Google Analytics is the primary resource for providing website metrics to help you gain insight into your online success. There’s no doubt that tracking your web traffic can have an invaluable effect on your marketing strategy and on your knowledge of your customers, clients, donors, or supporters. Who is looking at your page? How are they getting there? Once they arrive, how long do they stay? The “new” Google Analytics has been released to all users, offering several new features that can revolutionize the way you analyze your online presence. If you’re familiar with using Google Analytics at this point, brace yourself for a whole new analytics experience.
1. Real Time
Google now lets you see what’s happening on your site exactly as it happens. Real time insights measure how many visitors are on your site at a given moment, how they found it, and how long they stay for. This is a great way to measure social media impact as it is happening. When you send out a tweet with a link to your site or blog post, hopefully you’ll see a spike in the amount of visitors for a certain time period after the tweet was published. Real time can help you learn what types of content are helping drive traffic to your site, exactly while the content is being published.
2. Multi-Channel Funnels
Previously, Google Analytics gave you information about the last link a visitor clicked before making a “conversion.” A conversion is any final goal that you want a visitor on your website to achieve, whether that be making a purchase, landing on a certain page, or a visitor clicking the “donate now” button. In reality, visitors are driven towards that final “conversion” through various channels, not just one. Multi-channel funnels let you see every step that leads to a conversion. Maybe you sent out an email blast, which led someone to organically search your organization by typing it into a search engine, which in turn led them to watch your YouTube channel, and then finally to the “donate now” button. Check out this video from Google to learn more about how multi-channel funnels work!
3. Flow Visualization
Ever wondered how people navigate through your website? Which pages do they click on first, and where do those first few clicks eventually lead them? The newly designed Flow Visualization tool gives you a streamlined view of the way traffic actually flows on your website and how it compares with how you want visitors to use your website. This can provide insight into which pages you should invest more time and thought. Have you been considering a redesign of your website? Spend some time with this tool to figure out what type of layout will yield the best results for your online goals.
4. Customizable Dashboards
On the old Google Analytics, you were provided with one permanent dashboard that presented your information. That dashboard is now 100% customizable, letting you create up to 20 modules to your profile, choosing from metrics, pie charts, timelines or tables to measure whatever information is most relevant and helpful to your organization. Make the dashboard your own with metrics and modules that matter most to you.
What do all of these high-tech capabilities mean to you? Knowledge, control, insight, ideas—just to name a few. You now have the opportunity to more effectively monitor your online presence, in a way that is customizable to your organization. Highlight the information that is imperative to you, and filter out the information that is not while figuring out what channels are giving you the greatest return. Optimize your website so that people see exactly what you want them to see.
The most important facet of mastering Google Analytics is taking it one step at a time. With all of these resources at your fingertips, it might get overwhelming. Spend time learning the basics, and check out the various blog posts and YouTube video tutorials that Google produces solely to make your Analytics experience as easy as possible. Don’t stress about checking back every day. Set up a schedule that makes the most sense for your organization and check your analytics weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly.
Knowledge is power, and now you can have all of your website knowledge thanks to Google at the click of a mouse.