I've created this post on Google Analytics basics to accompany the HIE tourism webinar, Is my website working, where I'm a guest speaker.
These resources are for further reading and will allow you to learn Google Analytics, including setting it up on your own website.
Note: Learning Google Analytics will take some time, but there are great resources out there and I believe the tool is a pre-requisite for all businesses, especially SMEs. Google Analytics is free to install, and it will start gathering invaluable data right away.
Why use Google Analytics
Think of Google Analytics as a measurement platform for your business success. It is a key tool in your business marketing activity as it gives you valuable and actionable insights about your customers that will help inform what direction you should take, and how to spend your time and budget (this is especially important for small businesses who often have little of either!).
Google Analytics lets you measure things like:
- WHO is using your website (location, demographics, device e.g. mobile)
- HOW these people find your site (e.g. from search engines, other websites (referrals), social media)
- WHAT they do on your website (which pages they look at, how long they stay on the site)
- HOW MUCH your website generates for your business (in terms of money or other specific goals, e.g. looking at your offers page, looking at the booking / calendar page)
Imagine you have a physical shop. As a shop keeper you'd notice (and probably keep track of) footfall, you'd monitor what items customers look at most, and you would generally use all that 'data' about your visitors to inform what direction you should take, in order to become more profitable.
Google Analytics collects data about all of the above and much more for your website.
And your website is the key virtual selling platform for your physical business.
Google Analytics Basics - Training and Resources
This is a collection of training and resources to help you get to grip with the basics of Google Analytics.
Google Analytics Academy
A series of videos where you can learn Google Analytics basics in online sessions, developed by Google themselves. The course I'd recommend for beginners is Digital Analytics Fundamentals (I've reviewed it here).
They state it takes around 4-6 hours to complete - I probably took slightly longer as I optimised my site's analytics set-up at the same time!
The Small Business Guide to Google Analytics
This is a great resource specifically for small businesses and SMEs. It takes you through the entire process and is very much focused on practice, including a video tutorial on how to install Google Analytics to your website.
Google Analytics Case Studies
Google itself provides a great number of 'Success Stories' (i.e. case studies, downloadable as PDF) on their website, with a number of them from tourism (e.g. Fairmont Hotels, HomeAway, New Brunswick Tourism).
The one I'd like to highlight is that of Fairmont Hotels. I've seen their Director of Analytics and SEO, Barbara Pezzi, speak at a tourism conference and back then was extremely impressed by how smart and effectively they use Google Analytics for actionable business insights. Below is a quick video case study of Fairmont Hotels and their use of Analytics, featuring Barbara.
I hope this collection of resources has all your Google Analytics basics needs covered.
Now get stuck in 🙂