As the name suggests, you might have guessed that Google Analytics is an analytics tool designed by Google; but what is it actually and how does it work? Launched in 2005 and acquired by Google, Google Analytics has grown rapidly as the number of internet users skyrocketed over recent years.
Whilst the term itself might seem rather unassuming, such web analytics are in fact an invaluable resource for any website owner. Whether you are launching a new digital marketing strategy, setting up a social media profile or uploading a new blog post, any traffic through either of those will be recorded by Google Analytics.
The comprehensive and free nature of this tool is what makes it particularly effective and useful in both tracking website traffic and analysing online performance. This is precisely why millions of websites across the world have made Google Analytics the most prevalent data and metrics tool.
Whilst the reports it provides are extensive and detailed, companies are usually most interested in the following key questions:
• How many people have visited my website?
• How long did they stay on the website for?
• Where does my website traffic come from?
• How many pages did visitors browse through?
• What are recurrent user preferences?
• Which keyword searches lead to the most visits?
It is easy to see how businesses of all sizes and domains, both small and big, may be interested in the answers to such questions in informing their online marketing and content strategy.
How does Google Analytics work?
Whenever a user visits a website, a tracking code records information on that user and stores it in the Google Analytics server for classification. This code can be installed on a website’s pages to investigate trends in behaviour and demographic which stand out of the mass of traffic.
This data is usually divided into four distinct levels:
• User level - actions taken by the user
• Session level – visits made by each individual
• Pageview level – the particular pages visited by a user
• Event level – clicks, views and other actions
Website owners may gain access to a report of these figures and statistics once they have been classified.
What kind of data is collected by Google Analytics?
A notable aspect of Google Analytics is that its data report extends beyond the sphere of your individual website traffic. Not only is information collected during a user’s visit of a website, but also about the path they have taken to reach your website. These are known as User Behaviour Data and User Acquisition Data.
User Behaviour Data is collected from the moment a visitor clicks on your website until they leave. This allows you to track the duration of their visits, the most popular pages and the number of clicks through your pages. These metrics are specific to your website and will be highly responsive to any changes in your web design.
User Acquisition Data regards information on the visitors of your website which is collected prior to their visit, including their age, nationality or interests. This is a great way of measuring how well your website traffic matches with your target audience.
Make the most of your Google Analytics
If you are struggling to make sense of all this data or simply do not have the time to browse through a list of graphs, a Web Development Virtual Assistant can help!
Whether it is improving your digital marketing strategy by tracking your website performance, or repairing broken links to boost your page visits, Multi Tasked VA can help your business make the most of your Google Analytics.