What is Google Analytics? Features & Pricing

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If you have a website or a blog and you haven’t started using Google Analytics yet, then this is your wake-up call. Google Analytics is one of the most powerful analytics tools for understanding your customer’s behavior and gaining insights about your website’s traffic, as well as measuring your advertising ROI.

But before you implement Google Analytics in your business strategy, let’s dig down deeper into its essence.

  1. What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a Freemium web analytics service provided by Google that tracks your website traffic and provides you with useful reports on the way your visitors are behaving once they get there. It collects data by tracking users that are coming from organic search (unpaid search), CPC (Cost-Per-Click or paid campaigns), referrals (from another website), E-mail (traffic from e-mail campaigns) and direct search, or users that arrived by typing directly your site into the browser.

The data that Google Analytics collects is compiled into reports that fall into the following 5 categories:

  1. Real-Time Reports – showing users’ behavior in real-time including current active users and pages, page views per minute, traffic sources, country they are browsing from, conversions and much more. In other words, these reports show where users are coming from, and whether they are converting.
  2. Audience Reports – these reports show the activity and characteristics of users such as their age and gender, their country of origin, their interests and even the technology that they are using. You can also find out how engaged they were, and whether they are new or returning visitors.
  3. Acquisition Reports – they display data from the channels that brought traffic to your website such as Marketing and Advertising campaigns, organic search, social traffic, etc. You can also see results from your AdWords campaigns, as long as you have linked AdWords to your Google Analytics account (we will talk about that later).
  4. Behavior Reports – they show how people are engaged on your website including the pages they viewed, landing and exit pages, what visitors searched on your site, and whether they interacted with a specific element.
  5. Conversion Reports – they allow you to track website goals based on business, Marketing and eCommerce goals, as well as your product and sales performance.

In other words, Google Analytics is a great tool for understanding the behavior of your website’s visitors, which Marketing and Advertising efforts are the most efficient for bringing traffic, and where you should focus your money and time in order to get the highest conversion rate.

2. How do I activate it on my website? Do I need to download anything?

In order to activate Google Analytics on your website, you need to create a Google Analytics account and add a small piece of Java tracking code for each page on your website. You don’t need to download any additional software. The code collects anonymous information on how the user interacts with the page. To get started with Analytics, click here.

3. Can I get a certification in Google Analytics? Does it cost anything?

Any person can get an individual certification in Google Analytics by becoming a Partner. It doesn’t cost anything to take the exam and obtain the certification, and it takes as little time as creating an account. To become a Partner, click here.

Once you’ve watched the video tutorials, you can take an individual qualification exam with 70 questions. You have 90 minutes to do it, and you need a passing score of 80% to obtain the certification. Your certificate has a validity of 18 months.

Remember that you need to study both GA for Beginners and Advanced GA for the exam, as these are not two separate exams.

4. Google Analytics Rating

TrustRadius: 8.3 / 10 (1135 ratings overall)

FinanceOnline: 5 / 5 (18 ratings overall)

G2Crowd: 9 / 10 (1122 ratings overall)

GetApp: 4.5 / 5 (124 ratings overall)

5. What features does Google Analytics offer?

Some of the features that this tool offers are the following:

  • Advertising Reports;
  • Campaign Measurement;
  • Real-Time Reporting;
  • Cost Data Import;
  • Remarketing;
  • Social Reports;
  • Funnel Analysis;
  • Segmentation;
  • Traffic Sources.

To check all features, click here.

6. What are the pros and cons of Google Analytics?

I believe that this section can be quite subjective because everyone perceives difficulties in a different way. Here is what users think about the advantages and disadvantages of the GA tool according to GetApp and G2Crowd:

Pros: 

  • A wide range of features and real-time indicators;
  • Completely free web analytics site;
  • Cross-platform tracking;
  • Detailed website visitation reporting;
  • Easy to understand, everything is at a simple glance;
  • Easy to set up on any page;
  • Interactive and visual interface;
  • Ability to track conversions.

Cons:

  • Can be difficult for beginners or non-marketers;
  • Too many in-depth features that take a lot of time to be understood;
  • Limited number of goals and views per property;
  • Limited creation of custom reports;
  • Reports can be downloaded only in PDF;
  • Upgrading to Premium is extremely expensive.

7. What prices are associated with it?

  • Certification: Free
  • Google Analytics Standard: Free
  • Google Analytics 360 (Premium): $150, 000 or $12,500 per month;

Check this comparison chart  to see the features and limitations of both.

8. Should I upgrade to Premium? 

As I haven’t been able to compare both versions for obvious reasons, I can’t provide my own insights, but your question is answered by brianclifton.com

9. What other tools can I pair with Google Analytics?

You can link Google Analytics with some of the following tools:

  • Google AdWords: an online advertising tool that helps you improve your ad campaigns.
  • Google AdSense:  a tool that helps you earn money by displaying relevant ads on your website.
  • Search Console: helps you understand how users find your website.
  • AdExchange: a platform that facilitates the buying and selling of media advertising inventory.

You can find all Google Analytics Product Linking in the Admin Tab of your GA account (Admin – Property – Product Linking). Go directly if you have already logged in your account.

I will talk about these tools in my future posts.

10. What else do I need to know about Google Analytics?

Obviously, the Google Analytics tool is extremely comprehensive and has a wide variety of features that can help you improve your sales and Marketing performance in the long run. If you are new to it, my biggest advice would be to watch the tutorials provided by Google (even if you choose not to take the exam) so you can understand the logic behind the product before you start using it.

Google Analytics for Beginners Tutorial

Advanced Google Analytics Tutorial

Or you can go to the Google Analytics YouTube Channel, where apart from the tutorials for the exam, they have a lot more videos with deeper insights.

Did you miss any important information from the article “What is Google Analytics?” Let me know in the comments!

Ani Miteva

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