What Google Analytics Features Should You Know About & Use?

When you’re getting your website started, tracking metrics can seem like an impossible task. One look at the vast amount of Google Analytics features can send you spiraling. 

If you’re stressing about your metrics, you’re not alone. 

But don’t worry, once you’ve got it figured out, tracking your metrics will be an easy and essential part of your process.

Why Is Google Analytics Important? 

Tracking your web analytics is an essential part of growing your business. 

You need to know who is visiting your site, where they linger, and how they engage. 

While there are tons of different analytics tools you could use, you can’t go wrong with Google Analytics. It’s free and there are so many Google Analytics features to explore!

With Google Analytics, you can get a clear picture of your customers’ behavior. This will tell you about their user experience. How do they interact with your online content? Where do they come from?

 Google Analytics gives you access to the information you need to create a successful business strategy. Understanding the behavior of your visitors allows you to generate better results.

Essential Google Analytics Features You Should Utilize

There are so many features available to you on Google Analytics. 

At a glance, you can get important insight into your website’s functionality and opportunities for growth. But with so many features, it can be too easy to overlook some of the most effective options. 

Utilizing the most essential Google Analytics features will help you optimize your website.

traffic-insights-dashboard

Measure Campaign Success With Web Traffic

Figuring out which of your marketing campaigns is working will help you know where to direct your efforts. Your Source/Medium report is a like one-stop-shop to see traffic, user behavior, and conversion data. This is one of my most used reports so I dedicated a whole blog post to teach you how I use it.

Relentless testing is a key tenet of marketing, but how do you measure the success? 

You need to track metrics to determine what is and isn’t working. An easy way to do this is by adding parameters to your URLs.

These parameters will let you track anything you need! Adding them to your URL is a convenient and painless way to keep track of your metrics. You can figure out which links are bringing you traffic, see how your guest blogs are holding up, and more.

You can set up your parameters manually or use a URL-builder to make things easier. And then you can use Google Analytics to see your results or better yet grab a UTM Dashboard that will display the information at a quick glance instead of accessing it through Google Analytics.

There are five parameters you use when creating UTM links and the last two are optional:

  • “utm_source”
  • “utm_medium”
  • “utm_campaign”
  • “utm_term”
  • “utm_content”

 Choose your parameter values carefully. You can get really specific information, but only track metrics that make sense for your business goals. 

Track Your Goals Through Website Conversions and User Activity

Google Analytics features let you track your most important metrics. 

It’s all about the conversions, baby! Conversions can be anything you want your visitors to do. Whether that’s signing up for your email list or making a purchase, what you track depends on your goals.

You can even set different goals for each page of your website (but you are limited by the number of goals per view so use wisely).

Google Analytics will track each step your visitors take and mark it as a conversion when the desired behavior is completed.

 Conversion goals can fall under several different categories. These include:

  • Destination: the path you want your website visitor to take
  • Duration: when a session lasts for a set amount of time
  • Screens/Pages Per Session: how many pages a visitor has viewed in a certain period of time
  • Event: a set action, like a click

Use Audience Reports To Get To Know Your Users

Audience reports give you so much information about who is using your site. 

You can see their demographic, location, interests, and browsing behaviors. Use this data to create an actionable plan for increasing engagement.

Seeing your visitors’ interests gives you an interesting insight into your traffic. It’s especially valuable for using targeted advertisements. 

Audience reports tell you:

  • What products are likely to interest your visitors
  • What product categories they may be more inclined to explore
  • Which market segments are more likely to attract user purchases

Create Visual Flows to Understand Your Web Visitors’ Journeys

Creating flow visualization graphics is another one of the great Google Analytics features. It’s kind of like spying on your website’s visitors – but not the creepy kind of spying! 

Flow visualization graphics let you see every step a visitor took on your site. View how they’re exploring your site, including when they backtrack. You can also use this feature to see where you’ve lost them when they leave the site.

 There are a few different options for flow visualization reports. 

One of the best options is the Behavior Flow report. This walks you through how visitors moved between pages or events. That means you’re getting a clear idea of how your content is working! 

You can see whether your traffic is coming from Facebook or emails (using UTMs) and evaluate the traffic patterns.

traffic-insights-dashboard

Run Custom Reports To Generate The Data You Need

The standard suite of reports is a good starting place for keeping an eye on your metrics. Once you know what you’re doing, there are a few options for generating reports.

By generating custom reports, you can view your data precisely the way you need it. Your reports can be tailored to your specific business goals. You’ll see the information you want to see, without having to search through irrelevant data.

When you’re starting out, it can be a little intimidating. Google Analytics provides templates in their Solution Gallery, but those are limited and not always user-friendly especially for beginners. Our tool of choice is Google Data Studio it connects seamlessly to Google Analytics, is extremely powerful, and best of all user friendly.

Reporting for the sake of reporting isn’t always going to get you the answers you need to make strategic decisions. So before you jump in knowing what, how, and when to measure is one of the highest forms of leverage in business and why I created Measure & Maximize. This program teaches you to tackle any measurement project by building dashboards that give you exactly the info you and your clients need to scale.


You don’t have to understand every single one of the Google Analytics features to get the most out of this useful tool. 

Just taking advantage of these tips will help you get started! Check out our Google Analytics Basics course and start using your insights today!

Tracking your metrics allows you to recognize opportunities for growth. Starting to do this sooner, rather than later, will put you on the right track early on.

Access my “walk-throughs” on setting up filters, combining traffic, and setting up goals to optimize your Google Analytics with these tutorial posts:

Filtering Out Your Own Site Visits in Google Analytics

Combining Referral Traffic in Google Analytics

How To Set Up Goals In Google Analytics

What Google Analytics Features Should You Know About & Use | The Nimble Co.