Google Analytics Review
Last week’s post was all about introducing Google Analytics to my blog. And like I said in the previous entry, I enjoyed it thoroughly, which resulted in me dedicating the whole post to just introducing it and creating a two-part post where I delve deeper on the subject. That second part being this week’s entry.
Basically, last week was all about knowing what GA was, including learning the most rudimental functions and terminologies one had to be familiar with in order to proceed with the subject.
Terms such as dimensions, metrics, and the different types reports were discussed. This week, we can finally delve into understanding two important subjects: traffic and results.
There are multiple ways a customer can be directed to our site. They can be organic, through referrals, or even “none”. Basically, the medium is organic if the customer was directed to our site or page via any search engine (Google, Bing, etc.). Referrals on the other hand are those links on third party websites that direct the customer to us. Lastly, “none” would be seen on GA if it was not able to detect how the customer reached us. Most of the time, though, this could result from the customer directly entering our website by typing in our URL.
It is also important to remember the use of segmentation as a means to manipulate our data. By using this method, we are able to sort through the many dimensions and metrics we have in order to display just the needed information without being overwhelmed by the other unnecessary numbers. This has been pointed out many times by Chris. For example, when we visit the source/medium category under All Traffic, and we only intend to see the users we have who reached our site by searching on Google, we can easily do this and save ourselves some time just by creating a new segment. By doing so, the page will instantly show us data that have to do with just Google as an organic medium. Segmentation is not limited to just the source/medium category, though. It is applicable to almost all categories.
Next, we discussed the UTMS to tag traffic. UTM means Urchin Tracking Module. We use this if we want to get more specific details about our traffic. I find this especially brilliant since not all sites give out the information we need. By using the UTMs, we can customize the hyperlinks we attach to the images in our ads, and even texts in our emails to be as specific as possible. An example was, if we have four images on Facebook that we tag with, one with horses, one with puppies, one with fish, and one with kittens, we can customize four different UTMs with the rest of the structure having the same content, and then changing the text in “campaign content” according to the animal in the image. That way, we are able to easily specify which of the four images prove most effective. In a way, this could actually be a good tool in testing. It is important to keep in mind though, that there is a specific structure that we must follow in order to create a UTM.
Additionally, in terms of data about referrals, customization is a great way to make sure we get sufficient information. More often than not, when we start to view data about referrals, we are greeted with a bunch of numbers that we do not need. That is not to say that we may eventually need them, but usually, we only require the most vital ones, hence filtering could prove a useful tool in eliminating the rest.
Following the subject of UTMs and customization of traffic, now we talk about goals. By context, it would be very easy for anyone to define a goal. For any business, it usually is about leads, or simply a successful purchase. Most of the time, goals correlate to completion. But it is also important to set goals that are not specific to completion but rather milestones that we may experience in the process of achieving completion. Hence, these goals, since they differ from business to business, do not come readily set up when we begin to use GA. These specific goals have to be manually defined and setup by us as we start our journey.
Lastly, analyzing reports was discussed to sort of finish up the GA Beginner course. After we have done all the filtering, segmentation and tagging, we are then able to manipulate the data we are provided and are able to extract just the specific ones we need. Our job does not end in obtaining said data, though. Once we have them, we need to analyze these reports in order to interpret them and come up with the next step in our process.
In analyzing reports, Chris talked about the QIA framework, which stands for Questions, Information and Answer. In using the framework, we need to know which questions to ask, the information we need to answer them, and the action we are going to take based on those answers.
To sum it up, this second half of the GA Beginner course revolved mostly around how we could manipulate the data we are given, which data to look for, and how to understand them once we have them. I know it would still surprise some people when they first see the GA page with all its graphs, numbers and codes. Honestly, I was one of those people at first. Seeing GA for the first time was overwhelming for me, but now that I have finished the beginner course, it is suddenly not very scary. I just know now that I need to familiarize myself more with the processes. Now those intimidating numbers stand for something, and I know what they are. I actually understand them.
I am especially glad that Chris Mercer was the one to teach the lesson, because his method has just been outstanding. Although the topics are indeed technical and sometimes hard to wrap my head around, his delivery does not make me feel like I an idiot. So, I cannot wait for the succeeding lessons from him.