Google Analytics does more than measure site traffic. Tap into all this platform has to offer with these insider tips.

Even the least tech-savvy marketer considers Google Analytics a crucial asset, and it’s easy to see why. Over 90% of online search happens via Google, thus providing the Google Analytics platform with a wealth of metric-based insight into consumer behavior. Marketers can tap into these insights to monitor their website traffic, analyze clicks, and evaluate their audience, ultimately helping them produce stronger, more strategic content and elevate their brand’s online presence.  

But while a select few Google Analytics functionalities are fan favorites, far too many go unnoticed. These less common features have the power to take marketers’ strategies to new heights and serve as real value-adds. So the question isn’t whether or not Google Analytics is valuable — it is — but whether you’re tapping into all that this free tool has to offer? We’re here to help you find out.

1. Put Goals in Place

It’s up to you how high you set the bar, but you have to set it somewhere. Using Google Analytics without goals, also known as conversions, in place means you’re simply looking at a page full of metrics, with no markers to benchmark success. 

Google Analytics can help you understand your company’s performance, but you need to provide the platform with some data before it can begin tracking against your targets. There are four core ways to track your goals via Google Analytics: 

  • Destination: A destination goal tracks URLs once you identify which URLs you would like to be tracked. Registration pages, confirmation/thank you pages, and PDFs are a few examples of commonly tracked URLs. You can even take this one step further and set up goal funnels. Goal funnels allow you to identify the destination path you hope visitors take and provide a bird’s-eye-view into where visitors enter and exit the path. This information helps you pinpoint pages that may be in need of a revamp to keep visitors engaged. 
  • Duration: Duration goals simply track the length of users’ sessions compared to the threshold you predetermine. If you set a 5-minute threshold, that goal is tracked each time a user spends 5 minutes or more on your site. Marketers measuring engagement often set higher thresholds, while those looking to measure the response speed of their site (say, from a customer service standpoint), usually set lower ones.
  • Pages per Visit: Self-evidently, this goal tracks the number of pages or screens a user views during one session. Some marketers may choose to set their page visits as high as eight, while others take a more targeted approach, setting three pages as the goal. It’s up to you and your objectives. 
  • Events: A number of activities can be categorized as events, from ad clicks to video plays to PDF downloads. You can track how often a particular event occurs via the Google Analytics event tracking code generator.

2. Always Filter First

Google Analytics identifies who’s visiting your website, where they are from, and what actions they are taking by evaluating the IP address of each and every visitor to your website — including you and your staff! 

When you fail to filter out your office IP address, every visit that you or a colleague makes to your website, whether it’s to review the latest company blogs, identify outdated copy, or upload new images, is tracked and recorded right along the rest of them. Depending on the size of your organization and the frequency with which you visit your site, this can drastically impact your conversion ratings. 

Filter your IP address as well as those of any remote employees in order to gain a more accurate view of your website traffic and performance. With a clearer picture, you’ll be better positioned to identify existing strengths and areas for growth.

3. Take A Hyper-Targeted Approach

One of the most beloved Google Analytics features is the audience dashboard. At a glance you can see where visitors live, how old they are, their gender, what interests them and much, much more. 

But did you know you can take this a step further? Google Analytics enables users to create custom audience segments. For example, perhaps you notice that your audience is comprised of mostly American women between the ages of 25 and 34 who are interested in arts and entertainment. You can take all of these traits and funnel them into a custom segment, allowing you to monitor and track the actions of users in this segment against the goals you have created (per our first tip). 

Isolating audiences — especially your target audiences —  in this way also makes it easier to identify trends and modify your content strategy accordingly. Google puts it simply, “For example, if you find that users from a particular geographic region are no longer purchasing a line of products in the same volume as they normally have, you can see whether a competing business is offering the same types of products at lower prices. If that turned out to be the case, you could respond by offering a loyalty discount to those users that undercuts your competitor’s prices.”

Putting Google Analytics to Good Use

Knowing how your webpage is performing overall is useful, but do you know where and when visitors are leaving your site, or, better yet, whether the metrics you’re analyzing are authentic?

If you’re a marketer, advertiser, web developer, or someone who’s just plain curious, Google Analytics has an entire trove of capabilities waiting to be unleashed. Those who tap into the full potential of this platform are able to recognize gaps in performance and strategize ways to close them through better, analytical solutions.