Google Analytics - Part 1: The Fundamentals


Articles in this series:

Websites are business tools at the end of the day, and like any tool they need to be sharpened and maintained to remain fit-for-purpose. Without a facility to collect data about the traffic coming to your website, coupled with the skills to analyse it, making important business decisions about what you should be doing to develop your online presence can be daunting. Knowing where and when to invest in your website can be the most difficult part.

Digital analytical tools like Google Analytics provide the website owner with the quantitative data you need to inform these decisions as you strive to achieve your desired outcomes online.

Google Analytics is a web-based tool that integrates with your website and gathers data in real-time about the nature of traffic coming to your website. With a basic level of understanding you can quickly start to use Google Analytics to make hypotheses about how you can grow your online business and to direct future website improvements.

Defining & Measuring Outcomes

Setting website goals for your business is a fundamental step in the process of ensuring it delivers a return on investment. This return can take many different forms depending on what you are hoping to achieve. Google provides a very useful matrix detailing the five most common online business objectives and the measurable outcomes you should be analysing in your data.

Business Objective Measurable Outcome
Ecommerce websitesTo sell products
Lead generation websitesTo obtain contact information for sales enquiries
Content publishingTo display ads to visitors that generate a revenue stream
Information/support websitesTo help users find the information they need as quickly as possible
Branding websitesTo increase brand awareness, loyalty and drive engagement (e.g. through social media channels, signing up to a newsletter etc.)


Google's Continual Improvement Cycle

Google's 'Continual Improvement Cycle' is a terrifically simple yet powerful model to implement once you've established the business objectives for your website and wish to purposefully work towards achieving them.

  1. Measure: Collect the data you need to asses whether you're achieving your desired outcomes.
  2. Report: Get the data to the right people to interpret and analyse it. Google Analytics provides a facility to generate periodic reports automatically that can be sent by email.
  3. Analyse: Develop a hypothesis that explains the expectations you have about your customers' behaviour on your website and then try to understand why the real data may or may not be meeting these expectations.
  4. Testing: Trying different solutions to address any problems identified during your analysis process.
  5. Repeat and Improve: Go back to the beginning and begin the process again…

If you would like to speak to a member of the team about implementing Google Analytics on your website or how you can use it to greater effect, why not get in touch.

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