Google Analytics Is Great – If You Actually Look at the Numbers Once in a While
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Google Analytics Is Great – If You Actually Look at the Numbers Once in a While
Kate Gingold
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Google Analytics Is Great – If You Actually Look at the Numbers Once in a While

How can you know you’re improving if you don’t know where you started? And yet many business owners never look at the analytics on their websites. Here’s what they’re missing:

In the early days of the internet, there were “hit counters” that racked up how many “hits” your website received, but marketing folk wanted more. Where did those “hits” come from and how long did they stay on the page? Did they go on to look at other pages? Which pages are getting “hit” most often?

Google Analytics was launched in November of 2005, providing all the data marketers longed to know – and far more than the average small business owner had time to peruse. Back in 2015, we combed through all of the data and whittled it down into just a few reports for over-extended biz owners to check on a regular basis. You can still access those reports today, but in case you missed the memo, they won’t be available to you after July of 2023. Instead, there will only be the new service, Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

So let’s take a look at how our favorite reports in the old Google Analytics are changing:

Audience Overview Report
In old Analytics, this at-a-glance report highlighted the number of Visits, the number of Pages Viewed Per Session, and Visit Duration. In GA4, all of that information is found under Acquisition. Comparing the reports from month to month lets you know how well your marketing efforts are working. Look at the number of users, the engagement time, and the number of events per session and try to improve those stats.

All Traffic Report
Knowing where your traffic comes from points out where to focus your marketing efforts. In GA4, Traffic Acquisition reports how many users arrived at your website from Organic or Paid sources and whether from Search or Social sources. Unlike the old Analytics, however, to see if users are from desktop or mobile devices, now you’ll have to click on the Tech tab at the bottom of the menu. Use traffic information to plan marketing pushes and even your website’s layout.

Organic Search Traffic Report
This information migrated from Google Analytics to Google Search Console quite some time ago. If you haven’t set up a Search Console property, you should so you can integrate it with GA4. Here is where you’ll find the search terms that visitors use to find you so you can be sure to use them in your content.

All Pages Report
Knowing what pages visitors look at most often helps you improve your customer experience plans. For instance, if it’s your coupon page, you might want to try posting new coupons more often. This data is found in the Pages and Screens report under the Engagement tab.

GA4 has been out for quite a while already and may be installed on your website now, either alone or alongside the older version. However, not everyone has jumped to GA4 yet. If you use any third-party services that call on Google Analytics, their tech teams needed to figure out how to make the systems mesh correctly, which takes some development time.

You will want to be switched from the old Google Analytics service before July rolls around, but many hesitate to jump into something so unfamiliar. We’ll be sharing more about how to understand GA4 in the coming months so you’ll be more comfortable with the change.

If you aren’t already checking your Google or other web analytics, ask your web tech for help in accessing them. It’s really a powerful tool for business owners that you should be using. Our Sprocket team prefers all of our clients to be well-informed, so contact us today if your website is missing out.

Photo by Black ice from Pexels 

This article is an update to “Decipher – And Use – Your Google Analytics” dated 10/27/2014

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

Other posts by Kate Gingold
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Full biography

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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