Understanding your Google Analytics

Understanding you GA
November 21, 2022

As a business owner, thinking of ways to scale and improve your operations may be exhausting. Fortunately, advanced tools like Google Analytics can help make scaling a business easier.

Why do you need Google Analytics?

Insights to Help Improve ROI

Google Analytics provides businesses with tools that help measure trends. For example, showing business owners if there are specific products on their website that are suddenly gaining traction.

Further, Google Analytics can help businesses predict clients’ behavior. For example, the rate of customer churn in a specific period.

Better Understanding of Client Behavior

The upgrade has a more customer-centric approach in measurement. This includes user IDs that aid in tracking behavior with regards to your business. The new version is capable of providing information about your client’s life cycle in interacting with your channels. 


Targeted Marketing

Google Analytics offers a comprehensive set of features that can help you scale how you manage your digital marketing efforts. The data collected by this tool can be managed in different ways. One is using these sets of data for ad personalization, which plays a great role in marketing.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

At this point, you probably know or have an idea of what SEO is. It is one of the most highly effective digital marketing efforts today. Google Analytics contributes to making this even more efficient and effective in helping you grow as a business. 

Creating Innovative Business Ideas

To make sure your business grows, you need to introduce new ideas that set you apart from your competitors. However, coming up with ideas is one story, but having ideas that are worthwhile is another. So, how do you introduce new things that are worthwhile? By basing them on data and facts.


Before we move forward, you should know that there are currently two versions of Google Analytics: Universal Analytics and GA4.

Aja Frost at Hubspot did a great article explaining GA tools. We've consolidated some of them to help you scan through the important parts.

Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics

Google Analytics Hierarchy

Here's a look at the GA hierarchy. Remember, Universal Analytics uses "Views" while GA4 uses "Data Streams", so both are demonstrated in the visual below.

Image source: Hubspot

Let's dive into the sections.

1. Organisation

The organisation is the highest level. It represents a company. For example, our organisation is Human Digital. One organisation can encompass multiple GA accounts. Organisations are recommended for larger businesses, but not mandatory.

2. Account(s)

Accounts are not optional. Using Google Analytics requires at least one (sometimes several) accounts.

An account doesn’t mean a user account. 

Important details:

  • You can assign one property to each account or multiple properties to one account. Every account can hold up to 50 properties.
  • You can give user permissions for an entire Analytics account, a property in an account, or a view in a property.

3. Property

A property is a website or app. Each property can support up to 25 views.

4. View

At the minimum, you need two views per property:

  • One with zero configuration — essentially the “raw” version of the view
  • One with filters set up to exclude any traffic from within your company (i.e. a filter for your IP address) as well as bots and spam traffic.

5. Data Stream

A data stream in GA4 is a flow of data that gives you more insights into how your site is performing across different operating systems. There are three preset data streams you can choose from including web, iOS, and Andriod; or you can choose to create a custom data stream.

6. Google Analytics Dimensions and Metrics

To use GA successfully, you need to understand dimensions versus metrics. The easiest way to think about it is:

  • Dimensions: categorical variables. Simple examples include names, colors, and places.
  • Metrics: quantitative variables. Basic examples include age, temperature, and population.

7. Google Analytics Audiences

An audience is a group of users that have something in common. That commonality could be anything: maybe you’re targeting consumers in Australia, so you have an "Australian audience,” or you want to sell to millennials, so you have a "25-34 audience.”

8. Google Analytics Segments

A segment is a subset of your data. Picture an entire pizza made up of all different slices — one slice has pesto and mozzarella, another has sausages and spicy peppers, another has ham and pineapple, and so on. Metaphorically speaking, each slice is a segment.

You can create segments based on:

  • Users (e.g. users who have bought something on your site before, users who have signed up for a consultation, etc.)
  • Sessions (e.g. all sessions that were generated from a specific marketing campaign, all sessions where a pricing page was viewed)
  • Hits (e.g. all hits where the purchase exceeded $85, all hits where a specific product was added to the cart)

Google Analytics Reports

1. Google Analytics Real-Time Report

The Real-Time report gives you insight into what’s happening on your site at this very moment. You can see how many visitors are on your site, which pages they’re visiting, which social platforms they’re coming from, where they’re located, and more.

2. Google Analytics Audience Report

The GA Audience report gives you a high-level overview for the property you’re currently looking at. Check this report once a day to get a sense of how you’re trending overall.

3. Google Analytics Acquisition Reports

Image source: Hubspot

The Acquisition report breaks down your traffic by source: organic, direct, referral, email, social, paid search, display, affiliate, and (Other). (GA uses the (Other) category when it doesn’t know how to categorize a subset of traffic.)

From All Traffic, you can click into Channels.

Google Analytics Acquisition Reports

Image source: Hubspot

4. Google Analytics Behavior Reports

Google Analytics Behavior Reports
Image source: Hubspot

There are many sections here but Behaviour section might be a good place to start and explore each report inside it to know your audience better.4

5. Google Analytics Conversion Reports

Google Analytics Conversion Reports
Image source: Hubspot

If you have a website, you have an objective — probably several — for the people who visit your site.

Ecommerce store owners want their visitors to subscribe to their mailing list, make a user account, add something to their cart, and/or complete the order confirmation process.

I hope this gives you a good insight into understanding GA and if you want to setup your GA account or want to learn about the tools more in detail, click the button below. If you prefer to hire someone to do it for you, feel free to contact us.

Let's build something good together

If you have a project in mind, we would be happy to have a chat about how we can make it happen.

Ben van Rooy

Strategy Director

Nick Brown

Marketing Director