The secret to Google Analytics? Ask great questions!

6 years ago

Mike Teasdale Guest post by Mike Teasdale, Planning Director at the digital marketing agency Harvest Digital. We asked Mike how you could use Google Analytics to gain insight to help grow your business.




Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics service amongst UK businesses.

No doubt that is partly to do with the fact that the basic service is free.  But just because it is free doesn’t mean that it doesn’t provide incredibly valuable information that can help your website work better.

The trouble is that there is so much data within Google Analytics, you quickly find yourself drowning in information.  That’s why I’d suggest that before you dive in and start looking at reports, stop and think for a moment.  What do you actually want to know?

The key to web analytics is asking great questions.  If you do, you can almost always find the answers you need.

My top tips 

Here are a few examples to get you started – and how I would go about answering them within Google Analytics.

Do I need a mobile website?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could look just at traffic to your website from mobile devices? Then you could compare conversion rates on mobile with desktop access – and if you have a lot of traffic and the conversion rate is poor, you can build a great business case for a dedicated mobile site.

This is really easy to do.  Google Analytics has a pre-set visitor segment called ‘Mobile Traffic’ – simply tick the box and you can easily compare mobile traffic with your website averages. (You can do the same with traffic from tablets – which in our experience often converts better than desktop traffic.)

Mobile report









Advanced Segments are accessed via the secondary toolbar at the top of every report page.

Which marketing campaigns are working best?

Simply by adding the appropriate campaign tracking code to all in-bound links you can identify all the traffic generated from a particular campaign.  Then you can also drill down to traffic by campaign by source – so you could look at the impact of your green fish campaign on email, on web banners and on social media.

Google has a great online tool to help you to generate tracking links.

This report is found under Traffic Sources : Sources : Campaigns.

Which content on my website is most valuable?

If you look at page level reports in Google Analytics, the final column is for a metric called ‘page value’.  This report looks across all the site visits which led to a sale (or any other goal you have set) and then looks to see which pages contributed to that sale.

So page value is a simple measure of which pages have contributed most value within your website. It’s a great way to identify hard-working content – and also those pages that may need a bit of a refresh.

This report is under Content : Site Content : All Pages

I know which channels lead to direct sales.  But are they the same channels that people use to discover my site for the first time?

Multi Channel GroupingThis is a great question – and again an easy one to answer.  A new set of conversion reports called ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ focuses on conversions where more than one channel is involved in a sale over multiple site visits.

In a single report you can compare ‘Last Interaction Conversions’ with ‘Assisted Conversions’ to get a much more rounded view of how much total value each marketing channel has delivered.

You can find this report at Conversions : Multi-Channel Funnels : Assisted Conversions




How are you using Google Analytics to gain insight into your business?

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For some other top tips on growing your business, visit the Sage UK website