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    1. Selena_Superseller is offline

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      #1

      What is Google Analytics? Can it really help my online business?

      Hi everybody. Does anybody here know about Google Analytics? Can it help my online business in some way? Ive heard very conflicting views so far on its uses.

      All information, tips and advice are welcome from everyone.
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    2. Antonio_lister is offline

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      #2
      Google analytics is an analytical tool that gives insight into your website performance through various metrics. The biggest advantage of GA is that, compared to most web analytics resources, it is feature-rich, easy to use and FREE. I would suggest that you start with getting a handle on the below data which can yield a good insight into your website performance and then try and move to advanced stuff:

      Unique visitors to your website: This gives you a kind of popularity ranking in terms of people visiting your site. The number could be high or low depending on quality of information or service or even the SEO part. At the very basic, it helps you understand performance for any given period of time especially when you have data over a period or data for a competing website.
      Source of visitors: Understanding where your traffic is coming from can also be a great marketing tool. Is it the mailer that you designed or the expensive promo ads that you are running or some specific search engines that you need to optimize yourself better for. This one piece of data helps you use your marketing dollars more effectively.
      Search strings: When you get sources of visitors, you also get the referring keywords or the search strings that they used to get to your site. Once you know the literally `magic’ word you can start ensuring that your website content is optimized accordingly.
      Best ranking content: Google analytics can help you understand which pages of a website are the best-performing by way of content. Using those pages as a benchmark or guide, you can modify other pages. Lower ranking pages can be rewritten or replaced altogether.
      Location of customers: Google analytics can actually tell you the country, state and even the city of the place that your prospects are coming in from. This again can give you a good idea on where best to advertise or just plain focus.

      And this is just the basic stuff. As you get more and more comfortable with analyzing data, there is a host of other stuff that you can explore like conversion data, trends, top exit and entrance pages, time spent on a site – basically a 100 ways to see how people are interacting with your content. What you do with the data is up to you.
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    3. Feenixer is offline

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      #3
      Also called GA for short, Google analytics is a Google service that gives detailed statistics about the visitors to any given website. It is a service that is targeted at marketers looking to learn where prospects are coming in from and how best to increase this number. Some of the great uses of GA include the below:

      1. Google Analytics can track website visitors from all referral sources including search engines, pay per click networks, emails, display advertising as well as digital collateral.
      2. By integrating Adwords, Google analytics can be used to track and review online campaigns which further allows them to tweak or continue the campaign as required.
      3. This kind of analysis can show data like poor performing pages (by time spent) and even visitor segmentation.

    4. Rose82 is offline

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      #4
      I have to disagree. It is totally overrated. It looks very impressive when you list it all out like that but in the real world it works very differently. You just end up with piles of data and not one single concrete actionable item.
      Plus very few people can actually get their head around all those numbers and make sense of it. The very fact that it is free should tell you something.

      Most importantly the data is not completely accurate so it can actually be very misleading to a guy who doesnt know how to interpret the caveats.

    5. Russell_Jk is offline

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      #5
      I have had exactly the opposite experience with Google analytics. In this day and age, it is unthinkable not to leverage a tool that comes to you free and gives you such great insight into your business.

      One of the biggest reasons I love the internet is that the metrics are so strong. You know exactly how one campaign fares as compared to another - you can compare pages, content, forums all for no cost.

      Yes, there are some inaccuracies but for the most part, they are minute as a percentage. Once you get to understand how the system works, you can keep those in mind when reading the data.

    6. Antonio_lister is offline

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      #6
      I think the real problem is information overload. People try to get in too deep all at once, get overwhelmed by Google analytics and quit as a result.

      Start with the basics. Be clear about what your objective is and look for data accordingly. Data for the sake of data makes no sense. You could start out by investing in some of the customization options that are available which presents data to you in a certain way. For example:

      • Display reports in the most relevant, user friendly format. This ensures that everybody doesn’t need to analyze it – different teams get what they need at a glance.
      • Create some kind of target audience segmentation which makes the data more actionable not to mention relevant to you. Not everybody wants to know about all the visitors – just the top few as a percentage will do for example in some cases.

      • Use Google analytics to give you a concise dashboard that gives you progress / status on critical variables at a look / something to compare day to day performance at the very least.
      • Make sure that all major campaigns are tracked as per decided metrics. This way, you will ensure that you are channelizing your marketing budget where it is making the biggest difference.

    7. Selena_Superseller is offline

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      #7
      Great. That sounds pretty good if I can use it all. Are there any limitations that I need to keep in mind when working with Google Analytics?

      I mean stuff that I may trip up on or just misunderstand like some people posted before.

    8. Feenixer is offline

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      #8
      Some say that it slows down the website loading time to quite a degree which can be a problem. This however has not prevented most sites from using it so advantages obviously weigh out the disadvantages by a long shot.

      There are also widespread concerns about privacy issues and suchlike since GA can track location and other usage details.

    9. Antonio_lister is offline

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      #9
      It is important to know that not every visitor and hit can be tracked by GA so it is best to treat the data that you get as such though as a percentage the inaccuracies are very tiny. Some of the common ways in which the data gets skewed / missed are as below:

      • Ad filtering programs as well as Firefox’s Adblock and No script can result in some traffic not getting tracked.
      • Privacy networks will often mask the user’s actual geographical location leading to holes in the data.
      • Users who do not have a Javascript enabled browser or turn it off also get missed.
      • Individual users can also delete or block GA cookies without which no data can be collected. There are limitations to collecting data when people are browsing the net from their phone since not all phones can run Javascript or set cookies.
      • Google analytics uses sampling for many of its reports which means that they are analyzing random visits and not all – for small segments of data, margin of error can be pretty big.

    10. Russell_Jk is offline

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      #10
      No research or data source gives you all the answers. They can only serve to guide or aid when you have specific questions in mind. To that extent, GA plays a great role in helping a marketer or CEO allocate their dollars. Plus its not like there is no support. You can post a mail, get onto their forum or just go over the FAQs.

      The trick is to control the data and not the other way around. I have specifically found great use for Google analytics when optimizing my website.

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