What I learnt about Google Analytics – or the bits I remember

I arranged this week for some colleagues to have a day’s training on Google Analytics. The course was delivered by Andrew Hood from Lynchpin on behalf of Econsultancy.

Very pleased to report that this was a great investment of money.

We had spit the day in two so that in the morning we concentrated more on the key principles and practical tools. This was to the benefit of colleagues with a more strategic role. In the afternoon once they had left we concentrated on the more technical elements for our colleagues who do the real work.

I had suspected before I organised the course that we were skimming the surface of what we could do and it proved to be an eye opener.

So they key things I learnt were:

As much as possible use the URL creation tool – tag these URLs with the name of your campaigns and use this link in any marketing activity such as emails, or links in tweets. It will help collect and measure related activities.

When in the dashboard view, click on the date box and use the compare option. Want to track what happened during the same period last year? This is the way to do it.

We found that we were not capturing in GA all the the link between users searching and the rest of their site journey being used via on-site search. A simple adjustment has now fixed this.

We also learnt that GA can be used for ABCe website metrics audits – you need to make a slight tweak to allow the data to be recorded on a server. It is then very easy to filter to meet the audit requirement.

If we add GA to links on our site to Facebook, Twitter icons and we will then know how many people actually click on them.

Event tracking in GA can be added to RSS buttons and various areas where a click takes place so you can start see who clicked for example on a filter on a publications database.

Create profiles for user types and track what they really do. For example set up a journalist profile.

Or create a content segment/advanced segment and see what users do with specific areas of your site.

Use funnels to view how users progress through your site.

A by-product for me was to think about the split between internal users of our site and external users. If we track this what will it show? If we have lots of internal users is that a good or bad thing?


The list is long.

Once again if you get in a expert trainer, and Andrew is one, the amount you learn really makes it worthwhile. His explaination of how cookies work by using imaginary post-its is worth hearing in itself.

Also I have a group of colleagues who know even more about measurement and have already started using some of the tools which help them in their day-to-day jobs.







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