What is Google Analytics?

And how can it help my business?

  • What is Google Analytics? And how can it help my business?

    23 Jan 2023

    What is Google Analytics?

    Google Analytics is a free website analytics service, provided by Google, that tracks and reports on visits to your website - i.e. how they find your site, what they do when they get there and general information on who is visiting.

    It works by adding a piece of JavaScript tracking code to the website, which collects data about visitors such as the pages they visit, how long they stay, and what actions they take.

    It also reports on how visitors find your website - did they find you on Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, from an email, etc.

    This data is then sent to Google servers and processed to provide website owners with insights about their website's performance.

    The reports are ordered in 'Collections' - usually grouped by

    User Reports: Who is visiting

    Acquisition Reports:  How did they find your website? (Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc)

    Engagement Reports: What they did on your website

    Monetization: Information on transactions for e-commerce sites

    Retention:  Did visitors return and how often

    The insights can be accessed through a dashboard, which provides a variety of reports and visualizations about the website's traffic and user behavior.

    This information can be used by businesses to increase awareness of their products/services, target the right audiences, and improve their website traffic and conversions.

    For most businesses, large and small, it is an essential tool in their marketing.

    How does Google Analytics work?

    Google Analytics uses both cookies and JavaScript to collect data about website visitors.

    Cookies are small files stored on a user's device that store information about their visit to a website. Google Analytics uses two main types of cookies:

    Session Cookies: These cookies store information about a user's visit to the website, such as the pages they visited, the time they spent on the site, and the source of their visit.

    Persistent Cookies/ User Cookies: These cookies store information about a user's preferences and past visits to the website, allowing Google Analytics to remember the user and track their behavior across multiple sessions (visits). 

    JavaScript is a scripting language used to add interactivity and dynamic elements to websites. The Google Analytics tracking code (GATC) is a JavaScript code snippet that is added to the website to track visitors.

    When a user visits the website, the tracking code is executed, and it collects information about the user's behavior on the site. The information is then sent to Google servers for processing and storage.

    Together, cookies and JavaScript enable Google Analytics to track a user's behavior on a website, providing website owners with valuable insights into how their website is being used.

    How can I use Google Analytics to help my business?

    Google Analytics can be used to help businesses in various ways:

    Measure website traffic:

    Google Analytics provides detailed reports on the number of visitors to a website, the sources of the traffic, and the pages they visit.

    This information can help businesses understand how people are finding and engaging with their website, and make informed decisions about how to improve their online presence.

    Optimize website performance:

    Google Analytics provides insights into how users interact with a website, such as the most and least visited pages and the ones with the highest/lowest engagement rates.

    This information can help businesses identify areas for improvement, and optimize their website for better user experience and to increase conversions (leads or sales).

    Track conversions such as leads and sales:

    Google Analytics allows businesses to set up and track specific conversion events, such as form submissions, purchases, emails or phone calls.

    This information can help businesses understand how well their website is performing in terms of generating leads and conversions and make informed decisions about how to improve their conversion rate.

    Evaluate marketing campaigns:

    Google Analytics provides detailed information about the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns, such as Google Ads campaigns, Facebook campaigns,  even billboards and posters.

    It can inform you which channels/campaigns are driving the most traffic to your website and which generate the most leads and sales. You can also identify which campaigns are underperforming.

    This information helps businesses optimize their marketing strategies and allocate their resources more effectively.

    Target audience segments:

    Google Analytics provides geographic and demographic information about a website's visitors, such as their location, age, gender, and interests.

    You can also use Google Analytics to create custom audiences - such as people who visit certain pages.

    This information can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns that reach the most relevant audience segments.


    How to get started with Google Analytics

    Getting started with Google Analytics involves the following steps:

    Create a Google account: To use Google Analytics, you need to have a Google account. If you don't have one, you can create one for free.

    Sign up for Google Analytics: Go to the Google Analytics website and sign up for the service using your Google account. You will be asked to provide basic information about your website, such as its name, URL, and industry.

    Add the tracking code to your website: Google Analytics provides you with a unique tracking code that you need to add to your website. The tracking code is a piece of JavaScript that needs to be added to every page you want to track. You can either manually add the code to your website's HTML or use a plugin if you're using a content management system like WordPress, or ask your website developer to add this code. It only takes minutes.

    Set up events & conversions: Conversions are specific actions you want your visitors to take on your website, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. Setting up events and conversions allows you to track the conversion rate of your website and determine which areas are performing well and which ones need improvement.

    View reports: Once you have added the code to your website, you can start viewing reports the next day. The reports provide detailed information about your website's traffic, audience, and performance. You can access the reports by logging into your Google Analytics account.

    Customize reports: Google Analytics provides various customization options to help you get the most out of the data. You can create custom reports, and configure the data that is displayed in the reports to better suit your needs.

    Continuously monitor and evaluate: Google Analytics is a powerful tool, but it's only useful if you use the data it provides to make informed decisions. Regularly monitoring your website's performance and making changes based on the data you see will help you get the most out of Google Analytics and improve your marketing campaigns and website's performance over time.

    The next step:

    If you already have Google Analytics and want to learn more about the information it provides and how to use it, M Training provides courses and consultancy services

    For details on courses click here

    For consultancy services contact us here



Martin Woodfield is a Digital Marketing Trainer, running courses for M Training and various universities. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and has worked for some of the UKs leading companies. He has 20 years experience in digital marketing and has worked in senior marketing roles for over 30 years.


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