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Google Analytics Beginner's Course by Chris Mercer Summary

This review is only for 1 course in CXL's growth marketing minidegree. For all the others please head over to the index here

How to use GA and the process to follow.

Answer with GA

  • Who your users are?

  • Where do they come from

  • What actions do they take?

  • What are the results of their actions?

Let’s look at the types of reports that Google Analytics has

  • Overview reports: summary

  • Table Reports: metrics + dimensions

  • Flow Reports: eg Userflow, goalflow

  • Data Visualisation Funnel Reports

Metrics vs Numbers

Metrics are numbers and these numbers can be used to perform arithmetics. Dimensions are the things that metrics are allocated to. Eg, URL of the landing page is a dimension and the number of visitors visiting the landing page is a metric. (Advanced tip : You can use Google Data Studio to use dimensions as metrics issa hack)

The calendar icon on the top right lets you compare your reports. You want to do apple to apple comparisons.. ie month of august vs month of september. You shouldn’t do week of august vs month of sept.

The shield above will tell you if your data is sampled. Hover over when in doubt. Green means data is not sampled. Reduce the no. of days if you don’t want the data to be sampled.

You want to know which pages 404-ed?

Go to Site Content > All Pages > Primary Dimension = ‘Page Title’

Add a secondary dimension “ Page”

Type “Not found” in the search box.

New account? Some settings to keep in mind —

Accounts > Multiple Properties

Properties > Multiple Views

If you want to use the same data across different websites, then put them in the same property. Use case: You have a blog and an ecommerce site

Big company? Time zone should be set to where the company HQ is.

Tracking ID: Create a decoy property to ward off spam bots.

Smart naming always: Website 1 (bad); Toption - Test view (good)

You can be removed by another admin. Don’t give admin permissions easily.

Real-Time Reports

Never use these to analyse reports. Only use it to answer — “Is this thing even working as intended?”

One stays for 5 minutes, the other for 30 minutes.

You can use real time segments if site has heavy traffic and you still need to know if things are working.

Real time segments > Go to Location > Add a filter to view.

You can see which filters you would like to add by clicking on dimensions.

Audience Reports - answers ‘who’?

A user is NOT a human in GA.

A new device or a new browser = a new user.

Tip 1: Try user explorer.

Tip 2:

Demographics > Overview > Segment (eg made a purchase)

Remove all users who made a purchase and see the rest of the audience.

Mobile overview: You should use advanced filters to summarise.

Technology: See which browsers get you most conversions. See which browsers drop your conversion rate the most. Opportunity to optimise?

Cool stuff happening at Google rn with cross-device monitoring. Yay.

Acquisition report — where are they coming from?

Site content > Landing page

(Ask: Does the order make sense?)

Behavior report — What actions are they taking?

Which page gets the most exits?

Site content > Exit page

any other pages? —> check all pages.

A little terminology:

Pageview = Every single time a page loads is called a pageview.

Unique pageview - No. of users who checked the page. Users are not = humans, remember?

So, Pageview includes unique pageview + other pageviews of the same page in the same session.

Bounce rate vs Exit rate

Are they the same? No, here’s why.

Bounce Rate: % of 1 sessions with no (tracked) interaction.

Exit Rate: the % of exits on a page More on this here

Bounce rate doesn’t matter on its own.

What matters is how bounce rate and exit rates compare with each other.

Add a few events if you want Behaviour > Events to show. If you don’t like the learning curve, hire a freelancer or better yet, pay for a tool like or or any alternative, really.

Conversion reports - What are the results?

Q) What page are they on when they complete the goal?

Go to goals > goal URLs

Q) What is the path to completing the goal?

Reverse goal path

Q) How does the funnel look like?

Goal flow reports would show the % of people that break of at each stage. If you want to get more out of the goal flow reports, try to use filters and segmentation. The level of detail that you get out of it is crazy!

Q) Show me shopping and checkout behaviour.

Enhanced ecommerce reports. This takes a little bit of effort to set up, though. More on this in the intermediate course.

Q) Where the sale is coming from?

Enhanced Ecommerce reports > Product performance > Advanced Filter (any 1 product) > Secondary dimension (Source/Medium)

Q) Which channels are assisting the sale and which are actually making the sale?

Multi-channel reports. Flexible to adjust.


Name stuff properly.

Eg, your properties should have a no. in front. This would let you sort them the way you want.

Have a master view and a test view.

While in-page analytics is no longer supported, there is a chrome extension is available for you.

Turn user analysis on if you want to reports to be generated by users. Turn if off if you want to generate it by sessions.

Tracking info

Data Collection - Turn google signals on

Data Retention - 26 months default.

Session setting - Duration between 2 hits.

Campaign timeout for attribution - 6 months

Referral exclusion - Add paypal, vimeo and other tools on the website.

Search term exclusion - your domain name. Why? —

Let's say you type in in the search box. My analytics data would show you found the site organically. The only way I can add this data to direct traffic is by excluding my domain name. Direct traffic vs organic traffic.

Organic: Traffic from search engine results that is earned, not paid

Direct: Any traffic where the referrer or source is unknown

This only works for sites where analytics tracking code is added through tag manager.

Product Linking: Search console, Ads and Optimise

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