Google Analytics, a free web analytics tool, is essential for collecting and reporting data about websites and their visitors.
In fact, I think every business owner should install Google Analytics on their website. You can check out this step-by-step guide on how to set up Google Analytics on your website~
Today, we’ll explore the little-known features of Google Analytics that are valuable for business owners like you.
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As its name suggests, custom alerts automatically monitor data and notify you of major changes in your website traffic and conversions. These timely alerts will allow you to immediately act on these big changes and solve these problems before it’s too late.
Under Admin, click on Custom Alerts under the View column.
When you create a new alert, you can customize the following.
- Alert name: Create a name that aptly describes the alert so you know at a glance what this alert is about
- Apply to: Select the views that you want to apply the alert
- Period: Specify the frequency (day, week or month)
- Send me an email when this alert triggers: Enable this checkbox if you want to receive an email notification. You can also send email notifications to other people.
- Set up your mobile phone: [Only available in the United States] You can receive notifications on your mobile phone
- Alert Conditions: Choose the dimension, metric and condition that generate the alert
Here are some custom alerts you can consider creating:
- Website Traffic: Daily alert that applies to All Traffic and notifies you when Sessions is less than 10
- Conversions: Weekly alert that applies to All Traffic and notifies you when Goal 1 Conversion Rate is less than 0.25
You can add annotations to specific dates in Google Analytics. For example, you could note down important milestones like the launch of your website or marketing campaigns and new product launches. It’s like a historical record of changes that you’ve manually written down.
Simply click on the down arrow below the timeline graph then create new annotation. Select the date, enter your note and choose whether to make this annotation shared or private. You can also choose to star annotations that are of higher priority. Lastly, save this annotation.
Annotations are saved as tiny comment/message icons at the bottom of your graph. Check out some annotations I’ve created:
To view all annotations, you can go to Annotations under the View column in Admin.
I recommend that you create annotations for significant events or to provide context or reason(s) behind sudden traffic spikes or dips. You don’t have to list down changes you made to Google Analytics. These changes are recorded in Change History under the Account column (for the last 2 years).
Analytics Intelligence uses machine learning to help you better understand and act on your data. With Analytics Intelligence, you can
- Ask questions: Get fast answers to questions like “Which channel has the highest goal conversion rate?”. Analytics Intelligence will also get smarter over time as it learns the types of questions you are interested in.
- Get insights: Analytics Intelligence will analyze your data and surface insights on major changes, trends or opportunities. For example, a certain landing page is performing better than normal, unusually low number of new users (so that you can address the issue of new user acquisition before that decline turns into a long-term trend).
Click on Insights at the top right corner. Here you’ll see a list of new insights, insights that you’ve saved and insights that you’ve read.
Over time, Analytics Intelligence learns which insights you’re most interested in and will rank them using a machine-learning algorithm. The insights will thus be personalized to your interests and may differ from the insights that other users see in the same view.
Under Insights On Demand, you can ask Analytics Intelligence to show you insights. There are various categories like Basic Performance, Content Analysis, Measure Your Goals.
If you have the Google Analytics mobile app installed on your phone, you can tap the icon at the top right corner to launch Analytics Intelligence. You can ask questions at the top of the panel. But note that you have to ask questions in English. If you don’t specify a date range in your question, Analytics Intelligence will use the default date range of the previous 30 days. Also, there are times when Analytics Intelligence can’t understand the terms or grammar.
If you don’t use any data visualization tool like Google Data Studio, you can consider using the dashboards in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics allows you to create and customize dashboards. A custom dashboard will give you an overview of the dimensions and metrics that you care about most.
Simply create a new dashboard under Customization. Note that you can only include up to 12 widgets in a dashboard. Here are the types of widgets you can add:
There are standard and real-time widgets
- Standard: update when you load or refresh the dashboard
- Real-Time: display data in real-time
You can easily rearrange, edit and clone these widgets.
Likewise, you can add segments to your dashboard to compare and contrast data across different groups of users.
Similar to dashboards, custom reports is where you pick the dimensions and metrics and decide how they should be displayed.
To create a custom report, you must specify at least one dimension and one metric. Bear in mind that some metrics and dimensions can’t be paired together.
Under Customization, you can create custom reports. You can choose from 3 report types
- Explorer: Includes a line graph and a data table that includes dynamic elements like a search/sort option and secondary dimensions
- Flat Table: A static, sortable table that displays data in rows
- Map Overlay: A map of the world where different regions and countries are displayed in darker colors to indicate traffic and engagement volume
After defining your dimensions and metrics, you can choose to add filters to limit the data.
Lastly, select the views that you want the report to appear in. If you select “All views associated with this account”, your custom report will appear in all views.
Now It’s Your Turn
What other Google Analytics features do you use frequently?
Also, check out the Google Analytics reports I use to analyze marketing campaigns~
For more business growth tips, join online business classes and marketing and sales classes or watch streaming broadcasts of free online classes at CreativeLive! You can also join online courses at Udemy~