Discovering Google Analytics

A good friend of mine suggested to start a study group on learning Google Analytics, and I’ve always wanted to learn more about it so it’s a no brainer we started this week.  The purpose of forming a study group is to keep each other motivated and also ask questions on how you’d use it in real life to drive decisions.  The tool itself is capable of so much but it’s not very useful if you’re not using it to make decisons.

After watching the above it’s can still be a bit overwhelming with the vast amount of concepts in GA.  As I was going to create a mindmap to pull the concepts together, I did a search and thankfully Andy Wibbels has already put one together for sharing: Google Analytics Cheatsheet.

Google provides a series of online courses which makes a great starting place to learn.  Both of us quickly discovered that the voices on the videos are fairly mundane and the written language are geared towards nerds and are tricky to decipher at times. Also the videos were not updated to reflect the latest version of GA, so it was difficult to locate the concepts on the video in the new GA interface.

However that did not deter us from learning GA. Landing pages and entrance paths provide to insights on how effective were the pages designed to drive traffic to your destination. You may discover new relationships on entrances paths to your destination, and improve on what worked and what didn’t.

For an absolute n00b like myself, it is important to understand GA’s language in layman’s terms:

Impressions – The number of times any URL from your site appeared in search results viewed by a user, not including paid AdWords search impressions

Dimensions – Think of these as being column titles on reports

Metrics – Any thing that is measured in GA

Conversion – when a goal is completed, then the visitor is ‘converted’

Goal – A quantifiable action on your website that indicates a success.  ie purchase something. There are 4 types:

  • URL Destination
  • Time on Site
  • Pages/Visit
  • Event Goal

Direct Traffic – when someone types your site’s URL and come into your website

Referral Traffic – when someone clicks on the link to your site that’s not from a search engine and not a page within your site

Search Engine Traffic – referring site is a search engine

Organic vs Paid Searches – Organic essentially means not paid.

And Here are the tricky-er ones:

Bounce Rate – The percentage when someone starts at Page A and exits Page A right away

Exit Rate – The percentage when someone exits from Page A. Doesn’t matter if they started at Page A or not

Time on page – Better to watch the video than to explain it.

This is it for now… I’ll come back and add more definitions as I get further along in the adventures of GA land!

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