Back To Basics: Setting Up Google Analytics For Your Website

“Don’t buy complexity; the simpler you make your training, the better the results become.”  – Ryan Flaherty

Ryan Flaherty may not be a name you’re familiar with–I wasn’t. Until I listened to a podcast in which he was the featured guest. Flaherty has been called the Savant of Speed and he’s a big deal in the field of athletics. He trains top athletes how to run correctly, bringing about new levels of improvement in all areas of their performance, no matter what sport they belong to. He’s also the Senior Director of Performance at a little brand you may have heard of…Nike.

So there I was, listening to a podcast about running and I was thinking, “there’s a right way and a wrong way to run?” And in fact, I learned many of us didn’t learn to run correctly as children and we still do it wrong today.

You may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with anything? As I listened to this podcast, a question came to me. As we become marketers, either of our own brands and products or as consultants and employees for other people’s products, are we learning the right ways to market or are we making it up as we go?

As a marketing major in college, I’m sure I took the same classes as any other student. But there’s a long list of areas I work in every day that I didn’t learn in school–Google Analytics, click funnels, Facebook retargeting, live stream video, website conversions, and lead generation–to name a few.  

I learned these skills on my own–listening to podcasts, reading articles, and going through certification programs. However, I’m in the minority–I’d venture to say at least 60% of those who are using these tactics every day have been self-taught.

Take Google Analytics (GA) for example–a complex and powerful tool for digital marketers to measure their campaign results. How many marketers are using this tool to prove ROI? The answer should be ALL OF US. But, you and I know it isn’t. In fact, just over 50% were measuring or tracking their campaigns at all which is an abysmally low number given the importance of knowing how your strategy is converting.

I think it is of the utmost importance to learn to use GA to prove your digital worth. So here at Social Experiment, we’ll be focusing on measurement and analytics to teach you the basics of proving your campaigns are working. Later, we’ll be getting deeper into the amazing opportunities you have with GA.

But for now let’s start with the basics, the first thing you need to do is create a Google Analytics account. You can do so here. Once you’ve created the account, it will provide you with a small piece of javascript code, called the Google Analytics tracking code, to add to each page of your website. 


Insert this code just before the closing </head>tag of your website. This code will allow GA to track anonymous information each time a user visits your page. It will show how the visitor interacted with each page in your website.

The platform will also track the language used, the type of browser, device, IP address, operating system, and traffic source used by the visitor. Each user that visits your site will create a new session. GA will keep track of what happens in each session. A session ends when the user either leaves your site or has been inactive for 30 minutes.

All the information that is collected from the user’s visit is then aggregated into reports which you can access in your GA account. Once your account is created, you’ll be able to customize your dashboard with the information you find most important–and you can create more than one dashboard to choose from, each providing you with different types of information.

As we go through this series, you’ll learn more about how to customize your GA account. For now, get your Google Analytics account created and added to your website. We’ll be back with the next steps to setting up your dashboard and learning how to filter your information.

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