Web Analytics: Why You Need It & What Ideal Positions Can Offer, Part 2

This post is Part 2 of a three-part series.  To get caught-up, see Part 1 here.

Part Two: Google Analytics

At this time, the gold-standard for web analytics software is Google Analytics, and this is the only web analytics software officially recommended by Ideal Positions.  Google Analytics has a wide-range of benefits over other solutions.  For example:

*It’s FREE.  Yes, really.  Google does not charge for the use of the standard Google Analytics software, even though it is worth paying for!

*It’s easy to install.  Most web developers can have Google Analytics’ requisite code installed properly on every page of the average business’ website in under an hour.

*It has fantastic user access privilege settings.  In other words, Google Analytics has features that allow you to grant access to third parties such as Ideal Positions using those third parties’ own Google login credentials.  You don’t have to give your username and password to anyone just to let them review your web analytics reporting.

*Its use is incredibly widespread.  In fact, Google Analytics is used by 66.2% of the world’s top 10,000 websites (ranked by popularity), and is known to be in use on more than 25 million sites in total. (1) This means you wont have a hard time finding professionals such as Ideal Positions’ staff that can help you utilize Google Analytics to its fullest potential.

 

If you would like assistance in getting Google Analytics for your own website, please contact Ideal Positions, and our staff would be happy to assist you.

 

Tracking Key Performance Indicators Using Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web-based application that you can access anywhere you have access to a modern Internet browser and a good Internet connection.  All you need is a username and password for the reporting profile that is installed on your website, and you can log-in to view all of the KPIs discussed in Part 1 of this series, as well as a vast wealth of additional metrics that may or may not be of value to you, depending on your business model and overall marketing goals.  To log-in to Google Analytics, simply navigate to www.Google.com/Analytics

Once logged-in, you will have the ability to select the reporting profile for the website you would like to view.  Some accounts will have access to more than one profile.  For example, a business owner with more than one website will have a separate profile for each site.  If you are unsure of which profile belongs to the site you wish to analyze, look for a unique identifier next to the profile names that looks like this: UA-#######-# where the hashtags are replaced with numbers.  All Google Analytics profiles have a unique identifier associated with them that starts with UA-. You can compare this identifier to the source code on your website.  Viewing source code for a website varies by browser, but once you are looking at the code, search for “Analytics” and you should see a javascript snippet that contains the unique identifier.

If you need assistance identifying which Google Analytics profile you should be viewing, Ideal Positions’ staff would be happy to assist you.  Additionally, I would like to take this opportunity to offer a free consultation with Ideal Positions’ staff to assess the metrics recorded in your Google Analytics reporting.  Our staff has decades of combined experience in analyzing web analytics reporting, and we’re here to help!

A Note About Accuracy in Google Analytics Reporting: For a variety of reasons, the data reported in Google Analytics (and other web analytics software) can be off by up to 10% or more.  Typically the error is in under-reporting the numbers, rather than over-reporting.  For example, if Google Analytics shows that you got 100 visits in June, you may have actually gotten closer to 110.  This can happen for a variety of reasons, the most common being that some web surfers use software that keeps them from being tracked by Google Analytics.  Additionally, many modern Internet browsers have settings that ask Google Analytics to not track users, and Google does honor these settings’ requests.  It’s also possible for Google Analytics to be showing you sampled data rather than the entire report, but that typically only happens for reporting profiles that have a volume of visits in excess of 500k/month, which is unusual for most small to medium-sized businesses.

 

Reporting: Google Analytics vs. Google AdWords

Since early 2012, Ideal Positions has offered its clients Read-Only Access to Google AdWords accounts that we manage for their business in an effort to provide a level of transparency that is unrivaled in the Search Engine Marketing industry.  This access level allows you to log-in to the Google AdWords account that Ideal Positions uses to keep your website on the first page of Google and view many of the metrics that are reported within.  In fact, many of you reading this article will have already accepted this Read-Only Access, and already familiarized yourself with the Google AdWords reporting interface.

Whether or not you’ve had a chance to log-in to view the reporting offered by Google AdWords, it’s important to understand why Google Analytics can provide additional insights that the Google AdWords reporting cannot.  In fact, Google Analytics provides much more valuable marketing performance data to most businesses than Google AdWords can.  This is due to the limitations that Google AdWords has in the data it can track.  Google AdWords can track how often your ads display, how many clicks those ads have received, etc.  Google Analytics can track how many clicks your ads have received, but can also track what happened after each click, such as which pages the web surfer navigated to, how long they were on those pages, etc.  Google Analytics also tracks every source of traffic to your site that it can, while Google AdWords only tracks its own traffic.  As you can imagine, having the additional data on other traffic sources for your website can be invaluable in comparing the quality of traffic from each source.  Remember, not all clicks are created equal.

In a nutshell: Google AdWords tracks activity leading up to the click on your ad(s), and Google Analytics tracks activity from the click on your ad(s) to the moment the web surfer leaves your site.

This post is Part 2 of a three-part series.  “Like” Ideal Positions on Facebook to get updates on Part 3 as they become available!

1. Google Analytics Usage Statistics, BuiltWith – August 2013

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