Anyone who is using Google Analytics purely for an overview of traffic trends is seriously not making enough use of some of the very valuable tools and resources it contains. Provided below are a few of the most useful, yet underused, Google Analytics resources.
Google Analytics - Goals
Every business has to have goals, whether the business is purely online, click and mortar or entirely land-based with a web presence.
Google Analytics has a specific function that allows users to set up goals and funnels and calculates goal conversion metrics.
Before setting up a goal you will need to decide on the following:
• A memorable goal name – make the name item-specific wherever possible, such as 'SEO E-book download' in order to easily differentiate it from a variety of reports;
• A defined funnel – up to ten pages can be defined in one funnel;
• A goal value – in order to calculate ROI, Average Score and other metrics.
Once that has been done, the actual nuts and bolts of entering the goal into Google Analytics can be found on the Google support site.
Google Analytics - Profiles and Filters
Setting up profiles for different types of traffic is essential for accurate analysis to take place. If you have not used this tool previously, start off small with just two: external traffic and internal traffic. You will also need to set up a 'master' (unfiltered) profile to act as a control. Later you can set up a separate Profile for each area of your website that has a different traffic source.
As you create Profiles, you can also filter all or some of them in a variety of ways. Two common examples of this would be to ensure that only one specific domain was included, or to exclude a specific type of datum.
Google Analytics - Event Tracking
Event Tracking is implemented using the ga.js code to analyse visitor interaction with a specific website element, using a method call to any UI (User Interface) element. It employs an object-oriented model which makes it quite a powerful and flexible tool that can be used to track a variety of event types, such as file downloads, AJAX elements and videos. Full details of how to implement Event Tracking can be found in the developers section of Google’s corporate site.
Google Analytics - Intelligence Reports and Custom Alerts
The Google Analytics Intelligence function detects any unusual traffic patterns via an algorithmic engine and stores it in an Intelligence Report, which can be viewed via the Standard Reports tab at any time. It can be set up to notify you if there are any significant peaks or troughs in your site traffic with the alert frequency set to daily, weekly or monthly.
Google Analytics are described as Enterprise Class Web Analytics, built on a powerful but intuitive reporting platform. There are numerous ways in which this tool set can be used by webmasters to gain an insight into how visitors interact with their web pages and to leverage that information to optimise their Internet marketing strategy.