By Ryan Knighton
Google Analytics is one of Google’s most popular tools, its level of data gathering and processing is almost second to none. Not only can it gather and present just about any kind of data related to your website, but it’s also incredibly easy to use. As you get more experienced with its interface and better understand it’s capabilities, it only scales its level of information with you. But one thing Analytics can’t do is set itself up on your website. From installing it’s tracking tag to customising the settings in order to get the data you want, it can be a little confusing; especially if you’re new to using it! Which is why we at Frogspark would like to introduce: “A Beginners Guide To Setting Up Your Google Analytics”.
So, like most things in the modern world of the internet you need an account to access Google Analytics. If you already have a Google account you just need to go to the Analytics homepage and sign in with your account. However, if you are entirely new to Google you need to create an account first – don’t worry, it’s free and super easy! Just follow the steps at their account creator.
Congratulations! You now have a Google account and you can start using Google Analytics to measure your website’s performance. But before you get too excited, we have a few things to do first.
In order for Analytics to be able to track your website, it needs to create a property – or rather you need to. This entails you providing an account name, the website name, the website URL and your industry category. But what is the difference between all of those things? Let me explain…
Your account name is often just your businesses name. Let’s say you have are starting a cake-selling business called cakes-r-us. Your business has multiple websites to sell different cakes, let’s say cupcakes, normal cakes and wedding cakes and you want to measure all of them with Analytics. You would set your Account Name to be “Cakes-R-Us”, and each website can be added under this as a property so “cupcakes-r-us”, “cakes-r-us” & “wedding-cakes-r-us”. As you go through creating the first property, you will attach each URL to its respective website under the URL section. Once you’ve created your first property, you add others in a slightly different way that we will cover later on.
This is where things start to get technical and you might need help from your web developer if you aren’t the kind of person who can fiddle around with code (no shame in that!). Once you’ve created your property you will be greeted with a screen that looks like this:
This is the code snippet you need to add to your website. But there are multiple ways to do that.
Let’s keep things simple, or as simple as we can. Adding your tracking code to your website is fairly easy. All you need to do is copy & paste the code snippet as the very first item in your websites <HEAD> section on every page you want to track, simple. Even simpler if you ask your website developer to do it for you! If you have been tracking your website with other Google products like Ads (previously known as AdWords), you will already have the Global site tag (the bigger bit of code) in which case you only need to copy and paste the small bit at the bottom underneath your global tag.
Recently, Google has tried to make adding your tracking codes even easier. Welcome to Tag Manager! With tag manager, all you need to do is sign-up for the service (again, just using your Google account) and add the tag manager code snippet to your website. Once you’ve done this, you can add the Analytics tracking snippets to your Tag Manager dashboard and let the tracking commence!
You should now be able to start tracking the data on your website! But we aren’t done yet…
Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful tool, but before it can give you accurate representations of your website’s performance we need to change some things. You are going to need to navigate to your admin panel within Google Analytics (arrowed).
It’s within here we can make the necessary changes. First of all, you are going to want to head to ‘Filters’ on the right-hand side on the page. From here, you are going to create a filter to exclude your business IP address. Why would you want to do this, you might ask? Well, the answer is simple: you don’t want to be tracking your own activity on your website! As much as you could spend countless hours looking at your amazing new website, doing so could skew your data which means you have inaccurate data!
To exclude your IP address you need to expand the filters menu, as we mentioned above, and click “+ New Filter”. Here you need to name your filter, for this type of filter we recommend using something like “Exclude HQ IP Address”.
The next step of excluding your IP address is to set the parameters correctly. This means that your filter type is to ‘exclude’, your source or destination is ‘traffic from the IP addresses” and finally the expression is ‘that are equal to’. Your screen should now look like the one pictured above. To complete the next step, you are going to need to know your IP address. Don’t worry if you don’t know it, all you need to do is search Google for “IP address” and it will helpfully show it to you! All you need to do now is copy and paste this into the IP address box and click save. You have now successfully created your first filter! As time goes on you might decide to open new offices or even work with digital marketing agencies, in which case you will need to create new filters to exclude their IP addresses too (or they will do it for you).
It’s no secret that the internet is crawling with bots. Not all of them are bad, but a lot them are noticed by Analytics and they will contribute to your traffic stats. Luckily, Google knows about these and they have built a huge database of these bots overtime and know how to exclude their traffic contributions – all you have to do is click a tick box! To find this box, go back to your Admin panel and select view settings in the top right. Here, you need to scroll down and tick the box labelled “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders”. Once you’ve clicked save, that’s it.
Under ‘View Settings’ there are other customizations that can be made. Setting a default page is often done if you have multiple URL’s that load one page. For example, you might have cupcakes-r-us.co.uk and cupcakes-r-us.co.uk/index.html that both load the same page. If you are using paid advertising and pull reports from Analytics you can also set the currency display to your preferred currency. You also configure site search settings if your website offers this function.
You didn’t invest in a website for the sake of having one. You want it to achieve something for your business! This is where goals come in. To start creating your website goal tracking, you need to head back into your admin panel and click on ‘Goals’ on the right-hand side then “+ New Goal”. Google Analytics has been created with ease of use in mind, so creating a goal is really simple, you just need to follow the step-by-step instructions.
First, decide if you want a template goal or a custom goal (if you are a total novice or are just looking for a quick set-up we recommend sticking with template). Next, it’s on to giving your goal a name. For your own sanity, give it a self-explanatory name – trust us, it makes life much easier in future. Now, for the type of goal. This determines how the goal is measured, whether it be your website users getting to a certain page, spending a certain amount of time on your website, viewing so many pages when they visit or actually doing something on your website like watching a video.
This type of goal is normally used for inquiries or orders. The event is triggered and recorded when a user lands on the page you determine. So, for example, let’s go back to your cake business. Imagine they just submitted an order for 2 of your finest cupcakes, once they have added the cakes to their basket and gone through the payment process, your website takes them to a “thank you for ordering” page, the successful conversion will trigger then they land on this page.
This one is a bit of a strange one. Let’s say you want your new website to engage people in a way that lets them explore lots of cake before they choose the one they want and you have a target of 5 minutes browse time before buying, this is where a duration goal comes in. Once you have decided how long you want people to use your website for, it’s time to add this value in and click save!
This is also a bit of an odd goal to use, its uses can be very specific. Its name is pretty self-explanatory: when a user visits a determined number of pages during their session, the goal is triggered. But how can it be used in the real world? Well, let’s say that you are measuring how many of your users like the look of your cakes but don’t order. If you predict that users look at your homepage, then a product category and finally a product page but then leave, you can set the goal to measure how many people visit at least 3 pages during their session. Depending on how many goals completions are recorded, you can determine where a problem might be on your website, whether it’s price or ease of purchase – you can determine problem points.
Event goals, whilst useful, can be trickier to implement. To establish this kind of goal you need to determine certain conditions that users must complete on the website before the goal is tracked. For example, the recipe you published on your website was getting lots of traction so you decide to make a video out of it and put that on the page too. How are you going to know how many people watch your video, you use the goals. Now, before we continue, this goal set up does vary depending on what elements you are using on your website and how they are labelled and categorised. So, back to your new video…
In order to track the video, you will need to set your category to ‘video’. Which determines which elements of your website can trigger the goal. Next, what are people going to do that achieves the goal? You guessed it: play the video, which gives you your action – ‘play’. Next, how will you determine this video being played instead of others? You give the goal a label, for example: ‘How To Make The Worlds Best Cake’. And that should complete your goal.
But if you are unsure about setting them, talk to your marketing team or stick to the simple ones!
Great news! Your cake business has taken off and you have employed somebody to help you manage your website so you can focus on the baking. But they don’t need full access to your website’s analytics, after all, you don’t want them potentially losing all your data and they don’t have your full trust just yet. Fear not! Google has the answer. Not all users are created equally in Google’s eyes, so you can set different permission levels for each user. But before you can determine how much each user can do, you need to add them!
To add a user, go to your admin panel and select ‘User Management’ on the left-hand side. To add a new user you will need to click the blue “+” button in the top right corner of the slide-out menu.
Once you’ve clicked this, you’ll be met with another slide-out screen. To add a user simply enter the email address they will be using to access your Analytics and select which level of permission they need. For example, if you only need them to be able to look at the data and create reports for you they will need the “read & Analyse” and “Collaborate” permissions. If your new employee gains your trust, you can come back to user management and edit their permissions however you need to. Including giving them the ability to add and remove users to the analytics property.
If you are hiring an agency for your digital marketing, you will most likely need to grant them the highest level of permission – meaning all of the permission boxes should be ticked, including “Manage Users”.
Once you have completed, this screen click the blue “Add” button and you’re done!
So, as we mentioned earlier your cake business actually has multiple websites. Whilst you can’t add them in bulk at the start., you can add them now. You start by, you guessed it, heading to your admin panel. Once you’re here, you will need to click on “+ Create A Property” above the middle column. From here, you can start the process all over again from Step 2!
So, there you have it; a complete guide on how to set up your Google Analytics. If you are struggling to get it right, don’t be afraid to contact us – our digital marketing team will be more than happy to help! Or, if you’ve already got Analytics set up but it’s not showing healthy numbers, check out our blog posts on solving Analytics issues!
Part of The Digital Maze Group