Keeping Up With The Changes in Website Analytics -- Google Analytics Academy

November 07, 2013

The Ins-and-Outs of Digital Analytics Monitoring

Google is constantly offering to educate marketers in how to use their products -- with the business objective of selling you in the process. Once you learn how much opportunity there is, you use their tools more often thus making the internet more Google-optimized and eventually even use their paid products. With all of the changes going on in Google Analytics -- terms shifting and new tracking methods, among other updates, I thought it was a good time to have Google give me the tour.

Google Analytics Academy

Google Analytics Academy Certificate of CompletionGoogle and I must have been on the same wave-length because I logged into my account and was prompted to have a look at a course being offered in their Analytics Academy on the Fundamentals of Digital Analytics. With the promise of guided instruction, exercises and a especially certificate of completion, I was in (they know their game theory!) It was about 5 hours of my time and worth every minute. Here are a few things I took away to help produce actionable marketing insights from Analytics data:
  1. You Can Track Anything - Anything with internet connectivity can be tracked in Google Analytics. This goes beyond the website and mobile site you already think of tracking. You can track mobile applications, cloud­ connected point-­of-sale systems, CRM systems, video game consoles, and even home appliances. If it's connected, it can be tracked! In a time when consumers access information from so many different devices, this becomes increasingly useful in understanding your customers' and prospects' arrival at a purchase decision.
  2. Developing a Measurement Plan Beforehand is Key - In order to set up meaningful reports to drive actionable change to not only your website, but your messaging and even marketing strategy, sitting down with your team to determine a Measurement Plan is key. From this, setting up your Goals in your Analytics Account and preparing reports highlighting these Key Performance Indicators (KPI) will be a breeze, since you already know what you are looking for. View this YouTube video from the course that explains how to set up a Measurement Plan.
  3. Each Report Has Several Data Views - A report defaults to data view which allows you to see the raw data. You can also select Percentage, Performance, Comparison and Pivot views to break down and visualize the data in different ways, depending on what you want to know about a given data set. View this YouTube video for an overview of all of the ways that you can customize your report views to find the actionable message you are seeking from your data.
  4. Events and Goals are Essential to Understanding Your Website Experience - Analytics has come a long way from simply measuring page views and website usage patterns. By setting up Events, you are able to see not only the flow from one page to another and site exits, you are able to see actions taken on the page within your reports, such as form completions, video views, PDF downloads and more. Goals can be linked to Events and give you a measurement of how much a desired action is taken on your site -- this can be reaching a certain page, downloading a very important PDF, or completing a contact request, among other things. View this YouTube video for details on measuring micro and macro conversions.
  5. Setting Up Custom Reports Gets Your Important Data Front and Center - This is an important part of Google Analytics in that once you have a Measurement Plan, you can create custom reports that bring all of those metrics and dimensions into one report. This will save you a ton of time, pulling one report vs. finding each report piecemeal. Take a look at this YouTube video on how to set up and share custom Analytics reports. 
This article is only a glimpse of the things that were taught in this course. Find some time to take the course yourself. Check back at the Google Analytics Academy for the complete list of training videos from the course and information about other upcoming courses.
What do you wish you could learn from your website? Blue Sky Marketing is happy to roll up our sleeves and dig into your Analytics data with you as you consider your 2014 marketing plan and its digital marketing components.

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