Actionable Reports in Just 24 Hours
Do you want to start monitoring the status and effectiveness of your website but feel overwhelmed by the prospect. I have summarized Google’s 7 basic steps that will enable you to start accessing transformative data in just 24 hours.
1. Create an Google Analytics Account
If administration rights and report ownership should stay with the entity that owns a website or blog, be sure the account is set up under the organization, not an individual.
2. Add the property to the account.
Remember in Google Analytics properties have one unique tracking ID. If your organization has multiple websites but only one unique tracking ID, all information will appear in the same property. Be sure the web and mobile apps have different IDs.
Long-term reporting goals are important to consider here. Create an implementation plan before setting up new properties then use filters and profiles to refine the raw data that’s collected in a property. Implementation plans would determine whether you should have multiple resources sending data to the same property or have all properties collect data only from 1 resource.
3. Set up at least one profile for the property
Profiles can be used to ensure the right information gets to the right department or team member. There can be multiple profiles under one property which allows users to toggle between profiles. For example, you can set up a profile with information specific to an email campaign or to your direct traffic.
Note: Google Analytics automatically creates an unfiltered profile for every property you add to your account. DO NOT DELETE THIS PROFILE. Data can never be retrieved once deleted or filtered.
Reporting tools, such as Goals, Advanced Segments, and Alerts are all applied to individual profiles.
4. Add users to the profile
You can decide which users should have access to specific types of data.
5. Add the Analytics tracking code to property
The Google Analytics tracking code is what collects visitor data and returns that data to Analytics where we can see it in reports.
Note: You need to have access to the source code for the property/website. If the site is already using an older tracking snippet you need to make sure it is preserved. See the link http://support.google.com/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1008080&topic=1008079&ctx=topic
6. Set up goals: Think simple. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much data that you don’t know what to do with.
Kaushik suggests there are six foundational metrics to monitor—Visits, Bounce Rate, Page Views, Pages/Visit, Avg. Time on Site, and % New Visits
(2009). Once you identify and gather base numbers you can set goals to improve these numbers OR better yet you can set goals on how to use these numbers to strategically improve conversion rates or other campaigns.
7. Kaushik recommends beginning with the report Outcomes by All Traffic Sources (2009). Traffic sources are critical to understand because it can tell you a lot about the people coming to your website. The more you know about the people you are attracting, the better you will be able to strategically plan and design your website to produce the outcomes you want.
Outcomes are imperative. The outcomes will determine the success of your website. As experiments with different campaigns you will be able to measure their success by monitoring the outcomes of the website. Outcomes include conversion rates and leads.
Google Analytics and other web analytic tools are essential to gain and maintain competitive parity in today’s market. When used properly the reports generated represent almost instant feedback from viewers/consumers. Your website should be comparable to a living organism. It should always be growing and developing based on consumer/viewer feedback to optimize the customer experience.
Google Analytics Help Links:
Kaushik, Avinash (2009-12-30). Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity (p. 87). John Wiley and Sons. Kindle Edition.