5 awesome Google Analytics tools to measure the success of your website
Google Analytics is an invaluable tool that is used to track visitor behaviour and key statistics relating to the performance of your website. Most companies have Google Analytics installed on their website (did I mention it’s free!) but very few leverage the data to analyse trends and gain insight to better serve their visitors.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through 5 awesome tools that you can use in Google Analytics and apply right now to help you evaluate your website and better understand visitor behaviour.
Setting up goals within Google Analytics is something every business should be doing. Your website exists for a purpose and should include some sort of call-to-action. Depending on your business, it might be a download, a free trial or simply completing a contact form. Setting up Goals in Google Analytics can help you measure how effective your call-to-action is.
A Goal in Analytics may consist of a visitor who has:
- Completed a form on your site
- Stayed on your site for a certain length of time
- Viewed a certain number of pages
You can also measure Event Goals and set up a goal every time a visitor completes an Event on your site. I’ll be talking about Events later on this article.
You can use these examples to start thinking about the sort of goals you might want to track.
To set up goals within Google Analytics, go to:
Admin (top right) > Goals (under Profile) > Create a Goal > Select the type of goal you want to track and complete the information.
To view your goals in Google Analytics, go to Conversions > Goals > Overview
2. Event Tracking
Event Tracking is probably one of the most untapped, yet highly beneficial things you can do in Google Analytics. By adding a small string of code you can start collecting invaluable data on a whole host of events that happen on your website.
Events are user interactions with content that can be tracked independently from a web page or a screen load. Here are some examples of things you can measure using Event Tracking:
- Sign-ups, log-ins
- When a pdf has been downloaded
- How many times a video has been watched, paused or stopped
- External links (such as a link within an email campaign you are running that sends traffic to your website)
- Social sharing interaction
- Identify which ads are performing better
To enable event tracking, you will need to replace the default values in the string of code below and apply the code to your website. The code should be placed within the <head> section on the page(s) that contain the object, button, or video you wish to track.
Code for _trackEvent
onclick=”gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘category’, ‘action’, ‘opt_label’, ‘opt_value’]);”
Here is what each element represents so that you know what to replace each value with:
- Category – The name of the object you want to track: i.e. video, signup form, advert
- Action – Defines the interaction of your visitor: i.e. click, play, pause, signup
- Label (optional) – Used to identify the type of event being tracked. This will also help you identify the Event in Analytics, particularly if you are tracking a number of similar Events.
- Value (optional) – You can specify a value of each event, This may be a monetary value, or just a value that relates to your overall business goals. It’s optional so don’t worry too much about this.
In the following example, we’re tracking the number of times a visitor clicks the Newsletter Sign-up button on a website, so the full code would be:
onClick=”gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘button’, ‘click’, ‘sign-up’,])
This code will fire an Event within Google Analytics whenever the Signup button is clicked, enabling you to track your newsletter sign-up rate via your website.
You don’t need to make any adjustments in Google Analytics, once the code has been put in, you should start seeing some results in GA within 24-48 hours within Behaviour > Events > Overview.
3. Connect your Webmaster Tools account
Google Webmaster Tools is another free product by Google which shows data about your website. It’s also used as a means of Google being able to contact you if there were any crawl issues relating to your site.
By connecting Webmaster Tools with Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see which keywords visitors have used in Google to arrive at your website. You can use this information to identify the following:
- The most popular keywords that are driving the most valuable traffic to your website, and which keywords result in the highest number of conversions, or engagement.
- What your average position is within Google for a given keyword.
- The CTR (click through rate) of your website via Google organic search.
To find out whether your Webmaster Tools are already integrated with Analytics, go to:
Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries
If you get this message it’s not connected.
To connect them, log in to your Google Webmaster Tools, verify that you own the account, if you’ve not already done so. Click on the drop down arrow on the “Manage Site” button, select Google Analytics Property and follow the instructions in Webmasters from there.
4. Real Time Reporting
Real Time reporting is like Big Brother on steroids! Typically, you can view data up until the previous day, but more recently, Google has enabled us to track visitor behaviour as it happens in real time.
Go to the Real Time menu on the right, and in there you’ll see how many visitors are currently on your site, where they are located, where they were referred from and the keywords they used in search engines to arrive at your site and much more.
This is a great way of measuring whether a new campaign that you’ve just launched is having an instant impact.
5. Advanced Segments
These are one of my favourite tools to play with in Google Analytics. They enable you to slice and dice your data to learn more about visitors that have specific criteria, such as visits from a particular location, that have been referred from a particular website, or visitors who have made a purchase. By closely analysing a chunk of your data you will be able to see what impact a specific segment of your visitors has on your overall website traffic.
If you’ve not used Advanced Segments before, I suggest you start by using some of the Advanced Segments already setup in Google Analytics. These can be found by clicking in the boxes at top of each of the reporting pages within Analytics. You can set up your own, but I’m saving how to do that for another article.
In the following example, I’m going to compare visitors who view the site on a mobile the overall users.
Simply click the ‘Mobile Traffic’ box, ensuring that ‘All Sessions’ is still checked, and click Apply.
With that segment now applied to your overall data, you will be able to compare all traffic against mobile traffic. Your data will look something like this with the blue lines representing your overall traffic and the orange lines showing mobile traffic:
This segment can be applied to other segments (up to four are allowed) so you can slice and dice your data in whatever way you like.
These are just some of the things that can be tracked in Google Analytics. There are many more, but I hope this article has inspired you to stop guessing and start tracking how visitors are really behaving on your website.
If you would like any help with what you ought to be tracking in Google Analytics, how to implement it, or getting regular reporting on your website data, – just contact us – we’d be happy to help.