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Google Analytics – Part 1

This 2-part series examines Google Analytics and its very important place in measuring outcomes. Because we are sound and want to make sure that you get the most out of this topic, we have divided it over 2 weeks. Google Analytics is an absolute minefield, so we are going to start small, and build from there. Let’s get straight into it!

Google Analytics is obviously a google baby, but in more generic terms, let’s examine digital analytics. Twoggle have come up with our own definition, that is – Digital Analytics is the planning of, implementation, report, analysis and measurement of carefully chosen business objectives, with the intention of using resulting data for the benefit of future digital campaigns.

Google Analytics - Part 1

Often, digital analytics are viewed as quite one dimensional, in that their sole purpose is to examine the source of traffic. It is important to note however, that this is digital analytics in its most basic form. Without a strong digital analysis tool, a business website or site for other purposes, is a fish out of water. In saying that, it is time to jump into Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a site delivered by google, that delivers statistics on a site traffic. There is a basic version, which is free of charge, and a more advanced paid version called 360. We are going to look at both in part 2. It must be noted though, that the free version is more than adequate for most small to medium businesses.

Components of Google Analytics

There are 4 components of google analytics, that work together to provide you with the information that you want and need. These are –

  • Collection
  • Processing
  • Configuration
  • Reporting

Collection

In order to collect the data that you require, you will first need to add some google analytics code to your platform. This is in the form of java script for your website, and SDK (software development kit) for a mobile device. Believe it or not, Google analytics is capable of collating data from games consoles, ticket kiosks and even off line, but let’s leave them for the more advanced 2nd part of this series.

To keep it simple, let’s examine the java script tracking code. It is a piece of code that must be added to each web page, to collect accurate data. This itty-bitty coding is so smart, and manages to collect and transmit user activity back to your analytics account. It identifies language preference, browser name and operating system, bundles these together and delivers to the google account as a page view.

Processing and Configuration

These 2 components go hand in hand. Processing and configuration happens when the data collected from website or device, is organised and transformed into meaningful data that can be reported on. You can control some configuration components yourself through the google account, so that data from google AdSense and google AdWords is incorporated. This is called account linking. You can even configure, so that data from non-google sources are also included! This is called data importing. The world is a google oyster! During the processing stage, the main task is to sort users and sessions. It is important to note that a user can take part in many sessions. There are new users and repeat users, and during processing, these are sorted from each other, by a randomly generated unique code. It is really quite an incredible system!

Through the configuration settings, you can aggregate your information, by a process of filtering, goals and grouping. More on this next week.

Reporting

Once processing and configuration has taken place, it is time for the all-important report. Google analytics reporting tool standard template has both dimensions and metrics. The dimensions are the first column or value, while each metric is a precise measurement of that value. Sounds complex, right? Well, it is slightly, but we will get into it more next week. The report is the piece of the pie that we all want, but we can see why the steps that go before it are so important.

This blog serves to spell out in a basic fashion, each of the components that make up the foundation of google analytics. Whilst there is a whole other feast of platforms that measure data, google analytics is of course the most well-known. It is not too easy to understand at a first read, but there are a host of online learning resources to get more familiarised. Google Academy is a wonderful place to start. You are taken through short concise videos, which spell out in a clear fashion, the many different facets of analytics. At the end of each learning module, there is several questions to test yourself on. Fancy becoming a proficient google analytics know it all? Sorry I mean expert. Well you need to become a google partner. Find out all you need to know here.

Next week, we will examine in more depth each of the components, the difference between paid and unpaid versions, and most importantly- What google analytics can do for your business.

What is your experience with Analytics? Let us know your thoughts below!


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