Google Analytics is simultaneously amazing and terrifying. When wielded properly, it can be an incredibly useful tool, and a necessary one. After all, so many of the strategies and methods we talk about, whether it’s for inbound marketing, setting goals for growth, etc. – they all rely on utilizing metrics benchmarks, and data. Google Analytics (or another analytics platform) is the window into collecting, viewing and analyzing that data.
But for better or worse Google Analytics is providing a ridiculous amount of information, all of which can feel quite complicated and overwhelming. If you’re new to the world of analytics, you might find yourself feeling dizzy just looking at it, and inclined to get up and go for a snack instead of taking the plunge. Resist the urge for salted almonds, and stick with it, with the assistance of these tips to simplify the world of analytics.
When you turn on a firehose, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a chaotic, blasting stream. You have to point it in the right direction if you want it to actually be useful. Same goes for Google Analytics. And Goals are that direction. Accessible from the “View” section of the “Admin” tab, Goals are a custom metric that you want to keep track of. There are even preset “template” goals provided, such as completed checkouts, newsletter signups, or product information viewed. You can also assign a dollar value to each goal.
Powerful tools like Google Analytics only got powerful because they provide a ton of information. But all that information might as well not be there at all if you are too overwhelmed to check it or use it. So, start small. Track just one or two metrics, one or two goals. Just focus on page views at first, for instance. Or if you’ve set a goal to track newsletter signups, just focus on that.
Once you start getting comfortable, you can expand gradually to track more goals and statistics. But that doesn’t mean that all of the information available is going to be relevant to you or your business. Fortunately, Google Analytics has a “Customization” tab at the top that makes it easy to create custom reports which only include the relevant information that you need.
Maybe all of this still seems like a lot and you need a more “hands off” approach. Or maybe you’re getting the hang of it, but who can remember to log in and check all this information regularly, and parse through it all to figure out what it means? Fortunately, you can use services like Quill Engage. Once you give Quill Engage access to your analytics account, it generates a customized summary of your data, complete with charts, graphs, and simply-worded paragraphs – delivered right to your inbox on a weekly basis.
All of these numbers still getting you down? Fortunately for you, there are services like CrazyEgg and ClickTale which can use your analytics data and create visualized versions of the relevant information using overlays to show you what customer behavior looks like on your website.
Google Analytics can be a beast to tame. If you need help, call us at 10twelve to translate. It's our business to help your business.