Have you spent countless hours tweaking your website, losing winks of sleep, fretting over your online presence? Dying to know who visits your page, how they got there and what they think? Stress no more – Google Analytics (GA) can help!

While it can be a little daunting at first, GA is a great way to investigate and examine statistics generated by Google to help your business understand its clientele and reposition its marketing strategy to suit. In short, Google Analytics is a database that populates information about your website in real time. It’s a useful tool to help you understand your site’s performance and effectiveness.

Here are the three fundamentals you should know about Google Analytics:

1) The Google Analytics lingo

When you first start perusing through your stats there may be some terms you’re not quite familiar with. Here are a few definitions to get you acquainted:

  • Session: The use of your site in one instance by a user.
  • Page views: The number of views one user pays to a particular page.
  • Session duration: The length of time a user spends exploring your site.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of users that leave your website after viewing only one page. While a high bounce rate is usually seen as negative (i.e. your users are losing interest), it could be seen as positive if users are picking up the phone or emailing you right away.
  • Pages per session: The number of pages visited by a user in one particular sitting.
  • Goals: The measure of how well you reach the objectives you set for your site. They can target different areas such as the acquisition of new users, page views, durations etc.
  • New users: People who have used your site for the first time.
  • Conversions: When a user performs an action that is valuable to your business. This could be signing up to your newsletter, making an enquiry or making a purchase.

2) What to concentrate on in Google Analytics

GA has an easy-to-use navigation bar to the left of its homepage. It’s populated with a list of options but we recommend focusing on three for now: audience, acquisition and behaviour:

  • Audience: Looks at your visitors and information about their sessions.
  • Acquisition: Comprises four channels – direct, organic search, referral and social – this tab explains where your users are coming from and details the paths taken to get to your site:
    • Direct search: A user has accessed your site without a traceable history. For example, this could mean that they’ve typed your URL into their address bar, have used a bookmark or followed an email link.
    • Organic search: A user has come across your site by typing your business into a search engine.
    • Referral: A user has landed on your page as a result of clicking on a link from another traceable source, for example, on a blog or another website.
    • Social: A user has been directed to your site via social media.
  • Behaviour: Tracks the interaction of your users through their journey on your website. It focuses on which pages are most popular and how visitors navigate from one to another.

Beneath each of these titles you’ll see an overview option. Selecting this will display a precompiled selection of relevant statistics. Once you get used to the interface, try clicking on the other options beneath the menus above for more focused data.

3) Why small businesses need to use Google Analytics

Information about your customers is highly valuable but difficult to attain. That’s why marketers spend their careers trying to devise ways to extrapolate intelligence about people and their habits. When you launch an outdoor advertising campaign or even a flurry of letterbox drops, it can be hard to gauge the effectiveness of your efforts. GA is a free analytics platform that tracks, collects and collates data about your site’s users that you ordinarily wouldn’t have access to. These insights can be hugely beneficial when crafting your online campaigns to make your pages more relevant and attractive to your users.

The best way to get comfortable with GA is to start using it. Sign up for an account and click around to see how the tips above fall into place.

Looking to lessen your bounce rate? Want more acquisitions? Why not implement some quality copy to get your viewers hooked? The copywriters at Shuttle Rocket are experts at creating content that helps your stats (and sales) soar! Take a look at our affordable packages today.