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Five ways to squeeze more juice from Google Analytics

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Google Analytics is the most popular free web analytics tool around, however most business users only scratch the surface of its capabilities. Here are five tricks for getting more from Google Analytics that I usually share during our corporate training sessions

Establish Goals

Remember Objectives, KPIs and Goals; well Goals are one of the simplest features of the tool, but at the same time they’re also one of the most unheeded. Set up your first goal now:

Head to Admin > Goals > New Goal to set up your first goal.

Whether you are tracing an app and a site, you should have a Goal. If you have a Goal, GA can track it! Google has many templates to choose from in order to track your goals (many times comes under the umbrella of conversions) effectively. Once set up, you’ll be able to monitor your Goals progress at a glance.

Create a customised dashboard

Google Analytics comes up with up to 20 custom dashboards at any given time. You can define your own from scratch or can choose from a gallery of thousands of user generated dashboards within Google Analytics. All you have to do is:

Go to Dashboards > New Dashboard to create your first dashboard.

Once you select your opening template, you can add as many widgets as you would like (Note - widgets include both standard and real-time data projections for most of the metrics you can think of). This is extremely useful for producing different reports for different stakeholders.

Exclude internal traffic

Ever thought of how many times you and your colleagues visit your site? Visits (due to internal traffic) could be skewing your numbers in Google Analytics. In order to exclude your internal traffic (and/or your affiliate/external third-party traffic) from Analytics data, you can set up a filter/s under the “Admin” panel.

All you have to do is to go to All Filters > Add New Filter, and set a Predefined Filter to Exclude traffic from your given IP address/URLs.

Integrate Google Webmaster tools

Another superb ‘free’ from Google, which give you insights Google Analytics can’t offer, such as information about the links pointing to your site, manual spam actions, impression data, index issues and even organic search keyword impression and click data. So, if you haven’t already set up Google Webmaster Tools for your site and integrated it with Google Analytics, we highly recommend doing so. Once connected Webmaster Tools will start showing you hidden gems in the form of new reports such as Search Queries, Landing Pages, and Geographical Summary.

Use segmented data

Segmentation in Google Analytics lets you create subsets of the big data set, e.g. converters by visit number, screens under 600 pixels wide, cart abandoners by traffic source, you name it!

Whether you have multiple target audiences or not it’s always important to know what different types of users do and how they behave once on the site or app.

Go to Admin and select Segments to build customized segments that define different audience groups. Traffic can be distinguished on the basis of age, gender, language, location, technology used to access your site, traffic sources, and user behavior. You may also want to see what type of segments other peers have created for doing their analysis in the open source gallery. This will appear when you click on the ‘create a new segment’

One final tip, of course, is to keep an eye on Google Analytics’ Twitter account for information on new features and enhancements. The tricks outlined above still only represent a fraction of Google Analytics’s capabilities, so what are you waiting for?

Dr. Karandeep Singh is head of analytics and insight at Digital Annexe.