Web analytics serve as a crucial instrument for not only website owners but also marketers. They provide actionable insights that can be used to enhance user experience, drive targeted traffic, and strategically improve their online presence while ultimately achieving business goals.

Google Analytics is a huge platform, integrated into most websites. Google Analytics provides a comprehensive set of tools including traffic analysis, source of traffic, user behaviour, conversion tracking, page performance custom reports and dashboards, real-time analytics, and benchmarking and comparisons. All you could ask for to help you to understand website performance! 

In this insight, we will discuss the basics of GA4- How to set up an account and collect data and a navigation of the reports dashboard for key data capture. 

Getting started with Google Analytics

Setting up an account 

An account is a collection of properties whose data is owned by a single business entity. Underneath accounts, property represents a grouping of user data, like from a website. 

  1. When setting up an account you can create multiple properties and also set Business objectives. This is a super cool feature which means Google will generate reports specific to your objectives. If you are not sure about your objectives you can choose ‘get baseline reports’ and always go back and change these later on!
  2. To connect your website to Google Analytics, you’ll need to add a tag to your site. A tag is a small piece of code that is added to each page on your website to measure user behaviour or ad functionality. Tags can be added in several ways. The first way of adding a tag is to add it directly to your website’s code. Manually installing the tag on each page means a new website tag is listed in the UI. It will need to be installed on every page of your website immediately after the head tag.
  3. Another way to add a tag is by using a tag management system. Google has a tag management system called Google Tag Manager to assist with this. To tag your website you’ll first navigate to the data streams creation screen. You can choose your web and enter your website’s URL. This will generate a measurement ID and website tags specifically for your website. Using Tag Manager also acts as a central place to manage and update all marketing tags.
  4. Once a tag is added it will start to collect information about users and how they interact with pages on your web or app content.
  5. This information is sent to analytics as ‘events’. Now you have one data stream collecting data, you can use real-time reports to confirm data is successfully being collected. If you installed Google Analytics for the first time, it will take 24 hours for Google to process the data and then display it in the ‘real-time report’.
  6. The ‘real-time’ report shows user activity during the past 30 minutes. You can find it under the reports section in ‘Realtime’. This is a great feature as it gives you immediate feedback on what is happening on your website which is crucial for monitoring the impact of changes, marketing campaigns, and other events in ‘real time’.

Navigating the Google Analytics dashboard – Reports

Acquisition 

‘Acquisition’ refers to the process of acquiring users or visitors to your website. The acquisition report can be found by clicking on reports in the left section of the Google Analytics page. Acquisition reports will be under Life Cycle. It shows you an overview of users and new users visiting your website, Traffic acquisition which refers to wher your website and app visitors are coming from regardless if they are new visitors or returning visitors for example through direct search, organic, referrals, social media or paid ads. 

Engagement 

The engagement reports are found in the left side panel. If you click reports you can find engagement under the Life Cycle section. 

The engagement section helps you understand how users interact with your site, including metrics like pageviews, average time on page, and bounce rate. This is important for analysing user behaviour and optimising your website for a better user experience. By leveraging these insights you can make informed decisions to improve engagement, increase conversions, and achieve your online objectives. There is an engagement overview

Monetisation

Just like engagement, the Monetisation metrics are found in reports and under the Life Cycle section. Here you can find an overview of total revenue purchase revenue, total ad revenue, and lists of items sold. This is only really relevant for e-commerce businesses. The monetisation section is crucial for analysis of the customer journey. It provides insights into the purchase journey, promotions, and checkout journey.

Retention 

Again retention insights are found in the reports, under the Life Cycle section. Retention shows the total number of users who return to your website. The higher the retention the better. It shows that people are considering your service or products and are going back to find out more information or even purchase. This takes them further along the customer journey.  

The difference between metrics and dimensions 

Dimensions and metrics are used to power your reports. 

What is a dimension?

A dimension is something that answers the questions ‘who, what, or where’. They are attributes of your data. For example, the dimension City indicates the city, for example ‘New York”. This is potentially where a session originates. 

What is a metric?

Metrics answer the question of ‘how many’. They are quantitative measurements that show for example how many sessions in total. 

Dimensions and metrics are mainly used when you create a report in Google analytics. When creating the report you typical select one or more dimensions along with one or more metrics to define the scope and nature of your analysis. 

For example you might what to see the number of sessions (metric) broken down by source/medium (dimension) to understand which channels are driving the most traffic. 

 

Conclusion

Google Analytics is a huge, ever-evolving platform that can be crucial to your business and marketing strategies! Insights into how your clients and prospects are interacting with your website drive data-focused decisions. There are so many features to Google Analytics 4 but I hope this gives you a good basis for what it does, why you should explore it, how to set it up, and some of the best functions you need!

See how we can help you drive more business with your website. Book a discovery call here!