Google Analytics is a free analysis service which measures website activity and performance. These five tips can help you get more out of it.
In the old days, when I was a kid, most of what I knew about marketing strategies (other than commercials for toys and cereal) came from reruns of the TV show "Bewitched."
Bumbling muggle Darrin Stevens, married to spellbinding witch Samantha, worked for an advertising agency and was usually plagued by magical and comedic mishaps while trying to devise a successful ad campaign. Invariably Samantha would rescue him in one fashion or another and help him serve up a flashy catch phrase or jingle to his grumpy boss, Larry Tate. Larry would then happily proclaim it a genius idea and often attempt to take credit for it, much to the hilarity of the audience. Darrin's bacon would be pulled from the fire once again, until the next episode.
While I'll admit this is generally how things work in my house, nowadays marketing is a bit more complex than it was in the 1960s (hence the interest in a simpler-time show like "Mad Men"). Unfortunately, there are no magic solutions available to determine what the boss or the customers might like. However, as Arthur C. Clarke put it in his Three Laws of Prediction, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Fast forward to the futureGoogle Analytics is an advanced technology which can help you measure how your company's online marketing and presence is working. It gathers vast amounts of data and can serve as an EKG for your website so you can skip the supernatural shenanigans and get right to the core of what's successful and what isn't. With that in mind, here are five important things to know about Google Analytics.
1. It offers a variety of information for marketers, business analysts and IT staffRight out of the starting gate you can use Google Analytics to investigate the following:
3. Google offers both free and paid versions of Analytics. The basic version of Google Analytics is free (to be fair, however, keep in mind that a free product from Google may not necessarily remain forever free; there is no longer a free version of Google Apps available for new business customers for instance).
Google Analytics Premium is the advanced (read: paid) version of the product. It offers direct support, account management, hands-on implementation assistance, greater data processing/limits capacities, and more.
The free version "samples" data, meaning you get more of an average of the statistics - you might not see the accurate hit count on a very busy website for instance. The premium version gives you more accurate results.
Interestingly, the premium edition is available for a flat fee of $150K per year, which obviously puts it in the realm of large enterprises with plenty of capital. There is no mid-tier paid version at present.
Google provides a chart showing the full differences between the free and premium versions.
4. It can show you at a glance how your site or your ad campaign, search engine activity or other strategies are working so you can make immediate adjustmentsGoogle Analytics provides customizable dashboards you can use to display the data you're most interested in. You configure the dashboard using widgets, which are data categories that show certain information (Visits, Bounce Rate, Visits by Language, etc.)
Below (Figures H through K) are several examples of how the dashboard has been configured for basic traffic analysis.Figure HFigure IFigure JFigure KGoogle states "You can create up to 20 da
5. You can put in a little or a lot; there are plenty of newbie and expert optionsRight now, hopefully, you have enough information to get off the ground using Google Analytics. However, I've only covered the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There are many more options and features available, such as: