3 Ways to Make Google Analytics Work for You

Ryan Young Published by: Ryan Young Published on: Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Google Analytics can tell you a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of your website. How many people are visiting your site each week, month, or year? How much time are people spending on your site? What pages are people looking at the most?

These insights are extremely valuable – even for teeny tiny sites that get just a few visitors every now and then. For most, these broad details are more than enough.

But for teams who need data about where site visitors are coming from, what pages they are viewing, and how they attribute to a sale, it can be tough to find and collect the right info.

Fortunately, Visionary has a Google Analytics IQ certified team who can help. Here are three things we can do for you today to up your analytics game:

Install and configure Google Analytics

Visionary Services can install and configure your Google Analytics account correctly

If you don’t have Google Analytics but want to start tracking your website traffic right away, our certified experts can set everything up for you.

We create and configure a Google Analytics account for every project we build. But even if you don’t have one of our custom sites, complete with the Site OnCall content management system, we can still work with you as an outside consultant to ensure everything is plugged in correctly.

Setup may differ for each project, but no challenge is too much for us to handle. Generally, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

Event tracking

Without event tracking in place, it'd be hard to know if anyone is watching a video you place on your page

Events can be just about anything: watching a video, printing a page, or even scrolling to a certain part of a page.

Out of the box, Google Analytics let’s you can see how much time someone spends viewing a page, but you can’t tell specifically what people have clicked on.

If you have a video on a page, for example, you’ll never know how many people have watched it.

You need to track an event, or a unique moment in time when someone has interacted with a portion of a webpage. Tracking events creates a metric your team can use to evaluate the success of your website.

You’ll need a small amount of development help to create each event, but the cost is minimal compared to the value you’ll get from this data.

Identify user paths

Google Analytics can help you see what paths people are taking through your website

Websites that have at least 6 months of data already compiled in Google Analytics can benefit from a bit of user sleuthing. By combining acquisition reports and behavior flow data, we can show you the most common paths people us to travel through your site.

This can help you see what pages people start on in their path (hint: it may not be your homepage) and where they end. This data is not a replacement for user research, but trends should emerge on high-traffic websites, which can support or dispel assumptions you might have previously formed about the people coming to your site.

If the user’s journey does not include a goal you have for your site, or the user’s path is completely different from what you intended, we can work with you on a strategy for future site improvements.

Bonus: Custom web or email campaign URLs

If you have regular email or web ad campaigns, here is something can do right now on your own: generate custom campaign URLs.

Google has some fantastic documentation explaining how to create your own URLs so it’s extremely clear to see which users are coming to your site from your ads or marketing campaigns.

Why would you need something like this? Consider this scenario:

Your business has an extremely popular Facebook page. You share a new update every day and also have a custom call to action.

The problem is that all of this traffic is logged as a referral from Facebook. Without a bit of Google Analytics ingenuity, you can’t see which page someone viewed directly from Facebook.

With a custom URL, you can, and through the details you provide, you’ll know that more people came to your site from your blog post about winterizing your car and not your update on the new office pet.

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