1. Sales & Marketing
  2. Finances
  3. Your Team
  4. Technology
  5. Social Media
  6. Security
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
Grow Your Business Technology

What is Google Analytics?


Simply having an online presence isn't enough for most businesses to succeed in today's ultra-competitive marketplace. To help businesses learn more about their website, including how many visitors it is generating, where visitors are coming from and how they can better serve them, many organizations are using Google Analytics.

Offered by the online search engine giant Google, Google Analytics is a way for businesses to easily analyze their website, social networks and mobile application's data. According to Google, the service, which is free for websites that generate 10 million or fewer page views per month,offers an array of data to help business executives, marketers and developers improve their online presence to ensure they are doing all they can to attract and retain online customers.

Google Analytics offers a variety of benefits for several layers of a business. For executives, Google says their analytic tools help them know which marketing initiatives are most effective, get accuratewebsite traffic patterns and trends and learn which customers and customer segments are most valuable.

"Google Analytics helps you analyze visitor traffic and paint a complete picture of your audience and their needs, wherever they are along the path to purchase," Google writes on its Analytics website.

Google Analytics can help an organization's marketing professionals know more about wheretheir websitevisitors come from and what do they do on the site, learn how the website can convert more visitors into customers, understand which keywords resonate with prospects and lead to conversions and get a better feel for which online ads are the most effective.

For content and Web developers, Google Analytics helps them better understand from which page on a website visitors are leaving, which Web pages retain visitors the longest and the search terms people use to find the site.

"Where customers are can be as critical as who they are," Google writes on its Analytics website. "Tools like Traffic Sources and Visitor Flow help you track the routes people take to reach you, and the devices they use to get there, so you can meet them where they are and improve the visitor experience."

Google Analytics also offers a number of reporting tools to ensure a business's website is performing as expected. Google Analytics features, such as Site Speed, Alerts and In-Page, give business owners details on slow page loads, poorly placed content and site crashes due to an increased number of visitors.

In addition to data on their website, Google Analytics also provides users with data on many of their social networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace and WordPress, among others.

When all of this is factored in, businesses have a much better idea of how to get the most out of their online content.

"Google Analytics shows you the full customer picture across ads and videos, websites and social tools, tablets and smartphones," Google writes on its Analytics website. "That makes it easier to serve your current customers and win new ones."

In addition to providing critical data on websites and social content, Google Analytics can also track information for mobile apps. Organizations with dedicated mobile apps can use the service to get a better idea of who is using the mobile app, on what devices they are doing so and where they come from.

"Mobile App Analytics makes it all clear, with features like Traffic Sources reports and Google Play integration that show you what brought users to your app," Google writes on its website. "You'll see where to put your resources to attract more of the users you want most."

The mobile analytics feature also lets businesses see the exact screens where users take action, pause, or log off. It can also give more details on app crashes to help organizations troubleshoot problems. Additionally, the ecommerce tools track real or virtual goods sold, giving businesses a clearer picture as to what is selling and what isn't.

In addition to being free for most users, Google Analytics is also very simple to use. To start using Google Analytics, there are three steps businesses need to take:

Step 1: Sign up for an account. Business owners or executives must first visit the Google Analytics website and register for a new account. To do so, they need to click the "Access Google Analytics"button and follow the instructions given.

Step 2: Set up account properties. These are the details on what Google Analytics will be monitoring, such as websites, social accounts, blogs, mobile apps, etc., and who will have access to all of the data the service provides.

Step 3: Set up the tracking code. For this step, Web developers need to include the Analytics tracking ID and code in their website or mobile app. This allows for service to collect and send usage data to an organization's Analytics account.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.