Are you rockin’ Google’s new Universal Analytics?
Even Yoast (creator of my favorite WordPress Analytics plugin) finally supports Universal Analytics, so there’s no excuse. Universal Analytics provide access to enhanced analytics (especially about visitors to your website) and, it’s easy to add to your website or convert from Classic Analytics.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for upgrading your Google account to Universal Analytics.
Google Universal Analytics
1. Create an account
If you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, you’ll need a gmail account. Then simply navigate to the site and click the “Access Analytics” button in the upper right. You’ll get a screen like the one above.
In the upper right corner, select the gmail account you’ll associate with Google Analytics (if you have multiple gmail accounts select the one you want to use from the drop down list or add a new one), then select the “sign up” button.
2. Completing your Analytics account
Answer the questions about your website or mobile app. Google automatically defaults to the new Universal Analytics tracking code.
Finally, select the “get tracking id” at the bottom of the screen.
Converting to Universal Analytics from Classic Analytics
More likely, you’re converting from the existing tracking code (now dubbed Classic Analytics) to the Universal Analytics code.
In that case, skip the previous steps and navigate to the admin option from the menu bar of your Google Analytics account and you’ll see something like this:
Select the proper account, property name, and all website data using drop-down menus. Now select the “property settings” link and click the button next to enable demographics and interest reports, which will now change to blue and say ON.
Behind the scene, this selection makes a small change in your tracking code that allows Google Analytics to provide additional information about site visitors. So, you’ll need to copy and paste the new tracking code in the head section like you did before unless using a plugin like WordPress SEO (which is SO much easier).
While you’re here anyway, it’s a good time to tidy up your analytics account, connect your AdWords and Webmaster Tools, and set up goals, but that’s a post for another day.
That’s it! You should be all set to get enhanced analytics from Google’s Universal Analytics.
Now, the bigger question is:
How to get the most from Universal Analytics
I’m glad you asked.
Getting the most from Google’s Universal Analytics
I’m sure you access your analytics report every day, but don’t stop at monitoring high-level information such as # visitors, bounce rate, and time on site. Sure, this stuff is important, but, with Universal Analytics, you’re now getting some great stuff you can use to optimize your content to make it convert like crazy.
Let’s start with a little example of using Google’s demographic and interest reports — which you’ll find under the AUDIENCE tab on the left sidebar.
Here’s what a report looks like:
Sorry, Google’s charts aren’t very attractive. Visualization is really important for interpretation.
I usually export the data to an excel spreadsheet then pretty it up with contrasting colors to make it more appealing and instantly interpretable by my clients.
Interpreting this data, we find slightly more visitors to the site are female and most are under 34. Demographics suggest a certain slant to my content marketing to increase visits among this group that already likes the content.
So, I might use examples that fall within this age group or use more female pronouns or examples in my content. If I were an ecommerce site, I might use younger, female models and feature products preferred by this group.
But, just because these folks visit my site in larger numbers doesn’t necessarily make them more important.
And, Google gives me a way to determine which visitor groups have the largest impact on ROI. If I have goals set, I can plot demographics by conversion rate. If I don’t have specific goals, I can plot valuable behaviors such as time on site or # pageviews/ visit (since these are important in the Google ranking algorithm).
Now my chart looks more like this:
Notice, older demographic groups become equally important as there’s no real distinction between the # of pages viewed between different demographic groups. Without this information, I would have tweaked my content strategy to appeal to a younger demographic and might have lost the stickiness provided by older visitors.
Playing around a little, I found another important difference based on age that only showed up when I plotted visits over time.
I’d always known my visits dip over the weekend (Fri, Sat, and Sun). With Universal Analytics, I now see that much of this dip comes from visitors over 45 and that visits from younger demographic groups is affected less by the day of the week – notice the purple and yellow disappear in the weekend dips.
Knowledge is power. Knowing that consumers over 45 disappear over the weekend, leaving younger consumers, provides opportunities. I can focus content marketing on younger consumers over the weekend or implement a promotion on the weekend that keeps older consumers visiting the site.
I have options I didn’t even know existed.
Universal analytics: Interest reports
Here’s what my interest report looks like:
Again, I have options based in this information that provide opportunities to explode my ROI.
Adding goals and plotting based on reaching these goals further expands your opportunities to explode ROI.
Setting up cross tabulations
Google Analytics allows you to create cross tabulations of your data based on 2 different variables. Hence, you can select a secondary dimension. Your chart might look something like this if you plot gender with age:
The arrow in this diagram points to 25-34 year old women, while the blue one next to it shows 18-24 year old women.
We see something interesting in this chart that we didn’t know before — not only are younger visitors more common on my site, but young WOMEN in particular visit my site, much more so than any age of men. The tidbit of information was hidden in other plots and charts because they only looked at gender for the entire visitor group.
Again, knowledge provides an opportunity to tweak my strategy to make my ROI explode.
Have you learned something today?
Have a question of your own?
Let me know in the comments below.
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