In today’s climate there are a number of techniques and methods available to help a brand grow and develop. We are well aware that many of these can seem very complex and daunting. This is why we like to empower readers of our blogs and to try and simplify them as much as possible. This blog will be looking at Google Analytics and how to use it to monitor your brand.
What is Google Analytics?
To put it simply, Google Analytics is a service offered by Google to monitor and analyse the success of a website. However, it is much more than this and is a highly powerful tool which is used the world over. Perhaps the best feature of Analytics is that unless your website has 10 million hits it costs nothing! It is completely free.
The History of Analytics
The background story to how Google Analytics originated is a little complicated and appears to be open to debate. To simplify : Google acquired the web analytics technology from another organisation nearly a decade ago. It was first launched as a Google branded product for customers towards the end of 2005.
The product proved very popular, more popular than Google had envisaged. At this stage in its life Google had to offer it on an invitation basis only, due to popular demand. The first version did not work as smoothly as they would have liked and there were a few teething issues. However by the end of 2006 it was launched again and has been around ever since.
There were web analysis packages before Google’s. Generally speaking, however, these were quite crude and could be costly for the user.
The current version of Google Analytics (known as real time analytics) allows the user access to a vast range of information in, as the name suggests, ‘real’ time.
Why should you have Google Analytics?
Nowadays it’s almost impossible to imagine an organisation not having a website; it is a highly integral part of any organisation and therefore their brand. Similarly thanks to the recent onslaught in technology development many people use mobile browsing (tablets and phones) over more traditional elements such as desktop. It’s crucial therefore that with accessibility to a website at the press of a few buttons that organisations understand their customers and have mobile friendly websites.
Google Analytics will allow you to find out who these visitors are and give you the opportunity to carefully target and market your organisation and brand towards them. As Google say on their website it allows you to, ‘Know your Audience’.
What does Google Analytics let you do?
Analytics gives the user a wealth of insights to the website. One particularly impressive feature is the way it actually allows you to see who is looking at your website at the time they are doing it. For example if your website was an online art gallery you would be able to see where people viewing the pages are. Your office might be in London but someone in Australia could be viewing it. Thanks to the ‘real-time’ analytics you would be able to view this live. Although this is an extreme example, it does show you how powerful a tool it can be. It’s a fantastic resource to understand your customers and grow traffic to your website.
It also allows the user to see a wealth of crucial information such as how many visits the site has had, the most popular pages, the most active hours of the day and what days are most popular amongst many others. An example of a typical dashboard is shown below.
It is important to note that Google Analytics is not something you will learn overnight. There are many facets to it and for most people the more they use it the greater their proficiency and understanding.
How to get Google Analytics
For some, setting up Analytics can be a little daunting and intimidating.
For the non tech savvy this can be a little complex. Log into your Google account and search for analytics. Then sign up. The next stage is to follow the instructions all of which is reasonably straightforward.
The tricky bit comes when you have to add a tracking code. This is then added to each HTML code. We realise that it gets quite technical here but do not worry!
We are experienced in building websites and setting up analytics. The key process is in adding a tracking code to each page so the analytics can take place.
How do organisations use it?
Analytics is ideal for organisations. It gives them important insights such as:
- If a campaign has been successful or not.
- To see if there are any trends in the website traffic.
- Which customers and markets use the website most frequently.
- Establish where visitors come from and what they do on the site.
- Ascertain how the website can convert traffic into customers.
- Which pages people stay the longest on.
- Which pages people leave the website on.
- Search terms people use to find the website.
As you can see this information is highly useful in growing, monitoring and evolving your brand. If you need help reading Google Analytics and analysing your website data, please get in touch and we will help you out.
We hope this blog has helped you gain an understanding of Google Analytics. Why not follow us on twitter? @prefacestudios