Google Analytics is one of the most powerful tools you can use to help you better understand your website traffic, providing both insights about who your website visitors are and how they’re using your website. With enough understanding of how Google Analytics works, it can be hugely instrumental in growing your customer base, helping you create more effective ad campaigns and a more effective website that leads to higher customer conversions. So what’s stopping anyone from making use of this completely free application? For the most part, it’s that novice users can find its many capabilities to be overwhelming and a bit tricky to navigate. We’re here to help you overcome any hesitancy you may have about utilizing this valuable analytics tool so you can start taking advantage of its many features and leveraging it to your benefit. Welcome to Google Analytics 101!

What is Google Analytics? 

Simply put, Google Analytics is a free web tracking tool from Google that allows you to analyze your website traffic. While that may sound like somewhat nominal information to have in planning the success of your overall business strategy, consider the fact that your website serves as the focal point of your online presence. Whatever other forms of digital presence you may maintain – whether social media pages, digital ad campaigns or search ads – they all lead back to your website. For this reason, understanding who is coming to your site, where they’re coming from and what they’re doing once they get there is incredibly useful – and potentially very lucrative – information to have. Google Analytics makes attaining this info possible – for free!

What Does It Tell Me About My Website Visitors?

While there is a large amount of nuanced information you can derive from using Google Analytics, we’re going to keep it pretty high-level – in part, so that it’s easy to digest but also because it’s important to emphasize that it’s possible to reap a large number of benefits and to gather incredibly useful information from understanding just the basics. 

With that being said, Google Analytics provides two main types of data about your website visitors: user acquisition data and user behavior data. 

Understanding User Acquisition Data

User acquisition data breaks down your visitors’ demographic information – things like age, gender and interests – in addition to information about where they are coming from when they visit your website – whether that be Instagram or a search engine, for example. This information is valuable when you’re deciphering which user groups and digital platforms you wish to target. It will help you create more effective digital campaigns by targeting those groups and channels that will yield better results.

Understanding User Behavior Data

User behavior data is information that is gathered while a visitor is spending time on your site – essentially, it shows you what website visitors are doing while they’re there. Valuable data points like the length of time a visitor spends on the site, how they move through the site and where they exit the site are all part of user behavior data. This information is helpful because it allows you to make changes to your site to improve your visitors’ user experience – and ultimately to increase the frequency with which those visitors convert to customers. And if you choose to delve beyond just the basics of Google Analytic’s suite of capabilities, you have the option to track the success rate of any website changes you may make by recording conversions that take place, whether you define those as making an actual purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

Main Benefits of Using Google Analytics

Depending upon how in-depth you want to go in exploring the different reporting tools that are at your disposal within Google Analytics, there’s an almost innumerable number of ways you can utilize the information made available to you. However, using the tool at even the most basic level will allow you to benefit in a number of valuable ways:

  • Building more targeted and effective ad campaigns by identifying and honing in on who your customer base is using user acquisition data
  • Optimizing your website to increase conversions by leveraging user behavior data to identify which areas of the site are performing well – and conversely, which ones are not
  • Improving your overall digital marketing strategy by analyzing data points from your website’s performance and better understanding your target audience

With Basic or Advanced Use, Google Analytics Offers Invaluable Results

The truth is, we’ve barely brushed the surface here when it comes to the in-depth level of tracking and reporting that Google Analytics can provide. But hopefully you’ve gained a fundamental understanding of what it can do for you and feel confident knowing you can choose how to utilize the tool, understanding that even the most “basic” use can provide valuable analytics that have the potential to improve both your website and your business’ bottom line. Considering that Google Analytics is a completely free tool, the only investment you need to make is your time. With zero financial investment required and unlimited payoff potential, making Google Analytics part of your marketing toolset is a no-brainer.