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How Does Google Analytics Work?

Google Analytics allows any business owner to turn insights into action. It records individual user preferences and interactions in a way that allows you to better target, refer, and re-market to them. In the 90s, only the largest corporations with the most extravagant marketing budgets had this kind of access to user data. Today, you can take advantage of these free marketing analytics products to better understand your customers & what they want. 

Google Analytics is a popular tool used to rip through large amounts of user data very quickly. Google has created this tool to help businesses make informed decisions. Or so they say…

Remember, this is capitalism. Nothing is free. Google analytics is an extremely useful tool for those who know how to use it. It can really amplify your reach and enhance your marketing efforts. Analytics will guide you, and help to make every dollar count. 

However, it will also collect data on your website, your industry, your customers, and your interactions with them. With changes in net neutrality laws and knowledge of Google’s parent company Alphabet’s extensive interest in the acquisition of data mining companies, it is important to be aware of a few things. That being said, there are a few key things to know about Google analytics…

Grandma’s Cookies

Cookies are like footprints that link out computers to all the websites we visit. In theory they should make our browsing experience much more interesting, thoughtful, intentional, and specific. Remember searching AskJeeves.com in the 90s and being unable to find something you came across just an hour earlier? 

Well Google’s search engine and the implementation of cookies have enabled us to find things we searched for a year ago or more. Cookies are actually given to our computers by each website we visit. They store basic information about our computer, and browsing habits. Unless we do something illegal they should be relatively harmless. 

Google Analytics works by using cookies.

Cookies in Action

When you use Google Analytics on your site, you’re required to alert users that your site uses cookies, and by continuing to use the site, they signify consent to cookies. This message usually comes in the form of a snippet of JavaScript code that puts a cookie on the computer of every person who visits your site in perpetuity. 

Your Google Analytics cookie will collect information about the user’s computer such as the language used, the user’s preferred operating system and browser, and the number of visits they’ve made to your website. It will also track how long the user stays on each page of your website, and how many pages they visit before leaving.

This information is sent to Google for data processing.

Data processing requires all of the information from various cookies to be sorted and compared. Google then uses your account settings to determine what’s most important for you to know. You can even direct Google to ignore information that comes from within your company so you don’t accidentally skew the results.

Once complete, the data processing center returns the information to your Google Analytics Dashboard for review. Then you can compare the information across multiple users and hire someone to tweak campaigns, re-market certain products, etc. Google analytics reporting allows you to observe a greater sample size of data that can be used to make more informed business decisions. 

Sign up for an account, or log in to your Google Analytics Dashboard here.

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