A beginner’s guide to Google Analytics for startups

With limited resources on the one hand, and an abundance of things to do (no doubt you have a ‘wearing many hats’ team) on the other, it is necessary for startup businesses to rise to the challenge of prioritisation and organise their processes in a way that is simplified. Therefore, making sure that you have a properly set-up, understood and well-used Google Analytics account is somewhat inevitable. 

At first, Google Analytics might feel intimidating, but, once you understand how it works and identify the key metrics necessary for your business, it may soon become one of your favourite (and most useful!) marketing tools. 

What is Google Analytics? 

Google Analytics is a free web analytics platform offered by Google that tracks website or app performance. It has earned its popularity among marketers by offering over 200 metrics to help all types of businesses make smarter decisions. 

The platform provides you with unique insights into the performance of your marketing, content, products and more. It reveals your users’ behaviour as they interact with your website or app by tracking every step of their journey including where they came from and where they left. Therefore, the continuous assessment of the metrics important for your business can substantially help you move the current numbers closer to the desired results. 

Why is Google Analytics a must-have for startups?

Google Analytics is especially important for startups because measurable data is part and parcel of each early-stage company as they are still experimenting with how to best serve their users. Google Analytics does not only help you understand your audience and their behaviour but it also allows you to set goals and measure your progress towards them. In a nutshell, metrics help startups identify customer trends and patterns, which eventually lead to smarter and more informed decisions.

For example, if you notice that the users who are in a specific age group bring higher conversion rates, you can craft your acquisition strategy accordingly to those findings. Similarly, you can discover which of your website pages are performing better by measuring metrics such as ‘bounce rate’ and ‘time spent on-page’. All these metrics may eventually play a big role in the further development of your products/services as well as in the evaluation of your marketing strategies and target audience. 

How to setup Google Analytics? 

Getting started with Google Analytics is very easy. First, you need to open Google Analytics and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have an account or want to create a new one specifically for this purpose, go to set up a Google Account. The next steps include setting up a property (a website or an app), setting up a reporting view and adding the tracking code to your website.

For detailed instructions and more information on how to navigate through the tool, check the Google Analytics for Beginners course.  

Popular metrics for startups to follow

While Google Analytics offers a massive amount of metrics that you can track, the best approach is to make a list of a few key metrics that are crucial for your business and to focus on them. Each startup should make its selection on the basis of a well-defined strategy. Although different businesses need to follow different metrics based on the type of their service/product and their goals, below you can find a list of metrics popular among startups. 

  • Users

“Users” means unique visitors. Monitoring user growth alone can not confirm the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. Along with the user growth you need to track the returning user percentage. A small number often means a wrong fit and hence a signal for you to undertake some action. 

  • Bounce Rate

“Bounce Rate” shows the percentage of your visitors that left your website after visiting a single page. The lower the bounce rate the higher the engagement. This is a metric you should especially pay attention to because if your overall bounce rate or the bounce rate of a specific page is high, you definitely need to uncover the reason for it and make changes. Aside from indicating that something is wrong, a high overall bounce rate is one of the factors that can cause your rankings to drop in Google.

  • Average Session Duration

“Average Session Duration” shows how much time, on average, your visitors are spending on your website. This is particularly important for startups that deploy content strategies in their marketing efforts. There are various ways to achieve better numbers, from including internal links and embedding videos, to adding proactive chat and comment-worthy content. 

  • Traffic Source

Ad campaigns, search engines, social networks, referral websites, email marketing campaigns and other sources that send users to your website or app are known as campaigns or traffic sources. Learning where your audience comes from and discovering specific behaviour patterns of different groups can greatly help with future customer acquisition and marketing strategies. Furthermore, special attention should be paid to the keywords that are sending the most traffic as they can also be utilised in the marketing and SEO efforts. 

  • Goals 

Google Analytics allows you to set goals and track their completion rates. Startups should configure goals for the actions that reflect the website/app top-level objectives. Some of the goals you might want to configure include subscribing to newsletters, scheduling appointments, and sales. 

  • Top pages

Monitoring the pages on your website that receive the most traffic should be one of your top priorities in Google Analytics. The various insights you can get about the visitor preferences and technical SEO is especially useful for the future development of your content strategies. 

The video below gives a quick walkthrough of the Google Analytics User Interface.