Google Analytics Must-Have Features

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We featured a fairly advanced Google Analytics (GA) post recently, called Google Analytics Advanced Segments Secrets that might have been a little over the top of some people's heads. Not everyone is a GA expert and often plenty time is wasted trying to find the right combination of data to get the answers you need.

Kissmetrics recently featured an article on the must-have GA features that every site should have enabled in order to maximize on the use of this tool and the management of your time. We've chosen four of these features as detailed by Lars Lofgren and included a summary of them here.

Ecommerce Tracking

This feature only applies if you're selling something via your website, but for those who do, it will give you valuable insight into who your big spenders are, so you can work on finding like-minded people. As per Lars Lofgren's article, it does require the services of an adept developer who can link the ecommerce section of your site to Google Analytics; here is some detailed assistance on how to do this from Google.

  • Before you get to that point, simply follow these steps to lay the foundation for this feature:
  • Within GA, in Standard Reports, click on the admin button on the top right
  • Click on All Web Site Data (that's the default, it might read differently on yours) under Profiles
  • Click on the Profile Settings tab
  • Scroll down and where it says "Not an Ecommerce site", change it to "Yes, an ecommerce site"

If you're using Shopify, you simply have to give your GA tracking code to Shopify, turn on ecommerce tracking and the link will be made for you. The same applies to WordPress plugins like Cart66.

Goals

Tracking conversions is made all the more easier by setting up goals. In order to determine what goals you should be setting up, look at your most basic business needs and set up a goal to track that. It could be something as simple as having people click on your contact page.

  • In order to set up this goal and any others, simply follow these pointers:
  • In Standard Reports, click on the Admin button in the top right corner of the page
  • Under Profiles, click on your site - mine says the default All Web Site Data
  • Click on the Goals tab
  • Click on Create A Goal
  • Name you goal - mine will be Contact Page
  • Select a type of goal, in my case it would be a Destination, click on Next
  • Fill in the goal details, so mine would be Destinations equals to [URL]
  • You can assign a monetary value to the goal and you can also apply a funnel and you're good to create your goal

Play around with them, create as many as you want and see what produces the best data.

Adwords Data

This feature only applies if you're making use of Adwords. If you are, you'll need to set it up effectively in order to differentiate between your paid search data and your organic search volumes.

First you need to link your Google Analytics and Adwords accounts together. Follow the following steps:

  • Login into Adwords
  • Click on My Account and then select Preferences
  • Ensure that Auto-tagging is set to yes, if not, change it by clicking Edit and then selecting Destination URL Auto-tagging

Once you've done that, still within your Adwords account:

  • Click on the Tools and Analysis tab
  • Click on Google Analytics
  • Select the option that states you already have a Google Analytics account and then select which one you'd like to link to your Adwords

Lars did mention that this is a bit buggy with Ver5, so perhaps try an older version of Google Analytics.

Site Search

This is a fantastic tool to help you get into the mindset of what people are searching for within your domain. By connecting your site search to Google Analytics, every keyword that's typed in will become available to you.

  • Within Google Analytics Standard Reports, click on Admin in the top right
  • Under Profiles, click on your site
  • Click on the Profile Settings tab
  • Scroll down to Site Search Sittings
  • Click on Do Track Site Search, a box called Query Parameter will open up

In order to find your query parameter, do a site search and have a look at the URL that is displayed with your search results. Before the search term, you'll see the = sign. The letter or word that precedes that = sign is your query parameter. Punch that into the dialogue box, leave the Strip query parameters out of URL box unchecked. If people can search within categories, you can drill down further by checking the Site search categories box. You can determine the query parameter for the categories in the same way you just did for the site search.

This is also a great tool for determining how to structure your keyword research.

Image courtesy of: http://www.greenbookblog.org/2012/03/21/big-data-opportunity-or-threat-for-market-research/

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