoid using your website name here as you can have multiple websites under an account name. Just select a name that is easy to identify if you plan on adding more websites.
8. In the website name text box, enter the name of your website.
9. Next, enter the website URL, industry category, and reporting time zone to match with your business work hours.
10. The Data Sharing section is optional. You'll notice that all options come with a Google recommendation so you can retain them as is. Next click Get Tracking ID to get your code snippet.
11. You'll see a pop up announcing Google's Terms of Service. In the pop up box at the top, select your country of residence and click the I Accept button at the bottom of the screen.
You will now get your Universal Analytics Tracking ID and code. You must add this code snippet to your website.
Most modern WordPress themes offer a text block or section to input this code. The code is usually placed immediately below the closing tag. There are also several plugins that will help you input this code such as Google Analytics by Yoast and WP Google Analytics.
How to Verify Your Google Analytics Tracking Code
Now let's check if you have installed your Google Analytics tracking code correctly.
1. Go to the Admin tab on your Google Analytics account.
2. Ensure that you are on the right account you created and on the appropriate property.
3. Click Tracking Info->Tracking Code.
4. In the next screen, check if Receiving Data is displayed at the top of the screen.
It usually takes up to 24 hours for tracking data to start showing up so do be a little patient.
Creating User Management Permissions in Google Analytics
Google Analytics account can have multiple users and each user can be given different access permissions for an account, property, or view. There are currently 4 permission levels available and you can apply them singly or in any combination. Let's take a look at these permissions.
- The Manage Users option allows a user to add or delete a user and assign permissions.
- The Edit option allows a user to perform admin and report related functions such as adding, editing, and deleting accounts properties and views.
- The Collaborate option allows a user to create personal assets such as dashboards and share them with others.
- The Read & Analyze option allows a user to view reports and manipulate data within reports. For example users can filter a table or create a segment.
Now lets' see how to add a user to an account, property, or view.
1. Ensure that you are signed in to your Google Analytics account.
2. Select the Admin tab and navigate to the Account, Property or View you want to add a user to.
3. In the Property column, click User Management.
4. In the add permissions for section, enter the Gmail address of the user.
5. Select the permissions you want to give.
6. Select Notify this user by email to send a notification to the user you are adding.
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7. Click Add.
Setting Up Basic Filters in Google Analytics
Filters allow you to set what data you want to see in your reports. For example, you may not want your reporting data to track clicks and interactions that you or your employees perform on your website. In such cases, you use filters to exclude internal traffic by blocking your IP address. Similarly, if you want to track subdomain data in a separate report, filters is the place to do it.
Now let us see how to set up a basic filter to exclude an IP address.
1. Ensure that you are signed in to your Google Analytics account.
2. Select the Admin tab and select the account from the drop down menu.
3. Select All Filters.
4. In the next screen, click New Filter.
5. In the Add Filter to view screen, in the Filter name text box, enter a filter name. In the Filter Type text box, ensure that Predefined is selected.
6. From the Select Filter type drop down list select Exclude.
7. From the Select source or destination drop down list select traffic from the IP address.
8. In the Select expression drop down list, select that are equal to.
9. In the IP Address box, enter your IP address.
10. From the Apply Filter to Views text box, select the newly created view and click Add.
11. Click Save.
All filters will take 24 hours to take effect.
Creating Goals in Google Analytics
Every website has an objective such as selling products, offering services, promoting leads or engaging readers to read and download content.This objective is achieved when users buy a product or service, sign up for a newsletter, or download a report. Google Analytics refers to these achievements as goals. Identifying these goals and assigning values to them will help you track and measure your success.
There are 2 ways in which you can create goals in Google Analytics - using predefined templates or creating custom goals from scratch. There are 4 main types of goals in Google Analytics.
- Destination Goal: If you want to track a page view as a conversion you can set a destination goal. You must enter the page URL in the destination field when you set up this goal.You can also make use of funnels to track the pages the visitor landed on before arriving on the destination page.
- Duration Goal: If you want to track the time a visitor has spent on a page, use duration goals. You must specify the minimum amount of hours, minutes and seconds a visitor must stay on the site to qualify as a goal.
- If you have set up events on your website, you can track user interactions on the site with event goals.
- Pages /screens per session Goal: If you want to track users who have viewed a certain number of pages in a session, make use of this goal.
For the purpose of this tutorial, we are going to create a custom goal to track the time spent by a visitor on a page.
1. Ensure that you are signed into your Google Analytics account.
2. Select the Admin tab and make sure you are on the desired account.
3. In the View column, click Goals.
4. In the next screen, click New Goal.
5. In the Goal Description field, enter a name for your goal. Give a name that is easily identifiable.
6. In the Type section, select Duration.
7. Click Next step.
8. In the Goal description section, in the Goal details section, notice that Greater than is selected. In the Hours, Minutes, and Seconds text boxes, enter the time the visitor must stay on the site to be considered a conversion.
9. Click Verify Goal.
Google Analytics will tell you how the goal would have converted for you based on the data of the last 7 days. If this is 0, you must try a different time value.
Once your verification is complete, click Create Goal.
Exploring the Admin Tab
The Admin tab in your Google Analytics account is where you can find top level information related to your various web properties. You can configure and manage multiple properties, accounts and views from here.
An Account is the top most organizational level in Google Analytics. You can configure one or more accounts and manage one or properties under it.
A property represents a specific website or mobile app and it contains subsets of reporting data called views.
Accounts, properties and views are displayed in a columnar format and you can use the respective drop downs to select the data you want to see.
That's it for Lesson 1 of the Google Analytics Course for Beginners. Click the link below to proceed to proceed to Lesson 2.