Since its inception, Google Analytics has been one of the top choices for website and online marketing analytics on the web. It’s incredibly robust, offering insights into behavioral data, traffic flow, conversion rates, sales funnel development, and more. It grants access to highly customizable and automated reporting, as well as tight user controls so you can guard and selectively distribute your data. And on top of all that, it’s completely free.
The surface-level features of Google Analytics are easy to learn, since it’s such an intuitive platform. But if you want to get more out of the platform, you’ll need to take things a step further.
How to Get More Out of Google Analytics
If you want to get more out of Google Analytics, consider following these important strategies:
- Invest in peripheral tools. First, consider investing in peripheral and third-party tools designed to help you get more out of Google Analytics, such as Google Analytics 360 Suite. Google Analytics 360, formerly known as Google Analytics Premium, is designed to offer a “next level” experience for Analytics users, with advanced tools like Unsampled Reports, Data Driven Attribution, and BigQuery experts. It’s not the right tool for every marketer, but it can open the door to new features and functionalities you’d otherwise miss.
- Ask the right questions. Google Analytics, like any data analytics platform, exists to give you accurate data. But the data itself can’t help your business; all that matters is how you interpret those data, and how you use those data to make better decisions for your business. To do this successfully, you need to ask the right questions. Aimlessly browsing through reports and graphs won’t give you any new insights; you need to log in knowing which answers you’re seeking.
- Set up automatic reports. One of the best ways to use GA is to create custom reports that help you monitor your ongoing performance, such as determining how your traffic patterns have changed from month to month. Instead of logging in to generate a new report every time you want to see it, consider setting up automatic reports; you can have these reports sent to you via email at the first of every month, or every week, so you can stay on top of the latest data.
- Segment your audiences. This may be an obvious tip for some GA veterans, but to newcomers, it’s surprisingly elusive. Take the time to explore different audience segments, rather than viewing your traffic as one big pool. Look at how different traffic sources and demographics affect user behavior onsite.
- Train multiple analysts. Having one analytics expert in charge of GA may seem like a good idea, but it’s usually better to have multiple unique perspectives. Train several people on your team to investigate GA reports regularly, and see if they reach the same conclusions.
- Master keyboard shortcuts. Many people don’t know this, but GA offers a number of keyboard shortcuts designed to make your life easier. Press “?” to open a list of available shortcuts while you’re using the app, then memorize the quick keys that can help you open search, toggle the date range, open/close the navigation pane, and more.
- Filter out internal traffic. Too many GA reports are compromised by the presence of internal traffic. Head to the Filters section and filter out your company-related IP addresses, so you can get a purer view.
- Visualize what you can. Numbers can be hard to process, even for mathematicians. Instead, try to rely on visuals like charts and graphs. These make more intuitive sense, and are much easier to communicate with other people.
- Study outliers. It’s tempting to use GA only to study high-level trends and the general patterns that suggest how your website is working. But it’s also important to look at the outliers—the strange pieces of data that don’t fit the mold. What do these rare aberrations teach you about your website’s performance? Why did they deviate from the norm?
- Shake things up. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you’re using GA regularly, so challenge yourself to try new things. Experiment with new audience segments and new GA features, and break out of your routine. You might be surprised at what you’re able to discover.
The Limitless Potential of GA
Google Analytics can be used to better understand almost anything relating to the traffic your website is generating. Your success with the platform therefore depends on your ability to harness its full potential. Commit to ongoing learning, so you can constantly discover new tips and tricks, and make use of new features as they emerge; the more you challenge yourself, the more you’ll be able to do with the platform eventually.