​5 Ways to Cut Through Google Analytics Clutter

Desireé Duffy |

Whether you are the CMO, the CEO, the owner of your own company, or a marketer navigating the digital landscape, knowing how to analyze your website’s analytics is the key to grasping that 10,000-foot view of how your website is performing. It can feel overwhelming when looking at all the data and graphs. To make it easy, let’s cut through the clutter and look at the five ways you can drill into the info you really need.

If you are unfamiliar, Google Analytics is an all-encompassing information base that helps businesses navigate the world of digital marketing. It can be used to collect information, set short and long-term goals, and make educated business decisions.

This service is free to start, and allows usersto pull detailed, custom reports about website traffic and performance. Although it’s become an essential tool for businesses, it can be a challenging resource to get started with. It can take several weeks to barely scratch the surface, so don’t feel discouraged.

  • Organize Data with Your Marketing Goals in Google Analytics
  • Measure Campaign Performance
  • Get to Know Your Audience by Drilling Into their Demographic Information
  • Step in the Audiences’ Shoes and See Where They Navigate on Your Website
  • Focus on the Bigger Picture in Your 10,000 Foot View

All marketing professionals should have goals that are well-defined, reasonable, and measurable. These milestones should be determined prior to setting up an account on Google Analytics.

Once you determine exactly what it is that you want to measure, navigate to Admin in your Google Analytics Account. Click on Goals, which is located under the View list. After clicking on “New Goal,” you will be prompted to choose a template:

You can also choose to make your own goal at the bottom of the list. Next, you’ll be asked to choose a type of goal from four options: destination, duration, pages/screens per session, or event. Google Analytics will give you tips on how to distinguish each of these goal types. Goal verification requires a week’s worth of tracking to test,so don’t set up your goals until you have seven days of data.

Acquisition is listed on the left sidebar underneath Audience. This is where Google Analytics will measure your campaigns. You’ll want to set some up immediately if you want to know where your visitors are coming from and what actions they are taking in the process.



Next time you share a link with your audience, make sure you have measures in place to track it. Use Google’s URL Builder to create a custom link that will report how people responded to an ad, the source of your traffic, or how many people signed up for your monthly newsletter. It’s simple – you just replace the link you would normally use with Google’s new one. From there, you can see how each of these campaigns are preforming under Acquisition.

If you’re already using Google AdWords, make sure you use auto-tagging in all of your campaigns (this is the default if you don’t uncheck the box). Your tracking link will automatically be applied to Adwords campaigns.

Google Analytics will tell you nearly everything you need to know about your audience, including their age, gender, and geographic location. Here is a simplification of the information you’ll find in the Audience report:

  • Demographics: the age and gender of website visitors, along with demographic-specific metrics
  • Interests: insight into what else your audience is searching for or visiting when they’re online
  • Geo: the language and location of your visitors, along with geo-specific metrics

Use this data to strengthen your marketing plan in the future. If you know that most of your audience is under 25-years-old, for example, consider investing more money in social media campaigns.

If you want to know where your audience goes when they visit your site, you can follow their steps. The Behavior reports was designed for just that. “Overview” on the submenu will give you a quick look at the data, but not with the detail you need to really understand your audience. Instead, click on Site Content à All Pages.

You’ll see a list of your ten best performing pages. Focus on the average time and bounce rate of each page. Are people jumping off of certain pages more quickly than others? Does one page have a particularly high bounce rate?

Imagine walking into a store, immediately getting a bad impression, and then turning around and walking out. A bounce rate is the percent of people who leave a page or website without having any interaction with it. Your site’s overall bounce rate (located in Behavior à Overview) is not a clear indicator of how individual pages perform, it is just in average. Analyzing this data will help you determine which pages need work and which pages grab the attention of your audience.

Google Analytics will automatically pull data from the last week. While this information is useful, it doesn’t speak to your company’s long-term performance. It can also be hard to truly understand your audience based on a week’s worth of visits. You will find a date range in the top right corner of all the report pages:

Clicking on it will allow you to create a custom data range. All of your pages will look exactly the same, but numbers will be generated from a much larger pool of information. Collecting information throughout the entire year can help your company plan it’s 2018 goals. This long-term data will help you determine who to advertise to, what campaigns should be funded, and what the best channels are for marketing in advance.

Ultimately, decide what is important to see in your regular reports, to glean the information your company needs to make informed website decision. The wealth of information provided in Google Analytics is a goldmine for marketers and business professionals, you just need to know how to use the shovel to dig it out!

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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