Google Analytics Dashboard 101: How to Set Your Analytics Program Up for Success
Google Analytics can be a great tool, but it comes with its own set of challenges. There are about 50 different default reports within the platform, many of which mean next to nothing for your business. This begs the question; which reports are the most important ones to my business? If you are asking that question you are likely diving into web site analytics for the first time and are trying to become more data-driven than you have been in the past. So, from that perspective, let’s step through a few of the most common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Metrics that are semi-universal across a wide variety of businesses. If you need some help setting those KPIs, metrics and targets, check out one of our previous blog posts highlighting how you can do just that.
Okay, now that you know what you are trying to measure, here are the most common things that we tend to see within those measurement models:
- Traffic Volume
- Some Conversion Actions
- This can be a form fill, eCommerce checkout, or some other action we deem valuable
- Conversion Rate
- Bounce Rate
These four things are those that we see pop up very often as some of the more important site metrics to be thinking about. The next question is, “Great, now how do I see these items in my reporting tools?” That’s what this guide is all about! But first, a little configuration how-to.
I mentioned “some conversion actions” as something that we need to pay attention to. There is a little work involved in order to be able to track that adequately. The easiest way to configure this is if you have a “Thank You” experience on your site. When you fill out a form or complete an eCommerce transaction, the user would be directed to a page where the URL is something like ‘www.yourwebsite12345.com/thank-you’. We can leverage the ‘/thank-you’ portion to count the number of submissions or purchases that take place on your site.
First, go to the Admin section of Google Analytics. In the far-right column, you should see a link to edit the goals.
Once you click that, select ‘New Goal’ at the top of the page. You will be directed to start completing the goal configuration process. Select ‘Custom’ all the way down at the bottom and click continue. You will then be prompted to name the goal. Make this intuitive and specific. If you have multiple ‘Thank you’ experiences, you should call out which one this is for here. Under ‘Type’, choose destination and click continue. In our example, the ‘Thank You’ page was ‘www.yourwebsite12345.com/thank-you’. Google Analytics only really cares about what comes after the domain name, so if you put in ‘begins with’ in the drop down, this page starts with ‘thank-you’. That’s how I would recommend setting this up just in case you get some pesky parameters added to the end of the URL. We don’t want to miss counting any conversions. Assuming your Google Analytics account isn’t brand new, you can verify the goal to make sure it has some volume before saving it. Otherwise, go ahead and hit save. Always monitor any changes after you set things up to make you are successfully collecting the right data.
Now that we have that out of the way, there is one key report to get yourself familiar with in order to start tracking all the metrics we outlined earlier. Navigate to the ‘Acquisition’ tab in the left navigation in Google Analytics:
Click the ‘All Traffic’ link on the drop down, then click ‘Channels’.
The report that surfaces is my personal go-to to get a quick gut check on what is happening within a Google Analytics account. It has all the metrics contained that were listed above; traffic volume (sessions), bounce rate, conversion rate, and conversion volume.
There is so much more we can do, even with this report utilizing secondary dimensions and breaking it down by more and more segments. This alone can allow you to get more granular with various reporting techniques to figure out what is having the greatest impact on your metrics. As always, Three Deep is more than happy to help assess your current Google Analytics configuration. Feel free to reach out via our Contact Us page or drop us a line at email@example.com to learn more about our Google Analytics services.