In this Post you’ll learn the 12 steps that will take you from a beginner to mastering Google Analytics. By following these steps you’ll be collecting actionable data that you can use to stay ahead of the competition.You’ll be a Google Analytics pro in no time! And even if you don’t have time to apply all of these steps today, you’ll find that even by applying a few of these steps you’ll have a more complete Google Analytics implementation that you can continue to improve. Let’s jump in and cover the 12 steps to mastering Google Analytics!
Step 1- Set up goals:
Goals allow you to understand how your website and your marketing channels are performing.They let you report on important actions people are taking on your website.For example, you can use goals to report on people completing forms, like your contact form, subscription form and other leads.Apart from tracking people viewing particular thank you pages on your website, you can also set up goals based on events, like watching videos and for particular levels of engagement.It’s a good idea to track your primary and secondary objectives as goals – these are also known as ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ conversions.For more details on each of the steps I cover in this video, check out the resources in the description below this video.
Step 2- Tag all of your inbound marketing campaigns:
Even if you can’t tag all of your inbound marketing, by starting to use campaign tags you’ll begin to see what’s working and not working.Campaign tags can be used to track everything from your email campaigns through to offline campaigns that direct people through to your website.Google provides a great tool to get started; it’s called the URL builder.And I’ve included a link in the description below this video.
Step 3- Use Google Tag Manager:
If you’re not using Google Tag Manager already, it allows you to add the Google Analytics tag to your website.Then, when you have additional requirements (or extra things you want to track) in most cases you can add tracking without having to change the code on your website.For example, if you wanted to track people watching YouTube videos embedded on your website,form submissions or even people traveling between two different domains…You can do all of this and more with the help of Google Tag Manager.
Step 4- Implement eCommerce tracking:
This is of course important if you’re selling online, as it means you can understand what’s driving value… including the products people are purchasing, the value of your website content, through to your marketing channels.You can even hack the eCommerce reports and use them to report on non-eCommerce websites,for example to track internal website promotions.
Step 5- Linked Google AdWords to Google Analytics:
This ensures you’re collecting accurate data from your AdWords campaigns. Plus, you can also pull some basic metrics, like bounce rate from Google Analytics into your AdWords account. So, if you haven’t already, make sure you link the products so that you can understand how your paid campaigns engage your audience once they’ve clicked through to your website.
Step 6- Look beyond the last click attribution model:
Attribution is about how credit is given to your marketing channels when a conversion occurs, so by moving beyond the last click attribution model you can get a better understanding of how your campaigns perform.I recommend the time decay model as a good starting point – you can find attribution-related reports by navigating to ‘conversions’ and then ‘multi-channel funnels’.And you’ll also find the model comparison tool under ‘attribution’.For even more on attribution, check out the resources in the description below this video.
Step 7- Configure (and use) the site search reports:
These reports tell you what people are searching for on your website and can provide valuable insights for informing your content, navigation and even your products and services.And if you don’t have a search function on your website, you might want to consider adding one…They can make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for and you’ll receive the added bonus of being able to track what they’re looking for.
Step 8- Apply segments to your reports:
Applying segments allows you to view more granular data about your audience.For example, if your target audience is based in Vancouver, Canada, you can apply a segment to only view that portion of traffic.There are some great default segments which are built into Google Analytics.These include users who have converted, segments for your organic and paid traffic and more.Plus you can also create your own custom segments to meet your own reporting and analysis needs.I recommend starting by creating and applying segments for your most valuable audience members.This will then allow you to understand how they are finding and engaging with your website.
Step 9- Understand important terminology:
For example, knowing the difference between a ‘user’ and a ‘session’, or ‘exits’and ‘bounces’.Understanding what you see in your reports is critical, so that you can take action based on your data.Since this video is about the steps to master Google Analytics, I won’t drill-down into lots of different terms, but again, you can find some great resources in the description below this video, including my Google Analytics glossary.
Step 10- Link Google Search Console and Google Analytics:
If you haven’t already, then doing this lets you understand how your website performs in organic (or free) search results on Google.This means you can understand what people are searching for on Google to find your website and which pages are being shown in search results.You can use the reports to optimize your content to increase your traffic from Google.
Step 11- Share your data:
By giving more people in your organization access to information and insights you’re more likely to see improvements to your website, your marketing and your conversions.Apart from giving people access to your Google Analytics reports, you can also create custom dashboards and reports inside Google Analytics…And you can even use Google Data Studio for more sophisticated reporting needs.If you haven’t taken a moment to play with and learn about Google Data Studio, then I absolutely encourage you to check it out.It’s an amazing platform for reporting and dashboards.You can even combine data from different sources, including Google Analytics, Google AdWords, YouTube, Google Sheets and more.
Step 12- Learn about the advanced features available in Google Analytics:
There are new features and reports being added all the time and it’s important to stay up-to-date on all the latest developments.Just to be clear…I’m not saying you need to use every single feature or every single report…It’s really about using what is going to help you achieve your objectives.By know what’s available, you’ll be in a better position to know if you should be implementing a feature or using a report for your organization.
So they’re the 12 steps to master Google Analytics.There are so many ways to use Google Analytics, just remember it’s about finding and using the reports that help you achieve your objectives and drive improvement.Even spending a little time each week in Google Analytics can grow your knowledge and skills– and you’ll also be improving your website and campaigns.
Remember that you don’t have to complete all of these steps today, even using a single report or taking one of these steps can have an impact.So what’s stopping you?It’s time to log into Google Analytics, load up your reports, set up your goals and being tracking the improvements you’re making to your website and your campaigns.You can (and will) succeed at mastering Google Analytics!Do you have any tips you’d like to add?Let me know in the comments below!And if you found this post helpful, then please share it, so I know to make more post like this.See you next time!