Google Analytics (GA) is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic – first launched in November 2005. Over the past almost two decades, a lot has changed. While basic session data is valuable in itself, we set out to ask fellow marketers what their “advanced features” of Google Analytics were. While subjective, for the purposes of this article we consider “advanced features” as functionality/uses that require more than basic knowledge.
Below outlines some of the GA advanced features marketers shared.
Affinity Categories & In-Market Audiences
I find that the most advanced feature utilized in Google Analytics is the affinity category and in-market segment that can be found within the demographics tab of GA.
This offers SEO specialists an in-depth analysis of their current demographics and the users that are moving down the conversion funnel for optimal targeting. With this data, we are able to optimize websites and create content surrounding the needs and interests of users that is backed up by statistics. As SEO specialists it is part of our job to help guide users down the conversion funnel smoothly with as little friction as possible. This feature can help hone in on users’ interests to better help align strategy and content.
Affinity categories offer marketers insight on potential customers at the beginning of the funnel to help them become more familiar and aware of the brand or product. While In-Market segments offer awareness on users reaching the end of the funnel that are more likely to purchase your product or service.
– Katelyn Perez, Organic Search Specialist at Tandem Buzz
Assisted Conversions & Assisted Conversion Value
The Assisted Conversions report summarizes the roles and contributions of your channels. Assisted conversions can help show the number of conversions for which this channel appeared on the conversion path, but was not the final conversion interaction. This is useful data to me, particularly for running Google Ads campaigns, as it allows us to report on not only last click conversions, but also other ad engagements that helped get users to the point of conversion. Assisted Conversion Value is tremendously helpful for e-commerce clients.
– James Bowen, Founder & President at Ripen Digital
One of my favorite new and advanced features of Google Analytics is the “churn probability metric.” Ask any CEO or marketing manager, and they will say that client and customer retention is a crucial pillar for measuring success. As such, this tool tracks and measures the probability of clients that will not return to your site within 7 days. By focusing on and seeking to optimize this metric, such a tool will enable companies to more accurately invest resources in retention strategies, and spend less on customer acquisition in the long term.
– Jonathan Zacharias, Founder at GR0
Google Analytics content grouping, in my opinion, performs wonderfully.
Content Groupings are quite useful for better structuring and assessing your content performance. Google Analytics by default displays all of the different pages that have gotten at least one-page view during the given time period.
Setting up content categories in Google Analytics will be extremely beneficial for a website with hundreds, thousands, or even millions of unique pages.
A site-wide content grouping separates all pageviews into logical buckets for aggregated navigational and performance analysis and optimization, and covers at least 98 per cent of all page views on your website.
– Jordon Scrinko, Founder & Marketing Director at Precondo
Custom Dimensions & Metrics
Google Analytics is most effective when using Custom Dimensions and Custom Metrics. These data points are not the default from GA. They are created through the help of Google Tag Manager.. These data points are customized use cases of marketers.
With these data hits, you can add dimensions like PDF downloads, video plays, and scrolls. Or collect more advanced data like UserID, login status, page status codes, publication date, and even the author names. Though it takes a technical approach, these custom setups are useful to optimize and to understand customer data.
– Francis Angelo Reyes, Digital Analyst at Lupage Digital
My favorite “advanced” google analytics feature is the goals feature. I love that I can set up simple goals such as watching a video, fill out a form, spend x time on the website or move through specific funnels. I then analyze the goal completions by referral or source to evaluate the quality of the traffic I get from each source.
– Sol Spier, Owner & Creative Director at Dawning Digital
Model Comparison Tool
Most people don’t know that by default Google Analytics is set to a ‘last interaction attribution model. While this isn’t bad, it’s not ideal. That’s why I like to use one of the advanced features of GA: the model comparison tool. This tool shows a report where you can see and compare the difference in conversions when using different attribution models (ie. last interaction, first interaction, linear, etc…). To pull up this feature, go to ‘Conversions’ –> ‘Multi-Channel Funnels’ –> ‘Model Comparison Tool’. A use case I use this tool for is to see which blogs or landing pages contributed to conversions by comparing linear vs last interaction and first interaction attribution models.
– Nathaniel Rodriguez, Web Analyst at LIFTOFF Digital
Multi-Channel Funnel (MCF) Reports
Knowing the source of conversions is vital, and Google Analytics’ Multi-Channel Funnel reports (MCF) may help you with that. The MCF reports provide information on the traffic that converted, allowing you to plan your next tactics with ease.
We go beyond the last click with Multi-channel Attribution, reporting on all of the activity leading up to the conversion. This is especially useful in B2B sales since the sales cycle is typically longer and more research is required. Instead of stating that this conversion was due to the site, we can now explain that this person first got to the site through a Google AdWords ad, then through many organic search visits, and eventually arrived directly to the site.
– Jay Bats, Co-Founder & Developer at ContentBASE
Segments can help you learn more about your site’s visitors and the sources of those visitors’ traffic. Segments are essentially groups of visitors who fulfill a predetermined set of criteria.
You could, for instance, create a division for people who only use Android smartphones and those who only live in California. Another option is to create a segment to monitor conversions over a specified cash amount or consumers that arrive from a specific campaign..
Returning users can be identified using their browser history and their IP address. The amount of information you may include in your reports is virtually limitless when using these, so be sure to do so whenever possible.
In addition to providing you with useful information, it may also be an effective tool for creating targeted audiences for your marketing efforts.
– Steve Scott, CTO at Spreadsheet Planet
One of the most interesting advanced features to use in Google Analytics is the User Explorer.
This allows you to examine an individual’s behavior and interactions with your site over multiple visits. For an individual user ID, you can see data such as when they first visited your site, session duration, total transaction, when they last visited and how they accessed the site. It would be a very time-consuming process to drill down into this level of detail for all customers! However, it can be beneficial if you want to analyze a specific type of customer, maybe a frequent purchaser, and get a deeper insight into their behavior. You can also segment the data based on combinations of actions to gain further insights into specific groups of users.
– JM Littman, Director at Webheads
Looking to learn more about Google Analytics? Analytics Academy can help you learn about Google’s measurement tools. Plus, there’s even an Advanced Google Analytics course which features including data collection, processing and configuration, and more complex analysis and marketing tools.