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In Google Analytics Essential Training, Corey Koberg shows how to use the Google web analytics platform to generate and evaluate information about the visitors to a web site, including data on site traffic, user behavior, and marketing effectiveness. This course covers the out-of-the-box functionality, from account creation to reporting fundamentals, and explains how to glean insights from the vast array of data available.
Overall, Google has worked very hard to make Google Analytics both easy to use, but still powerful, which can be a difficult balancing act. Before we dig into the reports and analysis, it's worth understanding a few things about the hierarchy of Google Analytics. One of the more confusing, but important, details is the difference between a Google account, and a Google Analytics account. We will start here at google.com/analytics. When we click this Access Analytics button, it's going to prompt us for user name to log in, but this is not our Google Analytics account. This is actually the user ID associated with our overall Google account.
In this case, I will use a test account. Now, this particular account has access to several different Google Analytics accounts. If we view this dropdown on the left- hand side, we can see all the different Google Analytics accounts that this particular Google account has access to. In this case, it's Cardinal Path account, the Google Store, a Test Account, and so on. In the top bar here, we can see the actual user name that I am logging into my overall Google account with, that has access to all these different Google Analytics accounts. Let's talk for a second about this user name up here.
This could be a Gmail account, but we don't recommend it. We recommend that you instead use your corporate login ID, and the reason why is that it's very difficult to know who firstname.lastname@example.org is. In understanding who has access to which profiles and which accounts can get very confusing when you can't readily identify the people behind those user accounts. If you require your organization to use only corporate e-mail addresses, there is less confusion, and everybody knows who has access to what. So in our accounts list here, we will see a list of Google Analytics account, and under that, a list of Web property IDs.
These are generally used to differentiate when you have different Web sites linked inside your account, for example, microsites, or even different subdomains. In this case, we have several of those associated with the Cardinal Path account. If we then click the Plus button to expand each of these Web property IDs, we will see the different profiles that belong to those Web property IDs. To start viewing your reports and dashboards, just click on the blue profile link. If you're already in the reports section, you can easily view a list of profiles from the dropdown in the top left-hand corner. And here we'll see the same accounts, and we will see the same Web property IDs, and we can expand that all the way down to the individual profiles.
Profiles are extremely powerful, and advanced users we will find all kinds of ways to tweak them, but they can be a little bit confusing at first. Think of each profile like a database that can be configured completely independently of the others. In some ways, it's like you have another instance of the analytics tracking code on your site where you can track things just a little bit differently. You can create up to 50 of these profiles, and they can be for different sites, or more likely, just alternate databases for the same site. If you do have different Web sites, unless you're planning on treating those Web sites as a single cohesive entity, where users will cross from one Web site to the other, and maintain a single analytics tracking session that you want to see as one big session, it's actually better to put one Web site per Google Analytics account, rather than trying to put different profiles for each Web site in the same account.
This is particularly true if you have multiple AdWords accounts for each of the different Web sites. You generally want to maintain a one-to- one ratio between your AdWords accounts, and your Google Analytics accounts. So if you have four AdWords accounts, you generally want to have four Google Analytics accounts to match each of those four. Again, they can all be under the same Google account login, just different Google Analytics accounts. Okay, so when will I have another profile then? Well, it's often useful to have multiple profiles or databases within the same account itself. For example, in this account, you can see that under a single Web site, I have multiple different profiles.
It's often useful to have a main profile where you will do the majority of your analysis. You can also have a test profile where you can make mistakes, try new filters, and generally try new things with no fear of hurting your data. You'll also want to have a raw or unfiltered profile, which has only pristine data, and acts a bit of an insurance policy against mistakes in your main one, and one where you can always go back and do a sanity check against that raw, unfettered data. In this case, I also have another profile that has only internal traffic, and you could do one that just has your AdWords traffic, for example,.
To create a new profile, it's relatively easy. From the Accounts List screen, we are going to click on the little gear button in the top right-hand corner. And here, our breadcrumbs tell us that we are looking at all the accounts, in which case, we are in the Cardinal Path account, and now I am down here at the Web property level. To create a new profile inside this Web property, I simply click on New Profile, and select a profile name. In this case, I am going to say AdWords Traffic Only. Select your Time Zone, and then click Create Profile. We can see the profile that we just created in the dropdown here: AdWords Traffic Only. I can also come here to select the tracking code for that particular profile, and look at the Web property settings overall.
To create a new Web property, I can come up here and click on the account, click on the button that says New Web Property, and give a new Web property a name. We can put in the URL of the Web site that we want to track, but it's important to note that this actually doesn't mean anything. I can put www.apple.com here, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to be automatically tracking Apple's Web site. This is just a name that helps me remember where I'm going to be using this, and these labels that can just help us organize our account. It doesn't actually mean that you're going to necessarily be tracking this.
Google Analytics is going to track based on where you put the tracking script, not on what you enter into this form. Again, select our Time Zone, click Create property. So here we see the Lynda Test Account that we just created with the default URL that we selected to remind ourselves where we are going to put it. If I click inside of that account, I can see the profiles, in this case, just one. I can create a new profile, just like we said before. In this case, I want to create raw profile, select Profile, and here we have our new Web property ID, with the two profiles that we just created.
If we create a new Web property ID, then we will have to put a new tracking code on the site, as each Web property ID has its own specific tracking number. Once we've placed that tracking code on the site, to see the reports, we can either come up here and select one of the tabs for the profile that we are in, or I can use this left dropdown to select the particular profile that I would like to see. In this case, we see our tracking status is, Tracking Not Installed, because I haven't actually placed that code on the site just yet. Let's go into one that's already been selected. Here I go into my Accounts List, I am going to select a particular Web property ID, and select one of the profiles in there.
Here I can go to my Standard Reporting tab, and see the standard reports that are associated with this particular profile. As I am browsing the individual reports, and I'm inside a report where I want to see the same data inside another profile, I can simply come up here, and select a different profile than the one that I'm currently in. While the report will stay the same, the data that we will see will be coming from the profile that we just selected. Understanding how to structure accounts and profiles, as well as to navigate the Accounts List page, is the first step to enabling Google Analytics, and analyzing your Web site.
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