Understanding Google AnalyticsJan112017

Categories: Marketing

Google Analytics is a fantastic source of information that can help you reach the levels of interaction you desire with your potential customers. However, reading and understanding data can sometimes be a headache, especially when we are talking about a rather complex system. While it can be slightly discouraging learning how to interpret the data which is presented by Google Analytics, we strongly suggest you take a few minutes and learn a bit about how Google Analytics works.

There are four major components when working with Google Analytics: data collection, configuration, processing, and reporting. All of these components work together to deliver the data you need in the most accurate and comprehendible way. Let’s take a look at each of these Google Analytics aspects separately.

Collection

You can use Google Analytics to gather interaction data from pretty much any digital device. The most commonly used devices are websites and mobile applications. However, you can also use Google Analytics to collect data from Point-Of-Sale systems and self-servicing kiosks.

To collect this information, a small piece of Javascript code is used. This code has to be located on every page of your website. At the moment when a user visits your website the code starts to gather information and track how the user is engaging with your site. First, data about the website is gathered, such as the URL of the website that the user is on. Second, the data about the browser which is being used is gathered as well, like what type of browser is being used, the language which is being used, and the device and operating system of the user. The code can also collect information about the site which brought the user to your site. All of this data is packaged and sent to Google Analytics servers for processing.

You can collect a massive amount of data by just using the standard Javascript code designed for Google Analytics. However, if you have specific things that need to be tracked, the code can be modified to collect additional data.

Mobile data collection is very similar to website data collection methods, with a few differences. The same can be said for other digital devices like POS systems or kiosks, the major difference being that you will need the assistance of a knowledgeable developer to be able to collect data from those devices.

Processing & Configuration

Raw data is fantastic, but the copious amounts of this data will make it nearly impossible for a person to interpret quickly and rationally. This is why all collected data needs to be processed. During processing, the data is separated into different categories. One of the primary category separations is to divide the data into Mobile and Non-Mobile data. The configuration step is incorporated into the processing step and allows you to do things like filtering out or in certain aspects of specific data categories you are looking for. For example, you can choose to omit internal users from your final report via a configuration filter.

Once all the data is processed according to your specific configurations, it is stored in the data center and cannot be modified. This is why it’s absolutely vital for you to determine the proper filters and configurations immediately, otherwise you might be missing key data that you need to accurately run your website.

Reporting

Finally, all the data that has been collected can be accessed through the Google web interface. Alternatively, it is also possible to access the data from your Google Analytics account through an API. This gives you the possibility to incorporate the same data inside your applications if necessary.

Conclusion

Google Analytics is a fantastic tool. While it has the capability to gather massive amounts of information, it is also capable of delivering that information to you in a comprehendible way on any platform you need it on.

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