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7 Best Google Analytics Features that you cannot miss

August 20, 2015
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If you are into Digital Marketing then I’m sure that you spend a lot of time on Google Analytics and based on the data, you formulate your plans and strategies. But with Google Analytics team adding new features and updating the old ones frequently, it is quite possible that you are not using Analytics to its fullest value and that is why today we’ll talk about some Google Analytics features that you just can’t ignore.

Multi-Channel Funnel Reports

If your SEO efforts don’t result into conversions, it’s time to rethink your strategy. And just like getting conversions is important, it is also important to know the source of conversions and Multi Channel Funnel reports on Google Analytics (MCF) helps you with that. The MCF reports gives you insights about the traffic that converted and thus you can easily plan your future strategies easily.

MCF channel grouping path

Nicole Beugers, Marketing Manager at TopSpot Internet Marketing, who finds this feature very useful says, “With Multi-channel Attribution, we are going beyond the last click and reporting on all of the activity prior to the conversion. This is especially helpful in the B2B space, where the sales cycle is normally longer and requires more research. So, instead of saying this conversion is attributed direct to site, we can now state that this individual originally came to the site via a Google AdWords ad, then through an organic search visit multiple times and finally came direct to site. “

Cohort Analysis

Cohorts are a time-tested way of grouping people together, based on date. For example, a sample cohort could be a grouping of website visitors based on the date of their first session (also known as Acquisition Date). For instance, if a visitor lands for the first time on a website on August 11th, 2015 then he/she will be a part of the August 11th cohort.

Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics helps you to segment your audience and learn about their behavior. Suppose you are giving a free trial for your product online, you can actually check how many people actually made a purchase after using the free trial through cohort analysis.

Cohort Analysis

Vivek Agarwal, Founder & CEO of Strand of Silk says,“One of my most favourite features is Cohort analysis in Google Analytics. It's a simple and intuitive feature that helps you understand the effectiveness of a campaign and measure metrics like user engagement over a period of time after the first engagement. Elegant, simple and very insightful!”

Annotation Feature

There are hundreds of things that you carry out in order to see that spike in traffic and when it does you must atleast know which one of the hundred things has caused it. This can be easily done by the annotation feature in Google Analytics. Annotation feature enables you to add comments about the changes that you carry out on your website and through that you can monitor the traffic generated before and after that change.

annotation feature in Google Analytics

Geoff Hoesch, Principal at DragonFly SEO “My favorite lesser-used feature is the annotation feature, which allows you to make comments about changes that have been made to the site on specific days. This is great for accountability and also helps measure the effectiveness of certain efforts.”

Behavior Flow

The Behavior flow feature in Google Analytics helps you to track the path that the user takes when she/he visits your website. It tells you which was first page they viewed and which was their exiting page. This helps you to determine where your audience is spending time on your website and which are the pages where they leave your website.

behavior flow in Google Analytics

When asked James Blews, Online Marketer & SEO Consultant about his favorite Google Analytics feature, he said, “My favorite feature in Google Analytics is Behavior Flow. With behavior flow, I can very nicely see an over-the-shoulder view of a user's behavior while in the website. From here, I can alter CTAs, linking and more, in an effort to reduce drop-offs and serve a better experience. This constant process means more visits, even more re-visits and more of a brand's content being seen and action taken upon it."

Building Customized Dashboard

Dashboards in Google Analytics are collection of widgets that makes it easier for you to visualize the data. You can have maximum 20 dashboards with 12 widgets in each one of them. Google Analytics collects a lot of data every day and you might not require all of it; so create your own dashboard and see only that data that affects your marketing efforts. Dashboards help you to organize your data the way you like.

Scott Knox, Director of Search Marketing at Fruition says, “Working at an agency, my favorite thing about Google Analytics is the ability to build custom dashboards to fit client needs. With this feature, I can make sure every client sees the metrics that are most important to them at a glance and in a way that is easy for them to digest (without the need for a busy, cumbersome report). If they prefer visual graphs and charts, I'll focus on those. If they want to see lists of most popular key words, devices, country of origin, you name it, I'll fill their dashboard with that type of widget.”

Real Time Data

As the name suggests the Real Time Data feature in Google Analytics gives you the live data as it keeps on occurring. This feature can be really helpful when your campaign takes off or you try something new with your promotions. You can immediately track the results live.

real time data

Amna Rizvi, a Digital Marketing Expert, currently working on Gadg Techs website says, “My favorite feature in Google Analytics is the Real-Time data, which tells you information about people visiting the website right at that moment. Not only it is very interesting, it tells a lot about different strategies. For e.g. After an article is published, the time taken for it to 'hit' the mainstream or if the visitors are increasing or decreasing can be used to fine tune the website. Like right now, I see many people are coming to our site from the search engine Bing. This probably means our ad is live right now at bing and is somewhat successful. Most visitors are from North America, which could indicate that it is a good time to be online. Similarly, I notice that at different times, different locations are active. So at prime time in Asia, we could bring our stories related to Asia on top.Once, by looking at live data, I was able to figure out that our sit had hit a snag, as I was seeing visitors coming to the site, but not spending more than 10-20 seconds, especially from the eastern countries. The website was accessible from our location, but upon further investigation, we found that for some reason, our Cloudfare services were messing up with users of some particular countries because of a bad security policy by a webmaster. We were able to correct it within minutes and hence save some traffic from losing.”

Setting Goals and Creating Goal Funnels

Setting goals is one most important feature of Google Analytics. Goals help you to tell Google Analytics, what is important for your business and what it should track.

Katina Beveridge, Digital Strategist at Strategic SEO says, “One of my favorite features in Google Analytical is the setup of Goals. Very simple to set up, yet very effective in determining whether the traffic you are driving to your website is the right kind of traffic for the business.

First it is important to understand what the business needs are:

  • Do they want to grow their subscriber list or database?
  • Are they an E - Commerce site that sells products that want to measure a particular marketing funnel?
  • Do they receive customer’s enquiries via a web contact form?
  • Does the business want to measure eBook downloads?

These are all measurable through Google Analytic Goals

As an agency which provides SEO for clients this is one of the first steps we take in their program. Once we define the clients objectives we then want to measure the effectiveness of their campaign. By doing the set up of Goals we then know that the organic traffic we are driving to our clients is going to be worthwhile for the business. There is no point in having thousands upon thousands of visitors to the website unless they are going to perform a particular action whether that be subscribe to a newsletter or make a purchase.

Getting deeper into Goals is creating a goal funnel. Goal funnels allow you to see exactly how many people move through each step of your marketing process. We can record the pages the customers visits prior to the final goal. For example if the client is an E - Commerce site we can record the pages visited prior to the final step of the shopping cart purchase. This enables us to see where the customer may fall off in the process of the marketing funnel and therefore may need to improve something on that particular page.”

So that were the Google Analytics Features that I think are the most important ones. I’m sure that you too have your favorites so shoot them in the comments box below.


About the Author

Jinal Shah is a Digital Marketing Enthusiast who loves to learn about the new things and development in the field of Digital Marketing. A wannabe writer who dreams of writing bestselling novel someday :)


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