Any website owner can utilize Google Analytics to see how much traffic their website is garnering, and other important metrics related to their site’s performance. Think of your website as an airplane – a vehicle by which your target audience can get to the information they need to make a buying decision. If your website is the airplane, Google Analytics would be the dashboard in the cockpit of that aircraft, informing you about how your website is performing, and letting you know when something is out of whack.   Pretty straightforward, right?   Well, not exactly.   Google Analytics has a ton of capabilities, ranging from simple to complex. And for business owners who aren’t sure how to use Google Analytics, the platform can quickly become overwhelming and perplexing.   Thankfully, you don’t have to dive deep into the various functions of Google Analytics to benefit from it. Even using the tool to monitor just the fundamentals of your online traffic patterns and behaviours can have a significant impact on your ability to manage your business more closely.   Thus, in this article, we’ll be covering the Google Analytics basics every business owner should be comfortable with, while we simultaneously touch of the benefits of Google Analytics and its various functions.   Whether you are a complete newbie who is looking for an introduction to this effective tool, or you are a business owner who has been using the platform but is interested in refreshing your knowledge, you’ve come to the right place.   So, let’s get started, shall we?  




  Before looking at any other portion of the Google Analytics platform, it is essential to gain an understanding of user acquisition data and how it impacts your business.   User acquisition refers to the way internet users are finding and traveling to your website, whether they are clicking through a Facebook link, finding your site via a search engine, or connecting to your site via a blog post or article you’ve been featured in.   One of the most important aspects of utilizing Google Analytics for beginners is understanding acquisition data and why it matters. After all, when you know where the majority of your website traffic is coming from, you can put more effort into capitalizing on those pathways.   Google Analytics offers ten different reporting sections related to user acquisition, all of which can be found under the Acquisition tab on the left-hand side of your screen once you’ve logged into your account (see below).   To gain a better understanding of how to use Google Analytics user acquisition reports, we recommend watching the official Google tutorial view here.  


  One of the primary functions of Google Analytics is the ability to gather demographic information about the people who visit your website. As a business owner, when you have a firm understanding of who most commonly visits your site, you are much more equipped to tailor your marketing and branding efforts to meet their interests.   One of the most integral tips for using Google Analytics in relation to demographics is to study the four dimensions by which Google gathers information in this category.   The four dimensions of demographic data are:  
  • Age group
  • Gender
  • Affinity categories
  • In-market segments
  Most commonly, it is the former two dimensions that are most unheard of by business owners who are new to using Google Analytics.   Affinity categories are the predicted interests of each of your website visitors, based on their online browsing behavior.   For example: If a person regularly searches for recipes using Google, they will likely fall into Google’s “Cooking Enthusiasts” category.   In-market segments refers to website visitors that Google has determined are “in the market” for a specific product or service, based on their account clicks on related ads and subsequent conversions, along with the content of the sites and pages they visit and the recency and frequency of the visits.   For example: If one of your visitors has visited three landscaping websites in the last week, and has visited the contact page on each of the websites, Google would determine that that particular user is “in the market” for landscaping services.   We recommend watching these informative videos on in-market segments and affinity categories to see first-hand how these functions work.  


  What your website visitors do after they’ve landed on your website is equally as important as how they arrived at your site. Tracking which website pages are visited most frequently, which pages your visitors stay on the longest, and which pages have a high bounce rate, allows you to see where your site is falling behind and where it is excelling.   When teaching Google Analytics for beginners, shedding light on the platform’s behavior monitoring capabilities is essential.   One of the most crucial parts of this section is the ability to create behavior flow reports.   Behavior flow reports allow you, the business owner, to visualize how people are traveling through your website and the precise paths they are taking to access information.   For example: The chart below is a Google Analytics behavior flow report that shows where website visitors are going after they enter via the Homepage and Blog pages of an unknown website.   As you can see, Google displays the information in a chart-like format that is easy to visualize and understand.   Another important element of the Google Analytics behaviors section is the overview report.   This is where fundamental metrics like unique page views, bounce rate, and most visited pages are displayed.   When monitoring your overview report, it’s important to keep an eye on your bounce rate percentage.   We recommend using the guide below as a gauging tool when determining if your bounce rate is healthy or not:   Excellent – 26 to 40 percent Average – 41 to 55 percent Concerning – 56 to 70 percent Bad – 90 percent and higher   However, depending on your industry and some other factors, there may be an explanation for your bounce rate.   For an even more in-depth explanation of bounce rates, check out this article.   These are the three core functions of Google Analytics that every entrepreneur should be familiar with, and that create a solid foundation on which to expand your knowledge. By utilizing these metrics and closely monitoring your reports, you will have a clearer vision of how your website is performing and whether or not there are areas that require improvement.   Remember, the benefits of Google Analytics are endless, and there are a ton of learning resources out there. The more you immerse yourself in the platform and the more you gain hands-on experience, the more advantages you will uncover.   At the end of the day, being aware of how your website is functioning is the main objective. Continue to keep your finger on the pulse of your site, and you will be more prepared to tackle issues as they arise.    Michelle is the Marketing Associate at Design Wizard. She spent four years studying Media Studies in Dublin Institute of Technology before completing her Master’s Degree in Marketing and Management in the University College in Cork. Michelle is a dog lover. She enjoys going on hikes with her four-legged friend, traveling, and going to the cinema (mainly for the treats).