How To Set Up Google Analytics and Start Using It - Without the Overwhelm!Jan 18, 2022
Have you ever tried to set up Google Analytics and left the “room” swiftly?!
Or maybe you’ve braved the set-up process (or at least you think you have), but you’ve stared long and hard at the data and decided you have no idea what it’s telling you, so you decided to ignore it and label it too “bloody complicated” and one for the nerds!
Well, I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t be ignoring Google Analytics. It has TONNES of amazing information you can use to grow your business but, I totally get why you’re tempted to never look at it again.
So, today I’m going to show you how to set up Google Analytics and then I’ll show you what to look at, why and how to start using the info to grow your business without spiralling into overwhelm.
We’ll look at…
- What is Google Analytics?
- How does Google Analytics work?
- Universal Analytics (UA) vs Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
- How to set up Google Analytics.
- How to add your website to Google Analytics.
- What can Google Analytics tell you?
- Which Google Analytics Reports are most helpful in GA4 and why?
Ready to brave Google Analytics?
Good, let’s go!
First, what is Google Analytics?
At the most basic level, Google Analytics is a free tracking tool from Google that tracks and reports on traffic to your website and shows you how visitors use your website.
If you’re using Google Analytics, you can see exactly how many people have visited your website, where they’ve come from and what they’ve done when they visited.
How Does Google Analytics Work?
Once you’ve got Google Analytics set up properly, you’ll have embedded some special tracking code into your website (super easy, I promise!).
This code records all the activity of the visitors to your site and, once they’ve left, feeds the data back to the Google Analytics server.
Google Analytics then takes all the data and aggregates it all into a set of amazing reports.
Universal Analytics (UA) vs Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
Before we go any further, I want to talk to you about the difference between Google Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as they are VERY different.
So, Google rolled out GA4 in October 2020, and you’ll get a GA4 property if you set up a new account as it’s now the default property type in Google Analytics. (If this means nothing to you, don’t worry, I’ll explain properties in a minute).
GA4 is VERY different in terms of functionality from UA, and in this blog, I’m going to talk about analytics from a GA4 perspective as this will eventually replace UA.
However, it’s important to note that there are still quite a few places where you can’t use a GA4 property tracking code, notably Kajabi.
So, if you have a Kajabi site, you’ll need to add a UA Google Analytics ID when you’re integrating Analytics with your website.
Again, don’t worry, you can have both UA and GA4, and I’ll show you how to get them both set up next.
How To Set Up Google Analytics.
The first thing you’ll need to do is create a Google Analytics account, and then you need to add a tracking code to your website.
Ok. So you can do this.
Step One: Set Up A Google Analytics Account
I know you can set up a Google Analytics account.
Just go over here….https://analytics.google.com/ and either sign in or create an account by clicking on the Start for Free button.
Then, you need to add an account to your account!
Under the Admin tab, click on the Create Account tab and enter an account name.
Step Two: Add Your Property to Google Analytics
Now, you need to add your property, which is your website.
It’s the next step you’ll be prompted to take after creating your account.
On the property set-up page, give your property a name. The name of your business is probably the best thing, but you can call it whatever you like.
Then change your time zone and currency if you need to.
IMPORTANT! BEFORE YOU PRESS NEXT!!!!
CLICK ON SHOW ADVANCED OPTIONS
Then, click on Create a Universal Analytics property.
Enter your website URL and then choose the option to create both a Google Analytics 4 and a Universal Analytics property.
Once you’ve added that, you’ll get some more questions on your business, they’re all pretty self-explanatory, so click the ones that are right for you.
You’ll come to a screen asking you to set up a data stream to start collecting data.
Click on Web.
Fill in the details you’re asked for, and hey presto! You’ve got your web stream details.
But what are web stream details you might be asking, and why should you care?
Well, basically, you’ve just gone and created the channel for all the super helpful data to flow from your website to Google Analytics.
Now, you need to turn the tap on over on your website so the data can start flowing.
But, before we do that, I just want to give anyone who is already set up on Google Analytics and has a UA property some help to create a GA4 property.
It’s really easy, and Google set it out super simply for you, so just follow this link.
Step Three: Go and Find Your Google Analytics Tracking Code
To get the data flowing, you need to find and install your tracking code.
Tracking code tells Google who’s been visiting your website and what they’ve been up to whilst they’ve been there. Google packages all this data up for you and presents you with their analysis in a pile of amazing reports (which I’ll tell you about later).
In your account, you’ll now see 2 properties, click on your property settings, and you’ll find your tracking code.
If you're using Kajabi, you’ll need the tracking code starting with UA. If not, use your GA4 property tracking code.
Step Four: Integrate Your Website with Google Analytics
It’s fine. It’s easy. I promise (???) 😬
You go over to your website and add your tracking code to tell your site to start sending data to Google analytics.
BUT - depending on what you’ve built your website on, things can be a little different, so here are some links that show you how to add your tracking code to different platforms
What Can Google Analytics Tell You?
Well, I’m hoping you’re wondering what all the fuss was about and that you’re sitting there feeling quite smug now you’ve created your property and embedded the tracking code!
But listen, having a stream of data now flowing from your website to Google Analytics is great, but what are you going to do with it?
In short, Google Analytics can tell you almost anything you want to know about who’s visiting your website and what they’re getting up to while they’re there.
- Show you how your website and individual pages are performing.
- You can see if your marketing plan is working.
- You can see what visitors to your site are looking for, so you can create the content they want to see and products they want to buy.
- You can see what gender your customers are, how old they are, where they’re located geographically and even what device they use to access your website.
- And lots, lots more!
But, I doubt you’ve got the time or inclination to wade through reams of reports or create them yourself (just yet), so I’m going to tell you which are the most useful things to look at in Google Analytics 4, why and what you can do with the information you’ve now got at your fingertips.
Which Google Analytics Reports Are Most Helpful and Why?
Before we get stuck into running through the reports you’ve now got access to, it might be helpful for you to get set up with the Google Analytics demo account.
The demo account contains real business data and has 2 GA4 properties and 1 UA property so that you can see the difference between the two systems in terms of information.
Also, by using the demo account, you won’t come up against the issue of Google not having enough data from your own website to populate the reports.
For instructions on setting up a Google Analytics demo account, click on this link.
This blog will talk about the reports you can find in Google Analytics 4 (GA4), and you’ll find them listed out on the left-hand side of your Google Analytics account.
The Google Analytics Reports Snapshot
When you enter your account, the first thing you’ll see is the Google Analytics Reports Snapshot.
It’s an excellent summary of traffic to your website, users and the activity they’re undertaking while they’re visiting your site.
It’s a great report to look over to make sure everything’s in hand, and you’ve got nothing strange going on that needs your attention.
Your lifecycle reports help you understand how well your business is supporting the experience of your visitors.
And yes, each of the reports in this section is aligned to the customer lifecycle and the funnel they move through as they visit your website and then buy from you.
In this section, you’ll find reports on how well, or otherwise, your website is acquiring, engaging, monetising and retaining your visitors (or users).
You’ll be able to see all sorts of things like how your website users enter your sales funnel and how they behave once they’re in there.
Your acquisition report inside the Lifecycle Reports section shows how your users found your site.
Make sure you check out the Traffic Acquisition report.
The traffic acquisition report is especially useful and will show you things like whether your users came there organically through the search engines between the two systems or if they clicked on an ad. Maybe they come directly through a link in a piece of content, by a referral from another website or social media.
You’ll find all this information here, and it will be invaluable for you in tweaking current marketing campaigns or planning future ones.
A quick note on (Direct) / (None) as a traffic source
You might see that most of your traffic is coming from (Direct) / (None), which at first glance seems pretty meaningless, so let me take a moment to translate it for you.
All it means is that Google Analytics can’t find a specific entrance source for that user.
Basically, it can’t tell you how they ended up on your site but think of it as direct traffic.
Some reasons your visitors will be deemed (None) is that they’ve:
- Typed your URL directly into the browser
- Bookmarked your page and came over that way
- Clicked your link in a mobile app
- Come to your site from a non-web-based platform like a PDF
- Come through a link shortener (not all but some)
In GA4, you won’t find the Bounce Rate metric you see in UA. Instead, you’ll now see Engagement Rate.
This new metric is more helpful than bounce rate because it shows how your visitors engage with your website, rather than just showing how quickly they leave.
To have an "engaged" session, a visitor has to take one or more of these actions:
- Engage actively with your website for more than 10 seconds.
- Make two or more screen or page views.
- Fire a conversion event, which you can set up, and include things like making a purchase, subscribing to your lead magnet, entering your checkout etc.
Engagement rate is super helpful in understanding how people are using your site and what experience they’re having.
You can also see which marketing campaigns are working well for you. If you’re getting lots of traffic from a specific campaign, and they’re then going on to have a good engagement rate, you know you can rinse and repeat this campaign later in the year.
If you’re getting lots of traffic, but not much engagement, then you know you need to tweak your website or the content you’re directing them to.
This is where you can see the fruits of your labour and all the details on your sales from your website, any subscriptions programmes you have and any revenue from ads that you’re running.
Going back to the fact that these reports reflect your sales funnel, this report shows you if things are working and which part of your funnel is working best for you. You’ll also be able to see what parts of your funnel aren’t working so well, and you can make sure to go in and get them fixed.
So there you have it.
Your simple guide to getting set up on Google Analytics and how to start using it without all the overwhelm.
As you get more comfortable with Google Analytics, you’ll find your favourite reports, and you can even create your own bespoke reports that will give you amazing insight into your business.
Be brave, jump in and see what you can find out about your business.
What’s working for you?
What could you improve?
Let me know, or if you need any help getting set up, drop me a line!
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