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Businesses and organizations who use a website as part of their marketing strategies are starting to realize the importance and power of the use of metrics in understanding the behavior of the visitor and the buyer.
So what are the advantages of using Google Analytics and why should business owners use web metrics?
1. Its FREE
I cant emphasize the importance of this fact alone; software that gives the detail that Google Analytics provides does not come cheap. It means it is accessible to small and large business alike, but particularly for small businesses this is important.
One other thing just because it is free dont under estimate its power, this is why it has and continues to be used by large companies and organizations.
2. Easy Installation & Configuration
Setting up an account with Google Analytics takes a matter of minutes, your Google Analytics Account supplies you with a snippet of code that needs to be copied into the HTML source code (It is recommended at the end of the page before the
tag). If you are proficient with writing HTML code then just copy and paste the code in. Otherwise I would suggest asking your web developer to do this.
Additionally if you are running an ecommerce site and want details of individual transactions there is a special snippet of code with variables in that automatically populate figures in analytics this code needs to be placed on the checkout success page. I would recommend using a web developer configuring this coding as it is more technical.
3. Easy to Understand Dashboard
As you login to the reporting section of your analytics you are faced with an instant array of information in a compressed format to give you an instant performance appraisal.
The great news is this dashboard is editable so you can add or remove reports up to a maximum of 12 reports. Sections of the dashboard can be moved by dragging and dropping the report to the position you want them placed.
4. An Extensive Reports Section
The reports section is very extensive with over 80 predefined reports and a section that allows you to create customized reports the possibilities are endless. The power of the reports is being able to cross segment data. Taking one reports set of data and comparing it against another data set in the same report. Below is what I would recommend as the top 10 reports.
1. Visitors: Map Overlay
2. Ecommerce: Overview Report
3. Goals: Overview Report
4. Goals: Funnel Visualization Report
5. Traffic Sources: Adwords Report
6. Traffic Sources: Source & Medium Report
7. Content: Top Content Report
8. Content: Site Overlay Report
9. Traffic Sources: Adwords Position Report
10. Site Search Usage
One other notable report is the Content Report: $Index which helps establish the value of a page.
5. Captures Ecommerce Information
Once the ecommerce transaction code snippet is installed and successfully configured it allows you to analyze ecommerce transactions down to an individual transaction, which can be cross segmented against other data, it is possible to see what the customer searched for, search engine they used, the pathway they used to navigate through the website before successfully purchasing.
6. Software is automatically updated.
As bugs are discovered or new software updates occur they are automatically tested and updated by Google. In contrast many hosting companies consider software updates to be beyond their service agreements and charge extra.
If you then decide to move to a new web hosting company, you will have to go through the whole process of setting up and configuring again at extra cost. Moving a site that uses Google Analytics is simple and seamless with no loss of data.
7. Log Files Take Up Valuable Server Space
Using server based software requires the storage of server log files; these files are large and take up space which you are paying for. Although Google Analytics is restricted to two years of data, log files are restricted by space.
8. Google Analytics Tracks Users More Accurately
Many users access the internet from networks that share a single point of access to the internet, this means users in offices or buildings that share a point of access to the internet will skew the figures if using server statistics as the statistics count these connections as one user. Google Analytics counts each machine not each internet connection.
9. Google Analytics Can Track Events on Client Machines
Tracking does not have to be confined to referring websites or search engines, it is possible to use it to track specific links on sites, emails, affiliate sites and offline sources such as TV, leaflets, newspaper ads etc.