knowing how to set up google analytics is the first step to understanding:
- who are your website visitors
- what content they want to see from your business
- how they behave when they browse your site
the best part? google analytics is absolutely free.
and once you’ve implemented it, google analytics allows you to track and measure your business’s traffic goals and test the roi of your web and social media presence.
however, setting up google analytics can be difficult (to put it mildly). Lucky for you, we’ve got a step-by-step guide for digital marketers of any level to set up Google Analytics easily and easily.
Before we get into the details of exactly how to do it, let’s take a look at what makes google analytics so great.
why you need google analytics
google analytics is a robust and powerful tool that provides indispensable information about your website and its visitors.
With over 56% of all websites using Google Analytics, it’s also one of the most popular tools for digital marketers, and for good reason. the tool allows you to access a large amount of information about your site visitors.
These are just some data you can get from google analytics:
- amount of traffic your site receives overall
- the websites your traffic came from
- individual page traffic
- amount of leads converted
- the websites your leads come from
- demographic information about visitors (for example, where they live)
- whether your traffic comes from mobile or desktop
It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer with a modest blog or a big company with a huge website. anyone can benefit from information from google analytics.
Now that you know how great it is, let’s see exactly how to set up Google Analytics for your own website.
how to set up google analytics in 5 easy steps
Setting up Google Analytics can be tricky. however, once you’ve set it up, you can get a ton of invaluable information very quickly.
this is pure 80/20: with a small amount of work now you can reap disproportionate rewards later.
to configure google analytics, you simply have to follow these steps:
- Step 1: Set up the Google Tag Manager
- Step 2: Create a Google Analytics account
- Step 3: Set up the Analytics tag with the google tag manager
- step 4: set goals
- step 5: link to google search console
let’s go in.
step 1: configure google tag manager
google tag manager is a free tag management system from google.
the way it works is simple: google tag manager takes all the data from your website and sends it to other platforms, like facebook analytics and google analytics.
also allows you to easily update and add tags to your google analytics code without having to manually write the code on the back-end, saving you time and a lot of headaches in the future.
Suppose you want to be able to track how many people clicked on a downloadable pdf link. without google tag manager you would have to manually go in and change all the download links to do this. however, if you have google tag manager, you can simply add a new tag to your tag manager to track downloads.
First, you will need to create an account in the google tag manager panel.
enter an account name and click continue.
Next, you’ll set up a container, which is essentially a repository that contains all the “macros, rules, and tags” for your website, according to google.
give your container a descriptive name and select the type of content it will be associated with (web, ios, android, or amp).
once done, click create, review the terms of service and agree to those terms. then you will be given the container installation code snippet.
this is the code snippet you will paste into the back end of your website to manage your tags. To do so, copy and paste the two code snippets onto each page of your website. as the instructions say, you’ll need the first one in the header and the second after the opening body.
if you are using wordpress, you can easily do this by pasting the two pieces of code into your wordpress theme.
Pro Tip: You can make this process even easier by installing and activating the Insert Headers and Footers plugin for wordpress (or equivalent for other types of websites). this will allow you to add any script to the header and footer on your entire website, but you only have to copy and paste it once.
Once this is done, you can proceed to step 2.
step 2: configure google analytics
Like the google tag manager, you’ll want to create a google analytics accountby signing up on the ga page.
Enter your account and website name as well as the website url. Be sure to also select the industry category of your website and the time zone you want the reports to be in.
Once you’ve done all that, agree to the terms and services to get your tracking ID.
The Tracking ID is a string of numbers that tells Google Analytics to send you analytics data. is a number that looks like ua-000000-1. the first set of numbers (000000) is your personal account number and the second set (1) is the property number associated with your account.
This is unique to your website and your personal data, so please do not share the tracking ID with anyone publicly.
Once you have the tracking ID, it’s time to move on to the next step.
step 3: configure the analytics tag with the google tag manager
now you will learn how to set up specific google analytics tracking tags for your website.
go to the google tag manager panel and click the add a new tag button.
you will be redirected to a page where you can create your new website tag.
in it, you will see that you can customize two areas of your tag:
- settings. where the data collected by the tag will go.
- activation. what type of data you want to collect.
click the tag settings button to choose the type of tag you want to create.
You will need to choose the “universal analytics” option to create a tag for google analytics.
Once you click on that, you will be able to choose the type of data you want to track. do so and then go to “google analytics settings” and choose “new variable…” from the dropdown.
You will then be taken to a new window where you can enter your google analytics tracking id. this will send your website data directly to google analytics, where you can view it later.
once done, go to the “activation” section to select the data you want to send to google analytics.
As with “settings”, click the trigger button to go to the “choose a trigger” page. From here, click on all pages to have it send data from all your web pages.
When all is said and done, your new tag configuration should look like this:
now just click save and voila! It has a new google tag that tracks and sends data to your google analytics page about your website!
However, we’re not done yet. you still need to set up your goals, which brings us to…
step 4: configure google analytics goals
While you likely know your website and business KPIs, Google Analytics doesn’t.
This is why you need to tell google how successful your website is.
To do that, you need to set goals in your google analytics dashboard.
Start by clicking the admin button in the lower left corner.
Once you do, you’ll be taken to another window where you can find the “targets” button.
click on that button and then you will be taken to the “goals” panel where you can create a new goal.
From here, you’ll be able to browse through different goal templates to see if any match your intended goal. You will also have to choose the type of goal you want. include:
- fate. eg. if your goal was for your user to reach a specific web page.
- duration. eg. if your goal was for users to spend a specific amount of time on your site.
- pages/screens per session. eg. if your goal was for users to go to a specific number of pages.
- event. eg. if your goal was to get users to play a video or click a link.
From there, you can get even more specific with your goals, like choosing exactly how long users need to spend on your site to consider it a success. once you’re done, save the goal and google analytics will start tracking it for you.
remember: there is a wide variety of data you can track using google tag manager and google analytics. it’s easy to get lost in all the metrics you can track. our recommendation is to start small with the metrics that matter most to you.
step 5: link to google search console
google search console is a powerful tool to help marketers and webmasters get invaluable search data and metrics.
with it, you can do things like:
- check your site’s search crawl rate
- see when google analyzes your website
- discover which internal and external pages link to your website
- look at the keyword queries you rank for in search engine results
To configure it, click the gear icon in the lower left corner of the main panel.
then click property settings in the middle column.
scroll down and click adjust search console.
This is where you can start the process of adding your website to the Google Search Console.
click the add button and you will be redirected to this page. at the bottom, click the add a site to search console button.
From here, you will be able to add a new website to the google search console. enter your website name and click add.
follow the instructions to add the html code to your site. once you’re done with that, click “save” and you should be back in google analytics.
Your data won’t appear right away, so be sure to come back later to see your data from the google search console.
what to do after setting up google analytics
now, there are a lot of different things you can do with google analytics. the world of data analysis and web marketing is literally at your fingertips.
here are some suggestions of things you can do:
grant access to your team
If you’re working with a team, grant permissions to make sure other people can access the data in Google Analytics.
To add users, you simply have to follow these six steps from google:
- click the gear icon in the lower left corner to go to the admin panel
- in the first column, click admin of users button.
- click add new users
- enter the email address of the user’s google account
- select the permissions you want to grant
- click add
and ready! You should now be able to give others access to your company’s google analytics data.
link google ads with google analytics
if your business uses google ads, you can now link them to your google analytics account so you can see “the full customer life cycle, from how they interact with your seller (eg see ad impressions, click on ads) to how to ultimately complete the goals you’ve set for them on your site (eg, make purchases, consume content),” according to google.
To link the two accounts, follow the seven steps below:
- click the gear icon in the lower left corner to go to the admin panel
- in the “property” column, click google ad linking
- click new link group
- click the google ad accounts you want to link with google analytics
- click continue
- make sure linking is turned on for each property you want to see google ads data for
- click link accounts
By linking to your accounts, you’ll have even greater access to the information you need to determine the ROI of your advertising campaign.
google analytics allows you to configure your reports so that you only see the data and metrics that interest you through “views”.
By default, Google Analytics gives you an unfiltered view of every website in your account. that means if you have, say, three websites associated with google analytics, they will all be sent to one property where the data is aggregated.
however, you can set it to only get the data you want to see. for example, you could have a view that helps you see only organic search traffic. Or maybe you want to see only traffic from social networks. or you want to see the conversions of your target market.
everything can be done through views.
To add a new view, simply follow the steps below:
- click the gear in the lower left corner to go to the admin panel
- in the “view” column, click create new view
- select “website” or “application”
- enter a name for the view that describes what you are filtering on
- choose the “reporting time zone”
- click create view
once you create your view, you can edit the view settings to filter exactly what you want to see.
5 ways to use google analytics to analyze your web traffic
Now that you’ve successfully set up Google Analytics and discussed some ways to optimize it, let’s explore some ways you can analyze your traffic.
On the left sidebar, you can find five reporting options that give you different ways to view your web traffic.
Let’s take a look at each one now and break down exactly what you can expect to find in them.
The real-time report shows you an overview of your site’s visitors at that very moment.
The report even breaks down how many pageviews you get every minute and second. you’ll be able to see where your audience is coming from, the top keywords it’s ranking for, and how many conversions you’re getting.
While this can be very useful for larger sites that consistently attract several hundred, thousands, or millions of visitors each day, it’s not really that useful for smaller websites.
In fact, you may not see much data in this report if your site is smaller or newer. you’d be better off looking at some of the other reports on this list.
this is one of the most powerful reports you can access from google analytics. audience reports give you information about your site visitors based on attributes relevant to your business and goals.
This can be anything from key demographics (eg location, age), returning customers, and more.
You can even really get into the weeds and track very, very specific types of audiences. For example, you could track visitors who visited a certain product landing page on your website and then returned four days later to purchase the product.
This information is incredibly beneficial for doing things like creating buyer personas, choosing topics your visitors might be interested in for blog posts, and customizing the look and feel of your brand for them.
dive deeper: this is how you can create audiences in google analytics.
the acquisition report shows you where your audience is coming from in the world and online.
If you find that a specific blog post increased in traffic, you’ll be able to find out exactly where the online visitors to that blog post are coming from. For example, after doing some digging, you might discover that the blog post was posted to a relevant Facebook group that actually engaged with the post.
The acquisition report is very important and can help you determine the ROI of specific marketing campaigns. For example, if you recently started a big advertising campaign on Facebook, you will be able to see how many users come from Facebook to your website.
this better informs how you should approach social media and seo marketing campaigns in the future.
general description of behavior
the behavior report shows you how your users move and interact with your website. More generally, it shows you how many pageviews your site gets in total, as well as how many pageviews each page on your site gets.
This breakdown can be incredibly valuable. it will show you exactly where your audience spends most of their time when on your website, right down to the web page. Digging even deeper, you can see the “behavior flow” of your users. this is a visualization of the path your visitors most often take on your website.
this follows the user from the first page they usually visit to the last page they usually visit before leaving.
This can be a good way to test your assumptions about how visitors approach your site. If they’re not taking the desired route (for example, you want them to go to a specific landing page or product page, but they don’t), then you can re-optimize your website to help them get there.
The behavior overview also gives you a good breakdown of each page individually. It shows how many views those pages are getting, the average time visitors spend on those pages, as well as unique page views. this can be very valuable, especially if you are leveraging seo marketing for your site.
This is where you can see the impact of all your marketing efforts. shows how much money you’re making by converting website visitors into customers.
There are three different reports in the conversions tab:
- Goals: This is the summary of your goal performance and conversions. you will be able to see the number of completions along with the monetary value of each one. this report is also crucial because you can use it to quantify the value and ROI of your campaigns.
- ecommerce. relevant if you have an eCommerce store on your website. it will show you your product sales, checkout processes, and inventory.
- multi-channel funnels. gives you an idea of how different marketing channels like social media, landing pages, and ads work together to convert visitors into customers. For example, a customer may have bought from you after finding your website on a search engine. however, they may have found out about your brand after seeing it mentioned in a social media feed. this report helps you learn that.
This is a very important report to become familiar with if you want to improve your overall sales.
Google analytics is a must for any digital marketer. will help you track your website performance alongside all your digital marketing campaigns.
With it you can determine the return on investment and obtain more information about your audience. without it, you’ll practically be sailing on an ocean without a compass and without a map (that is, very lost).
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