Google Analytics is the market leader on providing website visitor information to small businesses.
The amount of data that is available to you and your marketing team can become overwhelming, yet with the data you can identify trends, opportunities and strategies to improve the flow of visitors to your site.
Read more about Google Analytics and how it can support your business in this article.
What Is Google Analytics?
Google analytics is free online software which, with the help of a piece of code inserted into your website, can help track visitors landing on your website. The information which can be gathered is immense. You can monitor where the visitor has come from, what pages are most viewed, how long a visitor spent on your site and many other interesting statistics.
These statistics can then be used to help you refine your website to improve performance.
Google Analytics is currently used by 82% of small business websites.
How Accurate Is Google Analytics?
Google analytics can be pretty accurate, although some webmasters report that the number of visitors other monitoring tools report is often anywhere between 10 and 80 per cent more visitors. These incidents are normally because a of number implementation errors made by the small business.
Research has shown that 84% of small businesses don’t have the skills or resources to properly implement Google Analytics on their site. Common reasons why Google Analytics might be giving inaccurate results could be:
1. Failure to tag page – each page on your website needs to be tagged in order for Google Analytics to work.
2. Tracking code is not in the ideal location – it is best to place the tracking code just above the closing </head> tag in your website’s code.
3. Two tracking codes on one page – only one code is needed per page; otherwise your data will be inaccurate.
There are also times when perhaps there is nothing you can do but the tracking is still not working. These include:
2. No cookie or the cookie timed out – if the visitor doesn’t accept cookies then the data cannot be collected from that visitor. Likewise if the visitor leaves their browser on your site for over 30 minutes, Google Analytics will time their session out. When that visitor returns, it will be considered a new session.
3. Different users and devices – if two people use the same device then Google will announce this as one ‘unique’ visitor. If one person uses many devices, Google will read this as different users.
Why Should You Use Google Analytics?
The majority of the inaccuracies for Google Analytics are caused because of poor implementation. Any poor data from Google is often because the visitor doesn’t want to be tracked is so minute that it would make little difference to your end figures. And in reality you aren’t looking at how many people are landing upon your page alone. You are looking for trends of the visitors: what pages they are visiting, how long are they staying on the site and where are they coming from.
Because the missing data is consistent you could still ascertain this information easily from the data collected.
Therefore, despite the errors that can be present on Google Analytics it is still a very useful tool for monitoring your traffic and identifying opportunities.
How To Set Up Google Analytics
To properly set up Google Analytics you need to complete a fairly detailed process. Setting it up step by step will ensure minimal mistakes are made and you can obtain the data you require accurately.
Step One: Set up your goals
You need to define the desired end result you want from every visitor. Do you want them to sign up to your mailing list, download a product fact sheet or sign up for a new account? Establishing goals will give your campaigns purpose.
Step Two: Set up your dashboard
The amount of information which is available on Google Analytics can be overwhelming. However, you can adjust the look of the dashboard to show the data which is important for your online campaigns.
Step Three: Set up a report
Create a report using Google Analytics to show you visitors who found your website without your brand’s name. You can use this information in tracking the success rate of new visitors to your site and see if your SEO is giving you prominence on the search engines and for what keywords.
Step Four: Exclude Your Visits
Give Google Analytics the information to allow it to ignore visits from you or web development team.
Step Five: Video Tracking
Ask your web developer to set up tracking on videos to see how many people are interacting with the content.
Step Six: Search Results
If you have a search box on your website, set Google Analytics to show you what your visitors are searching for. This can be really useful for determining what future content you can develop on your site.
Step Seven: Social Networks
You can connect your social media profiles to your Google Analytics account so you can see what traffic each network is generating for your website and where those visitors are heading to.
Step Eight: Campaign Tracking
Set up tracking codes in links so Google Analytics can identify which campaign has directed the user to your site. This is great for monitoring campaign results and adjusting marketing techniques for higher conversions in future campaigns.
Step Nine: Cross Domain Tracking
If you have multiple domain tracking you need to monitor the results as they go from domain to domain. There are special codes which can monitor this, keeping you informed from one dashboard.
Step Ten: Checking
To ensure your Google Analytics are accurate check the code is in the right place on the webpage (just above the closing </head> tag) and every page has the code.
Google Analytics is an important tool for discovering how visitors are finding your page, what they are doing while on it and if they return. Yet Google Analytics is poorly implemented by a number of businesses and so inaccurate data is obtained.
Ensure you install Google Analytics properly to give you the best results, which will provide information on how you can enhance your online marketing campaigns.
- Set up a Google Analytics account.
- Insert the code into your website.
- Check the code is working properly.
- Monitor the traffic to your website.