Analytify

Ultimate Beginners Guide to Google Analytics (2021)

begginers guide to google analytics, guide to google analytics

Are you looking for a way to track your website activity?

Or looking for a way to monitor website traffic, pages per session, and even the audience demographics?

And if you are a beginner or just starting out in the world of Digital Marketing, then using Google Analytics on your website will help you answer all of the following questions.

And there are many other questions you can easily get answered using Google Analytics on your WordPress website. Answers to these questions will help you improve your marketing strategy and boost your online sales.

Google Analytics reports also allow you to know the traffic sources of your website, which helps you in identifying the right mediums to invest in such as Social, Organic, or Referral.

What if I do not have a website and I want to learn Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for beginners, and professionals. Even if you do not have a website or an app, you can learn and use the Analytics platform with a Google Analytics Demo Account.

The Google Analytics demo account is a fully functional account set up on a Google Merchandise store. Using the demo account is free for everyone, and it holds real business data which helps you experiment with multiple Google Analytics features.

With the launch of the updated Google Analytics 4, you can also access the same account in a GA4 view with advanced features such as Smarter Insights, Customer-Centric Data Measurement, and more.

How to Access the Google Analytics Demo Account

In order to access the demo account follow the steps given below:

  1. Click on this link to Access Demo Account Page
  2. If you already have a Google account, you will be instantly taken to the following page.
  3. If you do not have a Google account, then you will be prompted to a Sign in page, where you can either create a new ID or login with an existing one to access GA demo account.

How to Set Up Google Analytics on Your Website in 2021

Once you know the benefits of knowing the website traffic, you can make decisions that are backed by data and insights.

In order to leverage the power of Google Analytics, you need to create a Google Analytics account for your WordPress website, Shopify, or even on your client’s website.

In order to set up Google Analytics, we will be using the Google Tag Manager method, as it comes with built-in tags, ease of use, and much more.

In order to add Google Analytics to a WordPress website by inserting the code manually, you can follow our detailed guide.

In order to set up Google Analytics, you simply need to follow the steps given below:

  1. Sign up and set up Google Tag Manager on your website
  2. Create a Google Analytics Account
  3. Set up a Google Analytics tag in the Tag Manager
  4. Set up Goals in Google Analytics
  5. Link Google Analytics with Google Search Console for enhanced reporting

*Note: In order to set up an account on Google Analytics or Tag Manager you will need to sign in or create a Google account.

So, let’s get started..

Step 1: Sign up and set up Google Tag Manager on your website

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is free software that helps in installing different types of tags on your WordPress website. It includes Google Ads remarketing code, Google Ads conversion tracking code, Google Analytics tracking code, and much more.

Using Google Tag Manager to install Google Analytics on your WordPress website, is a beginner-friendly method and does not require the help of a developer.

In order to sign up for GTM, head over to https://tagmanager.google.com and sign in to your Google account. Once you have signed in, you will be prompted to the following page, where you can click on Create Account to set up GTM for Google Analytics.

Once you are in the Add a New Account section, fill in the following information accordingly.

Now you can click on Create, to continue creating your account on GTM. (Make sure to agree to terms of service in the window that pops up).

In order to Install Google Tag Manager on your WordPress website you need to copy the <head> tag, and paste it in the Theme Header file, available in the Theme Files as shown below.

*Note: It is not important to paste the code onto every page of your website since you will be pasting it in the header, which is already a part of every page on your website.

Similarly, copy and paste the other script right after the <body> tag starts in your website, as shown below:

As soon as you have pasted both the scripts in the <head> and <body> tag, click the Update File button, to save the changes you made.

Now you are all set to use Google Tag Manager to install Google Analytics.

Step 2: Create a Google Analytics Account

Signing up for Google Analytics is free for everyone. You can go to https://analytics.google.com/ to create an account for free.

You can follow our guide here, to create a Google Analytics account. Make sure to follow till Step 3 only, and copy the Tracking ID for later use.

Step 3 Set up a Google Analytics tag in the Tag Manager

Setting up the trigger and a tag is the most important step of installing Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager.

We have explained here, how to create a tag for Google Analytics Universal property, step by step. By following these steps you will be able to finalize the installation of Google Analytics on your WordPress website, but there’s more to Analytics and that is Goal setting.

Step 4 Set up Goals in Google Analytics

Every website or business has its own key performance indicators, therefore it is ideal to define them in Google Analytics using Goals.


You can easily set up goals such as Duration goals, Event goals that include button clicks, downloads, and much more.

In order to define Goals in Google Analytics reports, head over to the Admin tab, located in the bottom left corner of your Google Analytics dashboard.

In the next window that pops up, you can find Goals, listed under the View column. The hierarchy of Google Analytics includes Account, Property, and View, which are explained below.

Now click on the orange button that states “+New Goal”. In the Goal setup you will have plenty of pre-filled templates to choose from based on your requirement.

In this example, we will go with, Contact us, mentioned under Inquiry as our goal.

Once you have selected Contact us as your goal, you may see that the Goal description is pre-filled. But if you had selected custom as your goal setup, then you will have to fill in the relevant details in the Goal description section.

Goal details are the most important part of goal setting in Google Analytics. In the Destination field, you will need to enter the page URL when a goal is achieved. For e.g. a thank you page when a purchase is completed hence a URL like, www.example.com/orders/thank-you/ would be plugged in the Destination field.

In our case, we are creating a Contact us goal, therefore our goal completion is considered when this URL https://analytify.io/support/thank-you/ is displayed to the user. Hence we fill in the URL slug only and leave the domain in the Goal destination.

Value can be left disabled if you do not have a value defined for your conversion. This usually comes in handy when you have an eCommerce store, and you are tracking purchase order value.

Enabling the funnel is important as it helps in tracking the number of users who move through each step of our marketing process. In this case, we need to identify if our website visitors are finding it easy to fill our contact form or not, therefore we have put in our contact us page in the Screen/Page field i.e. /support/ and assigned a name to it that is Contact Us.

And finally, click save to ensure the changes you made are published.

Google Analytics provides page-level data, whereas Google Search Console provides organic data including keywords, rankings, and much more. By integrating Google Analytics with Google Search Console you get access to behavior metrics, for each landing page. This includes impressions, clicks, CTR, and average position data alongside the usual Acquisition data that includes sessions, new users, and the percentage of new users.

In order to link Google Search Console with Google Analytics follow the steps below:

  1. Create an account on the Search Console, and if you already have a verified website on GSC, you can move on to the next step.
  2. In your Google Analytics account, head over to the Acquisition tab, in the left menu.
  3. Then click on the Search console tab, and then click on landing pages.
  4. In the new display click on, set up Search Console data reporting.
  1. Now you will be redirected to property settings, where you will need to scroll down and click Adjust Search Console
  1. In the new window, click Add (it is not a button but a link).
  2. Select the GSC account associated with your Google Analytics property and click Associate in the final step.

Now you can easily view search console data in analytics by viewing the Acquisition report and heading on to the Search Console tab. Similar to the Search Console integration with Analytics, you can also link your Google Ads account with your Google Analytics account to leverage the power of integrated data.

How to Navigate Through the Google Analytics Dashboard

Google Analytics has a plethora of information to make quick decisions. But if you are not accustomed to how to use the Google Analytics dashboard, all your efforts will be wasted.

But before we share our thoughts on how to use Google Analytics as a beginner, let’s take a dive into the basics of the Google Analytics dashboard.

Hierarchy of Google Analytics

Google Analytics Account

A Google Analytics account is the go-to point from which you can access the Google Analytics dashboard. An account will let you check or add different properties/websites/Apps and view the analytics of your property.

For setting up multiple Google Analytics you have to keep in mind the following points.

  1. Each Google Analytics account can have up to 100 properties
  2. Each Property have up to 25 views

Google Analytics Property

Google Analytics property is a website or mobile application that you want to add to a Google Analytics account to track website traffic. Each property has a unique tracking ID and you can create up to 100 properties in a single account.

Google Analytics Views

Google Analytics View is a gateway to property reports in Analytics. It allows you to add filters, so you have the controls to include or exclude data from a view.

By default, the first View has unfiltered data and the user can access all the data. You can create 25 views in a single property. And as mentioned above you can have 100 properties in a Google Analytics account, which allows you to create 2500 views, which can only come in handy if you are very specific about your performance data.

Overview of Google Analytics Reports

The standard Google Analytics view has 5 reports in the left menu. This includes Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions reports. Each of these reports tracks key metrics which are explained below:

Bounce rate: Bounce rate is the percentage of users/visitors that leave the page without performing any action on your page. It could be anything from filling out a form, making a purchase, and clicking on any link or button.

Session: A session is the total number of user interactions with your website. A user visiting your website is one session. While the same user visiting multiple pages in that session is called pages per session. A session could be a page of social interactions and eCommerce transactions.

Conversion: A conversion takes place when a user completes a desired goal on your website such as signing up for your newsletter or making a purchase.

CTR (Click Through rate): CTR is the number of clicks that your web page or your ad receives divided by the total number of impressions your page received. In simpler terms, it means the percentage of users who clicked on your website or a call to action after viewing it.

Example: If your website ad had 5 clicks and 1000 impressions then your click-through rate is 5%.

Each report serves a different purpose, to help you track your marketing and performance goals. Without further ado let’s start with how you can use Google Analytics reports to track your website performance.

Real-Time Report

The real-time report in Analytics, provides data that is only 10 seconds old (as per our tests), hence real-time reporting. This report provides data as it happens on your website or your App.

This comes quite handy when you have just published a campaign, or to monitor the after-effects of a social media campaign, or even to track the immediate effect of a change you just made to your website or app. There are multiple use-cases of a real-time report in Google Analytics.

The Overview tab is where you can monitor insights such as top active pages, total number of active users on your website, percentage of desktop vs mobile users, top social traffic, and more. This holistic view will allow you to continuously monitor the activity as it happens.

This report is NOT short on data. You can easily monitor geographic data under the Locations tab, traffic source data, and popular content in the Content tab.

The best part about real-time reporting is that it also provides Goal conversions data, which is super useful in taking necessary steps when a conversion takes place. For e.g. if you have an eCommerce website, and a purchase goal is completed, you can prepare for product delivery in time.

Audience Report in Google Analytics

Audience report is another standard report present in Google Analytics. This report simply tells a lot about the visitors coming to your website.

This includes everything from their interests, age group, gender, geographic data to the type of browser they are using and even the name of the device such as Google Pixel 5, Apple iPhone, and others. The level of insights you can achieve with Google analytics audience report is pretty amazing.

But here’s the tricky part, you won’t be able to see the demographic and interests data of your visitors until you enable demographic and interests setting from the admin panel

There are a few advanced reports that are pretty exciting for eCommerce website owners. This includes Lifetime Value, Cohort Analysis which are in the beta phase, as I write this guide. The metrics tracked here provides value in taking decisions like:

And there are a lot more possibilities and benefits of understanding your cohort Analysis Data and LTV.

With the geographic data in the Google Analytics audience report, you can easily identify the top locations and the languages of those users. With this data set, you can easily create content, or target products specific to a location. This is quite useful in creating localized marketing campaigns.

All the dimensions covered in the audience report helps in applying segments in later reports. The basic purpose of audience analytics is to help you target leads or devise personalization strategies.

Google Analytics Acquisition Report

The basic definition of Acquisition is how you obtain or get control of something. The same applies in the Google Analytics Acquisition report; how you acquire your users.

There are a total of 7 channels in the acquisition report that will help in understanding how you acquire your users.

  1. Direct
  2. Organic search
  3. Social
  4. Email
  5. Referral
  6. Paid search
  7. Other

Each channel tells you a different story about your website. Such as the Direct traffic shows that your brand is getting popular and your website is directly written down in browsers, or the Organic traffic report shows that your website is driving traffic from the Google search results page due to improved rankings.

Remember we discussed Google Search Console integration with Google Analytics above?

Well, this is where you will be able to see the Search Console report within Google Analytics. You can access that by going to Acquisition > Search Console

One of the best parts about the Google Analytics Acquisition report is that you can easily view which channel is driving the most conversions for your business in a single view.

Campaign reporting is another important part of the Acquisitions report in Google Analytics. This report can help you compare the performance of different campaigns. The Paid segment in the Campaign report shows the keywords that are driving conversions, due to Ads. On the other hand, the Organic keywords tab gives you an illustration of your SEO efforts that are helping in conversions and other website metrics.

And finally, within the Acquisition report, you can also visualize the performance of different social networks. It includes conversions, names of social networks, sessions, and more. The overall Social value your website is driving from different social platforms gives a summarised version of your social activity.

Google Analytics Behavior Report

The behavior report in Google Analytics is quite interesting and reveals a lot about your visitors. In plain words, it tells you what the users are doing when they land on your website.

The overview section will give you a glimpse of a lot of website metrics, which includes the following:

And within the same analytics widget, you can see the list of top-performing pages, their page titles, and other relevant information that will help you make the right marketing decisions.

With this detailed data in the behavior report, you can easily understand your users, to help you improve your website, app, or even SaaS businesses.

The behavior flow in the Google Analytics behavior report will help you visualize how a user interacts with your website, page by page. This is a simple illustration of the first page a user interacts on your website to the last page they visit on your website.

This can help you identify the bottlenecks, or friction pages, from where users usually bounce off from your website.

The site content analytics report will help you identify top-performing pages in terms of Avg. time spent, bounce rate, page value (if you have assigned conversion value to it), and more. With this data set, you can improve the site content according to different metrics in the Google Analytics dashboard.

The site speed tab in the behavior report of Google Analytics will track avg. page load time, avg. page load time on different browsers and the following metrics:

Since Google gives weightage to the page speed, this data will give you a lot of information to identify which side you need to improve performance. In some cases, a hosting is underperforming, which as a result will show you high server response time, whereas in some cases your page is too heavy to download, therefore a high page download time.

There are a lot of use cases of behavior reporting in Google Analytics, which can help you achieve your marketing goals.

Conversions Report in Google Analytics

This final report is the sum of all your marketing activities into the revenue your business has generated. In plain words Google Analytics conversion report helps you evaluate your business based on the profit, revenue you have generated.

This is a bottom-line report and will help you optimize your website according to user behavior.

The overview report provides a lot of insights including goal conversion rate, total abandonment rate, purchase completed, and even the URLs from which the goal was completed.

The Ecommerce report in the Conversions tab is only available if you set up the view for tracking. It will help you collect data like billing locations, purchase amounts, sale orders, and others.  By enabling eCommerce reporting in Google Analytics you will be able to track and analyze your marketing campaigns more accurately.

The Next Generation of Google Analytics – Google Analytics 4

With the advancement in technology, there are vast improvements made in the newly launched Google Analytics 4. It was formerly known as App + Web and is a new form of property that you can use on both the Web and App or combined.

Google Analytics 4 utilizes Firebase Analytics on the backend. The latest technology is also making use of Artificial intelligence to help you with offering insights on the probability if a user will make a purchase or churn within the next 7 days, and other insights.

You can easily integrate Google Analytics 4 with the Universal property by following our detailed documentation, where we have mentioned two ways to connect your GA4 property to your Universal Analytics property.

The overall reporting is quite different in GA-4 with a more insightful overview that has a nice little insights widget for performance improvement.

Other than that there are a few more widgets that can quickly show you the overall performance of your website. It includes the following:

  1. Buyer heartbeat
  2. How much are your users spending
  3. How much revenue are you generating
  4. What is your user engagement
  5. How well do you retain your users
  6. Where are your users visiting from

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Use Google Analytics

What does Google Analytics do?

Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that will help you track your website traffic and provide reports to improve your marketing strategy. With Google Analytics you have the power to boost your business to generate more leads.

Can you use Google Analytics on any website?

Yes, you can use or Install Google Analytics on any website or platform that includes WordPress, Shopify, Magento, Weebly, Wix, Drupal, etc.

Is Google Analytics Free?

Yes, the Google Analytics tool is totally free and you can use it on any website to track your website or mobile app performance.

How does Google Analytics work?

When you sign up for Google Analytics, it gives you a block of javascript code that needs to be added to your website. Whenever a visitor lands on your website, the script references a file in the javascript, which then passes the information to the Analytics dashboard.

How do I find my Google Analytics tracking code?

You can find your Google Analytics tracking code by following these steps

  1. Sign in to your Google Analytics Account
  2. Click on the Admin
  3. Select an account from the menu in the Google Analytics Account Column
  4. Select a property from the menu in Google Analytics Property Column
  5. Under the property column click on the Tracking Info and click on Tracking Code.

Which default traffic source dimensions does google analytics report for each website visitor?

Source and Medium are the two dimensions that Google Analytics reports for each website by default. An example to demonstrate is google/organic, here Google is the source, whereas organic traffic is the medium.

Which goals are available in Google Analytics?

There are a variety of goals you can create in Google Analytics. But the 4 major goals in Google Analytics are event, destination, duration, and pages per session. Each goal helps you identify different performance metrics of your website.

What does assigning a value to a google analytics goal enable?

Assigning a value to a goal enables you to see how often users complete specific actions and what value it provides for your business. For e.g. you can assign a monetary amount to the conversion this will help you gather data on overall conversion value in a day, month or year.

Google Analytics cannot collect data from which systems by default?

Google Analytics cannot collect offline inventory databases by default and that needs to be imported manually. You can use the Data Import feature in Google Analytics to upload data from external sources and combine that with Analytics data.

Can Google Analytics track social media?

Yes, Google Analytics can track your social media performance. There are 8 social analytics reports that can provide you with social media statistics of your business. This includes conversions data, overview reports, network referrals, and more.

You can easily view Social Media Traffic Analytics reports in the Acquisition > Social reporting section.

Conclusion

Google Analytics is a very useful tool for marketers, business owners, freelancers, content writers, and everyone part of the world wide web.

You can easily improve your marketing and SEO strategies by analyzing the Analytics reports to boost your website traffic. Google Analytics is also a very helpful tool for eCommerce websites and you can do wonders for your business with the power of data.

In this beginner’s guide to Google Analytics, we have explained each report in detail, along with how you can set up Google Analytics on your website. We have also talked about how to use Google Analytics and answered the most common questions related to using Analytics.

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