The Google Analytics (GA) dashboard is quite intuitive, and it's easy to collect basic information (number of users on the site, average time spent on site, etc.) without having a deep background in analytics. But what about specifics? Inexperienced users may derive misleading insights from powerful yet raw data.
Here are three ways beginners can take advantage of Google Analytics for better data analysis:
Know your terms. New users can be confused by the terms used by GA — they all seem to mesh together. Sessions, pageviews and unique visits can be difficult to decipher for a beginner (That is, a group of interactions that takes place on your website within a given time frame; an instance of a page being loaded; and an individual user).
Custom reports. These are absolutely essential for digital marketers to hone in and present the metrics that are most important to them. Monthly custom reports that focus on a certain set of data provide valuable insight into trends over time. Segments allow marketers to assess data based on specific lenses — e.g., how do user location and device change your website reporting? This slicing of data is a simple tool for marketers to focus on the data that's most important to their goals and campaigns.
Google Tag Manager. The simplicity and flexibility of Google Tag Manager makes it a must-have for digital marketers. Google Tag Manager allows you to quickly and efficiently tag events or insert pixels into pages without changing the code on a website. The tagged event data is then sent back into Google Analytics to amplify your reports (e.g., how many people from this campaign clicked on this button).
If you find yourself flummoxed, take advantage of GA community forums. It's rare that a new user will come across an issue that hasn't been resolved and shared online by a GA enthusiast.
Brandon Ballew - Marketing Data Analyst