Website analytics. Measure what matters

by ,
June 4, 2022

Wouldn’t it be good to know what you can confidently track, month on month, to make sure that your website and digital marketing is performing?

In this post we provide a method you can use today to start measuring and getting insight on your digital marketing and website.

Google Analytics. The right tool for the job

Google analytics is a popular tool for website performance. According to BuiltWith, the authority on web technologies, it was being used by 59% of the top 1 million websites by traffic volume in April 2022.

So what does Google Analytics do? You can use it to track and understand your customer's behaviour, their devices, and journey with your website. It can aid you in determining the best sources of traffic, measuring the success of marketing activities and campaigns, and tracking conversions such as contact form completions. 

With such wide usage, finding expertise and support is achievable through their support library and forums

Google has two versions of their free analytics product in the market: Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the former of which will be discontinued from July 2023. We’ll cover both in this post with our handy guided walk-throughs. 

For those who have a third party engaged to drive traffic to your website, such as through search engine advertising, they are likely able to assist you with this. It’s in their best interest.

The 3 areas we measure for website performance

  • Traffic. Knowing where your website visitors come from
  • Goals. Is the intended journey on your website working 
  • Performance. Your return on investment

Traffic. Knowing where your website visitors come from

Google captures a lot of data points when visitors come to your website. The type of browser, screen size, and Session Duration are all examples. They call these dimensions. The two we use to find out where your users come from are: 

  • Source. Where the traffic came from (Google, Facebook, other websites)
  • Medium. How it got to your website (e.g. from ads, a link in an email or from organic search)

Retrieving Traffic for your Universal Analytics Property

This step is for those with Universal Analytics

In the left hand menu navigate to Acquisition then All Traffic then Source / Medium.

Navigating to the source medium view in google analytics

Don’t forget to set the time period accordingly in the top right of the dashboard for each data set you are retrieving.

Select the date range for your data

Retrieving Traffic for your Google Analytics 4 Property

This step is for those with GA4

From your GA4 Property, starting at the homepage, use the left hand navigation to go to Reports then Acquisition. Once that dashboard loads, click on one of the blue View user acquisition links in the main area. 

Once the table on the screen loads, select the heading for the first column and in the drop down select First user source. The final step is to use the blue + in the same column and select Acquisition then First user source / medium.

After doing this once, the Acquisition dashboard will remember and you’ll notice this item under the “Acquisition” navigation heading. 

Make sure to have your intended date range selected, set in the top right hand side of screen.

Goals and Conversions. Is the intended journey working? 

Goals are used to track the behaviours that you define as important indicators that a user will either convert or be likely to convert to a lead. 

Common goals include: form submissions and clicks on contact details but you should also consider tracking micro behaviours such as number of pages visited. These micro-goals help you understand user engagement in earlier stages of the buying journey; what is working, and what isn’t.

There are differences between Google UA (goal types) and GA4 (conversions based on events that occur on your website) ‘goals’. One of the benefits to GA4 is the plethora of default options and the zero limit on the number of user interactions you can track. Given that Google will discontinue UA in July of 2023 we recommend you plan to move sooner rather than later if you are currently using UA.

Set up example: tracking a contact form completion

We recommend a contact form that loads a success page, so:

  • the user can see that the action has been successful, and 
  • you can provide expectations on the success page what you will do and when that will happen.

With that in mind here is how you can track that user behaviour in UA and GA4.

Contact form completion UA

This step is for those with Universal Analytics

From your Google Analytics dashboard click on the Admin cog icon bottom left of your screen. Then when the three columns of account, property and view load, select goals in the view column and then new goal. 

For goal set up:

  • select custom and continue

For goal description:

  • Enter a name that is easy to identify and understand, such as Contact form completions
  • Select destination, as we are measuring everyone who landed at the form success page

For goal details:

  • Place your url of the destination page, omitting the domain name. For example our success page is https://www.flume.agency/thank-you, we only enter /thank-you
  • Select save

Contact form completion GA4

This step is for those with GA4

With the Google Analytics 4, we need to create an event for arriving at the form success page and then setting that as a conversion. To begin, on the left hand side of the dashboard, select configure. 

Create an event: 

  • Click create event, then create

On the configuration screen se the custom event name, such as form_completion

Continuing on the configuration screen set the matching conditions as:

You can then use the x to exit back to the events sub menu. You’ll need to come back here once one of these events has occurred and mark this event as a conversion.

In the table below, you’ll see the goals we are measuring in our business, how these differ based on the version of Google Analytics you use, and what stage of the buyer journey each goal relates to.

* The “Product enquiry” and “Contact form completed” goals assume that a user is sent to a confirmation page after enquiring or submitting a form respectively.

Further resources for a detailed set up

Goal and conversion tracking is a large topic and to get precise instructions for setting up your account we recommend The Ultimate Guide by Measure School if you are using Universal Analytics, and Optimize Smart if you have a GA4 property.

The benefit for those using Google AdWords

If you are using Google AdWords, firstly having goals (UA) or conversions (GA4) in Google Analytics and secondly importing them into your AdWords account will mean your Ads budget can be prioritised to the searches that generate goal completions. You can even give your goals a weighting so the searches generating those goal completions with the higher weighting receiving more of your AdWords budget.

Performance. Your return on investment

Here we bring together the website measurement metrics with the cost of promotion. We combine the google analytics data from source / medium with goals and digital advertising costs to provide a cost per goal achieved.

Here is an example of the performance table each month:

Freebies. Our Google spreadsheet for you and your team

If you enjoyed our approach above, download our free performance spreadsheet template

We’ve got a great track record of creating high performing websites for our clients, and, as they’ll tell you, the results are remarkable. If you think you are not getting the best performance out of your website or want a professional opinion, we’d be more than happy to have a no-obligation chat about what your options are.

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