The Best Guide to Google Analytics in 2023
Discover everything you need to know about Google Analytics including setup, tracking, reporting, and more.
Are you confused or even intimidated by Google Analytics? The good news is that you’re not alone. GA is complicated, and with the latest release, GA4 things are just about clear as mud.
In fact, when I first started to dig into GA’s waters, I wondered if I’d ever truly get it. There were so many ideas to learn and reports to run. How did people ever conquer this thing?
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics, or GA, is a free analytics tool that gives you a thorough look at your website and/or app performance. It combines with Google’s marketing and advertising platforms and products (including Google Ads, Search Console, and Data Studio) making it a popular choice for anyone using multiple Google tools.
Is Google Analytics Free?
There’s a free and paid category of GA (the latter is called Analytics 360). Small and medium-sized businesses will likely get all the qualities you need from the free version. Analytics 360 begins at $150,000 per year (invoiced monthly) and increases after your site collects more than one billion monthly hits.
Before we move forward, you should know that there are currently two kinds of Google Analytics: Universal Analytics and GA4.
What is Universal Analytics?
Universal Analytics is the current type of Google Analytics. It sets a new grade for how user data is collected and organized. Universal Analytics offers new tracking codes for websites and features that can more precisely measure user behavior.
What is GA4?
Google Analytics 4 is an analytics service that authorizes you to measure traffic and engagement across your websites and apps. This document provides execution instructions and reference materials geared toward a developer audience.
How to Set Up Google Analytics?
- Create a Google Analytics account.
- Add the name, URL, and industry of the website you want to trace.
- Add a sight to your property.
- Add your tracking code straightly after the head tag of your site.
- Visit your GA portal and confirm the code is functioning.
Before you begin using Google Analytics, you’ll have to set up a Google account. That means you should have a registered Google Account email address and password.
Once you’ve made a Google account, that doesn’t mean you automatically have access to GA instead, you have to register for Analytics (which we’ll review how to do in the next section). But the main thing to note as you proceed to set up GA is that you can only access the tool by using a valid Google account.
Here are the steps on how to utilize Google Analytics for your website-
STEP 1: Create a Google Analytics account.
First, you’ll have to build a Google Analytics account. Or else, sign in to your present account.
STEP 2: Add the name, URL, and industry of the website you want to trace.
You should create and name your Property at this point and enter the website’s URL and the industry and reporting time zone. Then you’ll be able to Initiate and Finish this process step.
STEP 3: Add a sight to your property.
Note: GA4 no longer uses “Views” but it instead has “Data Streams” with similar purposes. Keep this in mind when following these steps using Universal Analytics.
To add a view to your Universal Analytics account, go to the account and property you need to add a view to — use the menu to Create a View, name your view, select the type of view (web or app), and respond to a few other questions. You can add on up till 25 views to a property in GA.
To add a data stream to your GA4 account, go to the account and property you need to add a data stream to — use the menu to add a Data Stream. Select or add a stream, and save it.
STEP 4: Add your tracking code straightly after the head tag of your site.
When you generate a property, you’ll have access to a unique ID for tracking and a global site tag (code you need to add to each site page you want to measure). This is how you’ll be able to gather data on your property.
Then, paste your global site tag right after the opening <head> tag on each site page you aimed on measuring.
You’ll be asked to select your type of site (static, dynamic, web hosting, Google Tag Manager) so that you can put up the data collection correctly.
STEP 5: Visit your GA portal and confirm the code is functioning.
Lastly, verify your code is working. You can do this by focusing on the Real-Time reports section while clicking around on your site in a separate tab or on your phone. The report must show at least one visitor to the site (that’s you!)
And that’s pretty much it!