Website analytics

Website analytics involves collecting, measuring and analysis of website data. Values of web analytics are:

  • help to make decisions
  • is a source of information
  • tells the story behind the data
  • helps to understand customer better
  • reveals any conversion challenges
  • shows what consumers like and don’t like
  • shows how customers interact on the website

 

Web analytic tools

 

The most common and known leader is the Google Analytics (a free version). A paid version is called Google Analytics 360; it offers additional functionalities in therms of report validity and the size of samples.

 

Benefits of using Analytics:

  • getting closer to customer
  • gives ability to understand users
  • gives ability to gain insight from real customer activities
  • helps to forecast using trends and patterns of customer behavior
  • helps to account media spent and see the allocation
  • increases focus
  • helps prioritize resources
  • brings higher conversion rates and enhanced ROI

 

Benefits of using Google Analytics:

  • free of charge
  • easy to install and implement
  • has an user-friendly interface
  • allows to create customizable reports, dashboards and data collections
  • has basic and advanced options
  • offers seamless integration with all Google products
  • allows a post-click integration outside Google universe: Facebook, Bing, Yahoo
  • provides important insights to the web behavior

 

Limitations of Google Analytics:

  • no real time data and no historical reports for download
  • maximal amount of hits per month is 10 millions
  • limited customization
  • only the last-click attribution is possible
  • not always 100% accurate
  • not comprehensive in measuring performance of top-funnel activities, like FB display of Google Ads display; there is a limited user visit and conversion data

 

Common conversion metrics

  • goals: this is the number of valuable actions taken on the site. This includes sales, leads, downloads.
  • transactions
  • conversion rate
  • revenue

 

In relation to GDPR it is important that a PII (personal identifiable information) is managed in a proper way and within the terms of the consent provided by the website visitor.

 

Creating and configuration of the Google Analytics account

Google Analytics can be reached at: www.google.com/analytics or analytics.google.com

  1. To start with Google Analytics it is necessary to possess Google email account
  2. Add the account information
  3. Confirm understanding of Terms and Services
  4. Enable data sharing settings to link google products (like Google Ads and Google Search Console)
  5. For training you can add a demo account: analytics.google.com/analytics/web/demoAccount

 

The Google Analytics code is provides as a part of the account set up and allows tracking of the website. This code should be implemented on every page which wants to be tracked. The installation of the code can be tracked by clicking on the page with the right click, then CTRL-F to find the UA number from the code, and then the nearest </head> tag should be found to ensure that the code is placed before it.

 

Google Tag Assistant

It is an extension from Chrome (provided by Google). Helps to assure that the GA tags are correctly implemented and are firing correctly. It also takes into consideration tags from Google Tag Manager.

 

Once the GA code has been implemented on the website, it sends data to the software in the following way:

  1. A request is made to a server and the web page is served
  2. Javascript tracking code is executed – every time when the given page loads
  3. A temporary (but persistent) cookie is dropped to the user’s browser (but this also depends of the GA setup)
  4. Data from the session is sent to the Google server
  5. Google Analytics processes the data
  6. Reports are produced and available on the GA site through GA analytics interface
  7. Cookie expires when the browser session is over

 

In some instances it is necessary to customize GA as a part of a set up, which is based on the website structure.

Use tag manager .

Key settings: account, property, view. Account settings can be adjusted in view.

 

Each session counts every visit and action on the website and its default length is 30 minutes. If a visitor is inactive for 30 minutes, the session will reset itself and will be counted as a new session when the visitor becomes active again. This setting can be changed.

 

View: helps organizing visitor’s data (origin, source, pages which have been viewed) as a defined view of a website, by using filters.

To add a new view to a property it is necessary to follow these steps:

  1. Click the admin sign on the bottom of the page and select “Create New View” (top right)
  2. Select if it is a site or a mobile app view, then insert the name and time zone of the site where the business is located.
  3. Modify aspects of the view in the area of Settings (top right)
  4. Set filters and goals for the view by pressing Filters or Goals button (on the right),

 

There is a possibility of creating filters: they can be set on the account, property or view level, in the admin area. Multiple filters can be applied to a view. They work by segmenting the first filter on the view. By using multiple filters, it is possible to segment, include or exclude traffic from the first filter, and then by applying the next filter to the segmented first filter the traffic can be precised.  So called knock-off effect works till the last filter from the list is applied.

After setting the account verify if all the settings are correct.

Users can get access granted to Google Analytics. The set up is in the Management area in the Admin area. Simply add new user by clicking the + sign. Enter the user’s email and select the permission level. Access can be high or low. Available permissions are: read and analyze, collaborate, edit permission  and manage users. Attention: potential collaboration includes risks of data breaches, unintended or purposeful deletion of user’s accounts or assets, changing settings in the tool in an incorrect manner, modifying custom reporting filters, segments goals and funnels in an incorrect manner.

By linking Google Analytics to other Google tools, reports can be supplemented with additional insights. Main tools to link are Google Search Console, Google Ads, Search Ads 360 (previous Double Click).

Linking GA account to other google tools has various benefits:

  • increased data availability
  • Google Ads aliment the data with costs and impressions from google SERPs, more data is visible
  • there is visibility of search impressions and keyword ranks from users not logged to Google when searching(additional SEO insights)
  • value of channels can be evaluated to understand conversions , CPA and ROI

 

Linking Google Analytics with Google Ads

  1. Log in to GA and Google Ads at the same time
  2. In the Admin area of Analytics go to the Property section. Click the property to link and then Google Ads linking button.
  3. Press + New Property Group button and choose the Ads account which should be linked.
  4. Select the Views in Analytics which should be linked to, include Ads data by changing the slider.
  5. Select “Enable Google Display Network” impression recording
  6. Select auto-tagging to get clicks, costs and other data from Google Ads directly to Analytics.
  7. Do not use UTM tracking on Google Ads and Auto tagging (data will be doubled)
  8. Click “Link Accounts” to finish.

 

Link Google Search Console with GA

  1. First and most important: site needs to be verified in Search Console to link with GA.
  2. Log in to Search Console and GA
  3. Select Admin area in the GA
  4. Select Property settings in GA
  5. Scroll to the bottom and click Search Console Settings
  6. Select which GA views will be shared with the Search Console
  7. Save the data

 

Goals

Goals are important section in the GA. They allow to measure performance of the web site and see interaction with the customers.

Among others, following goals can be set up in the GA:

  • purchase
  • file download
  • brochure request
  • pages viewed per session
  • newsletter sign up
  • inquiry form completion
  • increased duration of a session

 

How to set the Goal

  1. In the Admin area go to the Goal area in the View section
  2. Click on + to add a new goal
  3. Add a predefined goal or a custom goal.
    1. Predefined goals are: revenue (reservations or tickets), acquisition (account creation), inquiry (reading reviews), engagement (sharing the content, contributing to the content, playing media).
    2. Custom goal: add a goal name, select the goal type and add the goal conditions. Then crete the URL of the destination goal as well as the session duration goal or minimum number of pages to be seen. It is possible to create an event tracking goal.

 

Goals and transactions can be imported from Google Analytics to Google Ads by selecting import feature in Google Ads and precise goals. It is important to pay attention to not to duplicate goals which are already in Google Ads being used for conversion tracking. Usually takes from 30 minutes to few hours to import the goals.

 

Smart goals: this are goals designed especially for Google Ads campaigns. They record visits which are the most engaged to the site. They are used for reference only. They shouldn’t be tracked if other goals are already in place.

 

Goal funnel: add value when it comes to understand the customer journey. To set up a funnel for a destination goal, switch on the toggle bar under the goal. Enter the names for all steps in the funnel, like adding to cart, proceeding to check out, entering the address, adding payment details. Do ot add the home page landing, just the actions. The last page in the funnel should be a thank you page or the destination page.

 

Monitoring campaigns

The four key reports in Google Analytics are:

  • audience: who arrives to the website?
  • acquisition: how users get to the website?
  • behavior: what the visitors are doing on the website
  • conversion: what actions the users take to complete the goals?

The audience tab permits to access Audience Overview information to see the top-line statistics and information about users activity, including geolocation and life time value.

In Audience Tab there  are following reports available:

  • demographics report: enables to see demographic information like age or gender of visitors
  • geo report
  • interest report
  • behavior report
  • mobile report
  • technology report
  • benchmarking report
  • cross-device report

 

The acquisition tab allows to identify sources of traffic to the web site and contains a series of sub-reports based on traffic type.

 

URL builder

If there is a need to track non-google channels, in the GA report, it is necessary to add an UTM URL parameters to the campaign. It can be done with the Google Campaign URL builder.

Google Campaign URL builder is used to:

  • configure a specific URL for a newly created campaign
  • understand the attributes which can be configured: source, medium, contend and term
  • be able to identify new sources of traffic from campaigns which are tagged by URL Builder

 

Google Ads Report

In the section of Google Ads Report you can find insights concerning: traffic, click costs, impressions, and other performance metrics coming form Google Ads. Through integration of Google Ads into GA it is possible to identify high performing campaigns, ad groups and keywords, together with goal completions and all e-commerce transactions by campaign.

 

Google Ads Query Report

Used to check matching search queries. This report shows the exact words and phrases being used by people in search engines to trigger your keywords. It is possible also to view the position on which the ad appeared in the SERP and the hours of the day when the traffic is most dense, driving traffic to the website and conversions.

 

Increase budget for campaigns with high performance

First transactions of high revenue or high lead-generation need to be identified in GA. Then in Google Ads increase or decrease the daily spend and keywords bids or percentage bid modifiers at peak times, using for that purpose ad scheduling. This action should drive more traffic at the most important times of the day focusing on the most important keywords.

 

Behavior tab and behavior flow

The behavior tab allows to see which content has been viewed by the user and what were the movements on the site.

 

Site content report

This report allows to view reports how to improve the content to achieve better results. It contains All pages report, the report which gives a list of page-name metrics associated with each page. This report can be used to see which pages drive the most engagement and which pages need to be improved.

 

Bounce rate

The bounce rate gives a good insight to evaluate, how people are engaged with the content and landing pages. The report shows which percentage of visitors landed on the landing page and left without moving to another page.

 

404 error pages

The All pages report helps to identify actions which finished by 404 error by showing the number of hits which led to the error page.

 

Content drill down

Inside the Site Content Report it is possible to get information about the content drill down: by page, page path, landing pages and exit pages.

 

Other reports available: site speed report and sup reports:

  • page timing report: contains information about page views and the average load times of the pages on the website
  • speed suggest report
  • user timings report

 

Site search report

Allows to see the terms user used meanwhile searching the site. Site search can be configured in property settings by entering a query string for the website search feature.

 

Events report

This report shows how users interact with different elements of the website. It will track automatically any GA events set up previously inthe web code or through the Google Tag Manager.

Variables:

  • eventCategory
  • eventAction
  • eventLabel
  • eventValue

 

Conversion tab

KPIs vary from the company to company, but generally they can be split into two categories:

  • e-commerce KPIs: sales transactions, Average Order Vaue, e-commerce conversion rates, cart abandonment rates, repeat purchases.
  • non e-commerce KPIs

 

Goal reports can be seen in the Goal Overview Report in the Conversions tab. The Goal’s URLs need to be set up in the Goal URLs report.

 

Funnel visualization report

Its place is in the Goals reporting area and offers information about different stages of the conversion process.

 

Goal flow report

This report allows marketers to see the source, medium, page or other dimensions that lead to the goal accomplishment set in GA.

 

E-commerce report

This report allows to see the e-commerce information, shopping behavior, check out behavior, product performance, sales and performance of the product list.

 

E-commerce report is an excellent source to track revenue online and attribute this revenue to channels.

 

Multichannel Funnel Report

Allows to understand the complex nature of marketing conversions and purchase journeys across the channels.Reports available:

  • assisted conversion report: helps to understand the assisted value of channels and campaigns and provides insight how different channels function at the end of the funnel, from awareness to the conversion.
  • top conversion paths report
  • time-lag report
  • attribution report

 

Attribution models

  1. Last click
  2. First click
  3. Linear
  4. Time decay
  5. Position based

 

There is no perfect attribution model, as every business is different. The model should be aligned to the website goals and KPIs.

 

Analyzing data

 

Real time reporting

This time provides a love snapshot of activities on the website related to traffic sources, content, visitors and goals.

 

Intelligence events

This is a feature which sends an automated alert when there is a sudden spike of traffic or a significant change in metrics. It can aletr about a major change of the website behavior.

 

Custom reports

Allow to create own reports using a mix of dimensions and variables. This reports can be used to focus on certain pages or channels.There are three types of the custom reports:

  • flat table reports: dimensions on the left and metrics across the top in a format of a table – the simplest version
  • explorer reports
  • map overlay reports

 

Annotations

Allow to track or record offline activities. They are written notes in a small format appearing as speech bubbles at the base of GA graphs.

 

Secondary dimensions

Simply serve to segment the data further.

 

Custom segments

Data seen can be modified by using custom segment in all reporting of GA.

 

Export and scheduling of reports

Reports can be exported to Excel, as PDF and Googe Sheets for further analysis and sharing.

 

Tracking data

To maximize tracking in GA following variables need to be taken into consideration:

  • time zone
  • default pages
  • currency
  • cost source of Google Ads
  • tracking of the site search