An effective business strategy goes hand-in-hand with business growth. Every website owner who seeks to attain substantial business growth must recognize this. And using a web analytics software is essential to achieving a business strategy that works. Thus, many analytics software platforms that help business website owners make appropriate business decisions are available for use. They also help to boost organic traffic for SEO. Google Analytics, one of this type of software, is a widely-recognized tool in analyzing business data. In examining Google Analytics, this review offers all you need to know about the popular analytics software.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a free cloud-based website analytics tool by Google. Like all web analytics services, Google Analytics provides you with analysis and reports of your site's visitors. It offers insights that help to check the success or otherwise of marketing strategies. The platform works for businesses of all sizes - from small startups and entrepreneurial endeavors to large companies and corporations.
How Google Analytics Works
Google Analytics performs in such a way that it affords you a single platform with the necessary tools for analyzing all your business data. It collects and analyzes the data and behavior of people who visit your site. These data include the device they visit your site with (whether PC or mobile phone), their preferred language, and their interests. It also includes their age and region, as well as the time at which they visited your site. With Google Analytics, you have access to every essential information about your website's traffic. For example, you get to see the number of visitors that go to your site, as well as what percentage of them are unique.
This analytics software by Google uses a data-tracking code to collect and curate data from your website. It then processes the data into readable and helpful reports which it makes available to you. All the data collation and analyses on Google Analytics are, thankfully, automated. This means that there is no need for a manual input or processing of data. The software automatically generates the metrics for your website. Therefore, all you need to do is to view the analysis. You can then make informed decisions that suit your business needs.
Features of the Google Analytics Service
Several distinguishing features set Google Analytics apart from the various other web analytics software available. These features - divided into web analytics and mobile analytics features - include the following:
Web Analytics Features of Google Analytics Software
1.) In-depth Tracking: Google Analytics carries out comprehensive tracking of various aspects of your site. The data which Google Analytics tracks include:
2.) Multi-site management: You do not need multiple accounts to run different sites. This is due to Google Analytics' multi-site management feature.
Mobile Analytics Features of Google Analytics Software
1.) Event tracking on Google Analytics is its unique mobile analytics feature.
Other general features of Google Analytics are:
You can use it for free.
It allows integration with other amazing Google services (such as Google Search Console and Google Ads).
It allows you to observe the varying metrics between mobile device users and computer users. This, in turn, lets you make the appropriate changes to enhance your site's usability.
Google Analytics Pricing
Pricing for software may be a cause for concern, especially for small business owners. For those with whom this is the case, Google Analytics is a preferred choice. The reason is simple - its standard version is free. This means that you can get the basic features of the analytics platform at no cost. A comprehensive overview of Google Analytics' current pricing is below:
There is no starting price, as it is a free tool. Thus, as there is no need, there is no Free Trial plan.
An Enterprise plan, Analytics 360, complements the free standard version that has limited features. The payment means for the Enterprise plan is a monthly invoice.
How to Use Google Analytics
One cannot enjoy the fine benefits of Google Analytics without using the software right. Fortunately, Google Analytics is not as difficult to use as some web analytics tools. The process of using Google Analytics involves setting up your account and then making use of its features. Here, below, is a step-by-step procedure for how to use Google Analytics.
Setting up a Google Analytics account: You can create your account with an already-existing Google account, or create a new one if necessary. The bottom line is that you need a Google account to create one on Google Analytics. With the account, you can sign up for the Google Analytics platform. While you are at it, a tab that takes you through the needed steps will come up. You can then fill up the required information to successfully create and set up your account.
Setting up your Property: While creating your account, you would need to set up a property under it. Property is the site that you wish to get its analytics. You can set as many as fifty (50) properties under one Google Analytics account. Although, you cannot move a property from one account to another.
Installing a Google Analytics tracking code on your site: After setting up your account and its properties, the next step is to click on the button for Get Tracking ID. Then, you will need to agree to the platform's Terms and Conditions in the popup that follows. Google Analytics will then generate your code. All your webpages should have your tracking code installed on each of them. Or depending on the type of site, you may only need to input the code where required. For example, an e-commerce store in Shopify has a section for adding your tracking code under its Online Store settings.
Setting goals: Your goals could be signups for email subscriptions or/and submission of lead forms, to mention a few. You can have about twenty (20) goals for your site. To set up these goals, you would need to click on Admin Link on your account page, then Goals under the View column. You can add new goals, just as you can name and custom goals.
Including as many websites and their properties as you need: With your primary website sorted out, you may find it useful to include more websites to your dashboard. You can do this by using the Create New Property Link under the Property Column of your Admin menu. You might also want to set up Site Search under the View Settings of the Admin Menu, to keep track of page views.
Viewing data and accessing generated reports: 24 hours after completing the above steps, you can begin to view your site's data. Your site's Audience Overview report is always available every time you log into your Analytics account. And if you have multiple sites, a list of them will appear for you to choose from. You can then see the overview report of the site you choose. You can click on sections of the overview for more detailed sub-reports. Thus, you have access to in-depth analyses that set you up for better decisions.
It may take a while to get used to the platform. And some users are of the view that beginners need a level of technical knowledge to optimize the software. The good thing is that Google Analytics Academy offers a free online course on Google Analytics for Beginners. The course covers creating an account, as well as using your tracking code and data filters. It also addresses navigating the platform and understanding the interface in general. How to use and benefit from the different Google Analytics reports is not left out of the course content.
Pros and Cons of Google Analytics
Google Analytics undoubtedly has several advantages. These advantages contribute to the software's popularity despite competition. A balanced view, however, reveals that the praise-worthy tool is not without its disadvantages. In light of this, the pros and cons of Google Analytics are as follows.
It is a free tool.
It comes with E-commerce features.
It has high data capture performance.
It is capable of carrying out extensive data analysis and generating reports automatically.
It allows tracking of multiple sites (including social media) in one dashboard.
Integration with other Google accounts and social media is easy on Google Analytics.
Thanks to its constant updates, Google Analytics remains relevant in the stream of time.
In-depth technical support is sometimes not available.
The complexity of the reports is not easy to understand by all new users.
One of its competition, Adobe Analytics, sometimes offers better tracking services.
Integration and documentation with the software often take time for users to familiarize themselves with.
While regular updates and adding new features is a good thing, it is sometimes difficult to catch up with the changes.
Reviews for Google Analytics
Business owners who use Google Analytics experience the level of its efficiency firsthand. The following are some of their reviews.
With Google Analytics, we could track everything on our website, secure funding, and set goals. All for free.
- Chike I. (Founder, Ooka.co.za)
Although keeping up with updates and new features could be very difficult, Google Analytics is the best web analytics. It provides insights on visitors' behavior and the site's general performance, among other things.
- Denis M. (BitFreezer)
When it comes to tracking our clients, Google Analytics is the Golden standard. It is a great platform with no real issue for us.
- Brandon M. (Vizergy)
Frequently Asked Questions about Google Analytics
Below are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about Google Analytics.
Who can use the Google Analytics software?
Google developed its Analytics software to meet the needs of a wide range of users. Thus, everyone with a need for data analytics can use the software. This includes freelancers, individuals, entrepreneurs or small businesses, medium-sized businesses, and large corporations.
Do I need to set up goals?
Conversions are often the main focus of digital marketers. That is, how many visitors to your website (potential customers) actually become customers? Google Analytics helps to keep track of the rate at which those visitors convert to customers. These conversions - specific user actions that Google Analytics measures - are also called goals. If you want Google Analytics to help you convert your site's traffic, then yes, you need to set up goals. You can set up duration, screens/pages, destination or event goals with Google Analytics. Whatever your goal type, setting goal values help with maximizing your conversion rates.
Can I get an API from Google Analytics?
No, you cannot, as Google Analytics does not offer API.
What makes up the organization of my Google Analytics account?
A Google Analytics account will allow you access to all Google Analytics features. Organizing your account becomes of necessity as you manage dozens of website properties under a single account. To keep your account organized, you need to add new properties under the account. This will allow the software to generate a tracking code for data collection. In Google Analytics organization, the top-level is an account. Under an account, you can have several (up to a maximum of fifty (50)) properties. Properties refer to websites or mobile apps that you want to collect data from. Under each property, you can have up to twenty-five (25) views. Views are the defined spots where you get access to your reports. Keeping your account in this three-tier organization will maximize your account's performance.
Can I share my analytics data with a third-party?
Yes! This would come in handy if you ever need someone else to summarize your data for you. Google Analytics makes it easy to share data without sharing your Google account details. To share, locate the User Management menu under the data (view or property) that you want to share. You can then add the email address(es) with which you want to share the analytics. The permissions they would have while accessing your data are up to you to decide.
What kind of reports does Google Analytics provide?
Google Analytics' reports are of three types identified as its ABCs. Here is an overview of the types:
A - Acquisition and Audience reports
Acquisition reports give information about your traffic; its sources, categories, and referrals. Audience reports, on the other hand, offer more people-specific details. For example, they include your visitors' location, interests, language of preference, and how frequently they visit.
B - Behavior reports
Behavior reports reveal user actions when they are on your site. These actions include the number of page views and time spent by users on your site. Popular landing and exit pages are also inclusive of this type of report.
C - Conversion reports
If you would need to improve your marketing strategy and business site, conversion reports will tell you. Even the conversion paths that your visitors-turned-customers take are in the report. When you set up E-commerce tracking on your account, you will get data about your conversion rates. These data will reveal factors that either increase or decrease your conversions. And with that knowledge, you can make decisions to alter your business approach for the better.
The ubiquitous nature of its developer, Google, is possibly a reason behind the popularity of Google Analytics. Yet, its functions do well to defend its status. As seen, despite its few cons, the free analytics platform remains embodied with premium features. The useful insights from Google Analytics positively influence business owners to make smart choices. These smart, progress-oriented choices thus result in improved SEO and an increase in organic traffic for their sites. The ultimate result is business growth, which is the primary aim of any business person. Also, Google Analytics is available for use by a wide variety of persons. As such, even individuals seeking to improve their sites and increase traffic can also use the software. Conclusively, everyone who has a need for a web analytics tool has Google Analytics at his/her disposal. As its challenges are few and maneuverable, all its users can benefit from the effectiveness of Google Analytics.