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10 cool Google Analytics tricks that will make you a Pro

Google Analytics (GA) is the tool of choice for most companies, whether they have a modest or a formidable digital presence. Although this analytics solution offers almost everything that a business might ask for; there are still not-so-well-known tricks that can be used to squeeze some more insights out of Google Analytics. You might already be using some of them, but read on to know how you can do more with your Google Analytics implementation.

1. Start getting a complete In-Page Analytics report using Google Chrome Extension

In-Page Analytics is a very helpful feature of Google Analytics, which enables users to know how the visitors interacted with various clickable elements of the page. However, there are many instances wherein users are not able to load the In-Page Analytics report in GA interface. In your analytics journey, you might have come across the screen shown below more than a few times:

Google Analytics Tricks

Some of us geniuses might click on the “Load in Full View” and hope to find the report. But you would be disappointed to know that by clicking on this option, you will see the In-Page Analytics report, but only for the Homepage.

However, there is a secret way by which we can still get the In-Page Analytics report. Google has developed a Page Analytics Chrome Extension which has almost identical functionality but gives a bit more.

This is what you get in the regular In-Page Report’s top ribbon:

Google Analytics Tricks

This is what you get at the top ribbon using the Chrome Extension:

Google Analytics Tricks

By, now you would have noticed the trended graphical line in the report.

Another feature of this report is the “Real Time” visitors count for that page.

You can download the Chrome Extension Here.

2. You can leverage User-Defined Value to dive deeper into referral sources

If you want to track a certain set of pages as a separate category, then you can use the “user-defined-value” option in Google Analytics.

For example: you have one PR link (www.xyz.com/abc/index.html#id=1) that you have sent across to various partner websites across the world. Here, www.xyz.com/abc/index.html is your regular landing page. Now you would want to know from which source websites did you get the visits to your PR Landing Page. You can’t tag the links for each partner website as you don’t have any control of which websites around the world might publish it. Sounds like a simple issue. You check the All Pages Report or Referral Sources report in Google analytics and you have the report. Now, what if you want to check all the PR visits under one label? It’s a little tricky for beginners, but here’s how you can do it:

Go-to your advanced filter in Google Analytics and do the following:

a) Select custom advanced filter

Google Analytics Tricks

b) Set the Request URI field to get the “#id=1” URIs and convert it to a category(“#id=1”) in the user-defined-value field

Google Analytics Tricks

c) This is how the report would reflect in Google Analytics under, Audience>Custom>User-defined-value

Google Analytics Tricks

3. When you start tracking in Google Analytics, always make sure to keep an unfiltered profile from the beginning

Believe us; this unfiltered Master Profile will save you from a big disaster one day. So, what is a Master Profile? This is the raw view of unprocessed data that is not touched by filters or modified by various settings. Whenever you are in doubt about the accuracy of your reports, you can do a sanity check against this pure data. Also, if your working profile is messed up due to some reason, you can always get back to this master view and start afresh.

To create this raw profile, you can either save the first profile that does not have any filters and name it appropriately, or if you have already altered your profile then simply create a “New Profile” (Admin section > Profiles tab > New Profile button) and do not ever apply any filters to this profile. You can create different profiles like: test profile, organic profile, mobile profile, PPC profile, overall profile, but always keep your back-up safe for those data emergencies!

4. You can set up alerts to know when your traffic went above/below a certain threshold

You should always monitor any significant changes in traffic, usage, bounce rates, etc., but you don’t need to make an analyst sit 24×7 to do this task. A smart analyst would set up alerts for all the thresholds you wish to track. These alerts will instantly inform you about any major anomaly and you can conduct course correction whenever needed. Here’s how you can set up custom alerts in Google Analytics:

  • Select the profile for which you want the alerts
  • Go to Admin > Assets > Custom Alerts > Create New Alert Button
  • Select the Alert name and frequency (daily/weekly/monthly)
  • Select the segment of traffic that you want to monitor
  • Select the metric you want to monitor
  • Set the threshold and activate the alert
Google Analytics Tricks

5. You can schedule a certain report to be automatically sent to you via email based on your requirements

Visiting the Google Analytics Dashboard and getting lost in the variety of data is not for everyone. Marketing managers, CEOs, and other category leaders can simply set up daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly reports with the metrics of their choice and get them delivered automatically to their inboxes — without banging the doors of tech/analytics teams’ cubicles for these basic necessities. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Log into the report of your choice
  • Click on the Email option in the main navigation bar underneath the name of the report
  • Fill up the necessary details in the following pop-up and you are done.
Google Analytics Tricks

With this option you can first generate any kind of report and then schedule emails to get those specific reports. All your team members handling different activities can get the reports that they are most interested in, on time, every time.

6. Using “User-ID” feature in Universal Analytics you can track visitors across multiple devices and various browsers

With the growth of smart devices, consumers are cruising through various channels and devices before making any decision. This mandates the need for analyzing the path to conversion followed by your users that is not limited to just one device. Now Universal Analytics has come up with a User ID feature that assigns a unique alphanumeric ID to each user so that they can be tracked accurately across multiple sessions while they use various devices or browsers. After you implement the User ID feature in Google Analytics, your report will depict all the hits from the same user ID and make cross-device analytics possible. However, this feature is useful only in the case of users that are logged-in to your site or mobile app.

To set up the User ID, you must first enable the feature in your Google Analytics account and then modify your tracking code. Further details of how to set-up this feature can be found here.

7. Now track Facebook comments via Google Analytics

Google Analytics Social Tracking feature allows you to track clicks on the Facebook Like Button and Send Button, and provides the JavaScript code for social tracking. However, you might not find any solution to track actions on the Facebook Comments Box. In order to track Facebook Comments on your website, blog or Fan Page iFrame tab, you need to set up the new Google Analytics, and then modify the social tracking code so that it also tracks the Comments box.

The JavaScript that enables the Google Analytics social tracking should be in a file named “ga_social_tracking.js” and then called in the … tags of your Web page:

Get complete details on how to set this up here.

8. Share assets and get dashboards/custom reports created by other Google Analytics users worldwide

Most Google Analytics users do not take advantage of this wonderful feature provided in the tool. As per Google’s definition, “Assets are tools that you create in Google Analytics to help you customize your data analysis. Custom Segments, Goals, Custom Channel Groupings, Custom Attribution Models, and Custom Reports are all considered assets in Google Analytics. Assets are created and managed at the reporting view level.”

Sharing is a good thing right? When you share your assets, you don’t have to worry about your data or personal information being shared too. Only the configuration information is copied and shared while you have control over the privacy. You can share one asset at a time or select multiple assets.

From Google’s Solutions Gallery you can easily share and import custom reporting tools and assets, like Dashboards and segments, into your Google Analytics accounts. You can also share your configurations with other people in your team or organization, so that they can simply implement the same configurations and start generating similar reports.

9. Track internal campaigns via Internal Site Search feature in Google Analytics

Businesses can run various campaigns on their own website, and these need to be tracked as much as the external campaigns. So, what’s the process of tracking them? Some people use the usual Campaign Tracking tool, which is not the right way to go about it, as it hampers the source data. Some people take the route of Event Tracking, Virtual Page Views, or Custom Variables – but there’s an easier way to do the same task and that is by using Internal Site Search feature provided in Google Analytics.

Here’s how to go about it:

  • Create a new profile
  • Ad query string parameters to your internal ads to tag them (just like you would tag any external ad)
  • Configure Site Search settings Google Analytics Tricks
  • View reports generated by visiting Content > Site Search > Report.

10. You can do benchmarking in Google Analytics and know where your website stands

Benchmarking allows you to compare your data with aggregated industry data from other companies who share their data. This provides valuable context, helping you to set meaningful targets, gain insight into trends occurring across your industry, and find out how you are doing compared to your competition.

To access the Benchmarking reports, do the following:

  • Sign in to your Google Analytics account
  • Go to your view
  • Click on the Reporting tab
  • Select Audience > Benchmarking Google Analytics Tricks

You can select from over 1600 industry categories. Further, you can refine the data by geographic location and select from the given traffic size classifications, allowing you to compare your property against properties with similar traffic levels in your industry.

Drive better results by understanding customer data