I recently gave a presentation on Google Analytics to some business owners from the Solent region (www.businessbuildersfareham.co.uk).
It wasn't the finest presentation I've ever given as I tried to cover too much but, hopefully, did make some of the audience consider how they are currently using Google Analytics (GA).
Google Analytics Account Admin
One area I focused on was the issue of who is the owner (Admin) of your GA account?
With Google, you may well have many Google services that you access with a username, which is usually your primary email address. You should never need to share this with a third party. Anyone needing access to your Analytics account can be granted access by you – assuming you have full permissions…
Before we get into detail, it's important to understand the definition of the elements shown in the screenshot below:
Account: Your access point for Analytics, and the topmost level of organisation.
Property: Website, mobile application, blog, etc. An account can contain one or more properties.
View: Your access point for reports; a defined view of data from a property. You give users access to a view so that they can see the reports based on that view's data. A property can contain one or more views.
If you have a GA account, the first thing to check is that you have full permissions at the account level. Once you access your account, click on ‘Admin' at the top of the screen.
Sometimes, a third party, e.g. web designer, web host, etc., may have set-up your Analytics account. However, I've seen situations where an account is being used to host multiple properties for various businesses with the website owners having only limited access to the Property. This cannot be transferred so, if you ever decide to terminate your relationship with the account owner, you will need to start from scratch with a new GA account.
Also note in the screenshot above, that user management options can be applied at all levels of the account hierarchy. As the business/website owner, it would be rare for you to need to give any third party full permissions to the account level.
The next element to consider from the screenshot above is that of ‘Goals'. These are basically ways to track a conversion on your website.
One of the simplest examples being where someone has come to your site and submitted an enquiry. After they submit the form, they may be taken to a ‘thank you' page. This page would have its own URL and this could be set-up as a conversion in GA so you can track what sources of traffic work best for your business.
Do not spend money on advertising or other marketing services, e.g. SEO, if you do not have conversion tracking set-up. Work out what you want to achieve from your website and track it!
Get comfortable navigating around the reporting section of your Analytics account. Especially, the Acquisition > Behaviour > Conversions (ABC) menus that appear in the left hand column.
Don't just look at the traffic numbers. Drill down and understand how visitors interact with your website, e.g:
- Bounce rate (a bounce is a single page visit)
- Average time on site
- Pages per session
There's clearly a lot to learn with Google Analytics and there are some excellent resources, including Google's own Analytics Academy. However, irrespective of how much you want to learn about the subject, as a website owner you should, as a minimum, understand the account structure, who has ownership of the account and what it is you are tracking in terms of conversions.