When it comes to running a website, data is power. The more you know about who accesses your site and how they behave, the more you can make decisions which will benefit your business. This is where Google Analytics comes in.

Want to understand where your visitors are coming from? How do they interact with your site? How much profit are your campaigns bringing in?

Today, we’ll look at how to gain these insights using Google Analytics.

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What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free suite of tools to help you analyse how users use your site. Specifically, it offers you three main streams of data:

a guide about using google analytics
  • Acquisition data – Information about how and when users enter your site,
  • Audience data – Information about who accesses your site,
  • Behaviour data – Information about how users spend their time on your site.

Each of these can be broken down into individual pages, various groups of users or time periods. These help you gain important insights about which users to target, and how to optimise your site to better meet your goals.

Understanding Google Analytics | Google Analytics | Google Analytics for Beginners | Analytics

How to Set Up and Use Google Analytics

To add Google Analytics to your site, you must set up an account with Google. You will then be given a tracking code to install on your site. The instructions for that are fairly simple.

Once you have that code installed, you can start analysing the results. 

It is important to understand the reports, and know what they mean, in order to use the data table effectively.

Mobile Analytics are available now, to make all this even easier. This just means you can access your statistics with your phone, making real time reporting even more important AND you can always know exactly what is going on with your website no matter where you are.

How much does it cost to use Google Analytics? The good news is that it is free to use. 

There’s also a premium version with a monthly fee. This is generally for larger businesses that have huge websites, but there may be applications where it would be useful for smaller sites.

  1. Create a Google Analytics Account: Visit the Google Analytics website and sign in with your Google account. Click on the “Admin” button and then select “Create Account.” Enter your account name and click on “Next.”
  2. Add a Property: Select “Website” as the property type and enter your website URL. Select the appropriate industry category and click on “Next.”
  3. Get Tracking ID: Review the Terms of Service and click on “Accept” to obtain your tracking ID. This is a unique code that you will need to add to your website’s code.
  4. Install Tracking Code: Add the tracking code to your website’s header or footer. You can either manually insert the code or use a tag manager like Google Tag Manager.
  5. Verify Tracking: Once the tracking code is installed, verify that it is working correctly by using the Google Analytics Debugger extension or by checking the “Real-time” report in Google Analytics.

Key Google Analytics Metrics and What They Mean

  1. Users: Represents the total number of unique visitors to your website during a specified time period.
  2. Sessions: Represents a group of user interactions that occur within a given time frame, typically 30 minutes.
  3. Pageviews: Represents the total number of times a page on your website has been loaded during a specified time period.
  4. Average Session Duration: Indicates the average time users spend on your website per session.
  5. Bounce Rate: Represents the percentage of visitors who leave your website after only viewing one page.
  6. Conversion Rate: Indicates the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
  7. Traffic Sources: Identifies the channels through which visitors are arriving at your website, such as organic search, social media, or direct traffic.
  8. Device Type: Indicates the types of devices visitors are using to access your website, such as desktop, mobile, or tablet.
  9. Location: Shows the geographical distribution of your website visitors.
  10. Demographics: Provides insights into the age, gender, and interests of your website visitors.

How to Use Google Analytics to Track Your Website’s Performance

  1. Set Goals: Define specific goals that you want to achieve with your website, such as increasing sales, generating leads, or improving user engagement.
  2. Create Goal Conversions: In Google Analytics, set up goal conversions to track when visitors complete these desired actions.
  3. Monitor Goal Performance: Analyze the performance of your goals to identify areas for improvement and optimize your website accordingly.
  4. Track Traffic Sources: Evaluate the effectiveness of different traffic sources in driving conversions and focus your marketing efforts on the most successful channels.
  5. Analyze User Behavior: Understand how users interact with your website by tracking their navigation paths, time spent on each page, and engagement with specific elements.
  6. Identify User Segments: Segment your audience based on demographics, interests, and behavior patterns to tailor your marketing messages and website experience.
  7. Measure Campaign Effectiveness: Track the performance of your marketing campaigns by tagging links and using UTM parameters to attribute conversions to specific campaigns.
How to Give Admin Access in Google Analytics | Google Analytics | Google Analytics for Beginners

Why is it Important to Use Google Analytics?

The basic reason to use Google Analytics is simply to see how your website is doing. This means: how well are your ad campaigns are working, which will tell you how well your company is doing.

One great advantage of the internet and Google Analytics is that you can tell what impact your ads are having. When people buy ads in newspapers, they are there in print, but you don’t know the impact. 

A paper may have 100,000 readers a day, but perhaps only three spotted your ad and none of them were interested in what you were selling. Or perhaps 100 saw it and half of those are on the way to your business right now!

There is just no way to know.

But with Google Analytics you can have a much better understanding of your digital ads. You can tell how many people saw the page and how long they looked at it. 

If you have a banner with links to another page, you can see how many people clicked on that. It may not tell you how many people intend to purchase your goods or service, but it will tell you how many people were interested enough to look.

You can also tell where visitors are from. For example, are these people in your town? With Google Analytics you’ll have an answer to that question.

Another advantage is you can tell when something is not working. If you have a campaign running and it is showing no results you can make adjustments to try to change the level of interest.

How to Use Google Analytics to Improve Your Website’s SEO

  1. Analyze Organic Traffic: Track traffic from search engines to identify which keywords are driving visitors to your website.
  2. Optimize Page Titles and Meta Descriptions: Craft compelling and informative page titles and meta descriptions that attract users from search results.
  3. Build Backlinks: Earn backlinks from high-quality websites to boost your website’s authority and search rankings.
  4. Monitor Keyword Rankings: Track the position of your website for relevant keywords to assess the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
  5. Optimize Page Content: Ensure your website’s content is relevant, informative, and engaging to satisfy user search intent and improve rankings.
  6. Improve Website Mobile-Friendliness: Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices to cater to a growing mobile user base and enhance search performance.
  7. Optimize Website Loading Speed: Ensure your website loads quickly to provide a positive user experience and meet Google’s speed ranking factors.

What Insights can I get from Google Analytics

This all sounds good in theory, but what can Google Analytics actually tell you about how your site should be. For non specialists, it can be hard to make the leap from raw data to actions.

With that in mind, here are some key metrics to look out for, and what they can tell you.


Demographics information can be accessed in Google Analytics under the audience tab, if you have configured Search Console access. Specifically, you can view information about your audience’s:

  • Age,
  • Gender,
  • Location,
  • Estimated annual income.

Of all of the data available in Google Analytics, this has the broadest purpose. That is, demographic has important design and marketing implications. For instance, it can affect how you handle UX or target ads.

What is Google Analytics? Integrate Search Console with Google Analytics for best results
Google Search Console tools can help you to manage the traffic on your website and to optimize your content. Credit: ProfileTree.com

However, demographic data is helpful in just about every other aspect of your business. For instance, you may identify a new group of potential customers you had never even considered.

Acquisition Channels

Acquisition channels are essentially how your customers find your site. In Google Analytics, this can be broken down into:

  • Organic traffic – Users from search engines,
  • Paid traffic – Users from Google Ads,
  • Social – Users from social media,
  • Referral – Users who have clicked on a link to your site from another site,
  • Email – Users who have clicked on a link to your site from their email inbox,
  • Other – Users who come from any other channel, for instance a mobile app, or unrecognised ad network.

Attracting users is often expensive, so it’s important to know where your site traffic actually comes from. This allows you to target investment towards the channels which offer you the best ROI.

Landing Page

The landing page is the piece of content which attracts visitors to your site. Analytics also offers a breakdown of key information about each page, including:

  • Impressions,
  • Clicks,
  • Session length.

These are important for both SEO and UX.

For instance, if your site has a low number of impressions, there is likely a problem with its optimization for organic search. By contrast, high impressions but low clicks indicates a meta data optimisation issue.

Finally, a high number of clicks but a poor average session length indicated good SEO and meta data, but poor user experience once the user lands on your site.

How Does Google Analytics Work?

Most website owners, or business owners, don’t want to be digital gurus. Still, it is good to have a basic understanding of what is going on.

As we’ve explained, a code is put on your website and that code is used to record all the traffic on your site. That information can be categorised and put into various forms to give you an idea of how your website is doing.

The code used is in the form of JavaScript, which can communicate in the HTML language used to build websites. 

JavaScript allows your computer to send and receive messages to other computers, which allows Google Analytics to work.  

When you go to a website, the code asks your computer to accept the JavaScript and then asks your browser to send back some information about what you are viewing.

The good news for consumers is that this information is collected anonymously, meaning that no specific information about the user is shared. It will not tell, for instance, exactly where you are, or any information about the individual user.

What is Google Tag Manager?

Google Analytics has been around for awhile. In 2012 Google introduced Tag Manager, which took it to a new level.  

A tag is a very small piece of code added to a page, and it has triggers that define when and where the tag is used. Information is then stored and used by the computer and it, basically, just makes things simpler.

Before tag manager you had to get into the code manually and make any changes you needed, to change what information you were gathering.

The Tag manager gives you an interface so you can create these tags automatically, without having to delve into the code itself.

The benefits of Tag Manager could be substantial for your business:

  • It is free
  • You can use it yourself
  • It makes Google Analytics easier to use AND you can do more
  • You can track more than ever
  • There are no known security issues
  • It has a built in error check and version checker and can be tested before it is live.

What is Google URL Builder?

You use a google analytics URL builder in order to track each campaign. This allows you to analyse each campaign separately in order to identify how effective that campaign was. 

This is done through ROI calculation where you compare the amount of budget spent to the number of views generated. Another useful variable to analyse is the nature of the campaign and the major demographic it attracted. 

This allows you to observe the preferences of each demographic in your target audience. All of these statistics will allow you to create much more effective future campaigns. Not only that, but it also allows you to identify which medium is most effective in generating hits for your website.

What is Google Analytics - The URL builder provided by Google for UTM tracking
The Google URL Builder tool allows you to add campaign parameters to URL’s. This way it is possible to track Custom Campaigns. Credit: ProfileTree.com

Google Analytics URL Builder

Using this tool from Google Analytics, the creation of a custom URL is simplified. The required data is as follows:

  1. Website URL – Which is your business’s website that you are aiming to generate traffic for.
  2. Campaign Source – This is the source of your generated traffic otherwise known as the referral website.
  3. Campaign Medium – It is the type of advertising medium used (email, banner, etc.).
  4. Campaign Name – The custom name that you give to the campaign as a unique identifier.
  5. Campaign Term – Your primary keywords for this campaign.
  6. Campaign Content – A brief description of the ad so that can be uniquely identified.

Here are some tips to ensure proper generation of a campaign URL:

  • Be sure to use consistent capitalization as it is case sensitive. (“PROMO1” is considered a different campaign than “promo1”)
  • Try to use single words for your tags since spaces are replaced by “%20” to avoid breaking the URL
  • It is good to also unify the names of mediums used across campaigns for easier filtering and comparison later on

This tool is great for generating URLs for simple campaigns with only a few sources. However, when several sources are available it might be easier to create one URL as a template then modify it accordingly. 

Now, let us identify the parameters included in a custom URL generated for an email campaign.

How to Set Up Google Analytics 4 | Understanding Google Analytics | Google Analytics | GA4

The latest statistics and facts about Google Analytics:

Number of Websites Using Google Analytics

According to a recent report by StatCounter, Google Analytics remains the dominant web analytics platform, used by 55.55% of all websites as of July 2023. This represents an increase from 54.60% in January 2023, further solidifying its position as the industry leader. This widespread adoption can be attributed to its comprehensive features, user-friendly interface, and integration with other Google products.

Most Popular Google Analytics Metrics

While Google Analytics offers a wide range of metrics, certain key indicators remain consistently popular among website owners and marketers. These metrics provide valuable insights into website performance and user behavior:

  1. Users: Represents the total number of unique visitors to a website during a specified period.
  2. Sessions: Represents a group of user interactions that occur within a given time frame, typically 30 minutes.
  3. Pageviews: Represents the total number of times a page on a website has been loaded during a specified period.
  4. Average Session Duration: Indicates the average time users spend on a website per session.
  5. Bounce Rate: Represents the percentage of visitors who leave a website after only viewing one page.
  6. Conversion Rate: Indicates the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
  7. Traffic Sources: Identifies the channels through which visitors are arriving at a website, such as organic search, social media, or direct traffic.
  8. Device Type: Indicates the types of devices visitors are using to access a website, such as desktop, mobile, or tablet.
  9. Location: Shows the geographical distribution of a website’s visitors.
  10. Demographics: Provides insights into the age, gender, and interests of a website’s visitors.

Latest Features of Google Analytics

Google Analytics continuously evolves to meet the changing needs of website owners and marketers. Recent feature additions include:

  1. Enhanced Reporting: Google Analytics introduces enhanced reporting capabilities, providing more granular insights into user behavior and website performance.
  2. Data Studio Integration: Google Analytics seamlessly integrates with Data Studio, allowing users to create visually engaging and customizable dashboards for data visualization.
  3. Machine Learning Integration: Google Analytics leverages machine learning to provide predictive insights, such as forecasting user behavior and identifying potential issues.
  4. Privacy-Focused Enhancements: Google Analytics prioritizes user privacy, introducing features like Enhanced Measurement, which allows for data collection while respecting user privacy preferences.

These latest features demonstrate Google’s commitment to providing website owners with the most advanced tools to understand their audience and optimize their online presence.

Google Analytics: A Free Boost for Your Business

Google Analytics can give a free deep-dive into what’s happening beneath the surface of your business website.


Q: What is Google Analytics?

A: Google Analytics is a web analytics service that provides insights into website traffic and performance. It tracks user behavior, such as pageviews, sessions, and conversions, and helps website owners understand how visitors are interacting with their site.

Q: How does Google Analytics work?

A: Google Analytics works by collecting data from website visitors through a tracking code that is embedded in the website’s code. This code sends information about user interactions to Google Analytics servers, where it is processed and analyzed.

Q: What are the benefits of using Google Analytics?

A: There are many benefits to using Google Analytics, including:

  • Understanding website traffic and visitor behavior
  • Identifying and tracking conversions
  • Measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns
  • Optimizing website content and design for better user engagement
  • Making data-driven decisions to improve website performance

Q: How do I set up Google Analytics?

A: Setting up Google Analytics is relatively easy and can be done in a few steps:

  1. Create a Google Analytics account.
  2. Add a property (website) to your account.
  3. Get the tracking ID and add it to your website’s code.
  4. Verify that tracking is working correctly.

Q: Is Google Analytics free?

A: Yes, Google Analytics offers a free plan with basic features that is suitable for most websites. There is also a paid plan with advanced features for larger organizations.

Q: How do I protect user privacy with Google Analytics?

A: There are several things you can do to protect user privacy with Google Analytics, including:

  • Enable IP anonymization.
  • Get user consent before collecting and sharing data.
  • Use Google Analytics’ data sharing controls to limit how your data is shared.
  • Review Google’s privacy policies to understand how user data is collected and


Google Analytics remains one of the most popular and powerful website analytics platforms available today. As this article has shown, it provides website owners invaluable insights into visitor behavior, traffic sources, conversions, and more.

Implementing Google Analytics is relatively quick and simple, and the basic version is free. For most small businesses, the free edition will offer plenty of reporting on website traffic and performance. Larger enterprises may benefit from upgraded Google Analytics 360 accounts.

For any website owner interested in better understanding visitor interactions or improving conversions, Google Analytics is an essential starting point. The platform provides robust, real-time reporting on all metrics that matter. With time and familiarity, site owners can utilize these insights to tailor content, promotions, site design and more to maximize success.

As Google Analytics continues to be updated with new data privacy protections, expanded capabilities with Google Tag Manager, and deeper integrations with other Google products, adoption rates show no signs of slowing down. Getting started today will equip any business to capitalize on these future developments.

With the proper context provided in this guide, Google Analytics should seem much less intimidating to new users. The key is asking the platform the right questions for your business and letting the insightful answers guide smarter marketing decisions. Google Analytics skills will only grow more indispensable moving forward.

The best way to start? Simply take a look and include regular checks in your routine to grow your confidence with this essential tool.

Good luck!

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