How to get started with Google Analytics

By Nathan Segal, CIO |  IT Management, Google Analytics

Here's what a custom report looks like.

Here are the metrics options for your custom report.

After that, enter a name that describes your group of metrics and add the metrics, or table columns (see image at right).

You can also click on Add Dimensions; adding more than one offers the opportunity to drill down into the data. To limit your report to a portion of the data, click on Add a Filter. Once you're satisfied with your settings, save your report.

In this case, I've restricted the report to portions of the visitors and content metrics and set up one dimension option.

Here's a custom Google Analytics report that displays only visitor and content metrics.

When you save your report, Google Analytics places that information into a graphic as seen here:

Here's the icon for the visitor and content report described above.

Be aware that this custom reporting technique, while effective, doesn't give you access to all the data that may interest you. For example, I wanted to access the popular keywords that people were using to find my site.

To find that information, I had to go back to the Standard Reporting tab and, in the options on the left, drill down into the settings. The path was: Traffic Sources: Sources: Search: Overview. Once In the Primary Dimension section, click on Keyword for that information.

There's a lot of information on that screen, so here's a look instead at the Primary Dimension section on its own. In this screenshot you see the most popular keywords, how many visits, the amount of time spent on the page and so on. (There's more data to see, but I cropped that for the sake of visibility.)

The Primary Dimension report shows the keywords driving traffic to a site.

Using this data will help you improve client/customer retention, as you can see what keywords bring visitors to your site and keep them there.

Google Analytics in Action: A/B Testing, Bounce Rates and More

Analytics can help you determine conversion rates on individual sales pages. Many marketers complement this through the use of A/B testing. Here a marketer creates two or more versions of a sales page and tests different elements-such as the headline, the call to action or the graphics-to see which version leads to more conversions.

News: Google Simplifies Use of Analytics API

In the past, you could use Google Web Optimizer to manage conversion rate testing. While that service is no longer available, it's been replaced with Google Analytics Content Experiments.

Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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