Google Analytics is infamously complicated, which tends to put off many website owners from implementing anything other than the basic default settings. When we first started learning as a team, we began to wonder if we would ever figure it all out. After much frustration, digesting numerous help articles, and purchasing an expensive training course, we are now glad to say that we’re here to help make your journey much less painful than ours was.
While we don’t claim to be the biggest experts on Google Analytics, we can claim that we’ve worked very hard to implement it for our clients, and we can’t wait to share what we discovered with you. We hope you get as excited as we did when it all finally clicks into place!
What Is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics, or GA, is a tool that can help you monitor, record, understand, measure, compare, and analyse what visitors are doing on your website. Other than knowing exactly what search terms (keywords) people have searched in order to arrive on your website, pretty much everything website-related can be analysed with Google Analytics. And in case you’re wondering how to view the keywords searched and whether or not they lead to clicks and visits, this data is available within another Google marketing tool that can be linked to Google Analytics for data sharing – Google Search Console.
There are three different types of hits that you can track with your GA account. One is Pageview hits, another is Event hits, and the third is transaction or eCommerce hits. Pageview hits gather data in relation to how many visitors each of the pages on your website receives. This is such useful data, as it helps you decide what your visitors really want to hear and adjust your marketing accordingly. Event hits are generated when a visitor does something on your website. For example, submits a form, subscribes to the newsletter, or plays a video. These hits can be tailored to track the information that will be the most helpful to you. Transaction or eCommerce hits, surprise surprise, track all the data relating to the purchases that are completed on your website. GA can also tell you what products were purchased, the overall revenue, and the average spend per customer.
Gathering all this data and then having it dumped on your plate to sort is a little more than daunting. That’s why Google has kindly integrated data processing and report generation into Google Analytics. User data is data based on each of the different visitors to your site. When they visit for the first time, GA creates a unique ID and then the next time they visit, GA recognises them. Session data is data covering how long a visitor spends on your site – throughout each session, GA collects a range of different types of session data.
All this data (plus more if you want) is then presented to you in a report – this is a visual presentation. These reports make it easy for you to see ID patterns, and gain insights into visitor behaviour.
What Is Google Tag Manager?
Google Tag Manager (known as GTM for short) makes life a little easier when working with Google Analytics. How do we know? Because we’ve proved it.
With Tag Manager, all you need is one code. This code is then integrated directly into your site, and you’re connected. Going back a few years, you used to have to code each tag manually – not anymore! In fact, it’s so simple you no longer need a developer – making the process so much quicker and smoother.
With the code installed on your website, you now need to go ahead and link GA and GTM together – set up individual tags for Universal Analytics and GA4 (the newest version), pop the trigger as ‘all pages’, hit submit and you’re good to go. Easy! Oh, and by the way – it’s free!
With an era of protection for everyone and everything’s data, GTM makes this so much easier. You can set up and control cookie compliance on this platform to ensure that you’re responding to your visitor’s wishes and won’t get caught in any traps. We recommend that you read this article on how to set up cookie consent with Google Tag Manager.
Why Do I Need Them?
With the data collected, you can more accurately decide which marketing ideas to re-double your efforts in and which to move away from. With data showing what marketing channels drive traffic to your website, where visitors live, and which websites refer the most visitors you’re sure to have your marketing strategy for the next quarter streamlined and ready to roll.
Visitor experience on your website is so crucial to turning them into customers. A slow site means frustrated customers, therefore loss of sales – they’ll go somewhere else, thanks. With GA, you can discover a breakdown of site speed, and which pages take the longest to load meaning you can quickly identify the problem areas and make a couple of changes. Remember, not all your visitors are from a desktop, some will be on mobile too – don’t forget to compare site speed on different devices and adjust accordingly!
And lastly, but by no means least because it’s what we do every day, GA insights are incredibly useful for advising you on your SEO strategy. The more you know about your clients and site visitors the more you know about your market. The more you know about your market, the easier you can target key products, phrases, and themes. Let’s start seeing some return on investment!
Need More Help?
Within this article we have tried to go over the basics of both Google Analytics and Tag Manager, why you might need them, how they work, and have also tried to offer a few clues about easy ways to set them up too.
However, should you want to discuss a problem setting up Google Analytics for your own website, or simply don’t have the time to implement the tracking yourself, please reach out to us and we’d be only too glad to assist.