What Is Google Analytics ?

Google Analytics is one of the most popular digital analytics software. It is Google’s free web analytics service that allows you to analyze in-depth detail about the visitors on your website. It provides valuable insights that can help you to shape the success strategy of your business.

Google Analytics is what they call a “freemium” service, meaning that small businesses can use the service without paying a monthly charge, but if you want more advanced features or the ability to do more with the service, there is a recurring fee.

You can sign in to your Analytics account from http://www.google.com/analytics. Click Sign in (at top right), and select Analytics. If you are already signed in to Google (e.g. you are signed in to your Gmail account), you’ll be taken directly to the Analytics user interface.

Google Analytics is not always easy to learn.

In fact, it’s so complicated that many people ignore it – a big mistake. If you spend an enormous portion of your day – every day – tweaking your website and optimizing it for search engines, visitors, and sales, then doesn’t it make sense to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck? How do you analyze what you’re doing?

The problem with Google Analytics is that it’s like learning a new sport such as surfing – when you first stand up on a surfboard you’re like “hooray I can surf now!” but then you realize getting beyond the basics of riding the whitewater is a steep learning curve. It’s very easy to log into Google Analytics and see what your traffic was for the past 30 days. It’s much more difficult to figure out how to analyze is by geo, traffic source, page category, etc.

Google Analytics is immensely powerful, and while there’s no substitute for logging in and spending time with it, the following resources will help get you up to speed faster.

Dive in and have fun.

1. Moz

Moz is perhaps the premier educator of the masses on inbound marketing and SEO that also sells software. Their dedication to educating us is unprecedented. On their blog, Kristi Hines walks you through a very detailed setup installation of Google Analytics. Kristi explains what it is and how to use it to your advantage. It is complete with relevant images that walk you through every aspect of Google Analytics from tracking tools to online store settings with your WordPress website. It is designed for the beginner who knows nothing about Google Analytics. It will take you for a complete novice to a power user in mere minutes.

2. Google Analytics Academy

Straight from Google themselves, Google Analytics Academy will walk you through a series of self-paced courses and lessons where you learn from the experts. You can test your knowledge and join the learning community in an interactive forum where you can learn from your peers. What better place to learn Google Analytics than from the authors themselves? Their courses include Google Tag Manager Fundamentals, Mobile App Analytics Fundamentals, E-Commerce Analytics: from Data to Decisions, Google Analytics Platform Principles, and Digital Analytics Fundamentals.

3. Google Analytics Training & Certification

Google takes it a step further with the Google Analytics Training and Certifications. Here they provide links to the Google Analytics Academy you see above, a setup checklist, a get started guide, a help center, and a testing center. With the addition of seminars and videos including intro, intermediate, and advanced courses, you may find a certified trainer in your area to learn in person.

4. Occam’s Razor with Avinash Kaushik

Avinash Kaushik is probably the best all around writer on Analytics. He is a Google Fellow, but isn’t promoting Google’s products all the time. He knows there are a lot of enterprise analytics systems out there that go beyond Google Analytics so he’s looking at the full spectrum. His secret sauce is his ability to take huge, monumental ideas and distill them down simply. He touches on all channels of digital marketing to analyze the effectiveness of all of them and point you in the right direction.

5. Analytics Talk

Analytics Talk has created their entire website around Google Analytics. They offer several informative blog posts to not only teach you about Google Analytics but to keep you up-to-date with anything new. To give you a sample of what they offer, their first three blog posts (at the time of this writing) were (1) Understanding the Google Analytics Cohort Report, (2) Using Off-Line and Online Data to Drive Google Analytics Remarketing, and (3) Understanding Cross Device Measurement and the UserID. All of these are blog posts designed to keep you at the forefront of what’s new with Google Analytics.