This is the first post from a series dedicated to Google analytics. It will begin with simple things like accounts, properties and views and develop in time.
I intend to show and explain you the core concepts and techniques that I learned in Digital Analytics Fundamentals course. I will apply the knowledge and gain experience in the process.
You will watch me doing and explaining things and in the end, you and I will be more knowledgeable and more skilled in data collection.
This is my first mini-course so, please, bare with me. The beginnings are humble and this first episode might not be a work of art. Let’s begin with Google analytics essentials.
A powerful system
Google analytics (G.A.) is a powerful system that helps you track and gather data related to your business. The system is very sophisticated, flexible and powerful and it can gather an incredible amount of data from a large variety of sources. Let’s see.
What can you track with G.A.?
With G.A. you can track things like:
- Mobile applications
- Cloud connecting point of sale systems
- Customer Relationship Management systems
- Video game consoles
- Home appliances etc.
The last type of source makes me dream. It seems that it is really possible to track home appliances like, for example, your refrigerator. If you are mean (really mean), you can track your mother-in-law’s refrigerator to see what she eats and drinks. Well, it was just a joke.
How does G.A. track all these type of entities?
For tracking websites G.A. uses a piece of java script code. This piece of code, when you put it on every page of your website, collects information about how a visitor engages with your site.
For mobile applications G.A. uses SDKs (mobile software development kits). The implementation of a SDK for your mobile’s app is a developer’s job. If you are a common, normal user and try to figure out yourself how to do it, your brain will expand until you won’t be able to get out of your room.
For blogs G.A. uses a piece of Java script code (exactly as it does in the case of websites) but the difference is you don’t place this code on every page of your blog. That piece of code is placed in one particular place provided by your blog, your theme or the plugin you use.
Now, it is time to get to business.
Google analytics essentials: terminology
When you go to http://www.google.com/analytics and click Create an account, then type all the necessary data, you will finally get what is called a Google analytics account.
Now, inside that G. A. account we can find the following type of entities:
- Properties (inside accounts)
- Views (inside properties).
In this article I will talk only about the first type of entity: Accounts.
Accounts in Google Analytics
What is an account?
An account is a place where you gather data related to your business. If your business consists in a site or a blog, then an account will be the place where all the data related to your site or blog will be gathered, grouped and displayed for you.
What is the structure of an account?
An account is made of two types of entities: properties and views.
A property is a place inside the account where you track and collect data related to an asset of your business. In simple terms an asset of your business may be a site or a blog or a mobile application.
If your business has a site and a blog and a mobile application then you will have three different properties where data will be collected, stored and reported independently.
Each property is assigned a unique tracking code (a piece of Java script code) that tells G.A. what data to collect, store and report.
A view is just a way to organize data specified by the user. There are many more things that can be said about properties and views but this is outside the scope of this article. We will continue with accounts.
How to create an account inside G.A.
If you don’t have Google Analytics, you must go to http://www.google.com/analytics and create your main account. During the process they will ask you for a website and a new account will be automatically created.
The following video will show you how to create a new account (a second one) for another website or blog. Click on the video below to see the whole process:
Now you know how to create an account inside G.A. The next step will be to configure this account meaning to create properties for all your assets (websites, blogs, mobile apps etc.) and views that organize your data according to your needs and specifications.
It is very important to create the account and set up the properties and views correctly even from the beginning. If you do it incorrectly, you will get inaccurate data that will trigger wrong decisions and waste precious resources.
Google analytics seems complex and intimidating at a first glance. However, when you understand how it works you will get access to a treasure of data that will help you find your audience needs and wants, improve engagement and drive more traffic to your site.
What do you think of this first post of the Google Analytics Essentials mini-course?