Google Analytics

Here's How to Get Better Data With Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the go-to tool to monitor customer behavior online. This free tool is used to track metrics on more than 27 million websites, but the power of the tool rests with the user. You can glean all sorts of information from Google Analytics, but to gather advanced data beyond clicks and conversions, you have to know a thing or two about the platform.

To help marketers get more from Google Analytics, we'll explain how to use filters to refine data and get a better look at your online activity.


Use Filters

One of the easiest ways to get more from your data, is to apply filters. Google Analytics gives you the power to add the following filters:

Exclude data

  • Include data

  • Change data

  • Search and replace data

  • Set up advanced filter

Filters give you a different perspective and help you get more detailed metrics. For instance, you might filter your traffic to exclude any internal hits. In other words, any employee who visits your website from inside the building doesn't count in your traffic stats.

To add a filter, log into your Google Analytics account, go to Admin, and click filters under the Account column. Then simply add any of these pre-made filters to your data.

Strategies to Filter Data

You can collect and sort data in hundreds of different ways, but here are a few common ways that marketers apply filters:

Measure Traffic From Local Audiences

Set a filter to see what kind of traffic your site gets from people who are in a specific location. If you know where people are located, you can create personalized campaigns that cater to them. For example, if you’re opening a new store in Phoenix, you can create a campaign that’s especially for Phoenix-based customers that announces the new store.

  • Exclude Traffic From Company Employees

We mentioned this example above but the idea is to remove any traffic data that stems from people inside the company. The idea here is to a more accurate traffic reading. If the company website loads automatically on every computer when it’s started, for example, that’s not customer-based traffic so you wouldn’t want it included in your stats.

  • Eliminate 'Fake Hits'

Spammers are constantly trolling sites looking for a way in. As they conduct their searches, their visits are counted as traffic. You can exclude these ''fake hits'' from your metrics for more accurate readings.

  • Tips to Create Effective Filters

Before you log into Google Analytics and add filters, you should know a few things:

  • Create an Unfiltered View

You need one view that's untouched, or unfiltered. That way, should other data get rearranged or deleted, you'll always have this view as a fail-safe. Name it something obvious such as ''Unfiltered View,'' and make it clear to everyone this view shouldn't be touched.

  • Filters Work After the Fact

In other words, you can't apply filters to data you already have. Filters are only applied to data collected after settings are in place.

  • Filters Are Applied in Order

The order in which you apply filters matters. Google Analytics applies filters in the order that you set them, so take some time to think through the process.

  • Work With Pre-set Filters First

To start, use pre-set filters like ''exclude data'' and ''include data'' before you move on to creating an advanced filter. Advanced filters give you the power to customize your metrics, but it's aimed at savvy users.

Google Analytics gives businesses great insights, but getting pertinent data that are specific to your company takes some work. By applying filters to your data sets, you can refine your results and get a better understanding of your audience.

Refining Your Marketing Strategy with Google Analytics Data

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Google Analytics is a gold mine for marketers — a very large gold mine that can provide vast amounts of data to analyze. Breaking down that data and applying it to data-driven marketing decisions can have a big impact on business goals. We'll show you how to use the three main Google Analytics sections — audience, acquisition, and behavior — to identify your customers, discover what brought them to your company website, and understand what they do while they're there.

Google Analytics Audience: Who Are Your Customers?

The Google Analytics Audience section provides information about who your customers are — including basic demographics such as their gender, age, and location, as well as more detailed information including their interests, engagement, and accessing devices.

Audience data can confirm if your campaign is reaching its target demographic, as well as provide opportunities for growth. Marketers can use this information to identify the campaigns that produce conversions within a demographic and optimize advertising to deliver higher return on investment (ROI).

For example, a small, local boutique without e-commerce capability would only need to advertise to a local audience. An effective digital marketing campaign would optimize location data to increase views by potential customers within this single location.

Google Analytics Acquisition: Where Do Your Customers Come From?

The Google Analytics Acquisition section provides information about where your customers come from, whether it's organic search, referral, direct, social, or paid search, and how customers from each of those sources interact with your website.

Acquisition data can help identify the sources of your best customers. In this analytics section, each source is broken down by behavior (such as bounce rate, pages per session, and average session duration), as well as by conversation rate, number of transactions, and total revenue.

By breaking down each traffic source, Analytics offers the opportunity to focus marketing dollars and effort on the channels that produce the highest conversions. For example, a social media campaign may produce high traffic statistics but low conversion rates. This analytics section can help separate the effective from the ineffective and deliver higher campaign ROI.

Google Analytics Behavior: What Do Your Customers Do on Your Website?

The Google Analytics Behavior section provides information about how your website visitors interact with your website. How many pages do they typically view before leaving or purchasing? How much time do they spend browsing? Which pages are the most popular?

Digital marketers can utilize this information to develop more engaging content, improve website flow, or increase the number of events per session. Each of these improvements could result in increasing the overall conversion rate and improving marketing ROI.

By refining your digital marketing strategy with Google Analytics data, a savvy marketer can improve many aspects of the customer's online experience, as well as increase conversions and have an impact on your business's bottom line.

Google Analytics 301: Evaluating Ad Performance

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You've integrated Google Analytics and AdWords, and created a few conversion goals. Now what? Let your data do the work of evaluating ad performance by defining and monitoring conversion success.

Defining Success With Google Analytics Goal Conversions

The success of your goal conversion data will be based on its relevance to both business and marketing metrics. Learning what drives engaged visitors and leads to sales is essential for understanding which elements of an ad campaign worked well.

Fine-tune your Google Analytics goals to display just the data relevant to marketing decision-making. Whether it's click-through rates, impression counts, or destination tracking, setting the correct goal is the basis of evaluating your ad performance.

Monitoring Conversion Tracking With AdWords

To view the conversion rates for the goals you've created, sign into your Google Analytics account and navigate to the Conversions menu, then the Goals menu, and finally click Overview.

The Overview page provides a dashboard summary of key performance indicators, including the total number of goal completions over time (by hour, day, week, or month). If you've set up monetary values for your goals, this information is also available within the dashboard, along with conversion and abandonment rates. The most relevant data will come from your custom goals, where completion data can be imported into AdWords.

To import your goal conversions into AdWords, log into your AdWords account, then click the Tools tab and select Conversions. Click Google Analytics in the left-hand menu, and check the boxes next to the goals you'd like to import. Click Continue, select the overall settings, then click Import Goals.

AdWords will correlate your site engagement metrics alongside your AdWords performance stats to show the full customer cycle, from the initial marketing interaction to full goal conversion. Look for graphical representations of data that include bounce rates, session durations, pages per session, and the percentage of first-time sessions to show how efficiently your campaigns are performing.

Using Google Analytics Reports to Gain Marketing Insight

With data pulled from both your Analytics and AdWords accounts, the Google Analytics Reports function offers a wealth of marketing insight with just a few clicks. Create your own customized reports using the abundant choices in the Customization menu, or choose from five preconfigured reporting categories for easy user insights:

  • Real-time reports: Monitor user activity as it happens on your website with real-time user location data, traffic sources, and conversions.
  • Audience reports: Analyze your audience with demographic data, affinity categories, in-market segments, and engagement data.
  • Acquisition reports: View acquisition data from all traffic, social, campaigns, and AdWords, including detailed AdWords reports analyzing clicks, cost, CPC, bidding, keywords, and search queries.
  • Behavior reports: Observe user behavior flows, view average page loading times and speed suggestions, track events, and manage events flow.
  • Conversions reports: Access goal conversion data with reverse goal paths, funnel visualization, goal flow charts, Ecommerce behavior, sales performance, multi-channel funnels, and attribution models.

Google Analytics provides easy access to your site engagement metrics, and world-class data analysis tools to assist digital marketers in evaluating ad performance.