Why Should I bother with Analytics?
Google Analytics helps you to understand what is working on your website. If your objective is to find leads, Google Analytics will help you understand how you are getting the majority of your website traffic and help you clarify which of those sources lead to conversions.
Understanding Your Primary Traffic Sources
A core use of Google Analytics is to help you better understand your primary traffic sources. The video below is from one of our Online training programmes and goes into a way of identifying your main traffic sources.
A few Caveats
1. Make sure you set your Google Analytics up correctly
At the very basic level you should make sure that ideally all of the pages you want to track have the Google Analytics tracking code installed on them. If you are tracking video content and not using the advanced techniques available, one of the most common mistakes to watch out for is to make sure the page playing the video is being tracked.
2. Google Analytics data should be considered 80-90% accurate
I always assume that the data in Google Analytics is only 80-90% accurate. This is not a fault of Google Analytics but rather because of the nature of the web and how individual visitors have their machines set up. This should not be seen as a problem as it is usually the best source of data available, however, it is not perfectly accurate nor could any analytics system be so. The way to read the data is as a useful and consistent indicator of performance.
3. Do not try and compare the analytics numbers offered by Google with other sources
Partly because of point 2 and partly because systems differ in the ways they count data, I have found it almost impossible to compare the numbers generated by two different analytics systems. If you are trying to compare data from two different analytics tools, you are like to waste a lot of time and may be disappointed by the results. I would focus on one system and learn how to interpret the data from that one system.
4. Is Google Analytics sufficient? Are there better tools?
Google Analytics is a very broad-based tool, offering a solution for many points of analysis. There are tools that specialise in certain elements like on-page performance analysis and there are tools aimed at the high-end corporate market. These tools definitely have their place in a mature analytics team. However, when Google launched the free analytics service in 2005, the previous market incumbents, who had been selling equivalent solutions that started at £10,000, could no longer compete. I always make sure I have Google Analytics tracking data, even if I use other specialise tools in addition.