If you have a website or plan on owning or maintaining one, then this post is for you!
Google Analytics is a fantastic tool that has evolved over the years and now offers too many features to list. But you have to be aware that the standard tracking code that is generated does not include everything you may need by default. Some of the most important settings are disabled by default. Why, I’m not sure, perhaps added overhead for Google, I’m really not sure of the reason. Anyways, I’ll get right to it.
Settings 1 & 2: In Page Analytics and Demographics
First I’ll show you how to enable it, then I’ll discuss what it is.
Login to Google Analytics, Click on Admin then select the property of interest, then click on Property Settings. If you scroll down you will see two settings that are disabled(off) by default. The first is called ‘Enable Demographic and Interest Reports‘, the second is called ‘Use Enhanced link attribution‘ as you can see below. Move the button to the ON position and click Save.
But that’s not the end. It is not active just yet. To complete the enabling process you have to amend your tracking code. It is quite simple and the process differs slightly if you have the newer Universal tracking code (analytics.js) or the older style (ga.js). Follow the links within each of the setting sections. They guide you through quite nicely. To complete enabling Demographic tracking follow these instructions and to complete enabling the In Page analytics follow these instructions.
It can take up to 24 hours for data to start showing but it is worth the wait.
Let me tell you quickly what these two settings are about.
Firstly, In Page Analytics provides you with enhanced tracking for each page that you have that tracking code installed in. It provides you with a detailed overview of where people are clicking. Some other sites out there offer a similar service but they charge you for this privilege, whereas this is simple and free and gives just more or less the same kind of report. Here is an example of what an In Page Analytics report looks like (on your reporting page, go to Behaviour, then select In-Page Analytics). It takes a few seconds to pull up the data. But once it loads, it looks something like this:
Notice all the orange bubbles. This is an indication of how many clicks you are getting on the various links on a specific page. So it is not just tracking the url that is clicked, it records the number of clicks for a specific url on a specific page. It allows me to optimise and position clickable content on my site so that the user can navigate more easily, rather than struggling through the site to find something. This ultimately will lead to better conversions as you get the user to where they need to be that much faster. The only way you can achieve these optimisations if you know where people are clicking. I lie. You can also guess :).
Secondly, Demographics and Interest reports
This is a very very valuable piece of information. Through the infinite tracking wisdom of Google, they have (generally) a good idea of the demographic (age, gender) of people visiting your site as well as their interest profile (affinity and market segments). For anyone with a website offering a service, product or just free stuff, then this is a fantastic bit of information. You can get to it by going to your reporting page, then select ‘Audience‘ then ‘Demographic or Interests.’ Here is a snapshot of what you get under interests. The first snapshot below is for this website.
And this one is for one of my other sites StrongWhispers.com.
So you can see how much info you can obtain. Really really valuable. I really don’t know why this is not enabled by default. There are many more interest and demographic reports that you can view so go ahead and mess around with it. I just wanted to get you pointed in the right direction.
Settings 3 & 4: Adwords and Adsense Integration
The other 2 items that are not integrated by default are Adwords and Adsense. So why is this important you may ask. Well, it ties in your analytics with an revenue and advertising expenditure as well as gives you an idea of how your paid(Adwords) traffic is responding to your site. You wouldn’t want to be paying a premium for a keyword that increases your bounce rate. This integration will help you with that.
Now it’s not overly complicated but here’s how.
For linking Adwords go to the Admin panel of Google Analytics. Select the property of interest and then select ‘Adwords Linking’. From that point you can follow the Google wizard to link your Adwords account to your analytics account. I won’t go too much into the detail. Just know you need to do it if you are advertising using Adwords. Here is a tutorial from Google themselves on how to integrate the two.
I’ll give you quick example. I optimise my advertising campaigns by first starting off with a large set of keywords related to what I want to advertise and then after a few days of paid traffic, I investigate the bounce rates of individual keywords. I eliminate keywords with really high bounce rates. The internet norm is about 60% (based on info I pulled out from Alexa.com) for general organic searches. So anything more than this is probably not worth paying for that traffic. You will be better off reallocating that money to other more convertible keywords.
To view this information, within Google Analytics, go to the Reporting page, then under ‘Acquisition’ you will find a tree item called ‘Adwords’ . You have a few sub reports so go and mess around with it.
With regards to linking Adsense revenue. This is really really important. It allows you to see which pages on your site are monetising well. Enough Said! To link your Adsense account to your Analytics account, go to the ‘Admin’ section of Google Analytics, select the Account you wish to link. Then click on Adsense Linking, then follow the wizard. If you are still stuck, here’s a tutorial from Google on how to link the two.
I’ve intentionally not shown you my actual data for the Adwords and Adsense part. I think it is against Google policy to do that. To be honest, I’m not sure really, so better be safe than sorry :).
But trust me, all 4 of these settings are really important. I find myself addicted to Google Analytics. It is indeed one of (if not the) best free Analytics packages out there. So if you were not aware of these settings previously, consider yourself pointed in the right direction.
Being good at what you do does not always mean knowing how to do something, it sometimes means that you should know that it can be done!
If you have an interesting way of using Google Analytics, or a few tips and tricks, please share it below.