7 Cool Things You Can Do with Google Analytics … and 4 Things You Can’t
Google Analytics is an incredibly useful tool that helps you understand your audience, track how visitors use your site, and gain insights to drive improvements. It can do a lot to help your business, but it can't do everything.
What Google Analytics CAN Do
Let You View Site Traffic in Real Time
Not only does Google Analytics let you see who has visited your site in the past, it lets you see how many people are on your site right now. Visit the Real-Time report to watch visitors come and go and see how they engage with your content.
Tell You About Your Site Visitors
While you can’t find out exactly who is visiting your site, the Audience report lets you learn a lot about them, including their age, gender, interests, profession, and geographic location. That information can be used to target them with email campaigns or online advertising, as well as customize your content to better engage their interest.
Tell You What Site Visitors are Searching for on Your Site
If your website has a search feature, the Site Search feature in Google Analytics will let you see what terms your site visitors are entering in the search box, and whether they’re finding what they’re looking for.
Show You What Visitors are Clicking On
Google’s In-Page Analytics tool will list all the internal links on your site and tell you which links were most popular with visitors, so you know where to place key calls to action, and which pages might need updating to increase engagement.
Let You See How Visitors Use Your Site
Google’s Users Flow report shows you how visitors travel through your site, including what page they start on, how many visit a second page versus exit the site, and in what order they view pages.
Help You Rank Your Content
In the Behavior section of Google Analytics, select Site Content then All Pages to see a list of all site pages in order of popularity. You can sort the list by number of page views, average amount of time spent on the page, number of visitors that enter the site through that page, and more.
Tell You Whether You Need a Mobile Site
Hopefully you already have a mobile-friendly site, but if not, the Mobile section of the Audience report will tell you what devices your site visitors are using, and what percentage of your audience is accessing your website from a smartphone or tablet.
What Google Analytics CAN’T Do
Track Individual Users
Google Analytics can tell you a lot about the people who visit your site, but it won’t tell you who they are. You can find out how old they are, where they live, and much more, but not their name, IP address, company, or any other personally identifiable information.
Get Historical Information on Site Use
With Google Analytics, you can only see data from the time you started tracking your site—you can’t go back in time and see traffic and other information from before Google Analytics was installed.
See What Your Site Visitors Do Elsewhere on the Internet
You can get extremely detailed information on what your site visitors do on your site, including what pages they visit, how long they stay there, what buttons they click, etc., but once they leave your site, you can’t track what other sites they visit and what they do there.
Track Users That Don't Want to Be Tracked