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Google Analytics - What the Numbers Mean

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We all know that it is important to generate site traffic. Most people also understand the value of knowing how many people visit/have visited their sites. The 1990s even added a whole new definition for the word hit to the dictionary. What about the deeper questions, though? Who are these invisible site visitors, and where are they coming from? What path do they take, once on the site? What is keeping them there, and when are they leaving? Most importantly, are your current methods working?

For some time the industry has looked to Advanced Web Statistics (AWStats) for significant data. While AWStats tracked many aspects beyond simply the number of hits, the results still left questions unanswered, sometimes to the point of giving misleading impressions. For example, a regular visitor to your site might be marked as a 'unique visitor' (someone who is new to the site) four different times because he accessed it from home, from work, from a friend's house, and from the local internet cafe. Other similar issues arose... until Google Analytics was born.

Wildly popular, Google Analytics takes the data from AWStats to a new level. They build in more features to explain the true meaning behind the numbers. As an Anttix client, you enjoy automatic enrollment in this valuable service, once your site is launched. From that point, you have dozens of options for what type of information you want to review. You can even specify whom you want to have access to the reports, and at what level. Ultimately, you should establish a specific goal. "To sell more goods/services" is not specific, though. Rather, choose a measurable goal, such as increasing sales by 15% over the next year, or expanding the circle of visitors to include those from the U.K..

With your tools in place and your goal in mind, you can now begin to delve into your personal stats. Whether you have one site or multiple sites, you can set a date range to explore the following external facts:

  • Number of Visits and Page Views: Shows your activity range in a line graph.
  • New vs. Returning Visitors: Breaks down the percentages in a pie graph.
  • Geo Map Overlay: Depicts where in the world (literally) your visitors are from. Hello, Madagascar!

Once you know these parameters, you can examine your finer marketing statistics:

  • Sources: Traces the paths that brought visitors to you. Welcome to the sophisticated version of the "How did you find out about us?" survey.
  • Entrances/Exits: Tells at what point within your site a visitor came in... and when he/she bailed.
  • Keyword Conversion: Acknowledges which words acted as the bait that led visitors to your goal.
  • Return on Investment (ROI) Reports: You're putting your dollars out there. What's bringing them back in? What's not?

To learn more about the many capabilities of Google Analytics, and how your business can benefit from practical data analysis, contact us or pick up a copy of Google Analytics by Mary E. Tyler and Jerri L. Ledford.

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