Issue #11

Build your Google Analytics Dashboard in 4 easy steps

8 min read
In this Article

With the metrics in your email marketing platform, you should already know what lists your customers are subscribing to, your email open rates, and click rates, but do you know what those subscribers are doing once they land on your site?

Motivation is the reason someone has for acting or behaving in a particular way, and we’re all trying to motivate our end users to perform an action.

Whether the goal is to increase email signups, convert a subscriber to a purchaser, or increase readership, we all have something we are working toward.

Today I want to help you take the first step to better understand your Google Analytics data, what is motivating your customers, and how to leverage that data.

How to build your Google Analytics dashboard

In this article, I’m going to walk you through how to define your onsite goal, set that goal up in Google Analytics, create and implement the tracking of that goal, and measure its success.

Step 1: Defining a goal

Before we get started with Google Analytics, let's define what your onsite goals are. A goal is something that you want your onsite customers to do. This often benefits you as the creator in someway or is indicative of a highly engaged visitor.
To do this, answer the following questions.

1) Once a visitor gets to your site, what actions do you want them to take?
For example, do you want them to sign up for a course, download a PDF, or share your content? The list could go on and you can have more than one goal.

2) Which one of the identified goals do you feel is the most valuable to your overall business goals?
This is usually a goal that results in a monetary transaction or another substantial milestone in your relationship with your visitors.

3) How do you know when a visitor completes this goal? Is there a “Success” or “thank-you” page you visitor goes to after completing this goal?
For example, many times after you sign up for an email newsletter or complete a transaction, you are directed to a page that says something like “Thanks for signing up/Completing a purchase”.

Do you have one of these pages? If so you are in luck! This is the easiest type of goal to track. If not, you have other options, but these require a bit more work to set up.

How to setup a goal within Google Analytics using a Success or Thank-You page

1) Copy the URL of the Success or Thank-You page of the goal that you want to measure. This is the page that would come after the visitor successfully completes an action and should only be able to be reached after the action is completed and not from any other way.

For example sake, we're going to use the URL as this is the URL a visitor reaches after they fill out our demo request form.

2) Navigate the view in Google Analytics that you want to add the goal to and click on the gear icon in the bottom left corner of your screen.

3) Once in the Admin section, click on “Goals” on the right hand side of the page.

Setting up Google Analytics 1

4) Click “New Goal”

Setting up Google Analytics 2

5) Select “Custom”, and navigating to the next step.

Setting up Google Analytics 3

6) Name your goal and select “Destination” as the goal type.

Setting up Google Analytics 4

7) In the Destination drop down, select “begins with” and add the URL to the input field. Only add the portion of the url that comes after the .com. In our example, we would add “/watch-demo/”. Don't worry about any of the other option content.

Setting up Google Analytics 5

8) Click “Save”.

That's all it takes to setup a destination goal within Google Analytics and you are now one step closer to understanding your users on site behavior.

Step 2: Setup campaign parameters

In order to understand how your email subscribers are interacting with your site, you must first be able to identify which visitors came from your emails opposed to another traffic source.

This tracking starts in your emails in the form of query parameters. Query parameters are a string of data that is attached to a URL that tells Google Analytics about the source of the traffic. You may have seen these attached to URLs you have clicked on while browsing the Internet.

For example:

The above string tells Google that when a visitor uses this URL, they came from our Monthly Newsletter, via Email, from the specific email highlighting a course announcement. This allows us to see how each source, medium, and campaign performs independently and collectively within Google Analytics.

You can use this handy Campaign URL Builder tool to learn about the details of each parameter type and create your own URL parameters.

In order to create clean data we suggest always using the Campaign Source, Campaign Medium and Campaign Campaign Name options.

Step 3: Send the campaign parameters to Google Analytics

Now that you have built the parameter that will tell Google Analytics where the traffic came from, you need to trigger that parameter. ConvertKit makes this easy.

When creating your email within ConvertKit, simply add the URL that you built with the query parameters to the item you want to link from.

UTM link in ConvertKit

It's as simple as that!

Step 4: Analyze the data in Google Analytics

There are a couple ways to view the data in Google Analytics, but we're just going to go over the most simple way. We made you an analytics dashboard that you can simply add to your existing Google Analytics account and will pull in all of you data for you.

How to use the Google Analytics dashboard

a) Click on the link to add the dashboard to your existing Google Analytics account per the instructions found in the link.

Get Your Google Analytics Dashboard

b) Click on the pencil icons for data blocks 4, 5 and 6 within the dashboard to update the the goals to reflect your own individual goals as defined in the first portion of this article.

If you identified a monetary transaction as your main goal AND have e-commerce tracking setup in your Google Analytics, you can use transactions as you main goal.

c) In step 1, if all of your email Campaign Mediums were setup to contain the word “email”, no further action is needed to start using the dashboard. If your Campaign Mediums associated with your emails contain something other than “email”, click on the pencil icons for each data block within the analytics dashboard to update the Medium that are included in the data.

What your analytics dashboard will tell you

Google anyaltics dashboard

1) The total number of sessions your site received in a given time period, regardless of traffic source. Use this to monitor how your overall session count is changing over time.

2) The total number of people (users) who came to your site within a given time period, regardless of traffic source. One person can visit your site multiple times which creates a new session each time. Use this to monitor how your overall visitor count is changing over time or divide Sessions/Users to calculate the average amount of sessions each visitor creates.

3) Similar to data block 1, this number reflects the number of sessions your site received in a given time period from ONLY email marketing campaigns. By default, this is defined as a visit from a traffic source that has the Campaign Medium containing “email” associated with it via query parameters.

4) Individual campaign names (usually reflected as individual email) with the amount of goal completions each email drove. Use this to gauge which emails drove the most goal completions. Don't forget to update the goals section of this data block to reflect your own individual goals.

5) This shows the top pages that people land on after entering the site via an email related campaign. Use this report to understand where people are entering and how that affects goal completions.

6) Total number of goal completions made by visitors entering via an email related campaign.

7) The rate at which email visitors land on your site and instantly leave without engaging with anything on the site. And the lower the number the better!

8) The number of sessions and bounce rate of visitors entering via an email related campaign, broken down by the type of device they are using. Use this to identify device specific issues.

For example, if your mobile device traffic bounces at a much higher rate than desktop, you may want to look at how the information on your site is being presented on mobile devices and make edits to create a better user experience

Want to take your analysis to the next level?

We have created a custom segment that will allow you to easily segment out your email traffic in any Google Analytics report. With this, you can look at audience, acquisition, behavior, and conversion data broken out by your email traffic.

To get started, click on the link below to add it to your existing Google Analytics account.

Get Your Custom Segment

Once added to your account, click on “Add Segment” at the top of the page in Google Analytics to add the segment to your reports. Navigate Google Analytics with the segment applied to see all of you data broken out by your email traffic.

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Charli Prangley

Charli is ConvertKit's Creative Director. Born in New Zealand but currently living in Valencia, Spain she’s passionate about side projects and helping creatives improve their craft and process. When she’s not designing and leading the Brand team at ConvertKit she's creating content for her design-centric YouTube channel and podcast sharing insights into life as a professional designer alongside tutorials and advice on design tools and concepts.

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