“I don’t know what to do”
“Should I just make my website look better?”
“I’m not sure whether my ads are actually helping bring new customers”
Small business owners that I have had the opportunity to work often ask these questions in hopes to improve their business. Oftentimes, they resort to “gut feeling” or “hunches” to answer these questions. Even worse if they go down the line of “spray and pray” method of solving their problems.
Note: Spray and Pray method here refers to the act of trying random things without careful thinking in hopes that one of the things will return favourable results. Personally, it’s playing the lottery.
So if you have the same questions or are simply curious about how to answer the questions above – then you’ve come to the right blog post.
In this blog post you’ll learn:
- What is Google Analytics?
- How is it different than other Google Product e.g. Google Data Studio and Google Tag Manager
- How is Google Analytics Structured?
- Difference between dimension and metrics
- Types of reports on Google Analytics?
What is Google Analytics?
Sounds really fancy and intimidating, isn’t it? Fear not – you don’t need a single ouce of coding knowledge or even a PHD in math to know what it is. In fact, Google Analytics is so easy to use that many career changers from different industry study and become Google Analytics Certified to help them transition to different industries. If they can do it – it can’t be that hard!
Google Analytics is basically a software that does three things: collect data, store data, and report data on your website.
In other words, if you have a website and you want to know anything that happens on your website, then Google Analytics is your best friend.
The three key tasks of Google Analytics is depicted below:
What is the difference between Google Analytics and other marketing products by Google?
Google Analytics is part of the Google Marketing Platform suite that is owned by Google. There are tons of other products within this Google Marketing platform but for this post we will focus on two other product: Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio.
Recap from above, Google Analytics does three things. But unfortunately, even mighty Google isn’t perfect. Turns out as things get more complicated, there is an even greater need to make things better namely to “collect” and “report” data.
Hence the need for a spin-offs like Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio.
Google Tag Manager is better than Google Analytics in collecting data and Google Data Studio is better in reporting the data. So in summary, Google Analytics does all three but Tag Managers and Data Studio does one of the task better.
I like to think of Google Analytics as a Jack of all trades, while Google Tag and Data Studios are masters of their own verticals.
How is Google Analytics structured?
According to CXL Institute: If there is one thing you’ll take away from this, take away this structure. Everything in Google Analytics is structured in a consistent way. So learning this will be the 80/20 of your learning curve.
There will be three key terms you’ll need to know: Account, Property, Views
To make things easier to digest, let’s take an example: Let’s say you sell sports attire online. You have two stores: Sports Attire Him and Sports Attire Her. You don’t want to create multiple accounts so you’ll manage both accounts under “Sports Empire” login ID..
Under each store, you want to view things differently. For example, you have many friends who buy from you because they feel bad for you – you want to “view” the data for each store excluding views from your friends. That way you’ll know who visits your side because they really want it and who visits your site because they feel bad for you.
A way to view this would be:
What’s the difference between dimensions and metrics?
A common terminology you’ll hear thrown around is dimension vs metrics. Let’s start with metrics because that’s the easier one.
Let's imagine you want to know how many people using iPhones visit your website. You do some magic and find out that on average you have 100 people using iPhones visiting your store.
Notice how you can quantify the number of people into 100? It’s a number which you can measure, analyze and well do cool presentations on. That’s a metric!
A metric is basically anything you can measure or quantify.
What about a dimension? Dimensions simply means things you want to measure or you want to group. In this case: it’s the people who use iPhones and visit your website.
What kind of reports are they on Google Analytics?
In summary there are 4 kinds of report available on GA:
- Overview reports
- Table reports
- Flow reports
- Funnel reports
Overview reports à provides an overview of the key data presented in the segment
Table report à shares info in a table format where you can carefully use dimensions and metrics to describe those dimensions
Flow reports à shows the movement of things between one point to another. For example, how users flow from one page to another page.
Funnel reports à shows how things get filtered from one point to another. For example, how users ‘drop’ off from adding to card to completing the purchase.
So that’s pretty much it folks. There are basic 80/20 overview of all things Google Analytics to kick start your digital journey