How does Google Analytics work?

Google Analytics works by placing a piece of JavaScript code on all pages of your website. When your website is visited the JavaScript executes and sends data back to Google Analytics. The data is processed and then reported in the Google Analytics user interface.

3 steps to how Google Analytics works

To break down the definition above we need to look at Google Analytics in three steps: data collection, data processing and data reporting.

How Google Analytics works - a three step process

Step 1: Data Collection

To see data in Google Analytics you need to collect it. There are two ways you can get the data, as mentioned place the tracking code on your website. The other way is via Google Tag Manager, which gives you much more flexibility (and it’s easy if you’re not technical).

Step 2: Data Processing

Once you start collecting data you want to make sure it’s reliable and you can actually take action on it. That’s where data procession comes into play. There are two very important things we need to set up at this stage:

Google Analytics Filters are used to make your data more consistent, clean and useful. They allow you to include or exclude data so you only see data that matters. The most common use of filters is to exclude yourself from the data set with your IP address.

Google Analytics Goals are the most important feature to set up. Goals are used to measure the desired action you want users to take on your website. This is known as a conversion and usually, it’s in the form of a sale or completed contact form. If you skip this step you’re pretty much wasting your time with Google Analytics.

Step 3: Reporting

If you’ve ever used Google Analytics then you would be familiar with the user interface. But you can take it even further with:

Each of these excellent features let you take your reporting to the next level.

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