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How to use Google Analytics to monitor your online success

Stop going through the motions and get on track with Google Analytics

Read in 4 minutes

By Benedict Adam

Co-founder, GOAT

Google Analytics is by far the most popular way for small businesses to measure their website’s sales and conversions. It also lets businesses gain insights into how visitors find and use their websites. Many people simply going through the motions, not knowing how to use Google Analytics to its full potential.

The following is a quick list to help you get you started with Google Analytics, to begin tracking your business growth online.

1. Setup goals

Knowing how much traffic your site is getting is one thing, but finding out if your website is actually helping your business achieve its objectives e.g. sales, enquiries, engagement with content, is of much greater importance.

Common goals include contact form completions, downloads, brochure requests; the list is endless.

Once you’ve decided which goals you’d like to track, follow Google’s instructions to create, edit and share goals.

2. Setup eCommerce tracking

If customers can buy from your business online, you’ll need to have eCommerce tracking set up. Follow Google’s guide to setting up Ecommerce tracking, most platforms have the ability to enable this without the need for any heavy coding.

If you’re nodding your head to all of this, then you can take eCommerce tracking one step further with Enhanced Ecommerce tracking, which enables more advanced analysis of your eCommerce website.

3. Setup site search

Have a search function on your website? It’s of great value to your business to know what people are searching for on site and relatively easy to setup in the admin section of Google Analytics.

Go to Admin > View Settings > Site Search Settings. Find more details here.

4. Tag your URLs

Google Analytics doesn’t automatically know where all traffic to your site comes from. If you’re sending out emails, or using paid advertising other than Google AdWords, you’ll need to tag your URLs for each custom campaign.

5. Add annotations

When something happens that affects your website usage, such as getting some great PR coverage or the launch of a new service or product, use annotations to record when each activity took place. When you’re looking back at the historical performance of your website, you’ll be able to more easily pinpoint why you saw a spike in traffic.

To add an annotation, simply click the down arrow – underneath any line graph at the top of any page – to open the annotations interface. You can then click ‘+ Create new annotation’.

6. Understand your website audience

Wouldn’t it be great to see your visitors as more than a number? Google Analytics provides information about the age and gender of your users, along with the interests they inadvertently express whilst they’re online. To receive this data you’ll need to enable this functionality in Google Analytics.

Go to Audience > Demographics or Audience > Interests or read more here.

7. See how your business matches up against the competition

Benchmarking allows you to compare website traffic and behaviour by channel, against aggregated industry data from other companies who share their data. In order to see ‘benchmarking reports’, you’ll need to anonymously share your data with Google first – it’s only fair after all!

Go to Audience > Benchmarking, to compare how you match up in your industry, or read more on Benchmarking Reports.

Keeping track of your website and ensuring it is consistently optimised to convert is a time consuming task. For more help on how to use Google Analytics and improve the impact of website, contact us today.

You can also follow @GOATDigital on Twitter, for all the latest digital marketing news and updates.

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