Bicycle Theory’s top 5 tips for getting started with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is basically the de facto standard for Web stats tracking. Why?
- It’s free
- It’s robust
- It’s made by Google – the undisputed champion of the Web
However, because Google Analytics is such a powerful tool for gaining insight about website performance and use, it can be a bit intimidating. So when starting out, we recommend you stay focused on three main sections within the Standard Reports:
- Traffic Sources
Tip 1: Set up Google Analytics
Duh!? This may seem obvious, but for any of this to be relevant (A) your website needs to be set-up up to use Google Analytics and (B) you need to have user account that gives you access to the reports. If you’re working with Bicycle Theory and don’t know, please contact us.
The Google Analytics user interface is pretty easy to use. However, our first tip is to become familiar with the interface. For new users, there are three main elements to become familiar with.
- Report Navigation – The left-hand sidebar is how you navigate to the different web stats sections and report types.
- Date Ranges – Date ranges are controlled using the dropdown field in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. These tools are a great way to identify site trends, especially when using the ‘compare’ options.
- Content Area – Most report pages include a series to tables, graphs, and text links. Most of these items can be clicked on for more specific details.
The Audience section provides key insights about the users accessing your website, including:
The Audience overview page is basically Web tracking 101 because it provides the best high-level insight about website use, including the following base metrics:
- Unique Visitors
- Pages / Visit
- Avg. Visit Duration
- Bounce Rate
- % New Visits
The Traffic Sources section tells you how users are getting to your website. It can help inform your decisions about what options you might have to increase visibility in specific areas.
The most valuable tool for new users is the Sources content. Within it you can see how people are finding your site, including:
- Search engines used
- Keywords used
- Referral sources
The Content section tells you what sections and pages of your website are driving the most traffic. It can help inform what areas of the site make the most sense to invest in.
The most valuable tool for new users is the Site Content information.
- All Pages – Shows you the most popular pages.
- Content Drilldown – Shows you the most popular sections.
Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool, but it takes time to learn how to use it. And it takes even more time to learn how to leverage the vast amounts of information and insight it can provide. So before you overwhelm yourself analyzing the trees, get to know the forest first.
Bicycle Theory is a brand marketing company located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN. Bicycle Theory provides strategic and tactical brand marketing services, including Web design and development, Internet marketing, brand strategy, and identity building.