Google Analytics can provide web administrators with a lot of useful data. As soon as you start an account and put a tracking code on your site, Google begins collecting information. It’s important that you are able to use the tool to its full advantage though. Georgene Nunn of Business 2 Community offers some helpful suggestions for making the most of analytics.

There are certain questions that Google Analytics does not automatically answer.

“[…] One thing Google Analytics doesn’t know right out of the box is your business and the definition of a successful transaction or interaction on your website,” Nunn explains. “By itself, the data doesn’t tell a story, or answer the detailed questions about your visitors without help from you.”

You also need to supply Google with information, including:

  • What are the activities visitors to your site perform that help generate revenue? Within this category, which actions actually earn you money and what actions contribute to more visitors or repeat visitors?
  • Which circumstances lead to success or failure? This involves separating the signal from the noise and then implementing strategies to capture a greater number of customers.

In particular, three features of Google Analytics—Segments, Goals and Events—can provide helpful answers to these questions.

Segments: Segmenting your data enables you to identify the visitors who really count. It also allows you to see what your most popular pages are or what pages lead to the highest converting volumes. One of the chief advantages of Segments, compared to other features in Google Analytics, is that it can be applied for the entire duration of your website’s life and all of your data, both current and historical. By contrast, Goals and Filters begin collecting data from the time they are created.

Goals: With Goals, you gain a means of outlining and measuring specific goals you want users on your site to fulfill. Typically, businesses use Goals as their main method of showing conversions in built-in reports. Examples of goals are a visitor filling out a lead form or email signup form or a visitor completing a purchase.

Events: Event tracking enables you to document many things about your site which were previously untrackable, including video plays, file downloads and checking filter boxes. As Nunn explains, “Events go beyond the standard visitor data to help you answer detailed questions about user behavior.” It is helpful to track meaningful activities on your site, such as whether people watched your video, at what point they are abandoning forms they began and whether they are using share buttons.

Using Segments, Goals, and Events helps you gain more insight into the actions and circumstances that drive sales, referrals and traffic to your website. In turn, you gain more information about who your visitors are, what they are doing, how they interact and why they take certain actions relating to your business. This allows you to better tweak your business’ website to attract more customers and generate further conversions and revenue.