5 amazing things you can do with Google Analytics

Planit Agency
January 20, 2014

As a digital marketing strategist at Planit, most of my day is spent digging around in our clients’ Google Analytics profiles. We use analytics for many different purposes—from improving user experiences to tracking the performance of media campaigns, and Google Analytics is an awesome tool. It’s quite easy to get lost in Google Analytics due to the sheer amount of data available. That’s why I’d like to show you five amazing things you may not have known about! Let’s get started.

1) New Interests and Demographics Data

This one is a little creepy, but it’s priceless to a marketer. Last year Google added a new feature to its analytics service that allows you to monitor the volume and performance of traffic on your site based on users’ interests and demographic information. You can learn more about it in this blog post. Basically, using DoubleClick data (which Google owns), we can now see the ages, genders, and interests of a percentage of people who are using the site. For example, here is a breakdown of traffic on our site by age: JL1 As you can see from this chart, we are getting a ton of visits from people aged 25–34. However, users aged 55–64 tend to go to more pages per visit and also spend more time on the site. As such, we may want to focus our ads on bringing more users in that age range to the site. You can also see how people with different interests are using the site: JL2 If you have an eCommerce site, you can also see purchasing data based on these metrics. Creepy? Yes. Cool? Hell yes. Note that this data will NOT capture every single visitor to the site, only users who have cookies enabled and have visited sites on the DoubleClick network. However, it is a good representation of your overall site visitors. This data is available under the “Audience” section in Google Analytics and must first be enabled by your webmaster. (Instructions)

2) Custom Segments

One of my favorite features of Google Analytics is being able to slice and dice data using custom segments. Clicking on this little arrow will show you a drop-down menu of different pre-populated custom segments. JL3 As you can see, Google has already provided some default segments for you to use. When you drag one of these next to the “All Visits” tab, you will see how this segment of visitors compares to the entire site. You can also get rid of the All Visits tab to see just that segment of visits. You also have the ability to create your own custom segments. For example, if you wanted to see how anyone who entered the site through your blog used the site, you could create a segment that listed the blog as a landing page. Here is a great tutorial on using advanced custom segments. If you click on the “Import from Gallery” button, there are hundreds of amazing segments, created by other users, that you can import into your account.

3) Dashboards

Need to check in on a specific set of data every day? Need to create a custom PDF report for your boss? Whatever the case may be, using Dashboards in GA is quite easy. JL4 The Google Analytics Solutions Gallery has a ton of already created custom dashboards that you can easily add to your account.

4) Automated Emails

Do you have teammates who aren’t as familiar with Google Analytics? Or a boss who needs a certain report emailed to him/her every day/week/month/quarter? If so, you can totally automate that! Just go to the screen/report you want him/her to see in analytics, and click on the email button at the top: JL5 Then, fill out the details of the automated email (whom it goes to, which file type, how often, etc.). JL6 Then just hit “Send,” sit back, and enjoy an ice-cold latte. You’ve earned it.

5) Intelligence Events and Custom Alerts

Do you want to be notified whenever something happens on your site? Let’s say one day your site receives hundreds of 404 errors. Or your revenue is up 30% week over week. Or your paid search CTR is down 25%. Or maybe you want to receive a text message when the bounce rate goes over 50%. Whatever you want to be made aware of, you can set up Custom Alerts in Google Analytics. You can even have a teammate copied on the alerts. Luckily, LunaMetrics has created 55+ Custom Alerts examples for you to use if you’d like. Once you set up one alert, it will be easy for you to create new ones. Google Analytics also offers Automatic Alerts, which attempt to show you major changes in different metrics daily, weekly, or quarterly. JL7 Clicking on “Details” will show you what specifically attributed to that change. This can help to streamline your analysis.