Google Analytics 102: How To Set Up Goals, Segments & Events in Google Analytics

Some of you out there may find this Google Analytics feature overview to be mostly review. That’s awesome! That means you’re really taking ownership of your data. However, if you’ve never used any of these features, only experimented with them a little, or aren’t sure you’re using them correctly, you should read on.

From the time you set up your account and put your tracking code on your site, Google Analytics, starts to capture and display a lot of data.

But the one thing Google Analytics doesn’t know right out of the box is your business and the definition of a successful transaction or interaction on your website. By itself, the data doesn’t tell a story, or answer the detailed questions about your visitors without help from you.

Some of the questions basic GA data doesn’t answer by itself:

  • What are the activities that visitorsperform on your site that equal success for your business?
    • Which visitor actions earn you money?
    • Which actions drive additional visitors or repeat visits?
  • What visitor activity is signal and what activity is noise?
    • What are the specific circumstances that lead to success or failure?
    • What are the characteristics of a successful visitor?

Adding features like Demographics & Interests, and Ecommerce can help you see more about who your visitors are, the products you’re successfully selling, and how much revenue you’re earning.

But there are three features of Google Analytics that really help you answer these questions (and many others) in a nuanced and detailed way:

  • Segments
  • Goals
  • And Events

When used properly, they can add meaning to your data, and transform it from flat tables of numbers to a story of how visitors are interacting with your website.

Armed with these details, you can making more educated decisions about how to serve your audience.

Segments: Extract More Detailed Answers By Asking More Detailed Questions

Several years ago at An Event Apart conference I had the privilege of seeing Jared Spool speak about user experience, and one of the things that really stuck with me was the idea that in many cases, alphabetical order is the same as no order at all.

What? Really? “No order at all?”

Yes. It’s a common default way of ordering information, but what makes alphabetical order weak is that it may not take into account important context cues that make the data meaningful to the person viewing the list.

In the case of looking at numerical data, a similar principle can be applied: sometimes looking at all the data is just as good as looking at no data at all.

Or, as it was captured in a quote from this year’s MeasureFest:

Segmenting your data is one huge step forward in discovering who, out of your counted visitors, are really the visitors who count.

landing page report

You can look at your landing page report and see that your home page is the most popular landing page of your entire site. You can even see that it’s the highest converting page in terms of volume of conversions.

Looking at all the data in the default view, you could infer that your home page is the absolute most important page for getting conversions on your entire site.

You know, like this home page!

But you could guess that without ever looking at the numbers, because it’s fairly common for home pages to be the first step involved in the user experience. So you’re left with your #1 page for traffic and conversions as a basically meaningless “no shit” statistic.

So how do we make that data more meaningful?

Read more at the link above~~


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