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Of all the business analytics tools used today, the most popular one is Google Analytics, which is a data-tracking tool offered by Google. If you’re a business owner looking to optimize and better understand how visitors use your website, here are some things you should know about Google Analytics and how to make it work for your business.

1. Google Analytics is free.

There are no subscription or monthly fees for the standard version. More features are included with the paid version, but they really aren’t necessary for running a small business. When your business has grown, you can simply upgrade when you have more resources available.

2. It’s easy to set up.

There’s minimal technical know-how involved to get started. You just sign in with an existing Google account and follow the instructions. You will be asked to provide basic information, such as your website and domain name. Lastly, you will need to add a tracking code to your website’s code for Google Analytics to start capturing data.

3. There are five reporting options.

The ABCs of Google Analytics include Audience, Behavior and Conversions. These reports provide an overview of who your visitors are, what they do on your site, and what activities they complete. The other two reports are Real-Time and Acquisition, which show real-time activity on the website, as well as how traffic reaches it.

The Audience report allows you to confirm and/or discover how well your marketing is working from different standpoints. The report can confirm if visitors are coming to your website from a specific location you are marketing to, or help you make further discoveries about new locations to put forth efforts toward. Also, if the goal of your website is to have repeat visitors, data within these reports can confirm the percentage of returning visitors to your website as a key performance indicator (KPI).

4. Google Analytics helps improve website usability.

With data on user behavior, you can better understand how visitors use your website. For example, you can identify the types of content potential customers look for, as well as gain insight into how they navigate your site and the pages from which visitors exit. All of this information can help you modify website navigation and improve overall site performance.

A hypothetical data point that can be used to make a website usability decision would be the bounce rate of entrance pages into the website for core content (not blogs). If the bounce rate for these entrance pages is above 70%, has a low average session duration and results in no conversions for the session, that can be an indication the page is not properly engaging a visitor to explore the website further and ultimately result in an outreach conversion.

5. It identifies devices used to access websites.

GA also gathers data regarding the types of devices used to access your website. If the data shows that many of your visitors use mobile devices to reach your site, take steps to ensure that it is mobile-responsive and user-friendly.

6. Google Analytics can help to optimize online campaigns.

GA tracks information about the location, profile and behavior of your visitors. Such data can help identify your user segment, which enables you to modify your content marketing, promotions and offers to match your target market.

Segments can be used to home in on specific traffic sessions that resulted in a conversion or other KPI metrics. As a result, you can reverse-engineer this data to see what traffic mediums or locations most commonly occur for conversions and leverage those data points. For example, you may want to initially cast a wide net with different types of paid advertisements, but you can later determine which mediums perform best. Then you can cut ties or reduce spending with the channels that are unsuccessful and put more spending toward the paid channels that work.

7. Google Analytics has a campaign tracking feature.

Google Analytics shows how your marketing efforts are working. You can identify how your emails, social media messages or paid ad placements are performing. It enables you to measure campaigns and identify those that actually convert to customer engagement.

8. It can help you understand your target audience.

The tool provides user-specific information including their age, gender, location and even interests. By understanding who your target audience is, you can determine what type of content or product lists should be featured on your site.

This user-specific information in GA can help you create personas for your website and marketing. For example, if the majority of visitors coming to your website are females between the ages of 55-64, a designer could optimize the site experience in the future to have a softer touch, use certain graphics that appeal more to women and make sure usability is at the forefront for an older population. The same could be said from a content generation perspective and what topics might resonate with certain audiences and ages.

9. Other Google products can be integrated with Google Analytics.

Google Analytics has an easily usable interface where you can integrate other tools and platforms, such as Google Adwords and the Google Search Console.

The integration of Google Adwords and Search Console simply allows you to have all your marketing data in one central location within GA. For example, GA by default doesn’t include much information regarding the queries that send traffic to your site. But when integrating Google Search Console, that supporting information can be readily available, which includes clicks, impressions, CTR and average position. Overall, this helps you streamline account reviews and be more efficient with your time.

A Great Tool For Business Growth

Google Analytics offers plenty of benefits to businesses. We hope this information helps you gain further insight into its additional features — it can help take your analysis and usage to the next level to make more actionable decisions to help with your website and marketing.

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Peter Boyd is a Florida attorney who founded PaperStreet. He has helped over 1,000 law firms with their websites, content, and marketing.

Sourced from Forbes