Many website owners use Google Analytics to monitor visitor behaviour on their site. In particular, Analytics lets website owners see information such as:
- which pages of my site are looked at most often?
- where do my website visitors come from?
- how many people visit my website?
Although it is used most often to provide answers to generic questions such as these, Analytics is a sophisticated statistical tool that can give you, the website owner, a deeper insight into what happens on your site.
Here are 4 key measurements you can track with Analytics. These are not turned on by default and, therefore, are commonly missed by website owners. Enable these measurements on your site and learn more about how visitors interact with your web pages.
Searches on your site
If your website includes a search facility, it would be useful to know what your visitors search for as this information can help you tailor your site’s future content.
Also, search statistics might reveal an issue with your website’s navigation if you find that people search for something you thought they would find easily via your site’s menu.
How do I set up Site Search?
- Admin button
- All Web Site Data (Web)
- Profile Settings
- Site Search Settings
- Ask you web developer what parameter your search pages uses and enter this in the query parameter box
In Analytics terms, a "goal" is a measurable, defined event and a "conversion" is an occasion when a visitor has completed that goal.
For instance, completing your online enquiry form is an obvious goal on your website and it would be useful to know how often this happens (i.e. how many times that goal is converted).
By setting up goals and conversions in Analytics, you can measure the success of your site’s calls to action, such as how often:
- Your enquiry form gets completed
- Someone views an important content page
How do I set up Goals & Conversions?
- Admin button
- All Web Site Data (Web)
- + Goal
- Give your new goal a name, such as "Completed Enquiry Form”
- Choose the appropriate Goal Type, such as URL Destination
- Enter the Goal Details. For a URL Destination goal, enter the web address of the page someone sees after completing the enquiry form
Goals & Conversions work well for calls to action that relate directly to a particular web page. However, some website calls to action don't require a new page to load or, by nature, are not related to specific pages on your site and so they cannot be measured in the same way.
Event tracking exists to get around this problem. It tends to be used to monitor activity such as:
- How often do people click my Add To Favourites button?
- How many times has a document been downloaded from my site?
- How often has my website video been viewed?
- How often has a product on my website been added to the online shopping basket?
How do I set up event tracking?
Event tracking cannot be administered through the Google Analytics control panel and you will need to involve your website developer to make the necessary code change(s) to your site.
Social media tracking
These days, many websites include Facebook "like" buttons and Twitter "follow" buttons.
While you can see from your social media accounts how many people like / follow you, it would be useful to know the number of people who came your way via your website and, beyond that, which content pages trigger the most likes/follows.
You can use these details to plan future content for your site.
Social media tracking is very similar to event tracking but in its reports, Google presents social activity separately and so social media tracking should be set up separately to event tracking.
How do I set up social media tracking?
Social media tracking cannot be administered through the Google Analytics control panel and you will need to involve your website developer to make the necessary code change(s) to your site.
Google Analytics is a comprehensive website statistics tool and, in truth, it provides more information than most people want.
The four measurements shown above and often overlooked and yet they provide a more meaningful insight into activity on your website than is the case with many of the default Analytics reports.
If you combine the best bits of Analytics with its email feature – where reports are generated and emailed to your automatically – you’ll find yourself using the data Analytics collects more often and more appropriately.