My journey to learning Google Analytics part 1
There are tons of stories in medium about google analytics in different topics that cover a wide range of solutions that you may face on a day to day basis. This story is a little different from others because I am writing this with a very beginner’s knowledge about google analytics.
I have started to learn to google analytics for only about a week. I tried to learn it before from YouTube and many other sources, but I couldn’t find any structured content to learn systematically. It’s very easy to lose your enthusiasm when topics started to get deeper and you don’t have a proper structure to follow.
After searching for many courses online and following many popular blogs I came to know about CXL. It’s a fantastic website that covers a wide range of marketing courses as well as mini degrees. After checking their course content and the instructors, I have immediately decided to enroll in the Digital Analytics mini degree.
I am going to share what I am learning every week overtime in the medium. The reason I wanted to share is to push myself to focus on learning seriously also I am not a writer I have no to very little experience in writing so it will also improve my writing skills too.
Another reason I want to share my experience is you. I know how overwhelming it is to learn something new. I will share my experience that will make your learning easier and also, I will share my mistakes that will make you aware of what you should follow and what you shouldn’t.
I am learning google analytics to use it on my startup project Prepmock. We have launched our MVP recently and running various marketing campaigns and testing out with potential users.
Installing Google Analytics and Using Google Demo Account
The first thing you will need is a Google account to sign up for google analytics. Once you are done go to google analytics page and sign in. You will need to create your account inside google analytics to get your Tracking ID.
Here is a huge pro tip for you. This article doesn’t cover details of installing google analytics, but I will highly recommend you use Google Tag manger to install google analytics to your website. Thank me later when you will see why I have told you to use google tag manager.
Just to give you an idea if you want to track events like lead generation form, button clicks, video plays, by default google analytics will not be able to track this kind of event. google tag manager will make it a lot easier for when you will understand google analytics in greater detail and want to use it for more depth analysis.
Google also provides access to a demo account for the google analytics users in case if you don’t have your website or your site doesn’t have a fair amount of traffic to start analyzing, This is the perfect place to start with.
Few definitions you need to know before continue learning google analytics
Before giving deep dive it’s important to understand two important terms which are metrics and dimensions.
Every report in Analytics is made up of dimensions and metrics. Dimension is a description, a characteristic, a feature, or an aspect of your data. Country, City, Source / Medium, Device, Landing page are all examples of dimensions. On the other hand, metrics are number or count or percentage. Metrics are typically presented as columns of data within the reports. Most of the time you will be playing with dimensions and metrics to understand all behavior and performance of your site or app.
As a beginner a few key metrics, you should know to understand most of the reports that we need to analyze site performance.
User: A person using your website. If I describe technically a unique browser cookie visiting your website or app. A cookie can visit your site multiple times view multiple pages. Users can be both returning and new. Unless the same user has a new cookie, it will be treated as a returning user each time it visits the page.
New User: The number of first-time users during the selected date range. This will only show new users which have a unique cookie. Remember the same person with multiple devices will have a unique cookie and counted as a new user.
Session: An user’s activities like page visits, interactions with the site recorded in a given period. A default session time out is 30min. It means if a user is inactive for 30min and perform any activity after 30min it will be counted as a new session. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes are counted as part of the original session.
Number of sessions per user: This is the average number of sessions per user. It’s simply the number of sessions divided by the number of users.
Pageview: GA pageviews are the individual URLs that load when a user visits your website regardless of their session.
Pages / Session: Number of URL loads in a particular session during a user’s visit to your site. This is the average number of pages viewed during a session
Avg Session Duration: This is the average length of a session. The higher the number is better. It means users are having more engagement with the site.
Bounce rate: A bounce rate occurs when a visitor left your site without any interaction after arriving at the site. When users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server it increases the bounce rate. A high Bounce rate typically considers bad, but it depends on the business needs. If it’s a blog post and you don’t expect your users to do anything else, then its bad.
Now you have understood what is dimension and metric also some common metrics we are going to use regularly. Moving further to the reports section of the analytics,
All of the reports in google analytics are divided into 5 parts.
Realtime: This part of the report gives you real time data on your site. It’s really helpful if you want to test your site initially after installing analytics or you want to test something specific.
Audience: It tells you who are your users what is their location, interest, and much more details that will help you to understand a lot of the things
Acquisition: It tells you from which channel you are getting traffic from. Is it a paid advertisement or organic search? How your campaign performing.
Behavior: You can find which page is performing the most and which content is getting tractions. It tells you about site speed and most importantly you can track all the events from here. You can also see where people are leaving from your site.
Conversions: This is all about your conversion to your site. Every site ultimate goal is conversion. You want to see how many users are registering in your site or how many users purchasing and what is the value of those purchases. You can also create your sales funnel here and which stage of funnel your users are dropping.
If you are still here with me then I am hopeful that you found this content helpful. This is going to be a series on google analytics as I am advancing through the course, I will be sharing my learning with you.
I am not a professional writer, and this is the first content I am publishing ever. I will look forward to your feedback both positive and negative. This will encourage me to post further. If you need any help with setting up analytics feel free to reach out to me.