Google analytics constantly monitors your website for many parameters. It creates 2 types of alerts to inform you when something significant happens. Automatic alerts have preset criteria like a huge spike in visitors while the custom alerts can be set to your specific data monitoring requirements, you tell Google what to look for. The alerts can be adjusted with a sensitivity slider so that you can be notified with every small change or only for unusual changes. These alerts are sent to your email address for your convenience.
Google analytics gives you a tracking code that you can place in your page template. This code snippet is created for a web profile and contains your unique identifier. The web profile is a set of rules that define the reports. Each domain has its own web profile and its own set of reports. Profiles also allow you to define different reports for each profile so you could have 2 profiles attached to one website giving you different reports in each profile.
How Web Analytics Helps You
Google web analytics can create over 100 different reports to help you analyze your website. Beware, this information overload can lead to analysis paralysis. It is very easy to waste hours cruising over your website stats. With that warning out of the way what you do need to know is;
- How many daily visitors you receive.
- Do visitors stay or do they leave immediately
- Your average conversion rate.
- Do visitors download any free information
- Where did your visitors come from
- Where do they go when they leave
- The geographic of visitors and their language
- The average time spent on your site
- Your most visited pages
- How often do visitors return
- The average page depth of a visitor and does this differ depending on the referrer
- The revenue from you site
- What product sells the most
- The average order from your site
- The value of a visitor
- Do existing customers use the site than new visitors
- Does bounce rate vary depending on the page viewed
- Does my site engage visitors
- Is my internal linking helping navigate the website
- How many times does a visitor come before they become a customer
Important Points to Note about Analytics Accuracy
- Remove robot visits and other non-human activity from your reports i.e. server performance monitoring
- Track as much as you can. Outbound links, landing pages, download pages, file downloads, internal search terms
- Audit your websites regularly for page tags as these sometimes get corrupted test your redirection URL’s to ensure they are maintaining their tracking codes.
- Allow enough time to gather statistics before you trust the data.
Creating Custom Reports
You can create a custom report with exactly the data you want to see and organized exactly the way you want to see it. You define the reports by specifying your metrics and dimensions you want to see. Metrics appear in the score card in the top of the report. Metrics are columns in your report table and are usually numeric numbers. The rows could be the data you wish to track like the names of the various browsers. The context filters allows you to limit the report to just a subset of your data, like show only visitors from the state of California.
Multiple report tabs allow multiple sets of data to be presented, almost like a totally new report. You can set up different filters to define different sets of metrics and dimensions and show the data in different formats. You can create a graph tab for easy visual interpretation and another flat table tab for easy exporting of the data. Once you have your data selected like visit bounce rate, average time spent on site you can have it graphed according to browser and operating system. You then select the profile you wish to apply this criteria to and your graphs and tables are reported and saved in the custom report area. You can export the data, as is, change the filters, if needed, or save the report for future reference.