A web analysis tool like Google Analytics is part of the standard equipment of every online marketing manager. As a website, blog or online shop operator, you have probably already come into contact with the tool. However, if you have not yet used Analytics or have decided to get started with web analysis with Analytics, this article gives you a small overview of what you can do with the tool and what advantages and disadvantages the use of Google Analytics entails.
Table of contents
- What is Google Analytics?
- How does Google Analytics work?
- Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior Report: You Can Capture These Things with Analytics
- The Target Group Report
- The Acquisition Report
- The Behavior Report
- The Conversions Report
- Use analytics data in other tools
- Google Analytics and Privacy
- What is behind Google Analytics 360?
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a useful analysis tool that allows you to track your website performance and analyze the behavior and needs of your customers. The tool, which is free in the basic version, provides you with information about the number of users who visit your website and the performance of all subpages awarded with the Analytics Tracking Code, as well as demographic data such as age, gender or location of website visitors, as well as information on how and for how long users interact with your website.
If you link your Google Ads accounts with Google Analytics or Search Console, you can access an even more extensive repertoire of data and thus draw deeper conclusions about your SEA and display campaigns, for example.
How does Google Analytics work?
In order for Google Analytics to collect relevant data about your website, you must first embed the Analytics tracking code in the source code of your page. You do this manually for each subpage of your domain that is to be tracked, or you can use the Google Tag Manager.
Audience, Acquisition, and Behavior Report: You Can Capture These Things with Analytics
If you have set up Google Analytics so far and are now ready to go, you have a powerful tool at hand with the help of which you can analyze comprehensive information on user behavior and performance of your website. The insights gained in this way help you to uncover weaknesses of your site and to further improve the user experience for website visitors.
In Analytics, for example, you have the opportunity to gain real-time insights into the number of users currently active on your website and can track which subpages of your domain received the most visitors or at what time your website received the most views.
For example, if you maintain a blog on your site, you can use this information to adapt your blog posts to the surfing habits of your users. So you always post when you know that your users are online.
The Target Group Report
In the audience report, you’ll get information about the number of newly acquired users, the total number of sessions on your website within a predefined period of time, the bounce rate (i.e. the percentage of users who left your page without an interaction), the average time users stayed on your page, and the average number of pages viewed per session.
You can also filter this information according to various aspects such as the operating system, browser or device type (desktop, mobile or tablet) that your users use. For example, if your website has good traffic on desktop devices while mobile device users are increasingly jumping off your page, there are some indications that you should continue to optimize your website for mobile devices.
However, the target group report can also be viewed from the point of view of gender or age, location or language of your website visitors. Are there still untapped potentials in other language regions or do you want to address a very specific age group with your website content? With the analysis data from the target group report, you succeed in uncovering possible optimization potentials and looking at the results of your optimization strategy in a timely manner.
The Acquisition Report
If you want to know how your paid search engine advertising compares to organic search results, the acquisition report is the right place for you in Google Analytics. Here you can, for example, filter for organic traffic or compare the figures from paid ads, organic traffic, direct traffic, referrals, social media traffic and display campaigns for the analysis of user behavior.
You can also access the information from your linked Google Ads and Google Search Console account here.
The Behavior Report
With the behavior report, you keep an eye on which pages your users use to get in or out of your website and which subpages are accessed most often. You can also track which search terms your users enter in the internal search and whether there are recurring terms. Then, for example, an optimization of the website navigation can be useful.
The Conversions Report
Under the “Conversions” tab, you can see if users are performing certain actions that you have previously defined as your goals. This can be, for example, the registration for the newsletter or the storage of an article in the shopping cart of your online shop. If you notice a pattern here, for example, customers put products in the shopping cart, but then leave the page again before they complete the purchase process, you can use this information to develop remarketing concepts with which you can still win your customers for your product and achieve a conversion.
Use analytics data in other tools
By the way, in addition to Google Ads and Google Search Console, you can also link your Google Analytics account with other online marketing tools, such as:
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
As a result, you won’t gain any new data in Analytics, but you can display the traffic data directly in the other tools and compare it with other key figures there.
On the pages of Sistrix and XOVI you will find instructions on how to link the tool with Analytics. And in our blog you will learn how to link Searchmetrics with Analytics.
As a free tool, Google Analytics offers you some advantages over other web analytics tools. Not only does the standard version provide you with a variety of comprehensive reports for free – as you already know, the functionality of Analytics can also be extended by numerous other features from other Google products. In addition, Google is always working on further improving Analytics. It is not without reason that analytics has managed to become one of the standard tools among online analytics applications.
The user interface is kept comparatively simple, so you are quickly able to operate the tool independently. Should you ever encounter problems, there are numerous free tutorials from Google as well as a large online community with the help of which you can get answers to your questions. Nevertheless, there are of course also disadvantages in dealing with Google Analytics. These include:
Inaccurate results through data sampling: If the requirements within data analysis become too complex, analytics may be sampling the data. This sample can lead to inaccurate results.
Limits in the standard version: The amount of data you can analyze in the free Analytics version is limited. Google gives a limit of 10 million hits per month (hits = interactions that arise from the data sent to Analytics, e.g. event tracking). Once you have reached this limit, Google can no longer guarantee that hits beyond this will be included in the data analysis. In addition, it may happen that you lose your reports as soon as you have exceeded the limit, which of course would be rather unfortunate with a long-maintained and developed analysis strategy. One way to access your data in the long term would be to switch to Google Analytics 360. More on that later.
Google Analytics and Privacy
With Analytics, you can collect an extensive amount of data – including data that is understood as personal data under the General Data Protection Regulation, such as the collection of the IP address. Nevertheless, there is a way to use the GDPR tool accordingly. For this purpose, some settings are necessary.
Also take a look at your settings regarding the retention period of the data collected in Analytics. By default, a storage period of 26 months is preset here, but in the sense of the GDPR you should manually limit the retention period to 14 months. We have summarized more detailed information on the privacy-complaint handling of Google Analytics in a blog post elsewhere for you.
What is behind Google Analytics 360?
Last but not least, let’s take a look at an excerpt of the features of Google Analytics 360. As mentioned above, it can easily happen that if you continuously optimize your website based on the knowledge gained from Analytics, you will eventually get to the point where you have reached the limit of the free version and need to switch to Google Analytics 360. But what advantages does Google Analytics 360 have compared to the free version?
The premium license is aimed at large companies with traffic from millions of users. As a rule, even with a traffic of ten thousand daily users, you can still cope well with the free version. However, if your website has millions of traffic, the Google Analytics 360 Suite also gives you BigQuery, Campaign Manager, Search Ads 360, Salesforce and Display & Video 360 as a complete package. So there are virtually no limits to your data analysis. Thanks to the Unsampled Report, the up to 100 million monthly sessions and 1 billion hits that can be easily analyzed in Google Analytics 360 without running the risk of triggering data sampling are also almost limitless. You can then collect your analysis data in custom tables with up to 3 million rows.
With Google Analytics and Google Analytics 360, the search engine giant Google offers companies of all sizes the web analysis solutions that meet their requirements, with which user behavior and untapped potential of your website can be tracked and uncovered. As an official Google Marketing Platform Certified Partner, we at luna park are happy to support you in professional web analysis and offer you a comprehensible and needs-based introduction to the popular analysis tool in our analytics training courses.