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Google Analytics is arguably one of the most powerful web analytics applications. It provides insightful data to make it easier for you to understand your website better.
You can easily track and analyze crucial data that lets you see how your website is performing, what’s working and what’s not, and how you can optimize the site and the content for your audience. Plus, it’s totally free!
Easy to see why nearly 50 million websites trust this robust application.
Now, how would you feel if we say you still haven’t unlocked the full power of Google Analytics, even if it’s already installed on your site?
There’s no doubt that Google Analytics is a powerful tool. But you can get more data to optimize your business if you add a few Google Analytics customizations. In other words, you’ll have better campaigns and business decisions.
The only catch is that you’ll have to use them correctly.
Why Google Analytics Customization Is So Important
When you run a blog or website, you have questions—lots of them. Google Analytics simply helps answer them.
For instance, you may want to know how many website visitors you have, where they live, how your website appears on mobile phones, or which websites send traffic to your site. Or you may want to find out how effective your marketing tactics are, the kind of blog content your visitors love the most, or which pages on your website are most popular.
Now, these aren’t straightforward questions. You need access to data that has been collected over a period and an analysis tool to identify patterns.
The basic Google Analytics version would have been somewhat helpful here. But adding specific customizations to the platform will give you highly-tailored and more effective data designed to your needs.
A few of these customizations include creating a mobile ecommerce dashboard, generating customized reports, creating a social media or PR dashboard, making specific SEO customizations, or taking advantage of custom variables to get more niche-related insights.
You can then use the collected data for a range of purposes. Here are three of the most common applications of Google Analytics customizations:
Customized Data for Marketing Improvement
You can find answers to the following questions with Google Analytics (their analytics reports to be more precise):
- Which marketing channels are bringing you the most traffic?
- Which website referrals are bringing in more visitors?
- Where do your site visitors reside?
- What is the conversion rate of visitors from the different marketing channels?
You can use the collected data to enhance your marketing efforts. You’ll know which channels to invest in most and which wants to move away from. The fact you can define your target audience better is another plus.
Customized Data for Enhancing SEO
Google Analytics can answer questions about how users find and interact with your side. Some of these questions include:
- How much search traffic is your site experiencing?
- What search queries do visitors use to find your site?
- Which landing page gets the maximum traffic?
- What is your bounce rate for visitors from every marketing source?
Google Analytics, especially when customized, lets you assess data that can have a significant positive impact on your ROI. And considering the more you know about your site visitors and your target audience, the better your chances of realizing your business goals, it’s why the platform is so useful and loved by marketers.
Customized Data for Site Improvement
Adding customizations to Google Analytics is an excellent way to learn more crucial information related to your website. You can find out answers to questions like:
- At which point on your site do your visitors leave?
- What is your page loading speed?
- Which web pages attract the most traffic?
- What is your page loading time for visitors using mobile phones?
Knowing this information will equip you with practical knowledge to improve your site performance more effectively. If you find your blog posts bring maximum traffic, you can focus on producing and promoting more articles for your site more to boost traffic.
Now that we’ve discussed why you need Google Analytics customization, let’s also take a quick look at how you can use it to improve your website and to realize your business goals.
5 Quick Tips to Improve Google Analytics Customization
Read on as we discuss some of the best tips you can take right now to improve your Google Analytics and make them more customized.
Create a Custom Dashboard and Add Custom Widgets
Customizing dashboards is on nearly everyone’s to-do list after downloading Google Analytics. If you haven’t yet done it, you now know what you have to do in the next couple of minutes.
You see, a custom dashboard lets you view the metrics that matter the most for your business in one place. You can select the metrics you want to see (for example, conversion rates, bounce rates, number of sessions) and then organize them in a way that makes sense to you.
Once your dashboard is set, you can include custom widgets like tables, pies, and timeline, which further adds to the functionality.
Create Custom Alerts
Expecting your website to continue operating at the same level is wishful thinking. There’s going to come a time when your website will take a hit—search algorithms may change, site redesigns may fail, or something else might happen altogether.
Luckily, Google Analytics offers Custom Alerts. You can set specific criteria for any event, and whenever that happens, Google Analytics will send you an email informing you about it. For instance, you can create an alert to be notified whenever your sessions reduce by 40% or more compared to the same day two weeks ago.
This way, you’ll be able to catch major problems within 24 hours even if your team doesn’t check Google Analytics daily.
Here are a few tips to make custom alerts even more effective:
- Try to create alerts by day and choose normal reporting to catch weekly or monthly changes.
- Don’t overdo alerts. Set up only a handful for tracking traffic and conversions.
- If you find you’re getting too many false alarms, you can increase the trigger percentage.
- Weekly comparisons can be helpful to identify and resolve catastrophic problems.
Take Full Advantage of Custom Reports
In addition to basic data reports, you can also create custom reports, such as metrics, charts, and other information that you think would be relevant for your business. These can help you make crucial decisions related to your business and its aspects more efficiently.
What’s more, you can also import these custom reports for keyword analysis, SEO, 404 pages, referring sites, and more.
You can schedule the creation of custom reports and receive them via mail instead of creating them manually every time you want to review data. While you’re at it, make sure you adjust the date ranges to view both short-term and long-term results to get the full picture.
Install an Office IP Filter
Filters can be incredibly powerful in Google Analytics. You can transform your data permanently with them, which is also why you have to be a bit careful when using them.
Once a filter is live, the collected data changes. There’s no way to undo it. So if you end up applying a bad filter, the only way to fix it would be to remove it and clean up the collected data as you can’t fix the data. So we don’t recommend getting too filter-happy.
That being said, we do recommend applying a filter to remove internal traffic.
You won’t need a filter if you’re running your own business, as the data impact from a single person is limited, making the whole hassle of adding and maintaining a filter unnecessary. But when you’re working on a larger website with a whole team of people, your traffic data can be skewed as Google data will become biased if hundreds of people work on the same website.
So what should you do now?
Find out the IP address of the office, and apply a filter that excludes all data from that IP. This will enable your employees to carry on with their daily routine without skewing your Google Analytics report.
Don’t Feel Intimidated by New Features
Google Analytics is always trying to roll out new features to improve user experience.
Understandably, they may look intimidating at first, but you should always test them to see if it’s something you can use. You never know what might click for your business and help you maximize revenue and sales.
3 Long-Term Strategies for Google Analytics Customizations
Google Analytics offers tremendous scope. You have tons of opportunities to secure actionable data to take your website to the next level, and by adding customizations, you can enhance the results further.
However, you have to be tactful when working with customizations. Below, we’ve discussed some of the best long-term strategies you can apply when using Google Analytics customizations.
Make Clearly Defined Goals
As business owners, we tend to become overly ambitious, causing us to set unrealistic goals—or way too many goals. You may want more demo requests, more affiliate link clicks, more new email subscriptions, more free trial signups… basically, everything positive thing should just be more.
Contrary to this, it’s best to stick to two to three goals for every website you own and keep them more revenue-focused. So if the goal goes up, you’ll know your revenue is up as well.
You can also use any event that leads to a sales funnel to measure results. For instance, if your site is set up in a way that users always hit the same URL after completing a CTA, you can create a Google Analytics goal that triggers every time someone lands on that URL.
Similarly, you can have Google Analytics trigger a goal anytime an event fires. Keep in mind that while you‘ll need a developer to set this up, once it’s done, you can set up a goal using your event’s value.
Connect to Google Analytics to Google Search Console
Not so long ago, Google Analytics had a feature called keyword data that every marketer loved. It enabled marketers to see which keywords sent traffic to which pages and know how much revenue every keyboard produced for them.
Unfortunately, Google killed keyword data from the platform. Instead of the super detailed keyboard data, all that information was combined into the not-useful “Not Provided“ group.
Then suddenly, Google improved the integration between Google Search Console and Google Analytics, which got keyword data back in Google Analytics. Yay!
To hit the keeper data goldmine, all you have to do is sign up for a free Google Search Console account and then verify you have access to your site. Follow this up by opening your Google Analytics account and go to property settings. Then simply connect your Google Analytics account to your Google Search Console account.
That’s it! You can now enjoy access to greater insights and use them to make the necessary adjustments to your sites.
Create Multiple Views
We’ve already emphasized the importance of data availability, but have you ever wondered what would happen if any one of the customizations accidentally ends up nuking your account?
This is why creating multiple views is one of the most crucial customizations for Google analytics.
It’s common to make mistakes. After all, we are only human. But the thing is once the data makes it into your Google Analytics reports, nothing can change it. Once it’s processed, everything becomes permanent. So even if you lose your data, it’ll be gone forever.
Creating multiple views gives you a backup. We highly recommend creating two extra views for your Google Analytics profile, making it a total of three. These include:
- The Master view – This is where you’ll do all your analysis.
- The Test view – You can test your data here before it affects your real data.
- The Raw Data view – This is your backup which can come in handy if something ever goes wrong with your Master view and Test view.
Better safe than sorry, right?