For part two of the Google Analytics series, we are going to look a little more in depth into the four components of GA. The 4 components, as a reminder are –
At collection stage, the raw data is captured and delivered to GA. We learned last week that a piece of java script can be embedded on your website in order to collect the relevant data. It is important that this code is placed on each web page that you wish to collect data from. Another important note is to ensure that the code is placed in the header before the closing </head>. The reasoning for this is to ensure that the data is still captured, even if the user leaves page before it has fully loaded.
Last week we also spoke about the collection of data from games consoles, kiosks, and other offline sources. This is done with Measurement Protocol which is found on GA. Developers can use it to make HTTP requests, in order to send raw user interactions to GA server. This allows for analysis of offline to online behaviours.
Processing and configuration
These two processes work very much together. Configuration settings can be customised in “Properties and Views” tab in your analytics account. A hit is triggered on a website, when an interaction happens. Collected hits are then sorted into users and sessions in the processing stage. A new unique id is created every time a new user is identified on the website. However, it is important to note that if the cookies are erased, or application is re-installed, the user will be assigned another new id, rather than being triggered as a repeat visitor. A session timeout length is considered to be 30 minutes. You have the ability to customise up to 12 widgets on your google dashboard, and these should be for data that you need and want to know.
For configurations, you will looking at 2 components – properties and views. A property is considered to be a website, mobile application or device such as kiosk or point of sale. You can add the properties that matter to you when it comes to reporting. A view is more specific, in that it is a defined view of data from one of the properties. Examples of views might be a general view or all you web traffic, or a view of only AdWords traffic directed to the site.
Of course, because analytics is pretty awesome, you can customise your report, like pretty much everything else. This can be done through the customization tab in your GA account. From here, you can chose how to display your data; think tables, graphs and pie charts. For really high volumes of data (you wish), there is an option to back the report up with a table. Custom tables are used to aggregate important data on a daily basis to ensure that 100% un-sampled data in the reporting.
Paid and Unpaid
Last week I promised to tell you about the paid and unpaid versions. The paid version is called Analytics premium, while the free version is GA standard. Standard version is probably sufficient for most small to medium websites, with the ability to process up to 10 million hits per month. Campaigns can be measured, AdWords integrated and real time data analysed. These are just a few of the great feature of the standard version.
Premium has all of the standard features and then some. Examples include digital measurement strategy, data integration services, and get this; a dedicated account manager. This list is definitely not exhaustive, but if you need to know how big we are talking when we mention premium, here is an example. Premium has the capacity to process up to 20 BILLION hits per month. Yep that’s a b on the front of that numerical word. Premium is really only necessary in this case, when you are rolling with the big boys.
What can analytics do for my business?
GA is an important and powerful tool for every business that has a web presence. Here are a couple of ways to portray just how important we mean.
The benchmarking option on GA allows you to weigh up against your competition. Of course there are limitations to this, as who says all of your competition are using analytics. However, it is still a handy little tool to refer to, ensuring you keep your eye on the ball.
Repeat VS One Timers
It is great to see how the repeat visits weigh up against the one timers. If you have more of the latter, than perhaps you need to change things up, to bulk up the repeats.
Where in the world
It is pretty obvious why knowing where your customers are coming from is good. You can build more targeted plans to increase numbers in less performing areas, or to grow even further in high performing ones.
Actually being able to see where which browsers your visitors use is really awesome. You might have a high reach from Firefox, but not actually be web compatible with Firefox. This can result in lost business, as people won’t return. Knowing your percentage of traffic through a browser, allows you to weigh up whether to invest further in your sites compatibility.
These are just a couple of examples of why GA is super important, but if we want to strip it down, it is really as simple as this. In order to be successful in business you need to be able to give your customer what they need. GA shows you what is working and what is not, and this is data is really the foundations that are required to build your web presence up to where you want it to be.
Due to popular demand, next week we will touch again on the different ways to make money online. I have a couple of new ones up my sleeve and I can’t wait to share them with you! Happy reading.