It’s no secret that Google Analytics (GA) is the most widely used analytics tool globally (more than 50% of all websites use GA). While page views and bounce rates are popular metrics used to evaluate site health, GA’s suite of metrics can provide richer, more valuable insights when set up correctly. Take a look at these 10 underrated GA features you should be using.
- Custom Alerts
Custom alerts are a great way to keep tabs on your website and user behavior using custom parameters. For example, you can set an alert to let you know when traffic stops coming to your site altogether. This can help you identify and fix any tracking issues that led to a loss of tracking data. You can also set up a custom alert to tell you when there is a change in page load speed, which you will want to fix right away.
- Channel Groupings
Easily track and analyze site visitors with channel groupings. GA offers a default channel grouping, including traffic sources such as organic search, paid search, and social. However, you can also create custom channel groupings. For example, you can set up a custom channel grouping for time of day (morning, afternoon, evening), which can be used to see how many visitors your site received during specified times of the day.
Viewable privately within the GA dashboard, annotations allow you to add notes to spikes in traffic or site downtime. This is important because annotations make it possible to add context to your data. As an example, if your site had a bug that needed to be fixed and experienced a drop in traffic as a result, you can create an annotation labeled “bug fix” on the day the problem was fixed and then analyze all traffic that comes in after that note. With annotations, you can quickly see when an event affected your site and why while auditing your metrics.
- Reporting Automation
Any time you can automate a manual task, you’re saving time and money. Report automation is one of the most valuable tools within GA. You can build custom, automated reports to be viewed at your leisure. The best part? Google Analytics makes this possible with zero coding knowledge required. Check out GA’s instructions for generating automated reports in Google Sheets.
- Behavior Flow
Though it requires the use of Events in Google Analytics, Behavior Flow reports are extremely valuable for sales-driven businesses, such as e-Commerce or service websites. Within a Behavior Flow report, you can measure audience engagement and the actions taken before and after conversions. For example, did a visitor click on multiple products before deciding to purchase one, or did a viewer read seven blogs before filling out a “Contact Us” form? With Behavior Flow, you can see what’s working and leading to sales and what isn’t.
- e-Commerce Tracking
When you want to take a deeper dive into e-Commerce metrics, you’ll want to enable e-Commerce tracking in GA. Google explains that to use this feature, you will need to complete a few steps first, but once you do, you have access to valuable data about e-Commerce transactions on your site. Metrics you can view include total revenue, average order value, average order quantity, and more.
Spend five minutes researching content marketing, and you’ll be told you need to know who your audience is. If you’re just starting or haven’t yet looked at the data, you might only have a good guess about who your audience is. But with Google Analytics, you can configure views to tell you exactly who is visiting your site, including data such as age, gender, and even affinity categories to gain insight into your viewers’ lifestyle.
- Site Speed Report
Site speed is key to optimizing user experience and keeping people on your site. Google Analytics’ Site Speed Report is designed to help you evaluate the factors slowing your site down and provide opportunities for improvement. The report captures page-load time for a sample of pages on your site, how quickly the browser displays a page, and can even reveal how quickly images or other data load on a page.
- Campaign Tracking
When it comes to measuring a marketing strategy’s effectiveness, Campaign Tracking in GA is your best friend. By adding parameters to campaign URLs, you can track where the most referrals are coming from, which channels generate the most revenue, and even A/B test calls to action to see which is most profitable.
- Search Terms and Queries
Last, search terms and queries in GA are important metrics for determining how users end up on your site. You may find that the top keywords or phrases searched by users who end up on your site are either unrelated to your brand or an underused keyword target. Either way, the data presents you with an opportunity to leverage new key terms to bring more traffic to your site.