Five things that you may not know about Google Analytics

MoreVisibility - January 18, 2010

Even to this very day, I am so surprised at just how much our Web Analytics industry has grown over the past couple of years. Now more than ever, website owners understand the need and the value of Web Analytics, so it’s a great time to be in this industry.

MoreVisibility is, of course, a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant (AKA: GAAC), which puts us right on the bleeding edge of the industry. And when it comes to growth, Google Analytics reigns supreme. Features like Intelligence, Custom Reports, Advanced Segments, Motion Charts, and many others have all been released relatively recently, and there should be a lot more to come in 2010!

Today I’d like to highlight five things that you may not know that Google Analytics does / can do. They are:

1. Goal Verification
Are you using regular expressions in your Goal URLs? For example, let’s say that you wanted to see all Goal Matches for your “PDF Download” Goal. Your goal – which is set-up to match all “.pdf” extensions – can be segmented by the full virtual pageview in this Goal Verification report within the Goals section. This can be very helpful for a lot of site owners, as they can have lots of PDF files available for download on their site:

Goal Verification Report

2. Hourly Breakdown (How “far behind” Google Analytics is)
The trending graph in almost every report in Google Analytics defaults to a daily display, and most folks know how to modify the graph to show weekly or monthly graphing. What usually surprises people is that you can also switch to an hourly graph in some (not all) reports by clicking on the tiny clock symbol.

Tip: Ever wanted to know how “far behind” Google Analytics is in displaying your data? Switch your date-range to today and go into any report with an hourly trending graph option (The ones in the Visitors section will work). Then, graph by hour and scroll down the histogram to see where the data collection ends. Compare that to the current time and you’ll know how up-to-date Google Analytics is! You may be pleasantly surprised: I snapped this screen-shot at 9AM local time:

Hourly Visit Breakdown

3. Hostnames (websites using my tracking code)
Staying in the Visitors section of reports is another gem. Click on Network Properties and then click on Hostnames to view a full list of every domain and sub-domain that has your Google Analytics Tracking Code on it. This can either be very relieving or very eye-opening to you, depending on what you expect to find :). It’s a good idea to check out this report at least once – just to make sure any domains or sub-domains that are supposed to be excluded, are being excluded, or any sites that also have your tracking code are being tracked in that profile.

4. Keyword Positions
Did you know that Google Analytics can give you AdWords Keyword Positions, and metrics per ad position? This is definitely one of my favorite reports that lots of people don’t know about. Go to Traffic Sources, then AdWords, and then Keyword Positions. If your Google Analytics is properly synced to your Google AdWords account, you should have no problem being able to see visits per position with this nifty report. Click on a keyword on the left-hand side to view the visit position breakdown, and switch that drop-down menu which rests above the position table to “Revenue” for very revealing and insightful Ecommerce analysis:

AdWords Keyword Position Breakdown by Revenue

5. Top Content by Title
Ever get tired of reading through your URLs in your Top Content report? Wish you could read actual words instead of the URL itself to figure out which page is which? Below the extremely popular Top Content report rests a Content by Title report that may be of interest to you. This is exactly the same thing as the Top Content report, except that it lists pages by the <title> meta-tag that you have within each page’s source code. Because it uses the <title> tag, and not the URLs, pages with the exact same <title> tag will be grouped together; as SEO best-practices dictates, you should make sure each page on your site has a uniquely written <title> tag.

There you have it – five things that you now DO know about Google Analytics!

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