Google Analytics is one of the best free data analysis tools on the web. But having this powerful tool at your disposal is irrelevant if you don’t know how to harness its potential. People say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but whether you’re a beginner at analytics or an expert, there is untapped wisdom in the posts below.

For Beginners

These posts should guide you through getting Google Analytics set up and getting started.

  1. The Complete Guide to Setting up Google Analytics – This post is an opportunity to identify what code you’ll need, the account structure, and various other things necessary to get set up successfully.
  2. Beginner’s Guide to Google Analytics – This three-part series delves into setting up your account (part 1), setting up goals (part 2), and measuring visitor interaction (part 3).
  3. Google Analytics Tutorial for Beginners 2014 – Video guide on how to navigate the Google Analytics interface and use certain features.
  4. A Guide to Getting Started with Analytics – Goes into detail about how to understand what your traffic is doing and which trends to watch.

Data Segmentation

The ability to segment data is one of the most important aspects of Google Analytics. It will allow you to compare data and make judgments.

  1. 16 Google Analytics Advanced Segments Tips – A combination of different segments you can apply to your analytics data to get insight. Examples include segmenting based on which type of traffic spends the most or which type of traffic bounces immediately.
  2. Segment Average Visit Duration in Analytics – See how you can get a better view of what average visitor duration means by segmenting your traffic.
  3. Google Analytics: Tracking Demographics of Ecommerce Visitors – A blog post on how to get demographic reports and how to analyze this data.
  4. Calculating the ROI of Your Marketing Channels – Shows you how to capture campaign data to calculate your return on investment and ad spending.

Small Business Analytics

Every small business needs to know how to measure ROI from digital channels. These guides should make that a little easier.

  1. Web Analytics Guide For Small & Medium Sized Businesses – Breaks down exactly what things a small/medium sized business owner should be looking at. Tells you how to install the code, how to define business objectives, set up goal tracking, understand which channels are working, and how to report on all of it.
  2. The Small Business Guide to Google Analytics – This fantastic mini-site is a mix between an infographic and a blog post. It goes over all the simplicities a small business owner needs to understand.
  3. Understanding Web Analytics: Small Business Guide – Goes into details around the basic stats but gives a good introduction to the main sections of Google Analytics.
  4. 5 Google Analytics features for Business Owners – Looks at the features small business owners should be paying the most attention to.
  5. How to Track Anything with Google Analytics – Learn to track the most basic of things from outbound links to email sign ups.

Universal Analytics

Universal Analytics is a fairly new topic but one that (if fully understood) can provide business insight to impact the bottom line.

  1. Complete Guide To Universal Analytics – Should you switch to Universal Analytics? This article aims to give a hint at whether you should and how to set it up successfully.
  2. Universal Analytics: The Benefits and How to Upgrade – An infographic on the benefits of Universal Analytics, what it brings to the table, and things you should be aware of (such as making sure your remarketing programs support Universal Analytics).
  3. Advanced Content Tracking with Universal Analytics – Ever wondered whether your readers are actually reading? Well, you’ll be able to find out with this JavaScript code. It allows you to see how far they’re getting and will surely be useful with Universal Analytics.

Analytics for Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization is a hot topic and one that often is used in conjunction with Google Analytics. Understand how to comprehend key features and how to run a split test, and you should be well on your way to gaining conversion uplift.

  1. Building Your Marketing Funnel with Google Analytics – Having trouble understanding which marketing channels are working best? Read this guide on how to segment your data with Google Analytics and discover opportunities for growth.
  2. Tracking Product Journey from Carting to Purchasing – If you own an e-commerce website, then this PDF guide is a must read. It will tell you exactly what you’ll need to track, from conversion rate to whether someone has removed an item from their cart.
  3. A Guide to Measuring Split Tests in Google Analytics – A guide on implementing your split testing strategy and continual analysis through Google Analytics.

Reporting and Excel

If you work agency side, then reporting will be a large factor in maintaining your relationship with your client/boss. Brush up on the articles below to see how you can get even more value from your weekly/monthly reporting.

  1. 10 Optimization Experts Share Their Favorite Google Analytics Reports – Ten experts chime in on their best reports for conversion within Google Analytics. Even if you use just one report, it would be worth your time to read it.
  2. 21 Real-World Examples Of Concatenating Marketing Data In Excel – Concatenating often is an under-utilized but powerful command within Excel. Annie from Annielytics provides 21 examples of using this command effectively.

Goal Tracking

Goal tracking is one of the first things you should aim to do on any website once you’ve defined your business objectives. Read the guides below to understand why it’s important and how to do it.

  1. Guide To: Goals And Funnels In Google Analytics – Goals are fundamental to tracking your website’s success. This guide will demonstrate how to set up goal tracking and gives examples of what you should consider tracking.
  2. Why to Define Macro and Micro Goals – Understanding the difference between macro and micro goals is very important and will help greatly when setting up goals.

Advanced Guides

This section goes into the deeper elements of Google Analytics and some of the more obscure/complicated topics that are fairly new to the industry.

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics Profile Filters – A guide on using filters to maximum effect. Includes ways to filter your own IP data, or only track certain metrics.
  2. Analyze Organic Search Engine Marketing with Analytics & GWMT – Advice from the official Google Analytics blog on how to measure the effectiveness of search engine marketing.
  3. 6 New Google Analytics Features – A list of six new features that Google Analytics has introduced that will impact how you view your data.
  4. Multi-Channel Attribution Modeling: The Good, Bad and Ugly Models – Goes into detail about the various types of attribution models and how to best apply them to your marketing efforts.
  5. The Full Guide to Remarketing in Google Analytics and AdWords – Remarketing has been a hot topic for a while now but has had little transparency about how to do it right. This guide shows you which tracking code to implement and other steps needed to get you up and running.
  6. (Provided): 10 Ways to Prove SEO Value in Google Analytics – Ever wondered how you can get around the not provided issue? Well, this guide gives you ten bite-size ideas on the best way to prove SEO value from Google Analytics.
  7. Google Analytics Social Tracking – Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus & Linkedin – Shows you the code you’ll need to really understand your social impact within Google Analytics. It will show which social buttons were used most frequently and will be useful for monthly reporting.
  8. Understanding Google Analytics: A Simple Guide to Advanced Terms – Great opportunity often lies within understanding the complexities of Google Analytics. Learn how to utilize filters, intelligence events, and custom dashboards within this post.
  9. Google Analytics for Ecommerce – Justin Cutroni from Google tells you how to set up e-commerce tracking, how to analyze data and report, and includes a few more advanced subjects such as cohort analysis.
  10. 7 things to consider before blindly choosing Google Tag Manager – Thinking of jumping straight into using Google tag manager? Well, before you do, consider reading this article as it details both the pros and cons of the application.

Google Analytics Exam

If you want to be seen as more credible within the industry, then an official Google Analytics certificate can come in handy.

  1. Google Analytics Test – This is a super test aimed at helping you pass the individual analytics qualification. With over 200 questions, there is plenty of opportunity to learn and develop.
  2. Analytics Academy by Google – If you’re serious about learning analytics, then the official learning resource center of Google is a good place to start. With video tutorials and a mock assessment at the end of each module, you’ll be able to track progress and note areas where you need to improve.

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

There always are cool things you can do with data. Some of the tips, tricks, and tools below should inspire your creativity.

  1. Periodic Table of Google Analytics -Want to know the meanings of terms used in Google Analytics? Then read this handy periodic table of Google Analytics terms. You won’t regret it.
  2. Analytics Woman Chrome Extension – This might not help you immensely with Google Analytics, but it sure will take out the boredom of the Google Analytics start screen. You have the option to change the picture to something a bit more obscure.
  3. The Customer Journey to Online Purchase – Every good marketer understands that each industry’s customers react differently to various channels. This tool from Google allows you to segment by industry and gives insight into how each channel influences decisions in the purchasing process.
  4. “Not Provided” Keywords Estimator – This free tool from Digivate is used by many digital agencies to estimate what their client’s brand and non-brand traffic is. A very useful tool which always should be used when working with large brands.
  5. Top 24 Google Analytics Tips, Hacks & Automations – Luna Metrics is known to be one of the leading analytics companies. In this post, they link out to 24 of their best analytics articles.
  6. 13 Free Google Analytics Tools To Use Everyday – There is no doubt that tools can save you a lot of time and help you get to the important details. Read this to get a sense of what you could be missing out on.
  7. The Best Google Analytics Tips & Tricks for 2014 – Having an array of experts give their opinions on the latest tips and tricks will go down well in any industry. Get an idea of where Google Analytics is heading in the future with this post.
  8. 10 Actionable Google Analytics Tips – Having tips is nice, but having actionable ones is even better. Find out how to keep tabs on 404 error pages or even plot multiple rows of data.
  9. A New Method to Track Keyword Ranking using Google Analytics – This post is quite technical, and the method may require a developer to implement, but it sure is worthwhile if you set it up properly.
  10. How Call Tracking with Google Analytics Increases Your Profits – If you run a service-based business that relies on calls coming in to close sales leads, then this post could prove to be invaluable.

Expert Analytics Blogs

The best way to become the best is to learn from the best. The blogs below are compiled by experts that have years of experience in analytics and can teach you more than a trick or two.

  1. KISSmetrics Google Analytics Blog Posts – Read up on what KISSmetrics has produced over the years around Google Analytics and you’re sure to come away with something valuable.
  2. Online Behavior Analytics Blog – A blog dedicated to marketing analysis and optimization. Also has a video section if you’re more of a visual learner.
  3. Occam’s Razor – Avinash Kaushik has contributed a lot of thought leadership to the analytics industry over the years. Give his blog a read, but be sure to have a notepad next to you.
  4. Official Google Analytics Blog – The official Google Analytics blog is the first place you’ll find out about recent updates to the interface or a new feature being rolled out.
  5. Justin Cutroni’s Blog – Justin is an analytics evangelist at Google and produces some really insightful posts. Some may be a bit technical, but by the end, you’ll be wondering what Google Analytics can’t do.

Books

As well as blogs, books are another medium for learning. The two books we recommend below are written by well-respected authors within this industry. Well worth the investment.

  1. Web Analytics 2.0 (Avinash Kaushik) – This book has been cited by many industry experts as being one to read. It ties in all aspects of analytics and makes advanced principles easier to understand.
  2. Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics (Brian Clifton) – A book produced by another respected figure (Brian Clifton). Read this to increase your depth of knowledge in more of the advanced metrics.
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50+ Google Analytics Resources – The 2014 Edition
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Google Analytics, 50 great resources to help you