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How Does Google Analytics Work? (Complete Beginner’s Guide)

Do you want to know how Google Analytics works? Google Analytics offers powerful insights about your website’s visitors. But using it isn’t straightforward, as many beginners find it complex and tricky.

That’s why in this article, we’ll show you how does Google Analytics work. We’ll also help you navigate to different reports and explain what they mean.

By the time we’re done, Google Analytics will no longer feel like a complicated mystery to you – we promise.

What is Google Analytics?

In simple words, Google Analytics is a free tracking tool offered by Google, and it shows you how visitors use your website.

For instance, let’s say you own an eCommerce store and want to know how many users visit your website. With the help of Google Analytics, you can exactly see the number of visitors on your store, where they are coming from, which device they are using, and much more.

What Does Google Analytics Do?

Google Analytics offers information about user behavior that can be critical for your business. There are many reasons why you should be using Google Analytics.

Here’s are some of its benefits:

  • Measure your website’s performance
  • See if your marketing efforts are working
  • Which type of content to create or products to list on your website
  • Divide users into different segments (like age, gender, country, device, etc.)
  • Optimize website pages to boost conversions

Now, are you ready to use Google Analytics? Let’s start…

How to Use Google Analytics?

Using Google Analytics might look like a difficult task, but trust us, it isn’t. We’ll guide you every step of the way.

Create a Google Analytics Account and Add a Tracking Code

The first thing you’ll need to do is create a Google Analytics account and add a tracking code your website.

You can follow our easy guide on setting up a google Analytics account and how to add it to your WordPress website to get started.

So, what the heck is a tracking code?

It is a code through which Google Analytics knows it must track your website visitors and any action they perform. It’s made up of a programming language called JavaScript and looks something like this:

You don’t need to understand the contents of the code, but you might like to know how it all works.

When a user visits your website, Google Analytics will drop a cookie on the user’s browser. Cookies are small files that contain information about the user’s activities.

Using these cookies, Google Analytics will know how a user behaves on your website and then collects this information to show you different reports.

Using Google Analytics Reports

Once you’ve created an account and added the tracking code, it’s time to see what can you do with Google Analytics.

As you start, you’ll arrive at Google Analytics home. It gives you a quick overview of how your website is performing.

For instance, you can see:

  • Users: how many visitors came to your website (in the past 7 days)
  • Sessions: how many interactions a visitor makes with your website in a time frame (usually 30 minutes) like viewing a page, clicking a link, or purchasing a product
  • Bounce Rate: how many visitors hit the back button or closed your website without performing a single interaction (it’s calculated through a formula)
  • Session Duration: how much average time a visitor spends on the website
  • Active Users right now: how many active users are currently active on your website

On the left-hand side panel, you’ll see options to different reports. Each of these reports will tell you how a user interacts and behaves with your website.

You’ll see five reporting options in Google Analytics:

  • Realtime
  • Audience
  • Acquisition
  • Behavior
  • Conversions

Let’s take a look at each of these reports, what they track, and how you can use them.

Audience Report

Audience report in Google Analytics breaks down your website traffic. If you want to know the age of your visitors or the device they are using to view your website, you can head over to the audience section.

For instance, you can use the Demographics report to check the age and gender of your visitors.

And if you select the Geo report, it will show you the countries that drive the most traffic. This way, you can customize your products, create content, and optimize your landing pages for visitors from different regions.

Acquisition Report

As you are getting started with Google Analytics, Acquisition reports are extremely useful. It’ll tell you how the traffic reaches your website.

Google Analytics will divide your web traffic into four categories:

  • Organic Search: it’s the traffic that comes from search engines like Google or Bing
  • Direct: this is the traffic that arrives when someone types in your website’s URL, opens your website through a bookmark or when Google cannot recognize the traffic source
  • Referral: it’s the traffic that comes from any source other than search engines, such as a link on another website or a YouTube video
  • Social: this is the traffic that arrives from social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

Behavior Report

When it comes to finding out what your visitors are doing on your website, you need to look at the Behavior report in Google Analytics.

In its Overview, it will show you a quick snapshot of your visitors’ behavior:

  • Pageviews: the total number of pages viewed by your visitors
  • Unique pageviews: when an individual user has viewed a certain page at least once on your website
  • Average Time on Page: it’s the average amount of time a visitor spends viewing a web page on your website
  • Bounce Rate: the percentage of visitors that only view a single page and leave with interacting with it
  • Percentage Exit: it tells you how often visitors exit your website’s page (or set of pages)

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