For those who don’t know, I have an obsession with data and analytics. Left to my own devices, I could spend hours upon hours “geeking” out to data, spotting trends and making connections.
One of my favorite free tools to do this is Google Analytics. Now, I’m no “expert” on analytics. I’ll leave that up to the likes of geniuses, such as Chuck Hemann and Chris Penn. I will however share a few easy tips to get more from Google Analytics.
1. Make Goals
Whether it’s a company site or a personal blog, it’s pretty hard to know what to measure if you don’t have some goals. You can write the goals down in a notebook, a Word doc or even in Google Analytics. The goals feature makes it super easy to track your progress.
2. It’s more than just pageviews and clicks
In 99% of cases, pageviews are a very superficial and not helpful way of looking at a site’s traffic. Pageviews just reflect every time a webpage has been opened. There isn’t a whole lot you can take away from the number of pageviews. Instead, think about looking at unique visitors, time on the page, bounce rate, loyalty, where they are coming from and not to mention why they are coming there in the first place.
3. Set Up Weekly or Monthly Custom Reports
One of the best features, in my opinion, is the ability to create and automate custom reports with your key measurables and objectives right in Google Analytics. Not only is it automatic, but you can also export the results in a clear, concise pdf, html or excel file for easy sharing.
4. Use The Advanced Segments Feature
This is another underrated featured in my opinion. The advanced segments tool is a great way to track traffic from a particular source. For instance, if you are interested in figuring out what social media sites generate the most traffic, you can set up individual advanced segments for each site (such as Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Linkedin, etc.). This lets you break down your analytics into small, very manageable sections.