Google Analytics is a fantastic product and I use it personally on a daily basis without fail. There is however a wealth of data hidden behind its reporting tools if you can just manipulate it the right way. This collection of tips, tricks and reports should hopefully get you off to a flying start in that regard, and should showcase just how flexible and powerful Google Analytics can be.
I’ve split the post down into a number of sections, including some custom reports that anyone can use if they are a Google user. Feel free to add to any of these resources in the comments.
Custom Reports and Segments
I’ve already covered some custom reports and segments previously, and this collection hopefully adds some additional more advanced statistics to your reporting. All of these open directly with Google Analytics, and in turn install the reports and segments.
This drill down report helps you better Analyse your top content. Fundamentally it shows what content draws people in, and from what sources and mediums. Find it under custom reporting.
Daily Analysis – shows you data for a particular day, in a custom report that can be emailed.
Segment the users on your websites who truly love your content, showing visitors who have visited 3+ pages. This can help you understand the sources i.e. where exactly they come from, and indeed where they go to.
An advanced segment to find the long tail keywords on your website can help you build upon topics that your audience are hungry for. Ordering by number of visits can be a goldmine when trying to come up with fresh content ideas for your site.
Want to see which pages on your website work, and which ones don’t? This page efficiency report shows you just that.
Visitor Acquisition Analysis shows you quickly cost and revenue of visitor sources, and from this you can make measured decisions of your spend. Whilst you can get to this report already with a couple of clicks, this provides a much quicker route.
If you are involved with a hyper local startup of any description, you may want to take a peek at this report. Drills down into keywords by city.
For Search marketers, this source report allows you to see a breakdown of goals completed and value. It is extremely useful when trying to ascertain where you should concentrate the majority of your spend, or indeed concentrate your efforts if you’ve went to the effort of micro goal conversions on your blog.
An older post of mine talks a little about how you can use a question based segment to generate content ideas on your site.
The Sticky report shows the days since last visit across time, which can help you determine how sticky your site has become over a particular time period, and how the content you are providing has influenced that metric.
Want to see what browser the majority of your visitors are using? Want to see how many of those browser sessions represent Absolute unique visitors, or how browser usage has changed over time on your site? This is the custom report for you.
Keep track of your social media marketing efforts with this custom segment seeing how and what social traffic does on your website.
Currently Google Analytics only looks at pageviews in the content reports, but lets say you want to have a look at unique visitors per page. Here’s a custom report designed to do just that, which should give you a feel for not only the content which is attracting eyeballs on your site, but also the content which is generating the most traffic.
Enhancement Plugins and Scripts
Finding the exact SERP position in Google Analytics – Sometimes you’ll want to see the exact SERP position in your reports – you’ll have to work a bit of magic, but thankfully this post takes you through step by step. Also covers Bing and Yahoo.
Regular Expressions allow you to harness the power of Google Analytics to its full. The original LunaMetrics Google Analytics PDF Book is a great resource for G.A fans.
The Google Analytics Report Enhancer, allows you to add raw numbers to your reports, and see not only averages but actual figures. This is a Greasemonkey Script from the guys at ROI revolution.
16 various Greasemonkey scripts, rolled into one plugin, including Social Metrics in G.A., Google Docs integration and more.
This firefox plugin for Google Analytics showing you what has changed over the past x days. This allows you to more quickly analyse the information in your reports on a day to day basis. If you are anything like me you’ll be hunting for the new referrers in the past x days.
Want to examine just todays stats? How to Geek has some pretty neato information on using a bookmarklet for that as well.
This post covers 7 filters including a lowercase filter (to prevent duplicate URLs, subdomains and directories)
If you need PPC data in your Google Account, this filter should do the trick, letting you know the combinations of terms people used when you have a broad match setup.
Cleaning up URL’s in Google Analytics. Great post from the clever folks at Lunametrics.
General Tips and Tricks
If some of your URL’s contain parameters, you’ll often find that they get snipped off in your Analytics reports. This blog post shows you how to track the full referring URL without that data inconsistency.
This article (in Dutch) suggests how you can go about setting up Google Analytics to track sitelinks, and indeed the conversions from people clicking through directly from them. With the ability to block sitelinks in Google’s Webmaster tools this offers valuable insight, as some sitelinks may work better for your site goals than others.
If you are involved in any way shape or form in Google Local SEO then this post on tracking the 10 pack in G.A is the one for you.
Excellent Analytics offer a free Excel plugin for Google Analytics that lets you grab data on a daily basis more easily.
Make sure that your 404 pages show up in your reports so you can easily find the referring source and correct the problem. Google themselves have provided the solution to that particular issue.
Want to know how to get Google Analytics onto your facebook fan page? The guys at Webdigi have the answer.
The SEOMoz blog has an awesome post on the custom alerts that can be setup to notify you when something out of the ordinary is happening on your site.
This is a pretty good article breaking down how to go about tracking email campaigns in Google Analytics.
Need to exclude particular IP addresses from your reports? Google have a nifty tool for generating the correct regular expression that you’ll need to use in your site filters.
Google’s URL builder for campaigns is also an internal tool that can tack on the required parameters for tracking.
Tracking Your Twitter Tweets – You can now track anyone visiting the site as a result of your tweet, regardless of where they clicked on the URL. i.e Tweetdeck or other source.
Need a desktop reporting tool for Google Analytics? Polaris is just the ticket, and its cross platform as well.