While I know that not everyone has bought into Google+, nearly everyone who owns or operates a website knows about and uses Google Analytics. Because if you’re not monitoring how you are doing online, how do you know if you’re doing it right?
Google Analytics is a website monitoring service that gives owners statistics about how their website is performing. While Google Analytics is certainly not the only website monitoring service, it is the most widely used and highly regarded service on the internet right now. Google Analytics collects statistical information about your website, from the number of visits it receives and how long a visit lasts to the demographics, geographics and behaviours of those that are visiting. This information helps a webmaster (and a marketer) to make decisions about how and where they need to focus their communication efforts.
Google Analytics gives you information on the number of visits (unique or otherwise), the frequency and recency of these visits, the number of pages viewed in a visit, how long each visit lasts and where visitors are coming from. It can tell you about the demographics of your visitors (age, gender, interests), the geographics (language, country, city), along with technology statistics for both computer and mobile-based visitors. (screen resolution, browser, operating system, service provider, etc.) Google Analytics can also tell you how your visitors are finding your website, wether it be directly typing in the URL, organic searches, social shares or via referral. It lists the exact websites that are being used to find you, (Google is #2 for me) and which social media platforms are bringing in the most visitors (that would be Twitter with 74%!) This helps marketers make decisions about their strategy and their search engine optimization (SEO). Information is laid out in graphs, tables and easy to understand diagrams. There are step-by-step instructions on how to set up higher level functions, how information is collected, and what data means for you and your business.
While these may seem like random bits of information to collect, knowing who your audience is, where they are coming from and how they are engaging with your website can be instrumental in creating a positive (and hopefully buying) experience. Knowing this information leads to a better of understanding of what you are doing right and what needs improvement. Google Analytics even allows you to set up campaigns, goals, keywords and alerts in order to streamline your communications strategy. It doesn’t just monitor what you and your audience are doing, it helps you to define and reach your goals. For those who are in charge of content creation, Google Analytics, in conjunction with Google AdWords can tell you which keywords are being picked up and which keywords your target audience is searching for most often. This can be extremely useful in tailoring your content in a way that makes it searchable to your audience.
I haven’t even scratched the surface of everything google analytics can do, so I highly recommend educating yourself further! Google Analytics can be found both on its own page as well as as a plugin on most web domains like WordPress, Blogger, Weebly, and Typepad. But if you want to get the full experience and the most useful information (provided by its higher level functions), I highly recommend using the Google Analytics website.
Are you using Google Analytics? If not which monitoring tool are you using? Let me know in the comments below. Want to see more like this? Subscribe.