Tens of millions of site owners use Google Analytics but many folks aren’t quite sure how to navigate this useful tool or what each feature and report is used for. Before we get into some common Google Analytics questions, lets go over what Google Analytics is.
What is Google Analytics And How Does It Work?
Google Analytics (GA) is a free website tracking tool that collects data on how users interact with your website. Once this data is collected, GA sorts the data into easy-to-understand reports. To get data from your website into GA you must place a tag on your website. As soon as that tag is placed, GA will start collecting data, which will be turned into reports with metrics and dimensions.
Metrics: Anything that can be measured with a number is a metric. For example, the number of users, purchases, or conversions on your website.
Dimensions: This is how metrics can be segmented. For example, number of users by device type or average time on website by landing page.
Now that you understand what Google Analytics is, lets move onto the most common Google Analytics questions.
Top Google Analytics Questions
What are Google Analytics goals and how do you create them?
Google Analytics goals are key website activities that you want to keep track of such as application completions and clicks on certain buttons. You can use these goals to see which campaigns are working well with users. Events within goals let you know what actions visitors are taking during a visit such as ad clicks or social media shares.
To create a goal in GA:
One of the options for creating Goals is based on Destination or URL. These are especially helpful if users are taken to a page after submitting a form such as /thank-you. One common mistake is to add your landing page URL in the Destination Goal field. This will track views of the landing page as Conversions and not the actual engagement on the page which is what you want to measure.
A question that commonly comes up regarding goals/events is how can I tell how often a user is clicking a CTA, or submitting a form? This is a perfect example of where goal tracking can come to the rescue. If users are being taken offsite by a call to action, or submitting a form, the default Universal Analytics behavior will not track those clicks. Therefore, you will need to set up Event tracking that records outbound clicks and form submissions.
What Are Behavior Reports?
When you create content for your website, the goal is usually to get people to interact with it, whether that is reading, clicking on the CTA, or watching a video. This is referred to audience engagement. Higher engagement leads to longer time on your website and shows Google that your website is answering questions that users have.
Wondering what your customer journey is throughout your website? Don’t worry! Google Analytics has a report specifically for this called Behavior Flow. This interactive flow chart shows you how users move through your website. For example, which pages users use to enter your website or where they navigate to once they are on your homepage. This data can be used to find influential pages that can be used for marketing campaigns or to visually see where users are dropping off your website and help you create strategies to increase engagement.
What is a Good Bounce Rate?
If you are not doing any custom tracking on your website, a bounce rate of 60-70% is common, but it can be as low as 10-20% for websites that are tracking more visitor interactions. It is much easier to answer “What is a bad Bounce Rate” because you will sometimes see campaigns with a bounce rate of 99%. It is recommended to look at user engagement on your website rather than just looking at Bounce Rate as a quality measurement.
If you do notice certain campaigns with higher than average Bounce Rates you should work to optimize the campaign’s targeting, ad creative or landing page to achieve better quality traffic and higher engagement. If these campaigns are being run by a vendor this should be brought to their attention so they can fix the high bounce traffic.
Where Can I Find My Campaign Traffic?
Running a campaign for a low interest rate auto loan or HELOC? Google Analytics can help you keep track of how that campaign is performing so you know what resonated well with users and what to get rid of next time.
To find your campaign traffic/Inbound traffic sources, click Acquisition > Source/Medium or Campaign reports. If you’re not seeing the clicks, that means your campaign is not using UTM codes which are needed for Google to record data.
What Is A Session?
A session is the period of time that a user is active on your website. Whenever a user visits your website, the session begins. If a user is inactive for 30+ minutes, any future activity is counted as a new session. Users that leave your website but return within 30 minutes are tracked within the original session.
It is helpful to know that a new session starts in Google Analytics if the user’s source changes. For example, one session will start if the user visits from organic results, but if that same user opens the same website from an inbound marketing campaign then a new session will begin.
What is Benchmarking?
Benchmarking allows you to compare your data with industry data from other companies who share their data with Google. This can provide valuable information, helping you to set goals, gain insight into trends occurring across the industry, and find out how you are doing compared to your competition.
Benchmark data is available in Google Analytics under the Behavior tab, as long as you have agreed to opt your website into providing benchmarks for other websites. You can opt-in to Benchmarking under the Account settings under the Admin tab if they are not already available. You can drill down on specific benchmarks based on industry, geography and the amount of daily traffic you receive.
What is Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the newest version of Google Analytics which was released in October 2020. GA4 is going to rely more heavily on machine learning to help users forecast current and future trends. GA4 has put a lot of effort into visualizing data so that it is easier for users to understand the data they are looking at and spot trends faster. When clicking into a report you will see at least two charts above the data table.
You should aim to have your Universal Analytics account moved over to GA4 by the spring of 2023. This will give you time to get familiar with the new GA4 before Universal Analytics goes away. No historical data will be migrated from your current GA into the new GA4 property, so it’s important to do this as soon as possible.
Google Analytics is a helpful tool for marketers and companies to use to understand how they are performing against previous years, their industry and even how to effectively track website performance and ROI. The best way to learn how to use Google Analytics is to interact with it and try out different features, reports, and filters.
If you or your company needs help understanding Google Analytics or setting up your new Google Analytics 4 property, ZAG Interactive can help. Review our services and contact us to get started.