A good grasp of Google analytics is an integral part of any digital marketer’s arsenal.
While we can’t teach you the finer points of it in a single blog post, we thought we’d share a few handy hints, tips and tricks that – like any good weapon – are powerful and yet very easy to use.
1. Customise Your Dashboard:
You don’t have to stick with the default dashboard on Analytics, in fact, there are many different variations that you can choose from and customise.
Being able to customise your dashboard allows you to highlight the information that’s most important to you, and make sure that you see the most important metrics without having to click through to them each time. Anyone spending a lot of time on Google Analytics can make their lives easier by tweaking a few things on their dashboard.
How To Customise Your Analytics Dashboard:
- Click into your desired view
- Click on “Dashboards” (on the left hand side). Here you will see the default template and any other templates that you have already created.
- Click the option for “New Dashboard”
- Once you do, you will be faced with a popup asking if you want to use ‘starter dashboard’ or ‘blank canvas’:
- If you want to start from scratch then choose “Blank Canvas”.
- If you want a default template that you can then tweak, select the “Starter Dashboard” option and to go from there.
- You can create a maximum of 20 dashboards at any given time, and you can use them to display the things that mean the most to you, the things that you need to monitor.
2. Use Annotations:
The GA annotation tool is basically a real-time notepad, allowing you to make quick notes about changes and events that may impact performance related to a certain time or date.
For example, if we upload a new page, launch a new PPC campaign or even just post a new blog post, we annotate the the date it went live. This allows us to link any spikes and drops in traffic to a corresponding event, which we may not have been able to remember offhand.
This is just one of the many ways to use annotations – it’s really up to you.
How To Make An Annotation:
- Click into your desired report
- You’ll notice that all graphs and reports on GA have a small arrow underneath them.
- Click on the arrow to expose the drop down.
- Click on “Create new annotation” (on the right hand side of your page)
- Now you can simply choose the date and add your notes.
3. Set Up Alerts/Intelligence Events:
Google Analytics will alert you via text or email when certain things happen on your website. You define when they are initiated and how you receive them. This often overlooked but powerful feature is really useful for those who want to keep a close eye on certain metrics.
For example, you may want to be alerted when your traffic drops below a certain threshold (this may indicate an issue with your site), or you may want to be alerted every time a new customer converts (a little something to brighten up your day) Whatever you choose, Google Analytics will send these alerts to you in real-time.
How To Set Up Alerts/Intelligence Events:
- Click into the “Admin” screen on the right of the top toolbar
- Select the profile you want to create the alert for
- Click “Custom Alerts” under the ‘view’ section
- Click the red button that says “+ new alert”
- Here you’ll be able to set up and choose the exact conditions for your GA alert.
4. Exclude Yourself/Your Team:
You and your team will probably be spending a lot of time on the website/s you track in Google Analytics. Obviously, this data can skew your overall statistics, especially if your site is relatively new or you’re not getting a lot of traffic. To prevent this from happening, you’ll want to stop Google Analytics from tracking you/your team.
How To Exclude Yourself/Your Team:
- Select the “Admin” tab and navigate to the account in which you want to create the filter.
- In the “Account” column, click “All Filters”
- Click “+ New Filter”
- Select ‘Predefined filter’ from the options that follow
- Select ‘Exclude’ from the list
- Choose the source or destination you’d like to exclude (like your IP address)
- Select ‘That are equal to’
- Enter your/your office’s IP address
- Click Save
Your own movements will now be excluded from the results in analytics. Hurrah. This filter can also be used to block traffic from hostnames, subdomains or visitors from a certain location or a certain ISP.
5. Adding custom segments:
In analytics creating a custom segment allows you to focus on a piece of your traffic and user stats. For example, you may want to only focus on traffic from a particular country or city, or perhaps only people who have previously converted on your website.
Looking at these focused segments will give you a better idea of how each specific group acts on your website.
How To Add A Custom Segment:
- Login to Google Analytics and select your preferred view.
- You will land on the Audience Overview report, from there click on the ‘All Results’ segment, which is above the displayed graph.
- Here you can create a new segment custom to your business, or you can import segments from the gallery which other users have created.
While simple, these Google Analytics Tricks will help you to become more aware of the traffic and day-to-day occurrences on your site. You may not become a guru overnight, but when it comes to mastering analytics, every small tip is a new trick to add to your toolbox.
P.S If becoming a guru overnight sounds like something you’d be interested in, speak to us about a Google Analytics training session for you and your team.
Tags: google analytics, google analytics code, google analytics dashboard, google analytics report, google tracking
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