CXL Courses Review: Google Analytics for Beginners Training (Week-4)

This article is written as part of the CXL Institute scholarship and covers my fourth-week of studying the Digital Analytics Minidegree. Previous weeks I have covered about Google Analytics for beginner’s lessons of 1 to 10 training reviews, and this week I will be covering CXL Courses Review of Google Analytics beginner’s remaining lessons from 11 to 20. The trainer Chris Mercerhas a great knowledge on Google Analytics and his presentation is awesome.

Fourth Week Lessons and Thoughts On ‘Digital Analytics’

So far I have completed up to 20 lessons from the Introduction to Google Analytics for Beginners course. I am already having an experience of using GA for a quite long and now added few more skills to my knowledge by attending this course. Here are the lessons lists:

Lessons which are covered on week-4:

  1. Getting Started: View Settings
  2. Getting Started: Filters – The Basics
  3. Understanding Traffic: Types of Traffic
  4. Understanding Traffic: Customizing Traffic Sources – Part 1
  5. Understanding Traffic: Customizing Traffic Sources – Part 2
  6. Understanding Results: Destination Goals
  7. Understanding Results: Duration Goals
  8. Understanding Results: Pages per Session Goals
  9. Understanding Results: Event Goals
  10. Understanding Results: Ecommerce

Getting Started With View Settings

The Admin tab in your Google Analytics account is where you can manage your account and switch to different accounts, if you happen to have more than one. As you already know, it is also where you can choose for which of your websites (if you have more than one) you want to view the needed reports. In this tab, you also set you goals and you can link your AdWords and AdSense accounts, for instance, and measure the performance of your campaigns. Apart from account and property settings and management, you can also create user segments, set up alerts, specify attribution models and set up scheduled emails.

In the view settings, you can update view name, time zone, Site Search parameters, and other settings. After you create a view, you can edit its settings. Note that there are more view settings for web properties than there are for app properties. If you’re editing a view within an app property, many of the options listed below don’t appear. You need Edit permission to edit view settings.

Getting Started: Filters – The Basics

Google Analytics Filters, as the name suggests, provide users a way to limit and modify data that is included in a view. The Google Analytics interface includes several predefined filters to include or exclude traffic data, as well as custom filters that allow users to create various types of filters to suit their needs. Each filter can include or exclude data from the specific view.

Applying filters to your view will affect all incoming data from this point and on. You will not be able to restore any of the historic filtered data. So, before setting up any filters, here’s one solid piece of advice: duplicate your view and make sure you keep an unfiltered one. It’s like a safety net, so you will always know that you’ve got one view without any modifications that’s collecting completely raw data. In order to access the filters screen, you will need Edit permission to your Google Analytics user. You will see the filters set up screen at the Admin section.

Here are a few of my favorite filters that are quite easy to configure and important for cleaning up noise and unwanted data.

  • Exclude internal IP filter.
  • Force lowercase filter on campaign attributes
  • Force lowercase filter on Request URI
  • Include the Hostname to the Request URI
  • Exclude traffic to any testing environment
  • Filter unnecessary query parameters. etc.

Understanding Traffic: Types of Traffic

The Google Analytics “Traffic Sources” section can help ecommerce marketers understand how well campaigns are working and how better to invest in site content, advertising, or other forms of engagement.

There are 3 Basic Traffic Mediums in the Google Analytics Traffic Sources section categorizes your site traffic as

  • Direct traffic
  • Referring traffic
  • Search Engine traffic.

Direct Traffic:

Direct traffic represents those visitors that arrive directly and immediate on your site by: (1) typing your URL into the browser’s address bar; (2) clicking on a bookmark; or (3) clicking on a link in an email, SMS, or chat message. Direct traffic is a strong indicator of your brand strength and your success in email or text message marketing. Direct traffic can also be an indicator of offline marketing success. We offer our views on the benefits of direct traffic at “Direct Traffic is Better than Google Traffic.”

Referring Traffic:

Referring site traffic, which is sometimes called referrer traffic or referral traffic, counts those visitors that click a link on another site and land on your site. Referral traffic can be indicative of social media marketing success.

Search Engine Traffic:

Search engine traffic is that traffic that comes from visitors clicking on links on a search results page for any search engine — whether Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Blekko, or similar. This traffic source is divided into organic or non-paid search engine traffic — meaning that the visitor clicked on a so-called natural search result — and CPC or paid search engine traffic, which is the traffic you purchase (via pay-per-click ads_ from search engines. Search engine traffic usually indicates that you have good or at least reasonably good content. It also can mean that you have chosen a good software platform. Be sure to learn which keywords are driving this traffic. Multi-channel merchants, as an example, may find that their brand name is a key search term. When this is the case, offline marketing is usually the real traffic driver.

Understanding Traffic: Customizing Traffic Sources

Collect traffic data with custom URLs by add parameters to URLs to identify the campaigns that refer traffic. By adding campaign parameters to the destination URLs you use in your ad campaigns, you can collect information about the overall efficacy of those campaigns, and also understand where the campaigns are more effective. When a user clicks a referral link, the parameters you add are sent to Analytics, and the related data is available in the Campaigns reports.

There are 5 parameters you can add to your URLs:

  • utm_source: Identify the advertiser, site, publication, etc. that is sending traffic to your property, for example: google, newsletter4, billboard.
  • utm_medium: The advertising or marketing medium, for example: cpc, banner, email newsletter.
  • utm_campaign: The individual campaign name, slogan, promo code, etc. for a product.
  • utm_term: Identify paid search keywords. If you’re manually tagging paid keyword campaigns, you should also use utm_term to specify the keyword.
  • utm_content: Used to differentiate similar content, or links within the same ad. For example, if you have two call-to-action links within the same email message, you can use utm_content and set different values for each so you can tell which version is more effective.

You can add parameters to a URL in any order. Here is an example URLs:

Understanding Results: Goals & Events

Goals measure how well your site or app fulfills your target objectives. A goal represents a completed activity, called a conversion, that contributes to the success of your business. Examples of goals include making a purchase (for an ecommerce site), completing a game level (for a mobile gaming app), or submitting a contact information form (for a marketing or lead generation site).

Defining goals is a fundamental component of any digital analytics measurement plan. Having properly configured goals allows Analytics to provide you with critical information, such as the number of conversions and the conversion rate for your site or app. Without this information, it’s almost impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of your online business and marketing campaigns.

So how do we set up goals? To get started with goals, go to the admin area of your account and click on “Goals” under the “View” you wish to use for tracking conversions.

Quick facts about goals:

  • You can only have 20 goals per view.
  • Goals cannot be deleted once created—only edited or paused.
  • Goals can be imported from the Solutions Gallery or shared via link.
  • Values can be assigned to goals based on a static value or the value of an event.

The four types of goal definitions seen above work as follows:

  • Destination: Choose a URL, such as a receipt page or a form signup page that indicates a visitor has completed an action on your site that has value to you.
  • Duration: Select a length of time in hours, minutes and seconds. Visitors who stay on site over this time threshold are counted as completing this goal.
  • Pages/Screens per session: Set a number. Visitors who visit more than this number of pages on a website or screens in a mobile app are counted as completing this goal.
  • Event: This detailed goal option allows you specify a category, action, label, and/or value of an event. Visitors who match the criteria outlined here will count as completing this goal. Events in Google Analytics are user interactions with content that can be measured independently from a web-page or screen load. Downloads, link clicks, form submissions, and video plays are all examples of actions you might want to analyze as Events.

Anatomy of Events

An Event has the following components. An Event hit includes a value for each component, and these values are displayed in your reports.

  1. Category
  2. Action
  3. Label (optional, but recommended)
  4. Value (optional)

For example, you might set up a video “play” button on your site so that it sends an Event hit with the following values:

  • Category: “Videos”
  • Action: “Play”
  • Label: “Baby’s First Birthday”

Now that you have an idea of the scope of the Google Analytics tool, I am sure that you have realized how much of a value it can add to your business or website. Google Analytics is the place to be if you truly want to monitor the performance of your business online. Yes, it is extensive but also much useful, convenient, and worthwhile to consider including it in your business marketing strategies.

In the next week post I will be covering the Intermediate of Google Analytics course from Digital Analytics mini degree from CXL.  Feel free to come back on every Mondays and read about CXL Digital Analytics mini degree.

Thank you!



I am Isak, founder and author of blog. A best place to have article through guest posts. I love reading (learning), sharing my skills and knowledge with all over the world using modern digital platforms.