Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic, currently as a platform inside the Google Marketing Platform brand. Google launched the service in November 2005.

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic, currently as a platform inside the Google Marketing Platform brand. Google launched the service in November 2005.

As of 2019, Google Analytics was the most widely used web analytics service on the web  Google Analytics provides an SDK that allows gathering usage data from ISO  and Android app, known as Google Analytics for Mobile Apps. Google Analytics can be blocked by browsers, browser extensions, and firewalls.

Google analytics is used to track website activity such as session duration, pages per session, bounce rate, etc. of individuals using the site, along with the information on the source of the traffic. It can be integrated with Google Ads, with which users can create and review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). Goals might include sales, lead generation, viewing a specific page, or downloading a particular file  Google Analytics’ approach is to show high-level, dashboard-type data for the casual user, and more in-depth data further into the report set. Google Analytics analysis can identify poorly performing pages with techniques such as funnel visualization, where visitors came from (referrers), how long they stayed on the website and their geographical position. It also provides more advanced features, including custom visitor segmentation. Google Analytics] e-commerce reporting can track sales activity and performance. The e-commerce reports show a site’s transactions, revenue, and many other commerce-related metrics.

What kind of data is available on Google Analytics, and what can you do with them?

P.S. I realized the way I explained this in the video is not very clear, so I elaborated further here in this section.

There are two types of data that you can collect in Google Analytics:

  1. User Acquisition Data: data about your users before they visit your website
  2. User Behavior Data: data about your users when they visit your website

(1) User Acquisition Data

Before users visit your website: you can access data about your user demographics before they visit your website (e.g. their age, gender, and interests). You can also get data about where they are coming from, whether that’s Facebook, other websites, or Google search. I call these data “user acquisition data” because they can help you figure out which user group and channels to target.

These characteristics of your web visitors, such as what media channel they frequent and their demographic information, are intrinsic to the users themselves. You really cannot do much to change these attributes.

Luckily, the internet is huge, so even though you cannot change these intrinsic characteristics of your visitors, you can choose specific user groups on the internet who have the characteristics you want to target. You can attract more of them to come to your site by running targeted ads through Facebook, Google, and other advertising platforms. Your user acquisition data can serve as the guiding compass to direct your digital marketing strategy and activities.

(2) User Behavior Data

The second group of data is “user behavior” data, which are collected during a user’s session on your website. “User behavior” data include:

  • how long a user stayed on your website
  • what is their first and last page on your website
  • the most common “pathway” through which they go through your website

Now unlike “user acquisition” data, “user behavior” data can be easily changed by the changes you make to your website. The key here is to use various analyses to identify the pages where your users get “stuck.” You can then smooth out their user experience on these problem pages so users can move seamlessly toward converting to paying customers with minimal friction.

“User behavior” data can serve as a guide for you to improve your website so more of your users end up converting, whether that means making a purchase on your website, or signing up for your newsletter.

On September 29, 2011, Google Analytics launched Real-Time analytics, enabling a user to have insight about visitors currently on the site. A user can have 100 site profiles. Each profile generally corresponds to one website. It is limited to sites that have the traffic of fewer than 5 million page views per month (roughly 2 page views per second) unless the site is linked to a Google Ads campaign  Google Analytics includes Google Website Optimizer, rebranded as Google Analytics Content Experiments. Google Analytics’ Cohort analysis helps in understanding the behaviour of component groups of users apart from your user population. It is beneficial to marketers and analysts for the successful implementation of a marketing strategy.

Due to its ubiquity, Google Analytics raises some privacy concerns. Whenever someone visits a website that uses Google Analytics, Google tracks that visit via the users’ IP address in order to determine the user’s approximate geographic location. To meet German legal requirements, Google Analytics can anonymize the IP address. Google has also released a browser plugin that turns off data about a page visit being sent to Google, however, this browser extension is not available for mobile browsers. Since this plug-in is produced and distributed by Google itself, it has met much discussion and criticism. Furthermore, the realization of Google scripts tracking user behaviors has spawned the production of multiple, often open-source, browser plug-ins to reject tracking cookies.  These plug-ins allow users to block Google Analytics and similar sites from tracking their activities. However, partially because of new European privacy laws, most modern browsers allow users to reject tracking cookies, though Flash cookies can be a separate problem.

It has been anecdotally reported that errors can occur behind proxy servers and multiple firewalls, changing timestamps and registering invalid searches. Webmasters who seek to mitigate Google Analytics’ specific privacy issues can employ a number of alternatives having their backends hosted on their own machines. Until its discontinuation, an example of such a product was Urchin WebAnalytics Software from Google itself. On January 20, 2015, the Associated Press reported that HealthCare. gov was providing access to enrollees’ personal data to private companies that specialized in advertising, mentioning Google Analytics specifically.

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