Google Analytics: Google’s service was developed from Urchin Software Corporation’s analytics system, Urchin on Demand (Google acquired Urchin Software Corp. in April 2005).
Google Analytics is well-known and widely used of all the web analytics application. It is a publicly available free tool provided by Google that can be used to analyze your web traffic to your website or blog. Since its inception, Google Analytics has added more and more plug-ins and features, making it perfect for just about every type of user. Because of its straightforwardness and high level of usability even for its more advanced features, it is a tool that can be used by both website owners and professional SEO marketers.
However did you know that your friendly neighborhood Google Analytics can create up to 90 different reports? Did you realize that this single tool can help you analyze all of the data you can possible think of when it comes to your website traffic? It can not only track all the visitors that peruse your site, the numbers of page views and clicks, but it can also tell you which content on your site gets the most hits, how much time is spent on site per visit, which of your ads drive the most guests to your site, and, if that is not enough, it will track for you the performance of your various web marketing campaigns via Adsense and other advertisement tools.
In order to get the full functionality out of Google Analytics you may want to take a stroll around the Google Analytics Blog at: http://analytics.blogspot.com/. The website gives you a lot of useful pointers for making the most out of your tool. It provides tips, hints, hacks, etc to get you making the most of the tool that you have, as well as, provides sneak previews of plugins coming down the pipe. It allows for comments, support, and creates a lot of guidance for the novice user.
Remember, you don‘t have to be a power user, to get power functionality. Google Analytics no longer requires a hack to get the items you need, be it social media tracking or reports.
Are you one of those types of people that loves to quote statistics, do reports put you in your happy place? If you‘re one of those people and you own a blog or website you are probably already using Google Analytics or you really need to start! Google Analytics gives you all of the statistics you could ever need about visitors to your site.
Traditionally website reports were rather limited. This is mostly due to the fact that reports of this nature are generally hard to interpret (it‘s true) and the fact that they were usually supplied in narratives, IE Word documents. Google Analytics shook up the program with live, detailed reporting so that you could see an up to the minute look at all the traffic to and within the site and better measure your success.
You‘re finally open for business, or maybe even you‘ve been up and running for a month. You can see that customers are coming in and peeking around, but you don‘t know what exactly it is that they are looking at, so you don‘t know what (if anything) you‘ve put on the website was effective and held their attention. You want to know which pages your customers are visiting, you want to know if those customers come back to the website and what they look at when they do, you also want to see all of the customers that link back to you—well, if you‘re a stats junkie you probably want to know a whole lot more than that!
Google Analytics has the ability to answer these and other questions, and present those answers in lovely charts and graphs so that you have a visual representation of what is actually happening on your website. The GA reports are all real time and web-based so you can check them out at any time of day. You can even look at them over morning coffee or while watching the Late Show if you wanted. Not only does Google Analytics give you all of the great chart, graphs, and stats you need to really impress the other kids at the office, but it gives them to you on demand!
The up-to-the-minute reports provided by Google Analytics and their easy to read format is just one of the many reasons why Google Analytics is the right tool for you. Pretty graphs are nice—who doesn‘t love pretty graphs? However, you can usually get someone to provide you with a pretty graph. It is the fact that you can get these pretty graphs at any time of day that makes this tool a winner. The canned reports that come with the tool are useful and provide you with the typical statistics needed to make site-based decisions.
Whether you are using Woopra, Omniture, or Google Analytics it is not just the data, but what you do with it that counts. Most successful businesses use a tool to track website traffic, numbers and types of visitors, number of pages viewed per visitor, and the various web traffic sources. Google Analytics is a free tool with innumerable plug-ins to help you accomplish this. It‘s a good tool right out of the box, but it still hasn‘t gotten quite up to speed with tracking the wealth of data that can be had on social media. As social media began to rise as the premier marketing tool, new plugins and hacks have been created to give you the best data sets available from social media sites and networks.
For example, there is the Social Media Metrics Plugin by GreaseMonkey. This extension was created for the purpose of adding a social media layer to the Google Analytics tool. It provides information and statistics on Diggs, delicious bookmarks, stumbles, etc. It isn‘t perfect by any means but it is a good jumping off point.
A proactive web owner would set up specific web campaigns that target these social media tools using the custom campaign function within Google Analytics. There are methods such as Tiny URLs that allow you to track specific Twitter campaigns or even Diggs. Establishing email reports for specific social media information is another positive, proactive step. You‘ll want the statistics from top social media websites like Digg, Facebook, Twitter, and even Tumblr. As more and more people are feeding their Twitter and Facebook pages with Tumblr blogs it is another means to consolidate campaign information.
Last but not least, you will want to do the actual analysis of what all the statistics you are receiving actually mean to you and your website. There is an art to web analytics. It takes years and dedication to truly understand all the subtleties and nuances to web trending. However, tools like Google Analytics do provide key and critical information to truly understanding how each and every variable affects your website traffic and how even the tiniest of changes can have an impact on user engagement. By seeing all of this data in one place, by looking at it graphically you can pick up trends and make tiny changes to your campaigns and website that will have an impact on site traffic, visits, and which products receive buzz.
Why Google Analytics
Google has created a product for the geek in all of us. If you love and crave statistics, or even if you hate them but find them a necessary evil, then Google Analytics is the tool for you. Google Analytics gives you the ability to view all of your website‘s statistics in pretty little graphs and charts. The good thing for you is that these graphs aren‘t just pretty, they actually mean something. You can find out about your visits and page views (how many folks visited the website and how many pages within it they checked out while there), the source of the visit (what they clicked on to get to you), visits by new and returning (which visitors are repeat customers and which ones are brand new), and you can also see visits by Geo Map (what part of the world visitors come from). These basic stats are enough information to give you a basic understanding of what you need to enhance, change, or create on or for your website to increase visits and hold customer‘s attentions while they are there. All of this is provided in the canned Executive Overview, however for the solid stat geek Google Analytics dosn‘t stop there. If you can think of a report you‘d like to have, they‘ve probably thought of it, too.
Google Analytics provides a basic understanding of all of the the traffic to and within your website. Using Google Analytics provides you with the best insight into the mind of your customer by allowing you to see exactly what the visitors to your web site are looking at and doing.
One of the things that most site owners want to know is where folks are coming from and who is linking up to your site. The Marketing Summary tool within Google Analytics provides you with the top sites that link to you and it shows you what were the top five keywords that visitors used to find you. You will also want to know where visitors begin and end their visits to your website. The Content Summary tools provides an overview of which of your webpages are the most popular so that you know where to add a promotion, link, product image, etc.
Google Analytics can help you business by showing you what is important to your customers and what you need to target to bring visitors back to your website.