Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that provides basic analytical tools and statistics for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and marketing objectives. Those with a Google account can use the web analytics service for free, although a paid premium version is available. Google Analytics can track visitors from all referrers, including social networks, referring sites, search engines and direct visits.

It also displays advertising, email marketing, pay-per-click sites, and digital collateral like links within PDF documents. In April 2005, Google bought Urchin Software Corporation and utilized the company’s Urchin in Demand product as the basis for its present service.

Some of the Google Web Analytics features are as follows:

  • Data visualization tools including motion charts and dashboards
  • Segmentation for analyzing subsets, like conversions
  • Email-based sharing and communication
  • Custom reports
  • Integration with other Google products like Public Data Explorer, Website Optimizer and Adwords

What Exactly is Web Analytics?

Web analytics is the collection, analysis, measurement and reporting of web data for understanding and optimizing web usage. This is not just a tool for measuring web traffic, but can be utilized as a tool for market and business research as well as the evaluation and improvement of the effectiveness of a website.

It helps estimate how website traffic changes after introducing a new advertising campaign. It provides data about the number of visitors and page views of a website. Web analytics helps measure traffic and popularity trends, providing an invaluable source for market research.

Web analytics is divided into two categories – on-site and off-site. On-site web analytics gauge a visitor’s behavior while on your website, including its conversions and drivers. This category measures how your website performs in a commercial context. Off-site web analytics is the web analysis and measurement of a website, regardless of whether you own or maintain it. This includes the measurement of a website’s potential audience and visibility.

Qualities of a Reliable Web Analytics Expertise

In order for an organization to succeed, it needs both quality web analytic tools and a reliable web analytics referring partner. If you encounter a web analyst who aims to meet the needs of thirty to forty individuals, this analyst is probably making up reports mechanically, and can’t provide timely dialogue, insight and interpretation for their business partners.

A reliable web analytics referring partner should have effective web analysts who are actually business analysts, not just web technology experts. Web analysts should be able to integrate web traffic insights with other sources, like surveys and transactional database information. In order to have meaningful changes from the insights obtained from internal data, the analyst should be able to help sales, marketing and service people interpret visitor behavior properly, build effective business cases for change, and design new performance measurement programs.

A web analytics analyst should be able to understand the technical aspects of the web well enough to expand mutual understanding among technology groups and businesses, so that they can work effectively to leverage web analytic data.

Choose a company with enough influence to promote a supportive learning culture, because the results obtained from web analytic data will not always be positive. It should be someone who can understand market research and statistics in order to interpret web traffic data and integrate market research responsibly.