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Imagine training to run in the 100m sprint in the Olympics but never recording any of your times.  You may be getting faster, but you’ll never know for sure.  You’ll also never know which training is producing the best results and you’ll always wonder if your time could be better spent elsewhere.

Any digital marketing campaign is much the same.  A digital marketing campaign can only be effectively optimized if certain elements like traffic, conversions and bounce rates can be measured.

For example, maybe search traffic is producing a lot of sales and low bounce rates, but traffic from Facebook has low engagement, high bounce rates and never leads to any direct sales.  This is the kind of information that is easily accessible in Google Analytics and it can help business owners and digital marketers make informed decisions as to which channels are the best to invest in.

Without this very useful information, you’re guaranteed to waste a lot of money and all you can do is hope for the best.

The sooner you can set up or have Google Analytics set up for you the better as you want to start capturing data as soon as possible even if you aren’t going to act on it right away.

Setting Up Google Analytics

A basic setup of Google Analytics doesn’t take very long and it’s the best first step toward helping make sure any digital marketing campaign is effective.

Most of our clients will have us set up Google Analytics for them as it is a bit technical, but we will cover how to set up Google Analytics in this post anyway.  If you do feel like giving it a shot, go for it.

1. Click here to create a Google account if you don’t already have one, then fill in the form and follow the prompts.

2. Now that you have a Google Account, go to https://google.com/analytics

3. Click “Sign In”, then in the dropdown menu click “Analytics”.

4. Sign in with your new Google account email and password.

5. Click “Admin” near the top of the page.

6. Click the dropdown in the property section and click “Create New Property”

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7. You’ll now be on a page asking you to fill in the property name, url and so on.  Fill these in then click “Get Tracking ID”.

8. Copy the script (tracking code) found on this page.  It will look like the code below.

ga-tracking-code

9. Now we need to paste this code somewhere.  If you are familiar with HTML, you paste it anywhere between the head tags.  If this makes no sense to you, that’s OK.  There’s another way if you have a WordPress site.

10. If you have a WordPress site, install the plugin “Insert Headers and Footers“.

11. In your WordPress admin area, click Settings->Insert Headers and Footers.

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12. Now, paste the tracking code in the “Scripts in Header” box.

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That’s it!  Google Analytics is now set up.

If you’re still scratching your head, contact us and we’ll get you set up.

Google Analytics Basics

You won’t see any data right away as you have to wait for some visitors first.  Wait a day or two until you check your Google Analytics account.

When you are ready to start looking at some data, log into your Google Analytics account, then select the property you’d like to view.  Click “All Web Site Data”.

ga-property

You should now see a screen that looks something like below.

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This is some very basic data showing the number of sessions (not pageviews) each day.  This is a very general metric, but can be useful if your goal has been to increase traffic because you can see if you efforts are producing results.

You should also see the dropdown that has “sessions” selected by default.  Clicking this will present a number of different options such as bounce rate and pageviews.  These can be useful metrics if you’ve been trying decrease your bounce rate or increase pageviews.

To select date ranges, simply select the dropdown in the top right of the screen and make a selection.

Acquisition Channels

Click “Acquisition->Overview”, then scroll down and you’ll see some useful data on which channels your traffic is coming from along with some metrics for each channel.

google-analytics-acquisition-channels

This data can help you decide which channels are most effective in your marketing efforts.

You can drill down even further by clicking the name of each channel to see the breakdown for each channel.  For example if you click “social” you may see Facebook, Twitter and Instagram each with it’s own metrics.

If you have goals set up you can see how each channel converts and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.  It’s important to understand however that just because a channel doesn’t convert directly, there may be indirect benefits.

For example, someone who has seen your brand on Facebook may not visit directly from Facebook to make a purchase, but may remember your brand from Facebook and search for it in Google, then make a purchase.

Demographics

If you click “Audience->Demographics->Overview” you can gain valuable insights into the audience that is visiting your website.

ga-demographics

This can be very valuable data for running digital marketing campaigns.  The above example suggests that women in the 55-64 age bracket would be a good starting point for targeting.

For example, you could plug this data right into a Facebook campaign along with some relevant interests and geographical targeting.  This is no guarantee for successful targeting, but a very good starting point.

Geographical Data

To view the geographical regions of your website visitors click “Audience->Geo->Location”.

google-analytics-geographical-targeting

The question you’re probably asking though is how is this data useful?

If you have goals set up which we will discuss later in this article you can see which countries are driving the most conversions, then do some search engine optimization to target those countries.

For example, if you have a goal set up that shows you the percentage of website visitors that make a purchase is 1% in the US and 2% in Canada, this might suggest you should double down on your Canadian marketing efforts.  This is a very basic example, but should clearly illustrate my point.

Real-Time Users

Real-time users isn’t going to provide you much valuable insight, but it’s fun to look at sometimes.

You can quickly view the number of users currently on your site as well as the devices they’re browsing on by clicking “Real-Time->Overview”.

ga-realtime

Goals

A goal can be many things.  Downloading a file, making a purchase, filling out a form or adding an item to a cart are all good examples.

When a goal is completed by a user we call this a conversion.

The reason you would want to set up goals is so you can track conversion rates then optimize your website to help improve these conversion rates.

Let’s say for example you have an ecommerce site and you set up a goal that is triggered whenever a purchase is made.  Your site converts at 2% and you want to increase it to 3%.  With goals set up you can measure if your optimization efforts are having an effect.

Here’s an article by Google on how to set up goals.  It is a bit technical.  If you have any trouble, let us know and we can set them up for you.

Conclusion

Hopefully you now have a good understanding of why it’s important to have Google Analytics setup and how it can help you optimize your website and digital marketing campaigns.

Also, don’t forget to grab the Google Analytics App!

Thanks for reading, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments section.

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