Introduction to Google Analytics

What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is a web analytics tool developed by Google that helps you analyze your website traffic and overall performance. With Google Analytics, you can track return on Investment (ROI) for your online marketing activities, build custom reports, setup goal tracking and so much more.

You can sort your website visitors with multiple dimensions like where they came from, what device they are using and so on and with metric like what page they clicked on and what item they have added to their cart etc.

Dimensions are attributes of your data. For example, the dimension City indicates the city, for example, "Prague" or "Warsaw", from which a session originates. The dimension Page indicates the URL of a page that is viewed.

Metrics are quantitative measurements. The metric Sessions is the total number of sessions. The metric Pages/Session is the average number of pages viewed per session.
How does Google Analytics work?
Google Analytics tracks all this data with a unique tracking code that you install on every page of your website. This small snippet code runs in viewers' browser when they visit these pages and triggers on certain events pre-set or custom-set in your Google Analytics dashboard.
How to Set up Google Analytics?
The installation process is simple and intuitive. In order to create a Google Analytics account you would need to create or use your Google account. Once you create or login an account you would need to follow these simple steps:

  • While being logged in into your Gmail account proceed to this website page
  • Click "Set up for Free" and fill in the "Account Name"
  • Proceed to the next page and select "Web" as in this case we will be setting up Google Analytics for the website
  • Proceed to the next page and fill in the Form. Its intuitive and does not require additional explanation
  • Proceed to the next page by clicking "Create" and accept Terms of Use. You then will be presented with a unique tracking code that you would need to install on every page of your website.
  • In order for Google Analytics to function and be able to report you would need to install in on every page of your website. Simply copy and paste the code to the header of your website. Make sure that the code fully lies within <head> Insert here </head> section.
That is it your Google Analytics account is installed.
What are Conversions?
A conversion takes place when a visitor to a website takes an action you care about and "converts" from a visitor to a customer. This could be anything such as filling out a form, purchasing a product or showing a high level of engagement with your website.
    Tracking Conversions with Google Analytics
    Goal tracking in Google Analytics is done with goals. Such goals can be defined in Admin > Goals section as seen on the image below.
      There are countless amounts of goals that can be specified in Google Analytics but today we will configure the most basic one, which can be performed without any 3rd party tool. In this case, in particular we will track session duration of 30 seconds meaning Google Analytics will track session duration of every website visitor and collect how many visitors spent exactly 30 seconds on your website. In order to do that you need to click on Goals > New Goal. Once clicked you will see a multitude of pre-set options to choose from but we will be using a custom goal, thus we will choose Custom option in the bottom and click Continue.

      In the next menu, you would need to choose a name for your goal, so that you can easily understand the meaning behind it. In Type you need to choose what type of a goal is this. In this case we want to track Session Duration, thus we will choose Duration option.
      In the last menu, we need to specify the exact session duration that we want to track and in our case its 30 seconds.
      Once you click "Save" you are all set. Well done!

      This is the most basic goal that you can setup but there are way more difficult goals out there that may be essential for your business. If you want to track more difficult goals in your Google Analytics Dashboard than Google Tag Manager is the way to do it. You may monitor your goals and their completion rate via the main dashboard at the bottom of the page.
      Introduction to Multi-Channel View
      When a conversion takes place in Google Analytics, it is attributed to the last session / source that brought the visitor to the site when that conversion took place. A visitor will often take varying source paths across multiple visits before buying your product or filling out your lead form. Google Analytics analyzes the past visits that took place and if the visitor did not convert, it counts this visit and associated traffic source data (source, medium, keyword, etc) as a potential assist/interaction that may lead to a conversion. If the conversion takes place, then the Multi-Channel Funnel reports will show these interactions (first-click source and everything in between) for up to a 30 day window. This is important to repeat that the conversion window will report on a 30-day history.
        Attribution modeling in Multi-Channel Funnel
        An attribution model is the rule, or set of rules, that determines how credit for sales and conversions is assigned to touchpoints in conversion paths. For example, the Last Interaction model in Analytics assigns 100% credit to the final touchpoints (clicks etc.) that immediately precede sales or conversions. In contrast, the First Interaction model assigns 100% credit to touchpoints that initiate conversion paths.
          Attribution modeling example
          A customer finds your site by clicking one of your Google Ads ads. She returns one week later by clicking over from a social network. That same day, she comes back a third time via one of your email campaigns, and a few hours later, she returns directly and makes a purchase.

          • In the Last Interaction attribution model, the last touchpoint—in this case, the Direct channel—would receive 100% of the credit for the sale
          • In the Last Non-Direct Click attribution model, all direct traffic is ignored, and 100% of the credit for the sale goes to the last channel that the customer clicked through from before converting—in this case, the Email channel
          • In the Last Google Ads Click attribution model, the last Google Ads click—in this case, the first and only click to the Paid Search channel —would receive 100% of the credit for the sale
          • In the First Interaction attribution model, the first touchpoint—in this case, the Paid Search channel—would receive 100% of the credit for the sale
          • In the Linear attribution model, each touchpoint in the conversion path—in this case the Paid Search, Social Network, Email, and Direct channels—would share equal credit (25% each) for the sale
          • In the Time Decay attribution model, the touchpoints closest in time to the sale or conversion get most of the credit. In this particular sale, the Direct and Email channels would receive the most credit because the customer interacted with them within a few hours of conversion. The Social Network channel would receive less credit than either the Direct or Email channels. Since the Paid Search interaction occurred one week earlier, this channel would receive significantly less credit
          • In the Position Based attribution model, 40% credit is assigned to each the first and last interaction, and the remaining 20% credit is distributed evenly to the middle interactions. In this example, the Paid Search and Direct channels would each receive 40% credit, while the Social Network and Email channels would each receive 10% credit

          Now let's take a closer look at Multi-Channel Funnel Report variations and what are they used for.
          Overview Report
          In this Report you will see a full recap of total conversions and assisted conversions. Assisted Conversions are defined by two or more website visits before a visitor is converted into a customer. On the Multi-Channel Funnel Overview report, you'll find a recap of total conversions and assisted conversions. Assisted conversions are defined as conversions that required two or more visits to your site before the visitor converted. This report also shows a Multi-Channel Mix of diagrams that allows for selection of channel combinations and view intersection of that data.
            Assisted Conversions Report
            In Assisted Conversions report, you will find how many conversions were assisted by each channel individually and the overall value for those conversions.

            Assisted conversion is the number (and monetary value) of sales and conversions the channel assisted. If a channel appears anywhere except as the final interaction on a conversion path, it is considered an assist for that exact conversion. The higher these numbers get, the more important the assist role of the channel was. To put it in simple words, assisted conversions are the interactions that a customer has with a website leading up to a conversion, but not the final interaction. These Assists are assigned a value based on the transaction they contributed to in order to help assign value to their contribution. It is also important to note that Assisted Conversions values can be higher than total Conversion.

            The major takeaway from this is simply that assisted conversions are not a 100% accurate depiction of transactions because values can be attributed to multiple channels for the same transaction. The values are meant to help determine the significance of each channels contribution, not necessarily an accurate picture of sales numbers.
              Why is this important?
              In online commerce, most users do not purchase the product on their first visit to a website, as they tend to compare the results and look for the best price / offer before they make the purchase. The problem here is that there may be channels that contribute significantly to a successful purchase but they are not accounted for that with the regular conversion numbers. Assisted conversions help develop the big picture and visualize how customers are finding websites and products they end up purchasing.
                Top Conversion Paths Report
                The Top Conversion Path report will show you popular referral paths and the overall amount of times a user interacted with each channel individually (or touchpoint) before converting on your website. It is a very useful report that gives users insights on your company's conversion path and the behavior associated with the conversion, which will help you effectively market across channels.

                If you proceed to Top Conversion Path report you can look at all your potential conversions paths. For example, you may search for "Display" and report will tell your where exactly a conversion on the given keyword happens at an impression standpoint. In simple words, it means how many people saw a display ad and clicked the ad and later came back to the website converted.

                With this report you can simply filter the report by campaign if you want to see more information on your traffic source, thus compare your Display and Organic channels and how they overlap each other to better understand the effectiveness of each channel.
                  Time Lag Report
                  This report shows the amount of conversions that resulted from conversion paths that were multiple days in lengths. Understanding your customers' behavior can help you determine which attribution model you should be using for your paid advertising.
                    Path Length Report
                    The Path Length report will help you understand how long it usually takes for a random visitor convert on your website to a customer. For example, if a user viewed or clicked on your ads three times before converting, that conversion is included among conversions with three interactions. (An impression followed by a click is counted as two separate interactions. Clicks on click trackers and Search Ads 360 are also counted as interactions. This report is usually misused, however it is just as important as any other in this category as it helps run better campaigns.
                      Model Comparison Tool
                      An attribution model is a certain set of rules that is used to determine how credit for conversions should be attributed across different traffic channels. This tool is used to compare different attribution models to each other. Understand your typical life cycle and what a customer journey looks like and apply different Attribution Models to see if you can spot huge differences between the models.

                      Hopefully this short guide will help you better understand the basics of Google Analytics and how you can use it to your advantage.
                        Roman Pilipenko
                        Marketing manager of Meazy
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