Google Analytics

[Analytics Series] Setting up your Google Analytics dashboard

To help you use your analytics data better, we decided to present a series where we dive into the different parts of your web analytics dashboard. Whichever tool you use, we'll talk about it.

In this space, we have been talking a lot about data driven growth. We have spoken about how analytics needs to be more than just charts and figures. We have talked about the importance of goals for businesses of all kinds. In short, we have talked a lot - and all of it has been focused on your growth.

Irrespective of how we feel about Google Analytics, it doesn’t change the fact that it is one of the most used tools for businesses all over the world. And that is a fact that isn’t going to change any time soon. And while our product is a web analytics and growth insights engine designed to replace Google Analytics for you, our business isn’t just that. Our business is defined by our long term goal - to enable more and more businesses achieve growth. Better, faster, easier.

So it doesn’t matter whether you, as a business, use our product or not, we make an effort every day to help you with your growth objectives. To that end, we thought it was prudent to talk a bit about the analytics dashboard.

Whether you are using our in-house rich, insightful analytics product, or Google Analytics, or any of the other alternatives that exist today (Adobe Analytics, Cloudflare analytics etc.), you are face to face with an analytics dashboard every single day. Let us help you navigate through it better.

Why we felt the need to write about it?

Because most Analytics dashboards, Google Analytics in particular, are complicated and not at all user friendly. So much so that if you search for “How to xxxx in Google Analytics”, you will be met with more than 400 million results. The system is so complicated that it has led to the emergence of a section that is capitalising by teaching people how to use Google Analytics. And Google is aware of this as well. Why else do you think the whole Google Analytics Academy exists?

Google Analytics for beginners screengrab

Let us take them one by one. Today, we will start talking about GA.

The complications start right at the setup process. Google Analytics offers hierarchies to “help” you keep your analytics “organized”. You can have 100 Google Analytics accounts under your Google account, and each of those GA accounts can have 50 website properties. Oh, and each of those website properties (which is 5,000 in case, like us, you have lost track) can have 25 views.

Let me ask you this. When you are adding a new website, do you create a GA account, a website property or set up a view? What is the right thing to do?

Complicado

All this time and I still haven’t been able to figure out why was it needed to make it so complicated to get started, and that too in the name of making it simple.

Anyway, don’t worry about this at all. There is no right or wrong way to set up your website(s) at this stage. You can have separate Google Analytics accounts for all your businesses and blogs, where each Analytics account contains just one website property. Or, you can have them all in one single Analytics account. It doesn’t really make much of a difference.

What you do need to remember though is that once you have set it up, it is pretty much set in stone. You can’t move a website (property) from one Analytics account to another without losing all historical data. Which is absurdly weird, if you ask us.

Once you have completed these processes, you would be getting a tracking code that needs to be added to your website’s html. Whether you run a shopify store, a wordpress blog, or any other tool/platform, this process is simple enough and has ample of online documentation to help you do it in minutes.

Let’s say you have a Gatsby website. Adding the tracking code is as simple as a google search “Gatsby + installing google analytics”

Adding google analytics to gatsby

Almost all platforms have a documentation page on how to add analytics to your website, so it would be pretty easy to complete this step. (But in case you struggle with any platform, let us know and we’ll help you out.)

What is the first thing you do once you are all set up?

Goals, my friend. Goals! Your website need to have a purpose in life, just like any one of us, and that is where Goals come into the frame.

We talked about the importance of Goals to businesses earlier; let us add a bit more to that.

If you want to generate leads for your website, your goal could be completion of the lead generation form.

If you are offering a free-download, it could be the downloads of that file.

If you are selling a product, your goal could be successful transaction.

And so on.

For the sake of simplicity, we are just keeping it limited to one goal for each of these examples, but as you would recall from our last story, we always recommend breaking down each goal into smaller sub-goals.

For example, if you are selling the product, your goal should be : (1) Checking out product details, (2) Adding product to the cart, (3) Initiation of checkout process, and (4) Successful transaction.

At the very least, you should have at least two - checking out the product and successful transaction.

  1. Adding goals just helps you stay updated on the performance of your objectives. Breaking down your goals into sub-goals helps you improve the performance of your goal funnels.
  2. Most platforms (Google Analytics included) have a limit on the number of Goals you can set up. For example, Google Analytics allows you to have up to 20 goals. Benne doesn’t have this limitation on its Growth Plan. We understand the importance Goals plays in growing your business, and as such we encourage and facilitate creation, measurement and analysis of as many goals and funnels as your business needs.
  3. The simplest way to measure performance of goals is by having custom destinations. For example, in each of the steps in our product-sales example above, each of those pages are unique, and a part of that flow process. So measuring the performance of those goals becomes as simple as measuring the performance of those destination pages. (However, Benne does offer a number of other customisations to measure goal performance in a more robust way.)

Setting up search measurements

Your organic visitors come to your website performing a web search. But even when they are on your website, they could be performing search queries looking for particular information about your product/service.

We talked about Gatsby site earlier. If I am considering using Gatsby to set up my next website, I could have a lot of questions regarding the product and its capabilities, and once I am already on their website, I could be simply using their search box to find answer to those queries. Your visitors would be performing similar actions on your website, if you let them. You should measure these searches.

Keeping an eye on the searches on your website helps you in a number of ways. It will help you understand the psyche of your customers, thus helping you create better performing landing pages. It will also help you understand some of the most frequent questions popping up in their heads. This insight will help you in figuring out what needs to go into your product and/or support documentation, as well as seed ideas for content marketing.

It is an invaluable aspect of traffic measurement that many businesses often ignore. You shouldn’t.

Just like goals, you can set up site search measurements by defining the destination of site searches. Most systems, when displaying results of a search query will output the results with some parameters attached. To keep things simple, these parameters are what you can use to set up your search destination.

Benne has site search measurement enabled on all customer websites, by default. While you would have the option to turn it off, we strongly recommend keeping it on to get rich insights about your consumers and their browsing behavior. And we do all of it while respecting your visitors’ privacy. We do not store or even track your visitors’ personal information, and we do not track their IP addresses or any identifying markers.

And with that your GA dashboard is ready. Now that the basic set up is done, you will start receiving your web traffic in your dashboard. Tomorrow, we will start looking at different parts of that dashboard, and help you dissect each component with a focus on growth.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.

Cheers

Abhishek

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