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March 19, 2024
GoogleHow To's

How to set up your Google analytics account

Analytics. The word itself screams “adulting” and is enough to see us running for the hills. But whether you’re looking at an online store, a blog or a media page – it has performance indicators. We hear you asking what are performance indicators? Think along the lines of who is visiting your site, how old are they, what their average spend is, or even where they come from. Yep, impressive and a little stalker-ish but we’re here for it. So what do performance indicators have to do with analytics? Well, web analytics systems track these performance indicators, analytics analyse – seems obvious right? That’s not even the best part though, Google Analytics make decisions for you about what data to collect and how to organise it JUST. FOR. YOU.

YES! It’s crazy, it’s dreamy, it’s automated. One of our favourite words *dreams of automated everything*

So how do we get started? Like most web scenarios, enter our ol’ friend Google.

Google analytics is genius. It’s a platform which organises everything you choose to track online. You can have multiple accounts, up to 100 to be precise, and this can include your own personal account and a multitude of business accounts that you and your team can all access – hello all in one handy, helpful, happiness!

Within your accounts, you can choose to have one or more properties. Say what now – a property? A property is a website or an internet connected device so a point of sale, mobile app and so on. When you add a property, Google Analytics creates something called a tracking ID – you need this ID to collect the data from one of your above properties.

 

So the basics are you have your account, you have added your properties (websites, mobile apps, POS systems) now you want to view the data from them, right? Well yeah, we all want the window seat with a view. And that’s just what it is, a view is what’s up next and where you can take a look at the data from each of your properties and good news – you can have multiple views. Lush.

We have broken down some examples views you can have per property below:

An unfiltered view can be seen as your master view – the leader of all views, with all your website data

A filtered view might include sessions only from campaigns such as Google AdWords

A specific view can include only data from a certain subdomain

The order above can be broken down below as: your account, your properties and views:

To reiterate, your Google Analytics account is arranged like below:

Account: this is your top level for all of your websites. At this level you can control things like user management so adding any staff or collaborators you might have.
Properties: this is your middle level for all of your individual websites (alert! This does not include subdomains). Each property in this level will contain one website domain, with its own tracking code per domain and any linked advertising accounts for that property.
Views: this is your bottom level. It allows for different ways of viewing your data in Google Analytics. This is where you will spend majority of your time scanning and reading. Why? Because it’s where you will set goals, group content, filter and segment your site content and so much more.

Okay now for the detail, the how-to step by step of setting up your Google Analytics account. Not to sound bossy but it is important to do these steps in their entirety, if analytics is not set up properly you cannot go back in time and look at previous data with the updated settings. So we’re giving you a heads up, this is a long guide but it’s crucial so let’s go!

To create your account head to Google Analytics site, sign in using your Google account and click on the Create new button. Then follow the below simple steps:

Choose what you’re going to track: a website or a mobile app.

Give your Google Analytics account a unique name.

Enter your website’s name.

Enter your website’s URL.

Select the industry category that best defines your business.

Select your country and a reporting time zone. It’s really important here to know that the time zone settings you choose will determine the start and end of a day. Your reports will reflect this, so it is imperative that you are choosing a time zone that is relevant for you.

You will be prompted about data sharing settings, we would advise (okay, we’re being bossy again) to leave these as they are. Unchecking these boxes will stop Google from improving their service and may make it difficult for Google support staff to access and assist your account if you have any problems in the future. Yikes!

 

Next up, get clicking! Click Get Tracking ID button and accept the Terms of Service.

You will see a box with a Tracking ID for your property.

Just because we love an option in this life, there are two ways you can track your data with Google Analytics:

Place the tracking code snippet before the closing tag on each web page you want to track. This can be quite manual but also very thorough.

Add the code using Google Tag Manager (GTM). This will make any changes you make in the future a lot easier. *please let me know if you would like a ‘how to’ on using GTM.

Step 2. Setting up the basic settings

Let’s begin with view settings. You will want to begin by setting up views where you will access your data reports. When you add a property within an account, Google Analytics automatically creates an unfiltered view and begins collecting data. We stress, you should configure these settings as early as possible to capture as much early data. To see specific data groups, you will need to create additional views and set up filters. Remember! An important rule of filtering and creating views is that once you’ve set a rule, the filtered data will be lost. That’s why we are (almost) yelling that it’s extremely important to have at least one view with unfiltered raw data. This will allow you access to unmodified data should anything go wrong. Ps. Sorry for the yelling but we don’t want you to forget!

So let’s set up your first view: Go to Admin ViewView Settings

Under the view settings you need to define data collections. The good news is you can create up to 25 views in Google Analytics. It is generally best practice to start with All site data, a master view and sub-domains (you may not have any. When creating each of these views remember to:

Turn on bot filtering so those pesky bot traffic don’t take over your reports feeding you incorrect data.

Specify the currency that you want to see in your reports. If you have multi-currency set up on your stores, Google Analytics will convert this to your specified currency so make it your most relevant.

Turn on Site Search tracking so that you can see how visitors search and navigate your site – fun, fun, fun!

To set up any of the above, firstly make a duplicate of your first view. You can do this by clicking Admin → View → View Settings and click the Copy view option. Give your view a brand spankin’ new and unique name and add filters. You can use filters to eliminate any internal traffic from your reports (your staff), report on specific activities and track each subdomain in a separate view if you have multiple.

 

So the most important is your internal traffic as it’s pretty obvious you will visit your own site the most and if you do not filter it out, it will affect your data in a big way. To prevent this from happening, go to Admin → View, select the view you’re going to filter the data for. Then choose Filters in the menu and click +Add Filter.

Next, take the following steps:

Enter a name for your filter, e.g. Staff Excluded.

For filter type, select Predefined.

Click Select filter type and select Exclude in the drop-down menu.

Click Select source or destination and select traffic from IP addresses in the drop-down menu.

Click Select expression and choose the most appropriate expression. For example, you can select that are equal to exclude a single IP address, or you can select that begin with to exclude a IP addresses.

Enter the IP address that you want to exclude and you are good to go!

Now let’s add goals

Goals help you gauge complete activities that contribute to the success of your business, i.e. when a customer has converted. When a visitor to your website completes a goal, Google Analytics jumps for joy and pops a bottle of bubbly! (Just kidding, but you can). Instead, Google Analytics will track it as a conversion – just as good. By defining, configuring, and applying goals, you can better understand what visitors are doing on your site before they become customers. In addition to this, you can go deeper on which sources, ads, campaigns, or keywords brought them there and are converting.

There are four different types of goals you can set up:

Destination — A specific landing page view or screen view. For example, a visitor on your shipping page.

Duration — the time spent on a specific page, such as more than 15 minutes spent on a sizing page might spark some questions.

Pages per session — This is the number of pages that loaded within 1 visitors session. For example, a visitor went through at least four pages before converting.

Event — an event is anything that the visitor interacted with. So if you have a downloadable guide or a survey form where they submit answers.

So you get it? Goals can be fun and we want to help you hit them. So let’s get you started and set up a goal to see how many visitors click on the Sign Up button to sign up for your newsletter.

To do this start by going to Admin → View → Goals. Click +New Goal and select Custom, then set the goal type as Event.

In the Goal details, set the conditions under which a conversion will be considered. Remember, when you create an Event goal, you must have at least one Event already existing. You will then need to fill in at least two conditions, Action and Category, to create the Event goal. Then give your conditions distinguishing names to define what kind of goal you’re tracking. For example, you could name Newsletter Sign Up for the Category action and Submit for the Action condition.

Woah! You’ve set up a goal. Don’t forget to add the event tracking code script for the Sign Up button on your site.

Another setting to consider, is if you use a third-party payment processing system, for example if a customer is redirected away from your site each time they make a payment, they are counted as a new session when they return to finalise check out. Examples of payments that may do this are AfterPay or PayPal. To make sure a customer is not counted a new session every time they purchase from you, go to Admin → Property, select Tracking Info, and then select Referral Exclusion List. Click +Add Referral Exclusion and enter the domain you want to exclude i.e. www.afterpay.com.au

Lastly when setting up your basics, it’s important to know that every report in Google Analytics is built on dimensions and metrics. Dimensions are categories that describe your data while Metrics are the numbers used to measure the values of your dimensions.

In Google Analytics, dimension values are organized into rows, and metrics into columns. Google Analytics provides a great number of predefined dimensions and metrics however you can create your own custom dimensions and metrics if you want to collect and analyse data that isn’t automatically being tracked.  In doing this, you can build more detailed data about your website content, products and customers – who wouldn’t want that!

So how do you do it? Simply go to Admin → Property → Custom Definitions → Custom Dimensions. Click +New Custom Dimension. Enter a name for your custom dimension and choose it’s scope. There are four choices you can select from:

Hit — this can one customers interaction with one page.

Session — this is all hits within a customers entire journey on your site. Quick fact! A session will expire at midnight, after 30 minutes of inactivity or when a user leaves a site.

User — all sessions occurring from one user.

Product — data on your catalogue, in particular which products users are spending most of their time browsing.

After you create a dimension, a code snippet will be visible. You will need to edit this code and add it to your site or app to track events

Similarily to custom defiintions, you can also create custom metrics. To do this you will need to begin with:

A formatting type which can be currency or time. Typically time is used to track session durations or time spent on certain pages. Currency is used to track revenue.

Minimum and maximum Values which will allow you to filter any fake or bot produced orders.

So there you have it. We have finally finished with the basic settings and yes, we know it’s long and detailed but it’s imperative it is done right so that your data is serving you the most relevant and profitable lessons.

The next step in setting up your Google Analytics account is making sure your ecommerce platform is correctly integrated. This is so you can correctly collect and analyse data on transactions, order values, the average time users are purchasing and so on. This data will be visible to you in the Ecommerce reports. To start using Ecommerce reports, go to Admin → View → Ecommerce Settings and permit the following choices:

You can also see data about the shopping behaviour of your customers within the sales funnel (product page views, adding and/or removing products from shopping carts, transactions and so on). You can do this by enabling Enhanced Ecommerce reporting.

Once you have enabled the above settings, click submit. As this is another aspect of tracking, you will need to add a tracking code to your website or app in order for the ecommerce data to send to Google Analytics.

So you know what you are tracking but how do you know if there is something wrong by looking at your data? Google of course, has the answer. You can set up alerts in Google Analytics which can let you know if a bounce rate has exceeded 30% or if a page on your site is no longer gaining traction so you can jump ahead and get any issues fixed before they are detrimental to your brand. To do this, go to Admin → View (select the View) → Custom Alerts → +New Alert and set up an alert.

Now that you have set this alert up, you will always be notified via your preferred contact if there are any changes which affect your set rule.

Hey, we’re nearly there. Are you still with us? We know it’s long but it’s worth it.

Dependent on whether you are using an agency or working this out for yourself (we hope it’s the latter, you can do it!) it’s also very beneficial to link your Google Analytics to your AdWords accounts. An AdWords account will have its own set of data but having them all in the one place is well, self explanatory A DREAM. If you don’t have an AdWords account that’s okay – you can learn how to create one here. *Can create guide for AdWord set up*

If you do have one, awesome. Linking the two can allow you to see what share of traffic and sales were acquired through AdWords. Get more conversions at a lower cost by optimizing your bids using the conversion optimizer feature. Plus you can find out what users do after they click on your ads and land on your website’s pages and finally improve conversion rates by retargeting ads to relatable audiences while considering who your consumers are and what they are searching for. We could go on as there is so much two play with when you integrate the two but trust us – it’s a match. Made. In. heaven.c

So let’s marry them! To link your accounts, go to Admin → Property → AdWords Linking. Select the account you want linked and click Continue. Then turn on linking for each view you want to see Google AdWords data. You can then find this data under Acquisition → AdWords.

So do you use any other paid marketing services? This could include Facebook, Pinterest and so many others. If you do, it’s best to import your cost data from these into your Google Analytics account. Why you ask? It’s just another way for you to have scope over all your marketing services in one place and you can take a look at your advertising costs versus return on investment for your campaigns as a whole rather than each marketing platforms individual analytics. We know you want to and it’s as easy as going to Admin → Property → Data Import, create a new data set, and select Cost Data. You will need to give the data set a relevant name and the view where you would like to see this data. Once this is complete simply specify dimensions and metrics. In the below example, we’re specifying the advertising source and the cost to acquire that customer. Quick tip: we prefer to choose Summation in Import Behaviour so that the data will be overwritten.

Now that have determined the behaviour of the import, you should import the data to your Google Analytics account and reap the benefits of being able to get a complete overall view of your customers behaviour- hurrah!

Okay, okay it’s the final count down!

If you have already had a browse under the Acquisitions tab, you will have seen that once you click into all traffic and then source there is a item which is named (direct)/(none) – don’t freak out. This is just traffic coming to your site but Google doesn’t know where it is coming from – shock horror, but Google aren’t you amazing? Sometimes it needs help too. So to categorize this traffic we need to use something known as UTM parameters – yeah, it does sound like a traffic rule and rules it does have!

Please explain…

UTM parameters are tags you can add to a URL so in turn, when your link is clicked by a customer these tags are sent to your Google Analytics account and further tracked for data. With UTM parameters, you can tag your links to observe how effective your campaigns were and identify the best way to drive more consumers to your site. The easiest tip for UTM paremeters is that they are case sensitive so it’s important to always use lowercase for your URL.

If we break down a UTM Parameter, we have the below explanations:

Utm_source – Where is the traffic coming from? Is it Facebook, Instagram or an email for example.
utm_medium- what type of traffic is it? Is it organic or paid for example.
utm_campaign – campaign name? was it your autumn2020 launch or perhaps special edition ceramics
utm_content – ad creative – this is generally only used if you have a standard campaign name such as “blog” or “journal”

See below for an example of a URL with UTM parameters added to it:

Do you need to do this? No, you don’t but it will help your Google Analytics account filter the unknown data it is receiving and tell you how much traffic you are receiving from a specific email or ad, or the type of interactions and actual conversion data that content has generated.

Hey guess what? Is there more? Nope but let’s wrap up!

You have set up your Google Analytics account! It was a long road but we are here and feeling good. Why have you done this? Well for starters, your audience is an integral part of your business. Your business will benefit if you can work out who your customers are, where they are coming from as well as how you are acquiring them. Personalisation and relatable businesses are key.

In addition to this, you will be able to see your conversions, what drove them and most importantly how can you get more. Through the data you can track and analyse in Google Analytics you will find yourself obsessed with the reports and information you can gain for your business! Bring on the data, baby!

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