When you measure, you know. Nowadays, we want to know everything about our website. Where does a visitor get stuck, which buttons do they click through, do they download my e-book, why is a form filled in but not sent,… Fortunately, there are many handy tools from Google to keep track of all these metrics. I like to give you a glimpse into this world!

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Google Analytics as the basis

Google Analytics is the basis of the tracking and tracing that you can set up for your website. The tool is offered completely free of charge by Google and it is the place where statistics and data from your website are collected. This data is then detailed in various metrics: the number of (unique) visitors to the website, their surfing behaviour, the bounce rate and the place where visitors leave the website. In short, everything you need to gain insight into the performance of your website.

Google Analytics is broken up into a whole bunch of different metrics, so it’s not easy to find your way around. Some important parts to look at:

  • Target audience: here you will find everything about your visitors, from age to gender and location
  • Acquisition: here you can see how your visitor ended up on your website. Normally this will be organic, so from the search results in Google. If you have advertisements running or use social media, your visitors can of course also come through those channels.
  • Behavior: here you get a look at the behavior of your visitors on your website. Which pages do they enter, how long do they stay on that page and on which page do they close your website again?
  • Conversion: this part consists of goals or e-commerce of a webshop. I will explain this in more detail below.

Setting your Goals

Do you still want to add an extra layer? Then you can set goals in Google Analytics. This means that you will keep track of certain events on your website. These could be:

  • Fill out a contact form
  • Push a certain button
  • View a product
  • Stay on a page for more than 3 seconds
  • Visit an x ​​number of pages

These are just a few examples. You set goals directly on your Google Analytics admin page and they give you extra insight into your visitors. You can combine it with the metrics above so that you can, for example, see which channel (organic, social media or advertisements) receives the most contact requests.

Ecommerce Tracking

Do you have an online store? Then it is interesting to set up e-commerce tracking. Google Analytics offers two types of e-commerce tracking. The basic version is relatively easy to set up and ensures that you can track which products are selling the best. In addition, there is also enhanced e-commerce tracking. This is more difficult to set up and does require some knowledge of your website. But once set up, it does allow you to look into your sales funnel. You can see exactly how many people view a certain product, how many of them put the product in their shopping cart and which part actually purchases the product.

Integration via Google Tag Manager

But how do you set all this up on your website? As with any other forms of tracking, you have to upload a script in the backend of your website. This seems really hard, but that’s where Google Tag Manager comes in. When you first install Tag Manager on your website, you can easily set other scripts or tags via GTM on your website. Don’t just think of Google Analytics, but also the LinkedIn Insight Tag, for example.

How do you install Google Tag Manager on your website?

  1. Create an account in Tag Manager
  2. In Tag Manager, click on ‘Workspace’.
  3. Find your container ID at the top of the window. It has the format GTM-XXXXXX.
  4. Click on your container ID to open the ‘Install Tag Manager’ box.
  5. Copy the code snippets and paste them into your website.
    1. Place the <script> code snippet in the <head> tag of your web page’s HTML output, as close as possible to the opening <head> tag, but below any dataLayer entries.
    1. Place the <noscript> code snippet immediately after the <body> tag in your HTML output.

Once this is installed, you can get started adding your Google Analytics tag.

  1. Click on ‘Add new tag’ and a new window will appear
  2. Add a name, for example “Google Analytics “
  3. Click on the tag configuration area and choose the tag type Google Analytics – Universal Analytics
  4. Leave the track type on Page View
  5. Then choose a setting variable (If it’s a brand-new container, you shouldn’t have a variable)
  6. Create a new Google Analytics Settings variable and name it “GA PROD”
  7. Enter your Google Analytics account tracking ID (UA-XXXXX)
  8. Leave the rest as it is and save

This way everything is installed, and you can retrieve your website data. Keep in mind that you cannot retrieve historical data.

Should you switch to Google Analytics 4 right away?

What you will see when you create a new Google Analytics account is that you can choose between Universal Analytics or Analytics 4. The latter version is the new version of Google Analytics. Why was this created? Due to the disappearance of the third-party cookies. The Universal Analytics is based entirely on these types of cookies, but they will disappear in the coming years. This means that the data in your analytics account will no longer be complete.

That’s why Google came up with GA4. An analytics version that is based on events. You will notice that this form of analytics is constructed completely differently and that you approach your data in a different way. Which analytics version should you install?

I recommend activating both anyway to already collect data. You can also set up GA4 in the same way via Google Tag Manager. Universal Analytics is very good for learning to look at the data, but because we will get rid of cookies in 2022/2023, this version of Analytics will also disappear. It is therefore smart to already delve into GA4.

Here’s a first look at Google Analytics. I have only touched a very small part of it, as you can read. If you need help setting up the script on your website, you can always contact me. In addition, I also advise you to read further about these tools to gain more and more insights.