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Google Analytics: what it is and how to do the initial configuration

Learn how Google Analytics can effectively monitor your online performance and start making consistent strategies for your business with it.

Google Analytics is the most widely used website tracking and analysis tool in the world. It integrates with other Google services, such as Ads and Search Console. With it it is possible to monitor the profile of those who access your website, most visited pages, conversions, devices, cities and other data.

If you came to this article it is because you probably already have a website and maybe you already have Google Analytics installed on your pages. But if you still do not know this tool, the time has come!

Although today it is almost a rule to have Google Analytics configured, it is still possible to find many companies that do not exploit the potential of this tool.

In this article we are going to show you the importance of a periodic analysis and how to start this practice.

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What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is the most widely used website and application monitoring and analysis tool in the world. Some of its advantages are: easy to configure, integration with other Google services such as AdWords and Search Console , and a very complete free version.

With the tool installed correctly, it is possible to monitor the profile of who accesses your site, the most accessed pages, conversions, devices, cities and much more. Here are some reasons to start using the tool.

3 reasons to use Google Analytics

Surely there are thousands of questions that you ask yourself daily about your business or your blog, which can be easily answered by simply opening Google Analytics.

The data about your page traffic, the location of your visitors, the source channels and the real-time information of what is happening on your website is only a fraction of what can be seen in the tool.

Following the behavior of your target audience is important on several levels, but here are some relevant examples for any business:

1. Understand the best schedule for your actions

Know the days of the month, of the week and even the hours that your visitors interact the most on the site.

With this data in hand, in addition to being able to program actions, it is also possible to know what you should not do at times of greater access, such as a site update that will impact a large part of its users.

2. Discover the causes of abandonment of your site

Analyze the rejection rate. That is, how many of your visitors leave your site without at least interacting with it.

If you sell a service and your site is not generating sales, you already know that something is wrong, but, by analyzing that data, it is easier to understand if the problem is in the page or in the product itself.

3. Understand which devices are used by your visitors

Today it is essential that your pages are optimized for mobile devices. This is even one of the issues that can hurt you in search results, if you don’t agree with Google’s guidelines.

Likewise, you may need to invest more in mobiles over time, and it may even make more sense for your business to develop applications or actions for mobiles and not for desktop.

By analyzing traffic through Analytics, it is possible to know which device has been used the most by your visitors to access the site.

How to use Google Analytics: basic settings

First of all, you will need a Google account. It is preferable one that only you have access and that is for professional use, since you must use it while the site exists.

Then, it is only to access the Google Analytics home page and register.

The system itself will indicate the next steps. After clicking the “Register” button and completing the requested information, you will receive a tracking code.

The code must be embedded in every page of your site. Generally in html pages the code is added before the closing tag </head>.

The place of insertion can vary, if your site has been made in WordPress, for example, you can look for an option to put the code in the header and even install a plugin to facilitate the process.

Ready! Now you only have to wait 24 hours for your data to start being captured.

If you want other people to use Analytics, no problem: you can give access to other users by going to “Manage”, select the desired account and click on “User Administration”.

In “Add permissions to” enter the email of the Google user you want to add and choose the permission to be granted. Finally click on “add”.

It is important to remember that the tool brings countless possibilities and the better configured it is, the more structured data it will be able to bring.

A great idea is to delve into both the configuration and the analysis and the reports that it is capable of generating.

Google itself  offers a channel on YouTube  and a specific page to learn with tips and courses on the service offered by them.

Have fun with Analytics

This is the time to get to know and familiarize yourself with the interface of the tool. Even with the basic setup, the possibilities are huge.

Interact with all the sections, take a look at the side menu completely and, if possible, study the advanced settings and custom reports. These will make your life much more practical and complete.

And of course, take the opportunity to gather interesting information about your business and prepare for action.

A good tip is to pay attention to the dimensions – primary and secondary – of the reports. They allow countless combinations and can bring exactly the information you need.

Give it an opportunity for insights to be recurring in your day to day. If you are not aware of a problem and its cause, how can a solution emerge?

Data are reliable bases for decision making when, in addition to being well analyzed, they are consistent – and consistency takes time.

You may see some triggered results when analyzing the information in short periods of time, but at some point, you will recognize a pattern and you will be able to see points outside the curve and insights.

Consider this analysis tool as one more ally to bring up new ideas and solutions. Even when things go well we can find different niches and optimization opportunities.

As research material, Occam’s Razor , a super specialized web data blog written by Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist Avinash Kaushik , is worth checking out  .

Bonus: the 4 most common mistakes in Web Analytics

After setting up your account in Google Analytics and exploring various features of the tool, you need to be careful not to fall into common Web Analytics mistakes and stay focused on the data that really matters.

Therefore, we now show the main pitfalls for those who are beginning to measure results and analyze improvements:

Focus on vanity metrics

Many people are impressed with some common numbers on the Internet: number of pageviews, impressions on Twitter, number of “likes” on Facebook, views on YouTube, etc.

That kind of metric is good only for the ego. The head of Marketing wins credit and admiration in the company and everything seems perfect. However, one essential point is missing: how much will that contribute to sales? In the end, selling is the only activity that brings money to the business, and all the rest are expenses.

Vanity metrics say nothing because, in addition to not indicating how Digital Marketing effectively contributes to the generation of business opportunities, they will not show how the company should optimize its actions.

60,000 page views do not say if the site was seen by 100 or by 60,000 people, two very different cases that would demand different types of improvements (increasing reach vs. making content more engaging, for example). And more important than that, the number does not say how many of those people became Leads or Clients, which are real results for the company.

In the same way, a large Twitter follower base does not mean that all those people actually read and access the content that your company publishes. Fewer still became clients after that.

Sure, it’s generally good to have a large audience, but you need to be careful. The objective of your company is not to speak to a large number of people but to sell and have clients. If your actions are not leading to that path, they are useless.

Make rash decisions based on incomplete metrics

Yes, the idea of ​​a good metric system is to allow your company to make decisions on top of that and achieve performance improvements.

The only problem is that metrics are not always what they seem and can be cheated if your company makes rash decisions.

An example where that is clear is to be too rigid and only consider as important sources of traffic that generate good conversion per visit.

If, for example, a potential client discovers the company on Twitter and, after several visits on different days, makes the conversion from a direct access (by typing the address in the browser), it would not be 100% correct to count that conversion in the direct traffic field.

In that case, the number of visits is also important, since many times the conversion of a Lead only comes after several visits to the website.

Focus on optimization ahead of time

Optimization in a general way, be it in Adwords, SEO, Landing Pages, post titles, Call-to-action, etc., only bring results when there is a significant volume for that particular item.

For example, what is the use of spending 10 hours to optimize a Landing Page that has only 50 monthly accesses? If the conversion rate is 6% and you manage to go to 12% (which is not easy…), the number of Leads generated by that page would go from 3 to 6 Leads per month. It certainly wouldn’t repay the investment made.

Therefore, focus first on increasing the volume of the channels and then think about the optimizations.

Don’t act on metrics

Despite preaching care before making decisions, it is useless to measure all this if the company is not going to act.

If your keywords are not well positioned in Google, it is necessary to work on optimizations and content production. If your profile on Twitter is not growing and attracting your customers, it is necessary to alter your usage policy.

The process of analyzing and measuring Digital Marketing efforts requires work. Therefore, it is not worth doing if your company is not willing to work on corrections and opportunities.

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