January 22, 2019
How to use Google Analytics
When it comes to managing your website traffic, Google Analytics is your best friend. The possibilities for tracking website behavior are huge — but sadly many website owners don't venture beyond the default tracking script.
Here are some useful, yet easy Google Analytics hacks to get your website tracking above and beyond the standard settings.
Hack #1: track scroll depth to measure the effectiveness of your pages
Scroll depth is an often-overlooked metric in Google Analytics. Depth tracking is the perfect shortcut to see whether people are actually reading all the content on your page, or just skimming the first few lines.
The Scroll Depth plugin measures 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% scroll points by sending a Google Analytics event for each one. You can even customize it to fire an event when a certain page element comes into view.
Hack #2: set goals
Just like in life, if you're not setting up goals in Google Analytics, you should be. As a general rule, if it's important to the business, and it can be measured, then set a goal up for it. Goal-setting helps you understand the journey of your users and trends across your website. It also facilitates reliable month-on-month growth.
Some metrics you can set goals for include:
- Account signups
- Newsletter signups
- Abandoned carts
Hack #3: identify your best pages
In economics, the "Pareto Principle" states that 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes — meaning a small amount of content on your website is likely doing the bulk of the work.
Identify the pages on your website that are getting the most traffic by clicking Behavior > Landing Pages in Google Analytics. More often than not, you'll find they are blog posts or feature pages. Make these pages a priority to help quickly drive conversions.
Some ideas include:
- Incorporating relevant lead magnets on popular pages
- Using popular content in lead nurturing journeys
- Optimizing your top pages as part of a content audit
Hack #4: make Google Search Console a part of your analytics
Sharing data between Google Search Console and Google Analytics is a quick win for your insights game. With Google Search Console linked you can see useful information, like:
- How robots are crawling your site
- How usable your website is on mobile
- Site links
- Links to your site
To make it happen you'll need to go through the old Google Search Console — sharing data with Google Analytics is not currently supported in the newest version. You can also only have one site in Search Console associated with one Google Analytics property. Just go to the property settings dropdown menu in the old search console to add your analytics property.
Hack #5: use Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is your best friend for better understanding your attribution and maximizing ROI. The app makes updating tags and code snippets much easier — whether you're dealing with a website or a mobile app.
If you don't want to miss another insight while using Google Analytics, make sure you implement Google Tag Manager.
Hack #6: set up an internal site search
If it makes sense for your website, setting up an internal site search in Google Analytics adds a lot of value. You'll be able to see exactly what visitors are searching for on your website, resulting in a robust bank of information about customer interest and intent.
This information can be reused later to improve content funnels and inform SEO efforts.
Hack #7: check your referral sources
Acquisition is important whether you've incorporated a multi-channel marketing strategy or not.
In Google Analytics, head to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals to see where customers are coming from. This isn't just useful for marketing attribution — each referral source is a potential partner for your marketing efforts.
Options besides Google Analytics
Many businesses prefer using Google Analytics simply because it's free (as long as you don't exceed 5 million impressions per month). It's also extremely effective, considering the cost.
But Google Analytics isn't for everyone. And it's not the only way to track customer behavior on your website. Some additional options include:
- Using the Autopilot Tracking Code. The code allows you to identify visitors and inform automated, multi-channel journeys
- Analytics platforms like Heap that focus on ease-of-use, without sacrificing functionality
- API-enabled user-tracking platforms like Segment that seamlessly parse data across channels and apps