Google Analytics Guide for Beginners

by | May 6, 2018

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Google Analytics Guide

It starts with knowing what Google Analytics is?

Google Analytics is a free Web analytics service that provides statistics and basic analytical tools for search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing purposes. On its website, Google explains, “Google Analytics gives you the digital analytics tools you need to analyze data from all touchpoints in one place, for a deeper understanding of the customer experience. You can then share the insights that matter with your whole organization.”

The service is available to anyone with a Google account. Google bought Urchin Software Corporation in April 2005 and used that company’s Urchin on Demand product as the basis for its current service. Google Analytics is now the most widely used web analytics service on the Internet.

Website owners have created their accounts not only because it is free to use (and popular), but because it is reliable. You will get a treasure of information about your site, and Google has made this web analytics as simple as possible for you to get started.

How do Google Analytics works exactly?

Google analytics is a platform that collects data and compiles it into useful reports. To track a website you need to create Google Analytics account.

Google Analytics Setup

After clicking on Sign Up, you will need to enter some details like in the form below:

Google Analytics SignUp

Google Analytics is a software that is connected to your website through a piece of tracking code. After entering the details into your account, you will get a tracking code.  You need to add this small piece of JavaScript tracking code to each page of your website, a mobile app or blog that you want to track. This unique code is placed in the header area of the page of your website.

How does Google Analytics track data?

Google Analytics is currently the most powerful tool for analyzing website traffic: who is visiting, what they are looking for, and how they get there.

Every time a user visits a website, the tracking code will collect anonymous information about how that user interacted with the page. The code also sets a cookie on each visitor’s computer or device, which provides information to create user id.

Why do I need Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a tool used to measure visitors to your website. Tracking code will collect information from the browser like the device, the operating system, and the type of browser, the language of browser and many more dimensions. These dimensions are measured in a unit called as metrics. Dimensions and metrics make up every report in Google Analytics.

Traffic created on your website can also tracked by the tracking code. The traffic source may be by the search engine, the ad they clicked on, or a marketing campaign.

Google Analytics groups this activity into a period of time called as “session”. The session begins when a user visits the page with tracking code in a website. A session ends after 30 minutes of inactivity of user in a browser. If a user returns to a page after a session ends, a new session will start.

How Processing and Reporting is done?

When the tracking code collects data, it packages that information up and sends it to Google Analytics to be processed into reports. When Analytics processes data, it aggregates and organizes the data based on particular dimensions like whether a user’s device is mobile or desktop, or which browser they are using.

Once Analytics processes the data, it is stored in a database where it cannot be changed.

However, there are also configuration settings that allow you to customize how that data is processed. For example, you might want to apply a filter to make sure your data does not include any internal company traffic, or only includes data from a particular country or region that is important to your business.

What can you do with Google Analytics?

In short, Google Analytics helps you make decisions based on data. You can justify spending more on your advertising, discover where you should be advertising, and even determine what types of content you need to be putting out there.

Let me give you an overview of reports and data. Google Analytics categorizes data into following:

Google Analytics Categorizes

Real Time Reports

Real-Time allows you to monitor activity as it happens on your site or app. The reports are updated continuously and each hit is reported seconds after it occurs. Real-Time reports let you look at live user behavior on your website, including information like where your users are coming from and if they are converting.

Google Analytics Real Time Report

Audience Reports

Audiences in Google Analytics are users that you group together based on any combination of attributes that is meaningful to your business. Audience reports show you characteristics about your users like age and gender, where they are from, their interests, how engaged they were, whether they are new or returning users, and what technology they are using.

Google Analytics Audience

Acquisition Reports

Acquisition refers to how you get website traffic. Acquisition reports show you which channels (such as advertising or marketing campaigns) brought users to your site. This could include different marketing channels such as:

Google Analytics Acquisition

  • Organic
  • CPC (cost per click)
  • Referral (traffic that comes from another website)
  • Social (from a social network)
  • Other (a group of low volume traffic sources)

Behavior Reports

Google Analytics Behavior

Behavior reports show how people engaged on your site including which pages they viewed, and their landing and exit pages. With additional implementation, you can even track what your users searched for on your site and whether they interacted with specific elements.

Conversion Reports

Google Analytics Conversions

Conversion reports allow you to track website goals based on your business objectives. It is all about understanding how people convert on your website, which is essential to improving your conversion rate.

Note: Read How Google Analytics Event Tracking Work?


The Admin section contains all of your Google Analytics settings such as user permissions, tracking code, view settings, and filters.

The benefits of using Google Analytics

  • It is completely free of charge.
  • Monitor the traffic to your website
  • Able to fine-tune your website.
  • Track Website Conversions
  • Able to identify which pages and links your visitors click the most.
  • Examine Facts Rather Than Assumptions
  • Visitor Segmentation
  • Able to find out how your visitors locate your website.

Every marketing campaign on the Internet needs to be tracked in order to make it successful. After planning and implementation, tracking tools are necessary so as to calculate the ROI of a particular campaign.

Related: What’s New in Google Analytics 4?

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